Could You Live Out of One Suitcase for 8 Months? I Did! How & Why to Get Rid of the Clutter in Your Life by Sheri B Doyle

Travel Notes
3 years ago

Could You Live Out of One Suitcase for 8 Months? I Did! How & Why to Get Rid of the Clutter in Your Life

After selling my business in 2016, my husband and I decided to sell almost everything we own (except four boxes, some art and two suitcases full of clothing) and travel. In order to do this, and live out of one suitcase each for eight months (seriously!), we had to get rid of a lot of belongings. We found that by thinking of our possessions in a different way, we were able to let them go and feel much freer than we ever imagined. 

Here are my tips for letting go of possessions: 

  • Don’t buy anything unless you are in love with it or need it to survive. Shopping online, I always wait at least two days to make sure I really want something before I buy it. In a store, it has to be necessary for me before I will purchase it.
  • Box up things you never use. Leave them in the box for 30 days and then if you didn’t need them, donate them or have a yard sale.
  • Organize what you have so you don’t buy multiples.
  • Give things only a certain amount of space in your home. If you want something new, then something else must go from that space. 

Living out of one suitcase makes it very easy to do this, and we realized at the end of our trip that we didn’t regret anything we didn’t buy.

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Elisa Schmitz
What an amazing adventure, Sheri B Doyle ! I am so impressed. I only travel with carry-on, and the longest trip I have taken is two weeks with one suitcase. So I am in awe of one suitcase for eight months. WOW! Great story, thanks for sharing!
Sheri B Doyle
I wasn't sure if I could do it when we started and by the end I felt like my suitcase was too big and I wanted an even lighter load. It is so funny how our perspective changes as we change.
Bri Montoya
I love these tips. Being somewhat of a minimalist anyway, I really identify with this and would love to take it even further... now if I could just get my spouse and kids on board, too! Ha!
Sheri B Doyle
Bri that is always the problem. My husband had a much harder time than me but found he enjoyed the freedom of not being surrounded by stuff and getting away from buying things and exchanging that for experiences. We both realized how much that enriched our lives. Now he is even more of a minimalist than me.
Tiffany Zook
It's very freeing, less really is more!
Tracey Hempenstall
Bravo! I'd love to know what you packed and what always "made the cut" when wanting to downsize...
Sheri B Doyle
I think that is a whole post in itself haha. When I pack I bring three pairs of shoes, brown sandals, black sandals and tennis shoes. My clothing I pack easy to wash items that coordinate with each other as much as possible. After 9 months in the same clothes I have to admit I do get tired of wearing the same things. haha. I bring three or four pairs of earrings and a couple of necklaces and bracelets. Then of course my toiletries which I try to keep to a minimum buying along the way as needed. I also have a tiny Italian espresso (Bialetti) coffee machine, which makes coffee on a burner, that goes everywhere with me. I can't give up my coffee haha
As far as what made the cut when downsizing. It really comes down to what has emotional value for us, what can't be replaced and things we feel are worth shipping anywhere in the world if we decided to settle down. This is things like my sewing machine, favorite kitchen knives, artwork, blender and juicer etc.
The longer we are separated from those things though the easier it gets to think about getting rid of those. All except for our artwork from around the world and family gifts and heirlooms. Everything else just becomes less and less important the longer you live without them.

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