It just occurred to me that this is one of my first “minimalist” trips. In the past I used to always check a bag or two, pack enough shoes for three weeks, and prepare for any occasion.
As I packed for a week in Colorado, I was realistic- I knew I’d be lounging around during the day, working away on my laptop, and bundling up to go out and explore. This has been a bit of a “working vacation;” while my friend is at his office during the day, I’ve been drinking endless amounts of coffee in his luxury apartment lobby, working away, and catching up on TV shows (since, you know, I normally watch shows from my laptop).
I brought one carry-on- my packable Henri Bendel overnight bag (which comes in Bendel stripe or black), making it easy to store after getting back from a getaway. Since Henri is my favorite for all the things, I had my plaid purse and monogram cross-body bag along for the trip. I was glad airport security didn’t have anything to say about me having three personal items, not two- but my cross-body is small enough to get away with.
So, far, so good. Packing was a success.
Yesterday we took a road trip to Boulder and checked out the lovely Pearl Street shopping area after exploring Flagstaff Mountain. Shopping used to be one of my favorite activities of all time. My friend Brett just so happens to be the best shopping partner, too. Over the years he’s accompanied me on many excursions- from shoe shopping in San Francisco to Macy’s with my mom and me in NYC, he’s a really great sport. Not this time, though- he didn’t have any bags to help carry and didn’t spend hours waiting for me outside a fitting room. Since the beginning of our friendship (when my fashion blog was in full-force) my priorities have taken a major shift- what used to be one of my favorite pastimes now gives me a ping of anxiety, with a “where will I put this?” running in the back of my mind.
My colorful wardrobe of items I never wore has since been replaced by classic blacks, staple pieces, and favorites- no duplicates, no “because it was on sale” excuses, no space fillers. Just things I actually wear and love.
Sure, I’m on a budget and don’t have space in my carry-on- I packed as much as I possibly could into that Bendel bag- but I also realized I don’t need anything new. Just a couple of weeks ago I did a major deep-cleaning in my apartment, doing two huge loads of laundry and gutting my entire closet to re-organize. Even though I didn’t think I had much, it was entirely overwhelming. Step by step, I organized socks, shirts, skirts, leggings, loungewear, etc. After all was said and done, I felt AMAZING. I knew where everything was, ditched the things I no longer use or wear, and created a method to the madness. “Stuff” can get overwhelming even when you’re a minimalist- there’s just less of it!
This trip has inspired me to consign and donate even more of the clothes I have. It’s made me take a closer look at the things I really need- and things I haven’t missed in my six days in Denver. So, what did I bring, you ask?
Seven days in Denver: Packing List
- Face lotion
- Nail polish (Essie “Merino Cool”)
- 2 black tanks (H&M, 2 for $10)
- 3 black leggings
- 3 sweatshirts (two black, one grey)
- 1 black dress (in case it got nice- it hasn’t)
- 1 pair of tights
- 1 black cardigan sweater
- 1 SF Giants t-shirt
- 1 SF Giants hat
- Workout clothes- yoga pants, sports bra, running shoes
- 1 quilted black coat
- Bras, underwear, socks
- Suede ankle boots
- Black ballet flats
This is all I brought.
My plane wardrobe consisted of a black tank, black wrap sweater, leggings, booties (that were easy to slide on and off at security), black scarf, and my long(er) quilted black coat. The beauty of each and every item I packed is that everything goes with everything. That’s the key to packing- having an interchangeable capsule wardrobe.
Although my love for clothes will never die, I’ve learned to prioritize and focus on quality over quantity. Even though I didn’t do any damage on Pearl Street, I experienced something even better- mindful moments with a good friend, enjoying the beauty of nature, and some relaxing time away from home. I did get a sticker from Trident Books, an iconic Boulder bookstore. Coincidentally, the sticker (which came from a machine) is of a woman meditating in the forest with a baby deer on her lap. We had just seen deer running through the mountain, too! I put the sticker on my laptop as a reminder of this fabulous trip, and to stay mindful in every moment.
I leave Denver tomorrow afternoon and am so grateful for this re-set. I start a new job on Thursday and I’m thrilled about the opportunity- and to be able to recharge before I begin a new chapter.
If this trip has taught me anything, it has confirmed the importance of collecting sentiments, not stuff. There truly is a freedom to living more with less- so get outside, take a deep breath, and remember what really matters- this moment.