What I Packed: Three Months Living From a Duffle Bag


Previously living in 240 square feet with my husband already qualified me as a minimalist. But when I left my job to pursue creative work and relocated from San Francisco to New York City, all the change in the air had me very cautious about signing a long-term lease. Instead, we put our belongings in storage and became digital nomads for the summer—staying in Airbnbs and living out of our duffle bags. Here's what I packed:


Travel bags

living from duffel.png

These containers from the Spacepak system are perfect for frequent travelers because you can stay organized and find what you need without disturbing everything and having to re-fold. The big bag for clothes has two compartments so you can keep your dirty laundry separate and then easily carry it to the laundromat. You can even throw them in with the wash (but probably don't dry them).

Duffle bag—Everlane

Spacepak System:


Clothing + shoes + accessories

Clothing living from a duffle bag

Packing a single duffel bag for this 3-month trip took forever because I needed to meet with business clients, survive the NYC summer heat, and attend two weddings—all without easy access to laundry or an iron. The hardest part: choosing only two pairs of shoes.

I didn't intend for this post to be an Everlane ad, but alas I love their mission, style, and pricing so 80% of my wardrobe is from there. Essentially the clothing I packed is a capsule wardrobe—very basic, interchangeable items that are well fitted and avoid fashion trends.

Everlane also has a men's shop→


Toiletries + makeup

toiletries aesop aveda body shop
makeup Ilia NU Evolution Bite Lip Urban Decay YSL

Purged items

Let's just say the first few moves between Airbnbs were brutal. I smartened up and off-loaded a bunch of things as I went that seemed essential at the start.

  • Sneakers—I was wearing them less than once a week which wasn't enough to justify the bulk.

  • Yoga mat—I found a great studio that provided them.

  • Dress for anniversary—we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary and I left the dress in our storage unit afterwards.

  • Camera tripod—per usual I was too ambitious for my own good.

  • Travel mug—I'm trying to live slower and not eat or drink on the go.

  • Sweats—when I arrived in NYC in June there were some chilly nights but that ended abruptly!


Digital nomad daypack

Daypack for digital nomads

The duffel bag is what I leave at "home" but the daypack is all the gear I take to "work".

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