Keep it Simple: Research the terrain and conditions you are likely to encounter and take only what you need (see Gear).
Light & Safe: Go as light as possible without compromising safety. It is difficult to enjoy your surroundings if your backpack weighs the proverbial tonne (see Going Light).
At Home: Keep all your hiking equipment in one cupboard. Make a gear list and tape it to the inside of that cupboard. Same principle applies for your hiking clothes. This will save a lot of last minute rushing around trying to locate everything. Speaking from personal experience on this one.