I am so grateful to the many people who actively engage in the discussions on this board! I wanted to share my recent success story - I'm so proud of myself and the progress I've made, and I couldn't have done it without the wisdom here!
My family recently got back from Scotland, where we were touring some universities our daughter is planning to apply to, plus a litte bit of light hiking/walking, distillery tours, small town touring/shopping, and finishing up in Edinburgh. We did check bags, but we brought the smallest bags we have EVER travelled with (21"), and really enjoyed the ease of transfers (5 accomodations over 7 nights).
Coming home, I was inspired to keep our momentum going. I invested in a new toiletry bag and even smaller travel bottles (my old ones weren't huge, but I have never run out of anything on a one-week trip anywhere). I went to Scotland without my laptop and sorely missed it a few times when we needed to set up some reservations en route - I just really prefer a larger screen for the research/booking process. I also took a long hard look at my cords and "other stuff." All of this, of course, just for fun, because we don't expect to do any more traveling in the near future (and would not have done Scotland if it hadn't been for the uni tours!).
Then, recently, there were 2 family and friend events that coincided and I decided I really needed to pack a bag and go to my mom's. I didn't know how long I would be there - perhaps 3 days, perhaps more than a week. I work full time, and needed to bring a portable version of my home office; my personal electronics for fun, but also for some work I do for a local nonprofit; clothes/shoes for under and over 70 F; clothes for heavy duty cleaning at my mom's house; clothes/shoes for possible dinners or drinks out; and clothes/shoes for the funeral of a family friend.
With all the new knowledge I've gleaned about packing lighter, bringing only those things you actually need, I was really looking forward to seeing how I did! I packed a capsule wardrobe that easily handled all the activities I would do. I did not need to do laundry (though I would have if I needed to stay over 1 week). I had to take my work computer & heavy charging brick (no options there), but my new travel setup is barely over 1 lb (tablet & bluetooth keyboard), and I brought my travel power strip (2 outlets + 4 USB) plus ONE phone cord, ONE USB-C cord, ONE micro-USB cord, and ZERO charging blocks. I was able to put it all together in a little over 1 hour, and it all fit very comfortably in my 21" spinner plus my Lug work bag (maybe 20L?). I didn't weigh it all, but it wasn't hard to manage.
It was plenty for a week. And all the things I did! I visited friends at their campsite for dinner & a campfire, did some grocery shopping, attended a funeral, went to my niece's soccer game, hauled trash and donations for a full day, went out for dinner at nice restaurants. We were outside a LOT (you know, Covid). Before I left, the weather was forecast to be mostly below 70F, but in fact was over 70F most every day - including the funeral, but my capsule wardrobe accommodated the change in weather with no problem.. Nights were cold - 50F or so - but I had all the right clothes for everything! Even when I have packed a 50 lb bag, I couldn't say I "always" had all the right clothes!
I can say with certainty how many oz. of shampoo, etc. I need for 7 days, because I was testing that! It was easy to do this test at my mom's - if/when I ran out, I would just use hers. :-)
I was able to test my cord usage - again, if I found I was missing something, I could borrow something from my mom. (And, btw - one of each kind of cord was plenty - because some things can charge at night while you sleep and others can charge during the day.)
I am so impressed by how well these travel tips really work, and I felt so prepared the whole week. Thank you, all, for helping me get here!