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Pop Culture

The viral '333 rule' promises to take the stress out of packing for good

A great solution for chronic over-packers.

333 packing, 333 clothes, minimalist fashion, packing hacks, travel
Representative Image from Canva

Packing isn't easy. Even for the lightest of packers.

Sure, there are many people who find light packing a breeze. Those brave souls who come alive at the thought of living three weeks in a foreign country out of a carry on bag.

But then there’s the rest of us. The ones who work ourselves into a headache trying to load our suitcases with every possible outfit that could be needed for the trip…because you never know when you might need a parka and flip-flops on the same trip. (Hey, it could happen! The Alps have hot tubs!)

But luckily, there are a few tips and tricks that chronic overpacker can incorporate to help them feel truly prepared, without having to jam their entire closet into a suitcase.

That’s where the “333 packing method” comes in.


333 packing seems to come from—or at least be inspired by—minimalist fashion blogger Courtney Carver, whose “Project 333” encourages people to declutter by committing to only 33 items of clothing for 3 months. But the concept seems to have taken on a life of its own on TikTok, and its helping travelers of all kinds pack with peace of mind.


The rules of 333 packing are pretty straightforward: pack three tops, three bottoms, and three pairs of shoes. These basic ingredients potentially create dozens of outfits, all of which fit into a carry-on.

The trend really started blowing up after influencers began striking poses in all their different ensemble combinations, tallying upwards of 20.

@ayeshayeshbaby6 the 333 method is a life saver for me when im traveling. it helps me come up with tons of outfit ideas and not overpack #capsulewardrobe #traveloutfit #stylingtips #CapCut ♬ original sound - Ayesha
@itssarasmiles The 333 method really helped me narrow down exactly what I needed for my trip so that I wouldn’t overpack #vacationoutfitinspo #styletips #packinghacksfortravel #333method #stylishtravel ♬ original sound - Style with Sara
@daniela.brkic The 333 method is a lifesaver for not overpacking when travelling + creating heaps of different outfit ideas! #capsulewardrobe #traveloutfit #girlstrip #stylingtips #stylingideas #capsulewardrobeideas ♬ ♡ ᶫᵒᵛᵉᵧₒᵤ ♡ - SoBerBoi

However, there are some caveats. It helps if you keep your clothing choices stick to basics in neutral colors, since they are the least likely to clash and can be zhuzhed up with an accessory or two. Plus, for areas where there are large changes in climate, you might be better off packing an extra layer.

Many found that even if they customized a bit—allowing themselves 1-2 “fun” items, for example, or switching up the ratio to 5 tops, two pants, etc.—they still benefited from being completely intentional about getting the most out of whatever went with them on their travels.

“Every time I do it, I stare at my bed where all my clothes and shoes are and think, ‘Wow this seems too simple. There’s no way I can make 17-18 outfits out of just this.’ But then I do,” fashion influencer Krista Lavrusik and 333 outfit aficionado shared with HuffPost.

Bottom line: it might seem like we are easing our anxiety to prepare for inevitable loss of control that comes with traveling to new places, but often we still end up just as stressed by having to lug around so much. If this sounds like you, give the 333 method a whirl. You just might save time and luggage space. Oh, and, you know, actually enjoy that vacation you’re packing for.

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