As we prepared for our adventure around the world, we started looking at what clothes we could and could not bring with us. We didn’t want to carry a lot of luggage around, so that meant we had to pack only the essentials – a travel capsule wardrobe. What did the process look like? Well, for starters it meant getting rid of a lot of clothes I thought I needed to keep – and later realizing that I didn’t need to keep them at all. It was the beginning of my experience with a travel capsule wardrobe.
Where I Started
If I go back several years to when I had the most clothes, I can realize I was filling my life with random clothes that didn’t mean much to me. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t that big of a deal. A lack of space in my dresser, extra boxes to move when relocating, and an indecision on what to wear impacted me the most since reducing my wardrobe.
But over the years I started getting rid of clothes I wouldn’t have thought possible just a few months ago. I met like-minded people who enjoyed smaller wardrobes and it became a sort of challenge in our community to only wear clothes that were our favorites.
Getting Ready for Liftoff
Even with all of this pairing down, I still had quite a bit of clothing. Things really came to a head when Hayley and I moved into an apartment and our bedroom only had room for one dresser. At that point, I was determined to fit as many of my clothes as possible into my half of the dresser, leaving only my two suits hanging in the living room closet.
What helped the most, in the end, was putting all of my clothes (everything!) into boxes and then, for the next three weeks, only taking out what I needed. After 3 weeks I realized I had only taken out a small fraction of the clothes I packed away. I donated the remaining clothes. If you need a little help getting rid of stuff, just know You Won’t Miss It.
What Clothes Remain
With about 6 months to go before we left the country, my wardrobe was pretty much set in stone, and I had a good idea what my travel capsule wardrobe would be. I wore the same clothes to work every day, had bland clothes for outdoor work, and a few t-shirts, shorts, and pants for casual wear – including sweaters, sweatshirts, thermals, and wool socks.
So What is My Travel Capsule Wardrobe?
Since each of us were only taking 2 pieces of luggage each, we had to be judicious in what we chose. A complete list of all clothes I brought on our 15 month journey follows:
- 1 button up
- 1 long-sleeved tee shirt
- 4 short-sleeved tee shirts
- 1 pair athletic shorts / swim trunks
- 1 pair of jeans
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 1 pair of sweatpants
- 1 zip up hoodie
- 2 pairs of wool socks
- 1 bandanna
- 1 rain jacket
- 7 pairs of boxer briefs
- 1 pair of flip flops
- 1 pair of athletic/casual shoes
How Do I Like My Capsule Wardrobe So Far?
I’ve noticed a few things:
- We do a lot less laundry but it still feels like we do it as regularly. Whereas before we would do 2 or 3 loads of laundry once a week, now we only do one. Blue jeans and wool socks don’t need to be wash that often, and on low energy days you might wear a shirt two days in a row – or maybe not. As long as you change your essentials you’re in good shape.
- I don’t spend any time thinking about what to wear. In the mornings I workout in the clothes I wore the day before, since they’re already dirty. Then I shower and get dressed in jeans or shorts, hoodie or tee shirt depending on the weather. Getting dressed never takes more than 20 seconds of decision making brain power.
- It can get a little boring. Most of the clothing I have and wear is related to our Nice Minn brand, specifically because we still have to market our brand while we’re away from home. Specifically 3 of my 4 tee shirts and my hoodie are Nice Minn gear. Because of this, photos we take start to look similar – I’m wearing the usual suspects all the time. Overall, though, it isn’t a big deal and not something that bothers me.
We’re about three months into our 15 month journey and so far my trimmed down wardrobe is working just fine. I might add a neutral like a black or brown shirt but so far I have no real reason to complain.
It’s amazing to think having too many clothes is a problem. For the vast majority of human history people have been wearing only a scant few clothing options. Even now, many people in the world don’t have enough or appropriate clothing for weather or occasions. And here I am complaining about having too much.
Quantity of things doesn’t make people happier. Being grateful for what you have is the true indicator of happiness. If you’re grateful for what you have, you’ll be content and happy. Likewise, I just wanted to be happy with this clothing experiment – get down to brass tacks, enjoy and appreciate what I have.
Do you operate on a small wardrobe? Do you have a travel capsule wardrobe? What do you like or dislike? Let us know in the comments below.