What I Learned Living Out of a Carry-On Suitcase for 4 Months

For the past four months, I have been living out of a suitcase. No, I have not been traveling cross-country on some sort of epic road trip. Instead, I have been camping out at my parents’ home in Canada. When I left New York in March, I never thought I would find myself still here more than 100 days later. Yet here I am, continuing to recycle the same handful of pieces that I packed in my weekender bag, wondering when the Canada-U.S. border will open up. Getting dressed in the morning has become like a nightmarish version of Groundhog Day. Didn’t I just wear that, I’ll ask myself, getting ready to hop on my morning Zoom meetings, dressed in one of the five tops I have at my disposal.

To make matters worse, the few things I did bring with me are hardly everyday staples. Neutrals? Never heard of them. I travelled with what I can only describe as a hot mess of impracticality. Loud, printed camp collar shirts! A very tight pair of jeans! A pair of shorts (ok, those are practical). Throw in my dad sneakers and chunky mandals, and we have ourselves one confusing 2020 summer wardrobe. Rewearing these pieces to death—and, admittedly, not washing them as often as I should—is not what I imagined my hot-boy-summer vibe would be.

Below, a similar suitcase to the one I have been living out of.

Rimowa Essential Cabin 22-inch wheeled suitcase

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For the first few weeks, it wasn’t an issue. I work from home and have the house to myself most days, meaning nobody sees me anyway. Hell, I was actually glad I had packed my most statement-making tops. For one, they helped trick my co-workers into thinking that I was actually dressing up every day. But after week two, it was completely obvious that I was re-wearing the same prints again and again—at least to me. Surely my coworkers could tell! Turns out, nobody even batted an eyelid. In fact, I learned a lot of other things in the process. (Spoiler alert: it’s not been so bad.)

Below, four key takeaways from living out of a suitcase.

1. Yep, I own way too much stuff.

This was very clear to me after week one. I slowly began to realize that I can barely even remember what remains in my closet back in New York, even though it’s overflowing with things. Do I miss certain pieces? Of course, particularly all my silky summer shirts. But on the whole, I’ve done pretty well without. It’s made me realize that I shop too much, own too much, and basically always re-wear the same things anyway. Now I’m just being forced to do it.