Living Out Of A Backpack For Four Months

Honestly? It wasn't as hard as I thought.

Since my partner and I moved from Thunder Bay in northern Ontario back to eastern Ontario in October, not only have we moved three times, but we’ve also been living out of pair of backpacks. And, it’s been… surprisingly ok?

We knew the first place we’d be staying was going to be a one-room basement studio apartment (aka the smallest apartment on earth). We each brought one backpack for clothes for work, and a couple of pairs of shoes and a handful of winter jackets each.

Because the AirBnb was furnished and fully equipped, we were able to leave like 95% of our stuff in storage (more on that in another post).

I thought I would be stressed about having such a small amount of stuff with me, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought.

Here’s what I’ve learned from living out of a few backpacks for four months.

1) Five Work Outfits is More Than Enough

I’ve never really gotten into the whole capsule wardrobe thing (except for this one time), because I have so few clothes to begin with that I never really saw the point. Until now. From October to December, I wore the same five outfits every week to work and it was glorious. Getting reach in the morning was a much quicker process, which was amazing because we had a 45 minute commute.

It was weirdly relaxing to have so few clothing options to choose from. I wore five pairs of pants, three sweaters and one dress on rotation. Now, I did quickly realize I didn’t have enough work-appropriate sweaters to get me through the winter, so I bought two more secondhand.

The only downside of this micro-capsule is that I absolutely had to do laundry every week or I would literally have nothing to wear.

But that was a small annoyance to pay in comparison to the comfort of an easy morning routine.

2) Stuff is Easily Forgettable

Now that we’re moving into our apartment this week, I’ve been trying to plot out what should come out of our storage unit and what should stay and/or be given away (our apartment is so small, mega decluttering needed).

And, honestly, as I was going room by room to plan what I wanted to bring, I had forgotten most of what we own. I find this fascinating because I spent at least the last two years surrounded by these items. How quickly the mind forgets.

I certainly remember the bigger stuff, like furniture, but my clothes and shoes are like a blurred mess in my brain. At least it will feel like I have a whole new wardrobe once I start unpacking.

3) No Matter How Much You Have, You’ll Find a Way to Use Less

I’ve been living out of three drawers in a shared dresser in my in-laws guest bedroom for almost two months. I brought four pairs of yoga pants with me to help get me through the week. Surprise, surprise - I’ve worn pretty much only one pair the entire time. I’ve also been wearing the same sports bra, even though I brought five different bras options (all of the bras I own as a matter-of-fact).

The moral of the story is no matter how small the number of possessions you’ve been living with, you will naturally gravitate towards an even smaller subset.

I’m still not entirely sure why we do this, but part of it is certainly because, especially right now, our brains are wired to find safety and comfort in the familiar.

4) Less Choice Feels Ok Sometimes

Part of me was worried about only having a handful of outfits to get me through the two months we were planning on living in the AirBnb. Then that turned into two extra months living in our in-laws. In all that time though, I’ve never felt like I didn’t have enough to wear.

In fact, I had precisely the right amount of stuff. Getting ready in the morning has been so quick because I know exactly what I’m going to wear. In this way, less choice has been positive - less choice= less chaos and overwhelm.

Right now, in the middle of the pandemic, not having too many choices of what to do (with everything else we have to think about right now), has been really nice.

Moving from Backpacks to a Full Closet

Now that we’re about to move into our apartment, I’m not going to lie - I’m pretty excited to have all of my stuff in one place and not be living out of backpacks or boxes anymore.

That being said, I’m hoping to pay homage to the last four months of backpack living by trimming down my work wardrobe to make it easier to get ready every day.

We’re also moving from a three-bedroom, two-bathroom single family home, to a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment. So, there will be a lot of decluttering in my near future, just so we can live comfortably in our new space without feeling crammed in.

So, stay tuned for that!

Hae you been doing any decluttering lately? I’d love to hear about it.

Until next time, keep living that tiny life.

Image credit: Photo by Марьян Блан | @marjanblan on Unsplash