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Mallory Erin Makes

Holding on to God, my Hubs, Kiddo and Hot Glue Gun

Pack for 10 Days in 1 Backpack

Updated: Jan 31, 2019

Yep you read that title right. 10 Days, 1 Backpack, no outfit repeats! In Spring I participated in a 10x10 challenge (created by Caroline Rector of un-fancy) that you can read more about here. Basically, you pick 10 items of clothing (including shoes) to wear for 10 days. Although it may seem silly to do the challenge at home when you have your whole closet to choose from, just the process of creating a 10x10 can get you out of outfit ruts. I started my Fall capsule on September 1st, and although I have so many great options to choose from, my grab and go outfit has been jeans and a t-shirt. When I challenged myself to make a 10x10, I found myself pairing things that I wouldn't normally put together. That's the magic of the 10x10. When I'm running out the door, I'm going to reach for something that I know works. Without even thinking about it, the day after I created my 10x10 I quickly put on one of the outfits from it, and it wasn't jeans and a tee!

Although getting creative with my wardrobe is a great plus, the real reason why I create a 10x10 with my capsule is for packing! I was always that student that showed up for camp looking like they were packed for 2 months. Before using the capsule, the only limits I put on my packing were the airport baggage size restrictions. If I could fit more, it was coming with me, because I hated not having options. Then the trip is over and I'm left doing a ridiculous amount of laundry from the 8 things I wore and the other 20 items that got dirty from being in a suitcase.

I've already taken my Spring and Summer 10x10's on trips to test them out and loved it!! The best part was taking away the thought process of what I would wear everyday. I got to enjoy vacation more because getting ready was a breeze!

So let's get to the details!

How to Make a Packable 10x10

Crafting your 10x10

There really is no magic formula when it comes to making a 10x10. You probably have an idea of items that you prioritize in your wardrobe. For instance, I had a pair of shoes that matched every outfit perfectly, but I knew that wearing the same pair of shoes for 10 days would make me bored quickly. So, I went with 2 pairs of different styled shoes. For many trips I go on, I also usually include one more formal outfit for going out to a nice dinner/etc. This outfit is usually a stand alone that takes up a lot of space and may or may not get worn. So, my new rule with including a dress on a trip is that I have to be able to wear it at least twice in different ways. For sweaters, I decided to include two so that I would get more layering options out of them. That left room for 2 pairs of pants and 3 tops. Of course any of this is changeable including the 10 number! I think picking 10 is a great challenge but if that seems like a big jump from what you're used to, mix it up a bit with one more pair of pants and 1 top.

My 10x10 Items:

  • 1 Pair of Jeans

  • 1 Pair of Printed Pants

  • 3 Tops

  • 1 Dress

  • 1 Cardigan

  • 1 Pullover Sweater

  • 2 Pairs of Shoes

If you want any of the links to these items, they can be found in my Fall Capsule Post.

Picking Items that are Mixable

The Dress

With how in-style scarves/bandanas are this season, I knew I would get most use out of a dress with a collar. This dress is from Target and linked here. I loved that it was neutral in color with small pin stripes of my fall accent color, rust. At first I wasn't super into it because I don't love dresses that tie at the waist, like it's pictured in the first frame. My solution was to take the sash and use it for a bow around the collar for a switch up in style. The collar also lends itself to layering so that you don't cover the complete top half of your dress when wearing something over it. If you layer it with a top, think about knotting the shirt in the front to make the outfit look more like a top and skirt combo. Then accessorize!! Accessories are the most usable tool to freshen up an outfit! Here I added scarves, a hat and socks with the clogs.

The Printed Pants

This one could be tough, but it is doable! Prints can be memorable and a little difficult to pair, but they are a great relief from wearing jeans every day and make it look like you thoughtfully put something together. Another pro: these lightweight pants take up practically zero space! For accessories I added a small belt to break up the prints and a scarf. The clogs would also be a great option with the second look to dress it up a bit.

The Jeans

Always the go-to easiest pairing (also why I used them four times). The key with jeans is to just put in the little extra effort to mix them up. Wear a hat, add a scarf to your hair or neck (you can check out my instagram highlights for bandana hacks), do a fun braid in your hair, or add fun jewelry.

The Airplane/Travel Day Outfit

Another plus of the 10x10 is that you barely have to pack any of it! I choose comfy pants and a top and usually the more clunky shoes and outerwear. For this example I also included the hat that I could easily wear and take off so that it wouldn't get ruined in packing. On top of my backpack I usually bring a small passport purse that is packable and a tote bag to fold up and store on the way to our destination that is used for souvenirs on the way back and counts as my personal item on the plane. Of course if a backpack seems too small, or the weight would be a struggle, use a rolling carry-on size bag. Pictured below for reference is my 10x10 in a regulation carry-on bag (not including the clothes I would be wearing on the plane). My bag opens in half with two identical zipper sized compartments, so as you can see there is still a TON of room for everything else you would need.

Airplane outfit + Cardigan + Hat

Other Tips:

  • For cold weather: bring an outerwear item that is compressible like a puff jacket. If you are bringing boots, try to wear them while you travel.

  • For hot weather: don't include bathing suits in the 10. Thankfully they don't take up as much room! Consider lighter but still mixable pieces like jumpers and rompers that you can mix with tops and cardigans.

  • My instagram video shows that my pajamas, intimates and workout shorts were all in a gallon ziploc bag in the backpack. You could do this with the rest of your clothes also, compressing them more.

  • Roll your clothes for packing! My organizing guru friends taught me this, and it is practically limitless to what you can fit with this technique!

  • Unpack when you reach your destination. Because the clothes will be more compact, try to air them out and keep them from wrinkling as soon as possible. And with less to unpack, you won't mind taking it out and putting it back as much.

Do you have a packing method? Can you see yourself bringing just ten items on a trip? Let me know if you try out the 10x10 and how you like it! Tag me on instagram or use #malloryerinmakes


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