Bright Side

I Purged My Wardrobe, Got Rid of Extra Stuff, and Now I Live With Only One Suitcase of Clothes

How do you live when you only have one suitcase of personal belongings? Many people will say it’s impossible but Ekaterina (Katya), the person who inspired our article, has been living like this for one year and she feels really happy. However, this decision didn’t come to her all at once. She travels a lot and often goes on business trips. Constant packing and the torture of choice about what to take made her want to rethink and optimize her wardrobe. She shares the results of her purging experiment and useful life hacks in her Twitter account.

We at Bright Side have already adopted many things form Katya’s experiment, especially something called a “capsule wardrobe.”

  • 2 years ago I had 10 big boxes, 4 of which were filled with clothes. At some point, I decided to purge it all. I sold a lot of things and at the end, took this photo. By the way, I sold this suitcase as well because it turned out to be too big.

  • Now I have a perfect amount of clothes. The interesting thing is that, earlier, I would always have nothing to wear, but now I don’t have this issue anymore. I think I will continue living according to this principle, at least regarding my personal belongings.

  • I have developed a special “flight set” for trips: earplugs, earbuds, laptop, a charger, foldable slippers, thermos, Type-C USB cable, a lipstick, hand cream, documents, and a debit card.

  • By the way, the thermos is a very helpful thing. You can always ask for boiled water in a cafe after crossing the border. Some countries have faucets with drinking water right at the airport. In China, they even have special thermo pots with hot water. Thanks to the Chinese for that!

  • Here are the rules I always stick to before and during a flight: don’t make any big plans the day before the trip — that’s a buffer day. All diets should be put on hold on the flight day — you can eat whatever you want. Also, don’t blame anyone for their mistakes, don’t be shy about asking for help or re-asking about something, and don’t be lazy about doing a final check one more time before you leave.

  • I can’t sleep during flights that’s why I always have a couple of interesting movies on my laptop, saved YouTube videos on my phone, and a small audiobook. I also always download new music videos, interviews, and reviews before a flight.

  • Now let’s talk about clothes. I have revised my wardrobe and created “a capsule wardrobe.” Its main goal is to make all the elements of the wardrobe match with each other. Of course, I also take into account the weather in the destination where I’m heading when packing my suitcase.

  • I have eliminated high heels and complex prints. My wardrobe contains only 5 colors: red, black, white, gray, and green. I call the belt bag that I wear a super-item, because it’s fabulous. It can easily change the whole image and add a new detail to my overall look. The crossbody bag is another thing I like. But, of course, it’s my backpack that I use during flights and trips.

  • I like to wear dresses in the summer and they make me forget about minimalism. Though when choosing clothes, I always keep in mind that it should be light and compact. Dresses and shirts can almost fit in your fist and they weigh no more than 100 grams.

  • Now let’s move on to outerwear. I prefer a leather jacket for summer, a drapey coat for fall and spring, and a warm jacket with a high collar and a hoodie for winter. The hoodie is very comfortable and useful. Each of these things weighs no more than 3.5 pounds and can be vacuum pressed in a special bag.

  • It’s totally necessary to have a set of thermal underwear for winter — they’re light, they don’t take up much space, and they keep you warm. I also always have a hat, gloves, and warm socks with me.

  • To sum everything up, my personal basic set of clothes looks like this: 4 one-color T-shirts without any print, ordinary pants, a capelet, a black and white shirt, and a green dress. In the summer, the collection is complemented by: 4 dresses, 3 skirts, 2 pairs of shorts, 2 pairs of shoes, and a leather jacket for evenings. My winter wardrobe is complemented by: 2 skirts, a cashmere sweater, a hoodie, a set of thermal underwear, 2 warm pairs of pants, and 2 sweatshirts. That’s enough to not have to repeat your look for one week.

  • About underwear. Synthetics are harmful, laces are uncomfortable, cotton doesn’t last long. So I threw everything away and completely switched to silk sets. They look like new even after 6 months of constant wear.

  • About footwear. Basically, there are 3 gradations of weather according to the seasons: very hot, warm, and cold. If the weather outside is comfortable, I take 3 pairs of shoes: 2 in my suitcase and one on me. I wear regular boots when it’s more than 15°F, but I use special insoles and knitted socks with these boots when it’s less than 15°F.

  • Since I’ve eliminated clothes that don’t match, I compensate for this with accessories. That’s why different pieces jewelry are the best “physical memory” about a trip for me. I always buy beautiful accessories in a country, that I’ll wear after I come back.

  • Now let’s look at my cosmetic bag — I always have a checked set of cosmetics with me. You can see what it looks like in the picture above.

  • My bathroom set: If I am going on a long trip, I always take an electric toothbrush with me, if I am only going for a week, I use an ordinary toothbrush. I also always carry a bathroom towel with me. By the way, make sure to always take a moisturizing hand cream with you — your skin can have a reaction to changing its environment and get really dry.

  • Here are some unexpected things I always carry with me: moisture-absorbing towels, thread, needles, pins, measuring tape, a notebook and pens, and a flashlight. It’s this weird set that I always need.

  • A little while ago I ordered a case for small devices and gadgets. Today it’s an indispensable part of all my trips. If I have overweight luggage, I put it in my carry-on.

  • I also always carry a camera and 2-3 rolls of film, Type-C and Micro USB cords, a car adapter and Jack 3.5, chargers, socket adapters that suit the country I am going to visit, and, finally, flash drives.

  • By the way, the multi-gadget you see in the picture below can be bought in any shop that carries electronic devices nowadays. It only weighs 200 grams and it works. The Japanese have been making the same type of multi-adapter for about 10 years already — it’s even smaller and more convenient to use. This is another super-item! Just compare the sizes in the photo.

  • All the things I’ve mentioned usually weigh about 35 pounds when put together in a suitcase, while the standard weight allowed for check-in luggage is 44-50 pounds. However, there is always a small “but” on every trip — a wedding I need to attend and its dress code or presents for loved ones. Usually, the rest of the free space gets taken up by these things. That’s why I usually don’t have free space in my suitcase.

  • Not only does this approach optimize my time, but it also optimizes my space and saves a lot of money that I can spend on my next trips.

Are you able to “squeeze” all of your belongings into one suitcase? We would be glad to hear from you in the comments!

Preview photo credit SpbPhoenix / Twitter