Travel tip #11: Declutter your backpack

I’ve been hoarding receipts to keep track of my expenses, mostly for tax purposes. While it’s good practice to keep track of money going in and out of my bank account, it’s not uncommon for me to find receipts from 2 months ago at the bottom of my bags and purses… along with melting cough sweets, pen caps and the occasional paper clip.

I’ve also been buying clothes according to the changing seasons. Before arriving in America, I was working from Switzerland and summer arrived without spring. It got hot fast. My long sleeve tops and cosy jumpers starting feeling heavy and soggy from my excessive sweating (I’m only human!). So, over one Saturday, I went to town and got myself some more breathable clothes, including a floral print asymmetric skirt that I am obsessed with.

A few weeks later, I arrive in America and decide to buy a pair of sandals from REI because I didn’t have a pair and I wanted to step into the magical wonderland that was REI (In my mind, America is made up of Trump, REI and Whole Foods). AND THEN, my parents arrive from Malaysia and brought along a bunch of clothes. shoes and makeup that I had pre-packed and asked them to bring over.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Before long, my bag was bulging at the sides, pretty much like how my well-fed tummy looks in my pretty floral skirt. (That’s what you get when you love a high-waisted skirt I suppose).

What I’ve found helpful in these situations is to routinely declutter my bags. I take pictures of the receipts, upload them to Dropbox and recycle the papers. I go through my growing pile of clothes, pick out things I’ve not worn in a few weeks and either send it home or give them away. I make a mental note of the skincare and makeup products I feel¬†meh about and make it my goal to use those up ASAP.

I shove my hand into the depths of my bag to pick out old snack bars with faded wrapping and chuck them in the bin (after tasting it first, of course).

Just like how one would routinely clean out their rooms or living spaces, you should make time to clean out your backpack.