The Overnight Bag: What To Pack For an Overnight Stay

By: Jess Downey |

I’ll be honest — when I first started dating my fiancé, one of the things that I found a little scary was the whole overnight bag thing. When is it OK to bring it? Should I just show up with it? What should I pack in it? And I know. Believe me I know. It’s pretty weird, but go easy on me here. I had been single for quite some time before we got together. The problem was, however, that I found it pretty necessary after staying a few nights at his place. I’m a gal and he’s a guy. He also lives with another guy so there were certain things that they just didn’t have that I needed. And since I want to believe I’m not the only weirdo out there, we’re doing a three-part series on how to handle it all. We’ve already told you how not to let the overnight bag freak out, so now let’s talk about what to pack in it.

Think of the overnight bag kind of like the four food groups (I know it’s a little outdated, but we all remember that, right?).

Any good overnight bag should consist of the following things:


One pair of jeans or pants and a shirt for each day. Try to pick shirts that can be dressy or casual or opt for one of each. If you’re a dress gal, go with something casual and dressy. You can also go with a skirt and then things work the same as jeans. Not that I want to state the obvious, but bring underwear for each day and at least one extra (this is the one thing you can go extra one). Bring something to sleep in and you’re all set. Avoid bringing clothes “just in case” you stay a few other nights. It takes up extra space and just looks weird. You can always do laundry or tell him you’ll pack more next time so you can stay longer.

Shoes and other accessories

I personally believe you can get away with one pair of shoes (or boots if it’s winter) all weekend. Flats can be casual and dressy. They also take up no space since you’re wearing them. If you’re a heels gal the same principal applies — pick a pair that can be dressy or casual and that go with whatever.


This used to be so difficult for me, but I’ve reduced my routine considerably over the years. I limit myself to base, mascara, eyeliner, eyelash curler, and one brush. Obviously that works perfect for most casual dates, but it also leaves a little room in your bad for something a little fancier for nice dates. And, if you have a good liquid eyeliner you can easily make any look fancy.

Personal care, hygiene, and what not

This is even harder than the makeup for me. I once scared a guy by how many products I have in my bathroom. And it’s not that I need a lot, I just like to have a variety. But obviously this doesn’t work when you’re packing an overnight bag. Travel sizes will be your best friend. I actually have the bottles and bag that go with my luggage so I just use those and fill with shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap, etc. Then I also invested in a travel spray from Bath and Body Works. The great thing about these babies is the fact that you can refill them so you can use them for almost anything when you’re finished with one. I put makeup remover clothes in a little sandwich bag. Then throw in a toothbrush and some deodorant and you’re good to go.

I literally used one of those reusable totes for groceries as my overnight bag when I first started staying with my fiancé.  It might sound weird but I found it perfect — a) I didn’t have a fancy overnight bag and b) it limited what I could bring.

Obviously you can adjust quantities for the amount of time you’re staying and if you know for sure what you’ll be doing. But regardless try to stick with this the next time you’re loading up for an overnight stay with your boo.

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