my minimal packing list for one month in paris


One month in a Paris apartment with
one week in London thrown in for good measure

One woman
watercolorist, writer, photographer, journaler, zero waster

There are two parts of me that do battle when I'm packing for a trip. The first, is the minimalist vagabond who wants to walk out the door with just her toothbrush and a good book. The second is the easily overwhelmed introvert who is determined to stuff anything that might possibly bring comfort into an already over-sized bag.

They do battle before every trip but, the more I go on these adventures, the more I realize how it isn't so much how much you take, but what you take. I have learned how intimate and personal a packing list is.

So. Here is a window into my soul. Here is my latest packing list.

my minimal packing list for one month overseas | seekthewelfare


Safety razor | merkur's "1904" handle

Clippers + tweezers + file | from my childhood

Comb | once my grandmother's

Bamboo toothbrush | these ones have charcoal bristles and are gorgeous to boot

Dry shampoo | kitchen-made

Deodorant | I've used this recipe for over a year and still love it

my minimal packing list for one month overseas | seekthewelfare


Passport wallet | I am in love with this one and its handmade simplicity

Printed tickets | obviously (though not pictured)

Emergency contact card | simple and hand-written in french on one of these lovely cards that ship plastic free and which I use for everything (not pictured)

Sleeve wallet | just took the lanyard off of my work badge

Keys | on this keyring

Sunglasses | snagged this case from Roommate

Phone + charger | wrapped in one of these

Essentials kit | see below



Lavender essential oil | I use this one for calm, for minimalist perfume, and for questionable hygiene days

Lip balm | naturally I use this one

Activated charcoal | because there will be bread and I will be eating some of it

A couple pain capsules | just in case

One sprinkle pill | also just in case

Glasses cleaning cloth | because glasses don't usually jive with dusty roads

Bandages | just a couple (not pictured)

my minimalist packing list for one month in paris | seekthewelfare


Pewter flask | a gift from Roommate two years ago. I didn't end up using it but it was so pretty sitting on the bedside table that I might just take it again next time.

Stud earrings | another gift from this fantastic indy maker

Hoop earrings | me-made

Dangle earrings | second-hand

Silk scarf | once my grandmother's. Another piece I didn't end up using though I felt better knowing that I could dress up my look if I needed to.



Ichabod | handmade by my college roommate, he wrote letters to my students back home in Seattle. A comfort to me in his familiarity, and a great deal of fun for my students.

my packing list for one month overseas | seekthewelfare


Spork | I use this one every day at work in my sack lunch

Napkin | the same one I used as a kid on family camping trips

Travel Mug | I also use this one every day at work. Roommate got it for me because I can't break it. Yes she's brilliant. It proved the perfect companion on my watercolor wanderings as it held a generous amount of paint water and looked awesome doing it.

Water bottle | second hand

Market bags | one is made from vintage tea towels by my mother, one was a gift, and one is a french market bag similar to this one.

Sewing kit | see below.

my packing list for one month overseas | seekthewelfare


Fisherman's Friend tin | same size as an altoids tin and way prettier

Assorted buttons | when you need a button you really need a button

Safety pins | always useful

Scissors | once my grandmother's

Assorted threads | picked to match our clothes

Three needles | because I break them more than you might think

my minimal packing list for one month overseas | seekthewelfare


BookGrain journal | it doesn't get better than this. It proved sturdy, beautiful, but not too flashy. A joy to bring ou at museums, cafes, and anywhere I wanted to jot down a quick message or sketch.

Pen + pencil | Roommate got me hooked on these years ago

Gray pen | this one is my favorite because it looks like pencil

Eraser | a nice big one

Washi tape | I use a wood grain print (similar) for any stray tidbits I want to save in my travel journal

my minimal packing list for one month overseas | seekthewelfare


This kit ended up being perfect for plein air sketches and wanderings. I didn't want for anything, neither did I end up carrying around unecessary supplies.

Paints | I'm a Daniel Smith girl

Tin | vintage

Brushes | Princeton Neptune in 1.5" mottler, 0.5" oval wash, 6 round, 4 script, and 0 round.

Watercolor postcards | these are perfect for street-painting shenanagins and foreign stamps

Paper | 8x8 coldpress finish

Pencil | cedar is my favorite

Sharpener | second hand

Putty eraser | allows you to erase tiny details or a whole page

Binder clip | for keeping everything together while street painting

Paper towel | I use mine over and over again because I love collecting colors

Water jar | find my mason jar mug above in "zero waste kit"

my minimal packing list for one month overseas | seekthewelfare


Camera | Canon EOS Rebel T2i (not pictured)

Lenses | 55mm (not pictured) and 18-55mm. Two lenses may seem like overkill, but I used both constantly. The 18-55mm lets you capture wide open spaces while the 55mm prime lens is perfection for capturing pastries and other details.

Lens cozy | me-made from second-hand material from my mother

Strap | it's this one's inaugural trip! And it was perfect. Subtle and un-branded, it doesn't call attention to itself nor does it let everyone know that you've got an expensive camera to be stolen.

Battery charger | just the kit charger

Tripod | a gift last summer In the end this never made it into my bag and I didn't miss it while we were there.


Second hand unless starred

top left
Sun hat | for painting in the sun
Sun dress | comfortable t-shirt dress
Formal occasion dress | gray, doesn't wrinkle, always reliable. I never had occasion to wear it but again, felt much better for having it as an option if I needed it.

top right
Fedora | for getting caught in the rain
Shawl scarf | warmth, class, and versatility
Light jacket | (stolen from Roommate) for finicky weather. Wore it nearly constantly.
Wool sweater | for even more warmth without any bulk

bottom left
Tank top | pajamas
Leggings | pajamas
Oversized pullover | for cozying up at home. A lot of space for something I never wore outside but absolutely worth it.

bottom right
Gray Pencil skirt | to dress up or down
Black leggings | extra warmth and super versatile
Black skinnies | they go with all shoes and all occasions. Wore them all. the. time.
Neutral mid-length sleeve top | the chevron stripes add fun detail and mirror other pieces
Longsleeve top | a light almost-neutral green
Shortsleeve top | gray with a scoop back
Colored mid-length sleeve top | a pop of burgundy never hurt anyone. Wore it so much it has holes now. 

not pictured
Black raincoat* | trench style
Assorted underthings* | three pairs of everything
Two bras* | sport and nude
Opaque black tights* | for extra warmth with no extra bulk
Thick socks* | 2 pairs

my minimal packing list for one month in Paris | seekthewelfare


Knee-high leather boots | because they class up anything you wear with them

Toms wedges | second hand, very comfortable for walking while still being a little dressier

Toms flats | second hand and perhaps a bit too casual for Paris but! They're my wander shoes that I don't have to think about when I'm wearing them and you bet I'm going to be rocking the "traveling artist who only cares about color and texture" look at least some (read most) of the time. Definitely my go-to meaning that I now have a strong toms tan and am desperately trying to figure out how to fix it.

my minimal packing list for one month overseas | seekthewelfare


Dry bags | osprey 6 liter, sea to summit 8 + 13 literLife savers, particularly while we were living out of our suitcases in London.

Laundry bag | 12 literJust the right size.

my packing list for one month overseas | seekthewelfare

THE BAGS (yes it all fits)

Backpack | a storied hand-me-down

Sidebag | my forever bagFit everything I could pososibly need...My camera with lens, passport wallet, watercolors, paint water, pens, pencils, brushes, paper, and journal. And I could still take one thing out at a time. Perfection.



Laptop + charger | for writing, photo editing, and skyping

Headphone splitter | for planes, trains, and city buses


Shampoo + conditioner
Razor blades

What would you put in your bag for a month-long city trip? Comment below or share on facebook.