TikTok Is Obsessing Over A Viral Packing Method That Saves Space Without Sacrificing Style

There's a science to successfully packing light for a trip. However, it's a lot easier said than done. After all, you don't want to pack things you might not wear, but you also want to ensure that you still look good while traveling — not like you just rolled out of bed. On top of that, if where you're going has unpredictable weather, you also need to prepare for the unexpected, whether it's rain, a heat wave, or sudden cold snaps. 

Then, there's the dilemma of shoes. Will you be walking a lot? If so, you need comfy sneakers. But what happens if you want to go out? Dress shoes are a must. What if you're going to the beach? Flip-flops and sandals are a lifesaver! And, before you know it, you're sitting on top of your suitcase trying to cram everything in while breaking a sweat. Even the packing cubes don't help. 

Luckily, there's a new packing style that's making even the most notorious overpackers rethink their strategy: the 333 method. Coined by TikToker @rachspeed, the approach is simple: Pick three tops, three bottoms, and three pairs of shoes. Then, mix and match the items to create as many looks as you can. The original video, which has over 80,000 views on the platform at the time of this writing, shows Rachel styling her picks to create a whopping 19 different outfits — each one as stylish as the first.

How the 333 method can be a game-changer

The biggest benefit of using the 333 method is avoiding overpacking and unnecessary clutter. After all, it's only nine items — all of which could easily fit into a carry-on — which would reduce the stress of potentially losing a checked bag. Not only does this mean that you can save money, especially with checked bags becoming more expensive, but you won't have to stand around waiting for your bag to get loaded off the plane.

On top of saving both time and money, the 333 method also takes the guesswork out of trying to get dressed while on your trip. You have a set number of options that you'll need to pick from — meaning no back-and-forth or last-minute outfit changes. Plus, you know what an emptier suitcase means? More room for souvenirs, gifts, or local pieces (yes, even clothes) from the destination you're visiting. Basically, it's a win-win.

More tips for stylish travelers

You may still be on the fence about using the 333 method. Let's be honest, not everyone can survive on just nine items for a trip right from the get-go. However, there are similar alternatives that you can test and play around with before taking the plunge. For instance, the popular 54321 packing rule involves packing five tops, four bottoms, three dresses or rompers, three pairs of shoes, two swimsuits, two bags, one hat, a pair of sunglasses, and a watch. This may be a great starting point. You can even take it a step further to minimize bulk by wearing a lot of items while flying to free up a little more room in your bag — a tested strategy for packing light that many travelers (and our writers) swear by.

Along with what to bring, it's also important to choose the right materials and packing methods. For example, try and go for non-wrinkly fabrics — think polyester, denim, and spandex — and opt for rolling your smaller clothes and folding heavier items to save space. This will help ensure you look your best while on vacation since your clothes won't become a crumpled mess.