One bag living—the concept of using one single bag / suitcase to house all your possessions—may seem like a daunting prospect.
But for the last 3 months, I’ve been living out of a suitcase and am here to tell you that it can be done!
I’m also here to offer insight into how anyone can make it work.
Whether you’re an aspiring digital nomad seeking adventure around the world or simply looking for ways to simplify your life, there’s something to be gained from carrying only what you need in one bag.
By sharing my experiences and knowledge through my journey of one-bag travel, I hope to inspire more people who want to live out of a suitcase and take charge of their lives through simplicity and minimalism.
What Is One Bag Living Actually About?
Living minimally means having only what you need and enjoying the freedom of unburdened simplicity – free from clutter and excess baggage.
Even though one bag living encourages people to minimize their possessions to the point of only owning one bag of items, it’s not about the concrete measurements (like the size of the bag).
At its core it’s not about fitting everything into one set item; it’s more about recognizing what objects hold true value in your life and how little you actually need in order to live comfortably.
You don’t have to make this a permanent choice; it’s something you can try out for a short period of time if desired. You don’t even have to travel anywhere. You can try living out of one bag in the comfort of your own home.
The key is to clear out anything irrelevant from your life, so that you can focus on what matters most to you.
One bag living is not for everyone, but if done right, it can help eliminate stress and provide clarity by simplifying your life down to only the essentials. So you can focus on what matters to you.
Why Even Consider One Bag Living?
Having only one bag offers freedom in many ways – you don’t need to worry about packing and hauling multiple bags during travel.
Your belongings are easy to keep track of and it encourages careful thought when deciding what items are essential versus just nice to have.
One bag living is a chance for a fresh start, a clean slate.
Imagine somebody gave you one suitcase and you could put everything you needed in it for two or three weeks – how would you pack?
What would you choose? Would your life be different? This is the idea behind one bag living.
By only taking what can fit in one bag, it forces us to be thoughtful about the things we bring with us and take for granted. We are forced to confront what’s truly important in our lives and make decisions about what gets left behind.
The results of this practice can be freeing and liberating but also challenging as it requires hard choices, self-reflection and mindfulness.
5 Steps On How To Start Living Out Of A Suitcase
Step 1: Eliminate
The first, most important step is to get rid of everything you don’t need. To do this, you need to ask yourself these questions:
- How often do you use the item?
- What is the reason for keeping it?
- Does it fit you and your lifestyle?
- Are you keeping it just in case?
All too often, people find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of stuff they own.
Most people have more things than they actually need, and this can become a source of stress and disorganization.
For those who are feeling overwhelmed, it may be easier to start with a blank slate and start bringing back the essentials.
This process can help you identify what items are truly essential in your lives and what items are simply clutter.
Step 2: Digitize
Digitizing your photos, CD’s and documents can be a great way to keep track of them.
Not only will you save physical space, but you’ll also have the peace of mind that they are backed up and safe from harm.
Through the process of digitizing all your important paperwork, photos and CD’s, you can create searchable databases using programs like Evernote or Notion for easy access.
Digitizing your belongings is also great for sharing them with family members or colleagues quickly and easily without needing to mail out copies.
In the end, digitizing everything means that you can access your important data no matter where you are.
You can also make use of audio/video editing software to digitize analog recordings like cassette tapes, vinyl records and even VHS tapes.
Plus, since everything is backed up online, you’ll never have to worry about losing important memories or documents due to hardware failure or theft.
Step 3: Minimalize Your Wardrobe
Clothing is usually the most difficult area to tackle when it comes to downsizing.
Even if you don’t plan on one bag living minimizing your wardrobe is still a great way to save money and space.
Go with neutral colours. They are incredibly versatile – they go with pretty much anything. It also makes it easier for you to mix and match various tops and trousers, so that you can look good without spending too much money on clothing.
You can add a splash of colour with one or two accessories to make something unique.
Choose versatile items that can be worn in most kinds of weather and on different occasions. Such as a white t-shirt or shirt, dark jeans, black trousers, black dress.
These key items can be dressed up or down by adding accessories like jewellery and scarves for more formal events, or conversely dressed down with t-shirts and sneakers for more casual outings.
Step 4: One In One Out
Living with a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t be a consumer.
It simply means that you have to buy smarter and think twice before committing to a purchase.
Before buying something new, consider how long the item will last, how useful it is, and if it is worth investing in. There’s nothing wrong with getting something new as long as you swap it with something you already own (ideally by donating it away).
Having fewer things around can actually be liberating; not only does it allow for more room for creativity but also for personal growth through experiences rather than material possessions.
It’s also important to remember that minimalism doesn’t have to be a sacrifice.
You don’t need to live in total deprivation – you can still enjoy all of life’s pleasures and indulgences in moderation.
Shopping experiences should be an opportunity for reflection and thoughtfulness, rather than mindless spending.
Start small; if you’re looking to buy something new, consider the following:
- What is its purpose?
- Will it last over time or become obsolete quickly?
- Is there a quality version of this item available?
- Does it align with your values and lifestyle?
Taking these factors into account can help you make better decisions that will benefit you in the long run.
Step 5: Adapt
If you find yourself starting to accumulate stuff, try to remind yourself why you chose one bag living in the first place.
What are you doing it for?
Has it benefited you so far?
Sometimes people are too strict and allow themselves too little.
Remember that minimalism isn’t about depriving yourself of things that you want, it’s about freeing yourself from the clutches of consumerism so that you can have the life you want without being weighed down by material possessions or an excessive amount of stuff.
Living with less also allows us more freedom – both mentally and physically – which often leads to a better quality of life overall.
So don’t be too hard on yourself and allow yourself the flexibility to adjust your one bag goal as needed.
After all, the whole point is to find a lifestyle that works for you – not someone else!
Tips For Packing Your Life In One Bag
- Roll don’t fold: Rolling up clothes instead of folding them allows you to fit more in a suitcase by taking up less space.
- Use every inch of space: Utilize all the empty spaces inside your suitcase – like inside the shoes as well as every pocket and compartment – to fit more items in it.
- Wear bulkier items on travel days: Wearing heavier pieces such as coats or boots on travel days can free up precious packing space. This will help minimize the amount of items you need to bring along in your suitcase.
- Use vacuum bags: Vacuum-sealed bags are great for compressing winter clothes.
- Choose lightweight materials: Bring along clothes made from lighter fabrics such as cotton and linen, so that they don’t take up too much space in your suitcase.
1. What is “one bag” living?
One bag living is a minimalist lifestyle that allows individuals to downsize their belongings to fit into a single bag, allowing them to be more mobile and travel more freely.
2. How do I downsize my belongings for one bag living?
Start by sorting through your possessions and keeping only the items that are absolutely necessary for daily life or have significant sentimental value. Ask yourself if you really need it and consider whether or not you can replace it somewhere else.
3. What kind of bag should I use for one bag living?
Depending on the length of your travels, a wheeled suitcase, backpack, or combination of both are all great options. The key is finding something lightweight and durable enough to hold all your belongings without becoming too bulky.
4. What should I expect from one bag living?
Expect greater freedom, organization, flexibility, spontaneity and cost savings when travelling with just one bag. You’ll also learn how to pack smarter and become a master at organizing small spaces!
5. What are some tips for one bag living?
The best advice is to stick with a single colour scheme — ideally neutral colours — so all your clothing items can easily be interchanged. Lay out each item before packing, then consider what other items you can use to layer and accessorise. Additionally, pack versatile items that you can dress up or down, thus reducing the number of clothes needed.
Living a life of one bag travel is the perfect way to live a full and adventurous life, without all the stuff that holds us back.
It’s a chance to explore the world on your own terms, without worrying about excess baggage slowing you down.
So if you’re an aspiring traveler or just looking for some ways to de-clutter your life, it’s time to take the plunge and embark on a one bag journey.
So today I want to challenge and encourage you all – will you take that first step towards living with one bag?
And if so, how will you make it happen? Let us know in the comments down below!