Whether you long to travel, or you just find yourself moving a lot, owning an abundance of possessions can really hold you back. 

Living in a more minimal way, such as in one of our rooms to rent in London, offers a solution to this problem. TheMinimalists.com describes minimalism as “a tool that can assist you in finding freedom”, and it’s easy to see why.

How often do you worry about losing something, or go on holiday and fret about your bag getting lost or your house being burgled while you’re away. If you didn’t have so many possessions, you would have fewer “things” to worry about.

Imagine if instead, while traveling or moving house, everything you owned fit in one bag and you could carry it with you? 

One bag living is taking minimalism to the extreme, but for those who long to move to a new city, or travel the world, it can be a really liberating lifestyle decision.

While the name suggests living out of a suitcase, it doesn’t have to be quite so restrictive. The idea is to reduce your possessions to the level that’s right for you. This could be a large rucksack, or maybe you just need everything you own to fit into the boot of a car. The idea is to own only the things you actually need. 

So how does one actually go from owning a whole bunch of stuff to living out of one bag? There are a few key steps to the transition.

If it sounds like you could benefit from One Bag Living, read on for our ultimate guide. 


Of course, the first thing you need to do when you are downsizing is to declutter. This means more than just organising the things you own better. You really need to get rid of the things you don’t need, not just hide them away. 

You could sell things to make money for traveling, or to clear debts, or you could donate items.  

If you own an overwhelming amount of things, one good strategy is to donate the majority of items you clear out, but set aside the things that are in good condition, or of higher value, and would sell easily.  

Trying to sell every single thing you clear out can hold you back, as it can seem an overwhelming task which you keep putting off – and your stuff is still sat around! 

There are lots of really great decluttering challenges, and different methods that work well for different people.  

Find a system that works for you, and set aside a little bit of time regularly to purge your possessions.

Adopt a capsule wardrobe

We often buy new clothes, only to end up never wearing them because they didn’t fit quite right, or we liked them in the shop but couldn’t actually make them work with an outfit. These clothes then sit in your wardrobe for years and years virtually unworn “just in case”. 

A lot of the time we aren’t really shopping for clothes… we are shopping because we are in a bad mood, or just bored. 

The basic idea of a capsule wardrobe is to only own clothes that are good quality items that you really love, and work well together.

Not only will you own fewer clothes which take up less space, but you will also save a lot of time deciding what to wear. 

There are many different ideas about what you should base your capsule wardrobe on, whether it’s owning three of each item e.g. shirts, jeans, trainers, or only owning 37 items in total… it’s worth doing some research and finding what would work for you. 

This doesn’t have to be an instant purge, you can reduce the number of items of clothing you own gradually.

Pay particular attention to the outfits and items of clothing you really love, and try to build outfits around them.  

The “reverse hanger” method is a great way of seeing what you should really be keeping. The idea is to turn all of your hangers to face the wrong way, and over the next 6 months every time you wear something, put it back in your wardrobe facing the correct way. After this time you can get rid of the things you never wore! 

Donate unwanted clothes to charity, friends, or even sell them, and free up some wardrobe (or suitcase) space! 

Go paperless 

If you want to own fewer things, one of the harder things to get rid of can be paperwork.

It is more and more common these days for companies such as banks or insurance companies to give you the option to go paperless and send you important documents online.

In a lot of cases it is worth checking whether you can change your preferences to go paperless. Also keep an eye out when you sign up for new services as there is often a section on how you would like to be contacted, and you can opt out of being contacted by mail. 

You are likely to have paperwork from the past that you still need to keep for your records. These can be scanned and stored digitally, and while it will likely be a bit of a big job initially, you won’t ever have to spend so long on it again if you keep on top of how you handle incoming paperwork going forward.

Get an int ray to organise your paperwork short term until you can either scan, shred, or throw it out. 

There are many guides online to going paperless. This one is particularly thorough, but have a quick search and find one that works for you.

Don’t buy more stuff

Once you’ve been through the process of downsizing and getting rid of your possessions, it’s important to become a conscious consumer, and not just end up buying more “stuff” again. 

The “one in one out” method is a good way to hold yourself accountable when making purchases. If you are buying something new, try to give away or sell something you already own, so that you are not increasing the number of things you have. 

Try to think carefully about the purpose of every item you buy, and how you will use it. Also weigh up the quality, how long it will last, and whether it is good value. 

This mindset should serve you well to sticking to your new One Bag Living lifestyle!