In advance of moving out of my flat here in Dublin to become more nomadic for a time, I’ve been taking inventory of my physical possessions. They’re quite limited, in fairness, but when faced with the prospect of taking everything you own with you in a few bags, each individual item really needs to deserve its place. One of the biggest and weightiest categories is clothing and shoes. As I take inventory and interrogate each item to assess its worth, I thought I’d offer a glimpse into one example of how a minimalist, travelling wardrobe could look.
I love when other bloggers offer this kind of voyeuristic view, although I’m sure my contribution to the genre will be underwhelming. I keep things pretty basic by nature, both out of personal preference and laziness, so I mightn’t have much more even if I was going to be in one place for a long time. As it is, I know this can and should be cut down significantly, and I’m hoping the exercise of photographing and cataloguing everything will help weed out the unnecessary items.
I’ll go through the categories as follows:
Yoga clothes/lounge clothes
Underwear and socks
Accessories (scarves, gloves, hats)
I have a grand total of 10 pairs of shoes, including a pair of flip flops. This is too many and is more than I use on a regular basis.
- Short black boots: versatile and comfortable, keep.
- Tall black boots (slight heel): I could probably get rid of these but they’re handy for being slightly dressier. They’re also really comfortable. Similar here.
- Tall black boots (waterproof): I don’t wear these often but they’re useful for lots of rain or snowy conditions. Similar here.
- Tall brown boots: I wear these all the time and love them. Keep.
- Tan flats: These are my everyday shoes for non-rainy conditions. Keep.
- Black flats: These are excessive and I should sell them.
- Runners: These are Merrell barefoot runners, which I really like. Similar here. Keep.
- Nude patent heels: I don’t really wear heels unless under duress. I’ll probably get rid of these, or maybe leave them in the location I’m most likely to need to attend a wedding in next.
- Sandals: Keep.
- Flip flops: Keep.
That’s down to 6 pairs of essentials, which still seems like a lot to bring from country to country. Ideally it seems like boots/flats/runners/sandals would be an essential core of 4, but I’ll see how it goes on the road.
I tend to live in places that require a lot of coats, so this is a major category. Also, it’s something you wear every day for most of the year, so it’s best not to hate your options. I like these options well enough, but I could cut down one or two.
- Leather jacket: This is real leather, so it keeps out wind out really well, and I like how it looks. I’ve probably had it for close to 10 years. Keep.
- Navy trench coat: This is a nice coat but it’s a bit too big on me. I might replace it or see about getting it taken in. Keep for now.
- Black trench coat: This is lighter than the navy one, so it was functioning more as a summer commuting coat in Dublin. I probably don’t need both it and the blue one.
- Black puffer jacket: This is packable, and yet it’s sufficient to ski in, and it packs into its own little zipper pouch which can double as a pillow. Keep.
- Black rain shell: This is a little too sporty/tech-y looking for me to really feel comfortable in, but it packs down to nothing and is super waterproof. That said, I’ve worn it approximately twice in two years. I’ll probably get rid of it.
That’s 3 definite keepers. I can see that being perfectly adequate.
The category can be broken down into subcategories of tops, bottoms (hee hee, bottoms), and jackets/dresses:
- Sweaters: two knit jumpers and one zip yoga jacket, plus 2 cardigans: 1 black, 1 blue.
- Blouses: What a weird word. Two long sleeve, two short sleeve, two button-downs which I don’t really love and will probably get rid of.
- Tank tops: a smattering (I think 6) which can be dressed up or down and don’t take up much space.
- T-shirts: These are questionable in terms of being “real clothes” and are proof that my mum loves shopping at The Bay. But I do love throwing in a little Canadian pride.
- Jeans: 1 blue, 1 black.
- Non-jeans trousers: 1 black.
- Skirts: I like skirts. I usually wear skirts and tights for about 75% of the year. Still, 6 is too many. I’ll cut this down to 3-4, max.
- Shorts: I don’t really wear shorts in Ireland, but I try to remind myself that there are places where people do wear them. 2 pairs, which I may cut down to 1.
- Blazers: 1 black, 1 blue. This should be limited to 1 at the most.
- Dresses: 3: 1 black long sleeve, 1 red cocktail dress, 1 printed summer dress. This seems adequate for a full year’s worth of dress-worthy occasions.
I don’t really wear pyjamas so this category includes whatever t-shirts and shorts I sleep in. The yoga side consists of two pairs of yoga pants, 4 pairs of yoga shorts, 4 yoga tops, 2 regular tank tops, and a sports bra. All my yoga stuff is from Lululemon because it lasts for ages and looks great after many repeat washings. The sleep stuff is usually just downgraded yoga stuff, so it’s a pair of shorts and a few t-shirts.
underwear and socks
Exactly what it says on the tin. I just keep what I use in a week or so, and replace as needed. No picture needed, I think.
I do like scarves, and they’re small and useful, so I have a few of them. 9 is probably too many, though. I also keep 2 toques and some mittens/gloves on hand for colder weather. I guess jewellery counts as part of this category too. I have a little collection of necklaces etc, which goes in a small pouch. Oh, and I have a couple of bikinis too.
Bags, from smallest to largest:
- Small bag for going out: doubles as a wallet in a pinch, small enough to justify the rare usage. Keep.
- Tan cross body bag: Every bag and travel day bag of choice. Keep.
- Black cross body bag: Excessive and I don’t use it much, although I do like it.
- Longchamp Le Pliage: Weekend bag of choice, and it’s packable. Keep.
- Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30: Best bag ever. This would be the single bag I’d keep if I only kept one. Love. Keep.
- Rolling carry-on suitcase: I might keep this for making medium-term moves. This plus the Tom Bihn could probably be carried on most airlines, or it could be (ugh, shudder) checked in a pinch. Maybe keep.
- Big rolling duffle (not pictured): I bought this used to move to Ireland. If I’m not using it for storage somewhere I’ll ditch it.
I combined this with packing for my next trip (Nomad City in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria! Where I’ll actually be speaking about tax issues for digital nomads. Craziness). So it was useful in terms of identifying what I did and didn’t want to bring for just a 1 week trip. Based on that I’ve a few items in mind for the next charity shop run.
So that’s all the things I own, in terms of the things you put on your body, head, or feet, or use to carry those things. Even being a semi-minimalist, it’s amazing how quickly those things can pile up. Any suggestions for what I should get rid of? It’s certainly nice to remind myself that I absolutely do not need to acquire anything additional at this juncture, and donating stuff is fun, so suggestions are very welcome.