Sifting through years’ worth of old junk and clearing out unnecessary things was one of the most powerful steps in my own travel preparation, I would even say it’s mandatory if you’re trying to figure out how to pack your life into a suitcase. That in itself is already a massive task.

There's something so refreshing about throwing out the old that mentally and emotionally makes room for the new.

Once you feel prepared in your mind, you’re able to save money easier, you’re able to refrain from buying new junk and you’re able to get excited (rather than stressed out) about everything you need to do.

So, what’s the best way to go about it? Follow these steps:

1. Act as if your trip is confirmed

What would your house look like if you had tickets booked and a leaving date? What would you hold on to? What would you pack away? Would you start buying anything more? If so, would they be items you could take on your trip?

As soon as I booked tickets for my first big trip, I got serious. I donated bags and bags of clothes that I didn’t want to see when I returned, I put loads of stuff up for sale, I made a list of tasks that needed to be done and started thinking seriously about the places I was wanting to visit.  

The idea is to "tie off loose ends" so it seems absolutely real, because the more real it feels the more effort you'll put into clearing your surroundings and preparing for travel.

2. Dress like a minimalist

Now that you have thrown away/given away most of your clothes, the next step is to practice dressing like a minimalist in order to avoid buying a heap more. I've recently found out about the capsule wardrobe craze. It seems like I'm a little late to the party because there are people all around the world going nuts over being able to dress with only 30-40 items.

This is essentially what you're doing when you travel, though with about half that amount if you're going only with carry-on. Getting used to mixing and matching a few outfits now will be invaluable for when you hit the road, especially if you have a few items that can be converted into different styles. Dressing like a minimalist will also help you save money because buying new clothes isn't something you'll be thinking about much and living a simpler life help you focus on the experiences rather than the material extras.

3. Think like a minimalist

Thinking like a minimalist helps shift your mindset into only purchasing and accumulating things that will benefit you while you travel. If you buy something you like but won’t be able to take away then you’re absolutely wasting money. You’re taking valuable cash from your travel fund for a short term gain.

On the other hand, if you find something you love and it will make a perfect addition to your travel pack, then, by all means, buy it! For example, I refused to buy fancy wedding shoes because I just couldn’t justify buying something that I wouldn’t be able to wear for years, so I bought some beautiful leather sandals that are great for roaming beautiful streets in.

4. Simplify your beauty routine

Go into your bathroom and have a look at your drawer of stashed goodies. How long have you had everything in there? When did you last use it? Is it expired? Now look through your makeup, perfumes and any other lotions and potions. Any of those you don't really need anymore? Throw away anything that you haven’t used in a while and probably won’t use when you return.

Write a short list of cosmetics you absolutely can’t live without and that you want to take with you. Try and get used to using these only so you get into the habit of surviving with a few beauty products.

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5. Create a clear space

A clear space creates a clear mind. Declutter everything around you, throw away or file invoices, receipts and any other papers just lingering around. Fold away and pack stuff you won’t be using in the near future and create a living space to reflect the state of mind you’re trying to achieve – calm and organised.

It may seem like a massive task at first but just take it one step at a time – start off with just one drawer or one cupboard. Keep working on your clothes and cosmetics and notice where else you have chaos within your home. Keep plugging away at a section every day or every week, then after a while it gets addictive and you don't have to try so hard anymore. If it's accumulating dust and has been for a while, let it go.

Bonus tip while travelling

Practice the 'one in, one out’ rule. If you really want to buy something, you can, but throw something else out. This really makes you realise how much you want something if the purchase means sacrificing something else. Doing this makes it hard to start accumulating unnecessary stuff again because you’re in the habit of living with few items.

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What do you think about becoming a minimalist in order to prepare for travel? Have you done it? What could you add to the list? Tell me in the comments below!