Thursday, August 18, 2011

Suitcase living | 36 days and counting

As you've probably heard by now (since I certainly haven't accepted this fact quietly), I've been living out of my road trip suitcase for 36 days, since July 13. This was not the original plan.

The original plan was to be as comfortable and cool as possible for 17 days through a heat wave, and work in a few cute pieces for the blogger meet-ups. We planned one laundry stop along the way (at my brother's place in Houston), although we could always pop into a laundromat if needed. Aside from a day trip to the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, the rest of the trip would mostly involved strolling around and eating, so nothing too strenuous.

3 graphic tees (1 not shown), 4 solid tees, 8 tanks/camis (mostly undershirts, not to be seen alone), 1 silky tee, 1 tube top
3 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of shorts
2 dresses, 1 smocked tube dress, 1 skirt
1 hoodie, 1 drapey cardi, 1 knit blazer, 1 vest, 2 scarves (1 not shown)
2 pairs of flip flops, 1 pair of sandals, 1 pair of glittery flats, 1 pair of TOMS

 Total count: 37 tops, undershirts, coverups, bottoms, dresses, shoes, and scarves
(also packed but not really part of the daily count: plenty of undergarments, a half slip, 2 swimsuits, 1 pair of sneakers for hiking the Carlsbad Caverns, 1 pair of socks--to wear with the sneakers--and all my jewelry)

What went wrong:
  • It was too hot to wear any sleeves (even short ones) for most of the trip.
  • Forget about closed toed shoes (my feet need to breathe even when it's cold out).
  • Tube tops/dresses only work when you also pack a strapless bra.
  • The lighter colored shorts were way too small. I'm not sure why I even still have these (but these are the only two pairs of shorts I own).
  • Oh, and the rest of our stuff is 16 days late and counting (they technically have until the 25th, a date I'm keeping a close eye on).
All of this resulted in 10 of the items above never even being touched during the trip. What a waste of space! All of those tanks and camis were pretty redundant, too.

How I'm coping:
  • Luckily, the climate here is pretty mild (I'm pretty used to it already), so many of the items that didn't get worn due to the heat are back in the rotation now.
  • I've purchased a few pieces from Goodwill or on sale to spice up the mix: a sequined top ($15), a striped sweater ($13), a pleated skirt ($6), a green belt ($1), a new pair of earrings ($6), a new necklace ($8), a brown purse ($25), and an ombre dress ($15). Since I have a whole closet full of stuff coming, I don't want to shop too much (especially since we just took--and paid for--an almost three-week-long vacation...wallet says ouch!). I'm on the lookout now for a pair of wedge sandals to round out my tiny shoe selection, but other than that I'm done with shopping for a while.
  • I've pulled out all of my jewelry to help accessorize (during the trip I only had a few essential pieces in my luggage, the rest was stashed in the car. I can tell you that now that it's all out of the car. :)
 Have you ever had to limit your wardrobe for an extended amount of time (by choice or involuntarily)? What was the situation and how did you get through it?


  1. When I was a military spouse I had to live out of a hotel and suitcase for 3 months until my all my household items arrived. To top it off I was in the Middle East and under estimated the severity of the heat!

    I really struggled and ended up buy a lot of new things due to the dress code the military enforce on us and for comfort due to the new climate.

  2. Most of my closet is currently still in boxes, at least all the stuff that's hung in wardrobes. I'm dealing. I had enough stuff stashed in a suitcase (and my dirty clothes hampers) that it's been fine. However, at this point I'm kind of wondering what I'm not wearing....

  3. Our cross-country move also resulted in suitcase living, but I was much less cute than you were :) Just think, it'll be like Christmas morning when you get to unpack all your clothes! Hang in there, so glad you guys are just a week away from being able to start unpacking.

  4. I hope they get your stuff to you soon. I haven't really had to live out of a small suitcase for any extended time but vacation. I always pack a little more than I need, too. I think you're doing a great job mixing it up and thrift items and jewelry will definitely spiff up your options.

  5. Shish, talk about remixing!

    It's so hard to pack for Summer, we never know what to expect (and forget so easily how hot it really gets).

    That's a pretty long trip so you are doing pretty well!

    The longest I've ever had to go was 3 weeks in Mexico but let's be honest I had brought a big suitcase and had a so called "muchacha" that did my laundry...

  6. It sounds like you were doing Kendi Everyday's 30 for 30 challenge--but the roadtrip edition! I've done the 30 for 30 once (30 items for 30 days) and I had a limited wardrobe earlier this summer when I moved across the country too (Chicago to San Francisco). I kind of liked having only a few choices. It made me feel more relaxed about choosing an outfit. It also made me more creative with accessories.

  7. That is definitely rough! I am not a very good light packer but I find it even harder when you're trying to account for changes in temperature.

    So far I haven't had to deal with anything longer than 10 days and could always manage to cram a pretty large suitcase into my car or onto the plane... who knows what the future holds for me though!

  8. I have had to work with a limited wardrobe, but never as long as what you're going through. This is like an extended 30/30 remix.

  9. @ Bajan Beauty - Wow, that is quite a transition! I can't imagine having to adhere to a new dress code, too. The heat here hasn't bothered me so much (I prefer warmer weather to begin with). I have deep respect for military navy wife-friend has given me lots of advice on the move since she's so experienced with them now!

    @ ashley - aww, thanks. I know...I am SO excited to see my clothes again. I can't decide what to wear first! Oh, and the SHOES!

    @ virginie's cinema - thank goodness for laundry. i think we'd be dead (or just really smelly) without it.

    @ sorren - I'm a pretty light packer, so I figured i'd be okay with just a carry on (we brought the big suitcase with us, but filled it with other things we didn't want to leave to the movers). even 10 days can be pretty long depending on what you'll be doing!

  10. Living with a limited wardrobe right now - almost 2 months and counting, with 2 more to go! Despite being able to fill 2 cars with our possessions (no cross country travel here ;), being nomadic did require me to choose carefully... I selected pieces that I wear most often, but I still miss having my entire wardrobe to choose from on a daily basis. I have survived (and learned to embraced repeating outfits ;) but there were some pieces I've definitely missed. Overall though, it's been a great lesson in creativity :)

  11. Your poor packing job is like mine for my trip. I had all the wrong clothes packed. Wished I had more shorts and wish I didn't pack my dresses. The weather tricked me and seeing lows in the 30s and highs in the upper 60s or low 70s I thought for sure I wouldn't need shots (except workout shorts) but I was wrong. Also I packed clothes that didn't fit too.


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