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4 Things I Learned From Wearing The Same Outfit for 4 Days

4 Things I Learned From Wearing the Same Thing For 4 Days

(The outfit I wore for 4 days.)

As some of you know, we got stuck in Dallas last week due to storms and tornados. As a result, it ended up taking us 4 extra days to get home after Christmas.

Because we travelled so much in 2015, we all earned status on American Airlines which means that we get to check up to 6 bags for free each time we fly. Since we were bringing back a lot of Christmas presents, we took full advantage of getting to check those bags for free.

We had kind of been in a rush to get out the door and make it to the airport, so we had resorted to stuffing things in suitcases just to get everything packed and make it on our flight on time. Which meant that we really didn’t think about what was packed where and what was in our checked luggage and what was in our few carry-ons. Bad, bad idea.

When we got to the airport, we checked almost all of our luggage. Little did we know that it would be over 4 days before we would see it again! (They couldn’t release any of the luggage for all the cancelled flights. Instead, they sent it to Nashville on the first flight that got out headed there — which didn’t have any extra seats on it for us!)

What I Learned From Wearing the Same Outfit for 4 Days

Every single piece of my clothing, my contacts, all my haircare stuff and personal hygiene stuff (except my makeup), and all my vitamins/medicines were in the checked luggage. So for 4 days, all I had were the clothes on my back.

{We could have tried to find a window of time to rent a car and go to Walmart to pick up some clothes and supplies, but I really didn’t want to spend the extra money. Plus, almost all of our extra time was spent waiting in lines trying to get on a flight. Gratefully, we were able to get a cheap hotel and our hotel gave us deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.}

So for over 4 days, I wore the same sweater and jeans. I had brought a Blanket Scarf, too, and that was the best thing ever since we ended having to stand outside waiting for a shuttle from the airport to the hotel each night and it got really cold!

What I Learned From Wearing the Same Outfit for 4 Days

The only time I wore something different was the day when I got so tired of wearing those jeans that I raided Kathrynne’s suitcase (she hadn’t checked hers!) and changed into her PJ pants and t-shirt to wear to bed because I was so done with wearing jeans to bed. As you can tell, I can’t really fit into clothes made for a 10-year-old, but I guess I was desperate! 🙂

During those 4 days of re-wearing the same thing over and over again, I realized a few things:

1) We Can Get By With a Lot Less Stuff

We all know this in theory, but this theory proved true when I didn’t have anything but the clothes on my back and a few things in my carry-on bag for 4 days.

2) Fewer Choices = Simplified Mornings

When I only had one choice of outfit to wear (the one I had slept in!), it made my morning super simple. No choices. No decisions. Just take a shower and put the same clothes back on!

While it is nice to have a few outfit choices, this experience motivated me to work on simplifying our mornings even more than I already have.

4 Things I Learned From Wearing the Same Thing For 4 Days

(The outfit I wore for 4 days!)

3) When You Have Less, You Take Care of It Better

Without even thinking about it, we became a lot more careful about taking care of what we had. We made sure not to spill things on our clothes, not to rip them, and to be careful that nothing happened to them because they were all we had.

4) We Have So Much to Be Grateful For

A few times during the 4 days, I found myself wanting to complain that I was having to re-wear dirty clothes over and over. But then I thought about all the people in the world who don’t even have one warm outfit or have only had one outfit for a long time and was reminded about how much I have to be grateful for!

Inspired by this experience, I’m doing a 500 Things De-Cluttering Challenge on my blog beginning January 11-28, 2016. I’ll be going through this course and blogging about my decluttering. I’m aiming to get rid of 500 things — that sounds like a LOT of stuff, but we’ll see! I’d love for you to join me!


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63 Comments

  • Amanda says:

    We just downsized from a four bedrooms house to a one bedroom apartment and the first thing I noticed was how much difference it made taking care of my stuff- it was all I had and I couldn’t afford to just replace it anymore! Good point!

  • Monica says:

    Great and humbling article! I would love to join you in that challenge! I have so much clothing in my closet that I’ve only worn once or twice. I need to purge my closet once and for all.

  • Becky says:

    🙂 Most hotels have laundry facilities, I think I would have me or my husband dress everyone in Kathryann’s clothes, sheets or towels and wash them 🙂 I do need to clear out my closet. Thanks for sharing!

    • jen says:

      Unfortunately, I have had a hoodie stolen out of the washer when I was using the laundry room at a higher end hotel. I was only gone for about 15 minutes! I only had brought one hoodie along on our 10 day trip ( was packing light). I had to go out and buy a new one as that was also what I used for a jacket. I am very careful now using the laundry room at a hotel.

  • Julie says:

    I really need this challenge !! We will be moving into our new home later this year and there is A LOT of stuff that I dont want to come with us.
    On a additional note: When we travel I always put a outfit in each of our carry-ons—for that reason.

  • After saving for several years, My daughter and I went on our dream European vacation. We watched hours of videos on how to pack efficiently, searched for bargain clothing that we mixed and matched to create the largest wardrobe possible with the least amount of clothing. Armed with our gathered maps and information, we each took our one pilot suitcase along with a small backpack and headed to the airport. Even the people at the airport were amazed that we had planned in detail how to travel for 16 days in with only 2 small suitcases.

    After some last minute cancellations at the airport, we were rerouted from Dallas to Philadelphia and then on to Dublin. We were in shock when we arrived and our luggage didn’t. We were only going to be in Dublin for the day and was headed for Rome the next morning. After reassuring us that our luggage would be in Rome when we arrived, we took a taxi and headed to a local mall to pick up a couple of shirts to get us through.

    I’m so glad we did since our luggage never caught up with us on our 16 day vacation! We wore the same pair of pants and boots the entire time and swapped our shirts with those we purchased in Ireland. Every night I washed our underclothing and pants. Even though this was inconvenient, we learned a valuable lesson. You can travel for a long time with very little clothing.

    • “You can travel for a long time with very little clothing.” So true!!

    • Oh and I can’t imagine not having your luggage for 16 days!!!

    • kadi says:

      We traveled with two teenage children a few years ago for 20 days from Iceland to the UK to France. Since we were staying in 5 different hotels my daughter and I managed to pack each in a large carry on each (3 pants, 6-7 tops 11 or so underthings/socks etc.) thinking we could wash mid trip at the hotel. Well it turned out the hotel did not have laundry so we threw the underthings sock etc in the bathtub with detergent agitated them and rinsed and range them out. For two day we set the room temp to freezing and hung everything up to dry. Not ideal but at least they were fresher then before.
      My closet need to be cleaned out-I kind of like the idea of turning the hangers around backwards.

  • Charlene E says:

    I’m in. Someone must need the clothes I’m not wearing. I wear about 30 items from my closet. The rest can go. Other stuff can also go. Way too much stuff!

  • Emily says:

    Just thought I’d share a few travel tips that I learned when traveled quite a bit for work:
    -Carry on as much as possible. (I VERY rarely check my bags, when I do it’s stuff that I don’t really need.)
    -Never check meds, contacts, glasses (things that can’t be replaced easily)
    -ALWAYS pack extra underwear!! (in your carry on)
    These are lessons learned the hard way!
    Happy travels in 2016!

    • And we usually always do these things… but in our haste to stuff things into luggage at the last minute and try to get everything to fit, we totally were not being smart with what we put where. Part of it had to do with the fact that we had a bunch of Christmas presents we were bringing back and so our luggage was all different than it usually would be (we usually have a very specific system of how we pack and what we put where!) and part of it had to do with the fact that we had to shuffle things around at the last minute since a few of our bags were over the weight limit!

      Moral of the story: don’t pack in haste!! Plan ahead and don’t wait until the last minute!

  • Chris says:

    Thank you for an inspiring story,Crystal. I don’t like to fly so that packing issue probably won’t ever be an issue for me. I read these comments and realize I already live on the bare minimum. I’m not criticizing. I’m just in awe. I cannot fathom having so many clothes that I only wear the same 30 outfits. 30 outfits? I don’t have 10 outfits for the winter and I live in the cold Midwest. I am wearing clothes from when my eldest was born and that was 15 years ago. I am a T-shirt hoarder, though, so I will definitely need to reconsider my stash.

    • We’ll be going through a lot more than clothes… so maybe you’ll find a few areas where you can declutter. And if not, you can be encouraged that you are keeping your home and life simple and clutter-free — which it sounds like you are!

    • Theresa says:

      I’m in agreement in about the clothes. 30 outfits? Wow! I went through my clothes about a year ago and got rid of everything that didn’t fit or I didn’t like. I’ve actually been trying to rebuild my wardrobe with pieces that mix and match and that I love. But I do plan to declutter my entire home this year. Our clutter has gotten out of control. I’ve already decluttered our office closet. It was a great feeling to get that finished because it was one of the worst spots in the house. I’m looking forward to the challenge!

  • I don’t know what a blanket sweater is. What does it look like? I saw a sweater looking thing all folded up. What makes it a blanket and a sweater? #mindblown

  • karen b says:

    I wanted to just chime in & say….I need to DO this & will work on it in this challenge but may not be able to get it all done w/ my other obligations…….I’m not going to buy the course but will just go by what you post 🙂
    On another note our family of 5 went to Oregan / Washington a few years ago & we only took a carry on each & a backpack each……It was amazing what we could pack for 10 days in those 10 bags…….bibles, books, sunday & other clothes (it was a church conference), shoes, etc……… we still look back & think, how did we do it but we did. we did have access to a laundry on the campus where the conference was & I did a couple loads but we wasn’t desperate but it did make it nicer to pack 🙂

  • Jen says:

    Eek! I’m soo excited for this challenge! My husband decided to start our New Year by getting rid of 100 things over those days he was off. My mom looked at me like we were a little crazy, but we have good reason to start simplifying our life right now….can’t wait to tell her we’re going to make it 500!! 🙂 You continue to inspire me, Crystal! Thanks!

  • Sharon Johnson says:

    Hudson jeans that are at least $140??????????????????

    • Danielle says:

      Depends on where you get them. Nordstrom Rack often has them 50 % off or more..(currently pairs for 45-79 and up.) Not to mention thrift stores and online clothing swaps. I’m sure Crystal got a great deal on them. The older I get the more I enjoy quality over quantity. And as the post suggests, we could all do with less stuff. What is the difference between $60-75 on one pair of jeans vs $30-45 on 3 or 4?

    • Lindsey says:

      I am almost certain these are the jeans she got from stitch fix. She wrote a very detailed review of that company and talked about how difficult it was for her to drop so much money on a pair of jeans. But seeing as how she wears them all the time, maybe not such a bad investment. I know I’ve had a lot of difficulty finding jeans that I love. And..who really cares how much they cost or the brand? I’m happy they are in the financial situation to be able to buy nicer things than thrift store finds!

    • I got them from Stitch Fix and absolutely adore them! They were less than $140, but I know they were very pricey for me to be willing to buy. But they were an amazing fit and I usually wear them 3-4+ times every single week so they have been a very, very great investment in my wardrobe.

      I’ve found that it works a lot better for me to have a few pieces that I wear over and over and over again and love instead of a bunch of things that I don’t really love and don’t fit me well.

      I also always think about how much it costs me over time — so if I wear a pair of jeans 400 or 500 times, it makes the initial investment very worth it for me!

    • Theresa says:

      I think it’s a little odd you looked up the price of jeans Crystal was wearing. As others have commented, there are ways to get designer clothes without paying designer prices. I have cousins who live in in a big city who frequently wear designer clothes but never pay designer prices. They shop the thrift stores in the richer sections of their city. They can usually get brand new designer pieces with tags still on and only pay a fraction of the price.

    • Danielle says:

      Yeah. Quality over quantity is the main thing. But I agree, you never know how much someone paid for something. I have $150 JBrands that I paid $6 for at a thrift store. I’d much rather have a long-lasting, well-fitting quality item than a “cheap” new item (like new old navy jeans cost $25 and don’t last so long it turns out…)

  • Lori L. says:

    I can relate, my husband was in a really bad snowmobile accident 12 years ago, he was in another state, when I got the call I was at work. My sister in law picked me up and we drove straight to the hospital, the only thing I had with me was my purse and the clothes on my back. My husband was in the hospital for 10 days, our son came to the hospital 2 days later and I told him to bring me some clothes, well he was a teenager boy and what he brought for me was pretty crazy but, at least they were clean! I didn’t care that I wore the same clothes for 2 days and very mismatched clothes for 8 days and no make up, all I cared about was that my husband was going to make it!

  • Sarah says:

    I would have bought clothes so I am thoroughly impressed! Good for you!

  • J Huston says:

    I’m impressed that you fit in your daughters clothes 😉 great read, thanks!

  • Susan says:

    Another take-away from this experience is the realization that not only do we not need a lot of stuff at home, we don’t need to take much stuff with us when we travel. A few changes of clothes, whatever toiletries, meds, and personal items you need, and electronic devices.

    We travel quite often, and that’s all we ever take. Pack light! I haven’t checked a suitcase in years. We each take a suitcase small enough to carry on the plane and a backpack. That is all. We’ve gone as long as 16 days.

    Not being critical here as I can understand the last minute packing and shuffling plus the additional Christmas gifts. But another option is to ship things home. I’ve done that when we shopped a little too much while traveling and couldn’t fit new things in the suitcase.

  • Susan says:

    Just wondering … couldn’t you have rented a car and driven home in less than 4 days? Or was the weather too bad or cars not available?

    I once missed a connection and the next available flight I could be guaranteed a seat on was more than 24 hours later. I could drive home in 6-1/2 hours, so that is what I did.

  • Denise says:

    My friend and I were stuck in an airport 14 in November because of weather conditions. Which meant we were in the same clothes for 24+ hrs. Not as bad as you, but I totally understand and agree. We can live a lot less! I do ALWAYS pack my meds on carry on tho!!!!

  • Kelly says:

    Jennifer Scott has this same philosophy in her 10 item wardrobe we can al survive on less. She has a TedX talk about it http://youtu.be/V3CLRL32Mcw

    A great watch!

  • Mary says:

    Oh! I am so in on this challenge. I see your 500 and say let’s make it 1,000!

    Yep, I have an excessive amount of STUFF that is reproducing while I sleep.

  • mommato2 says:

    I agree with Emily.. I learned what to pack in my carry-on and purse the hard way. And I bring a BIG purse.
    Since I have quit my FT job, I don’t need the suits/sweaters/boots/slacks that i used to. My PT job has a uniform policy so I wear the same thing everyday….. I am decreasing my closet to half and cleaning out the house room by room. It will be a process but it will be refreshing. I think the person who will be upset about this is my husband. When I told him I was getting rid of my clothes, his eyes got big and he exclaimed that I was NOT getting rid of my nice suits or selling them for $2. I reassured him that I was keeping the nice ones. ::sigh::

    • Mel says:

      When I quit my job, I held on to my expensive suits. I wish I had sold them right away. After 5 years of not wearing any of them once, I tried to sell them but they weren’t really “in” anymore and sold them for much less than I could have if I had just done it right away. Just something to consider…

  • Becky says:

    Sorry I started the party without you.. (selling our home) but while scaling down please please keep in mind this…other than the Goodwill/thrift stores check some of your local food banks and churches for your donations of clothes and shoes. You still get the tax right off and the person in need get free clothes. I love that a person or family in need will not go without and it’s free to them. With most people in their situation, their main concern is putting food on the table then buying new/use clothing.

    • SUCH a good suggestion! Thanks so much for mentioning that!

      • Becky says:

        I am not disagreeing with that at all. Free clothes for people who need them is awesome. We donate with that in mind a lot of the time. A lot of people don’t know that Goodwill mostly exists to employ people with disabilities and other challenges. So when you donate to them, you’re allowing them to do that. My sister is one of those who has benefitted from that so I think it’s pretty great. 🙂 but yes ther is absolutely also a need to donate things to shelters and places that can help people out for free.

  • Karen says:

    Wow what an experience! I had to go 2 days in the same clothes once due to lost luggage, which thankfully was found! I am UP for the decluttering challenge! I am actually starting this weekend as this is the first weekend since before Thanksgiving that I have not had company !!!!!!! Clean/purge/clean/purge! woohoo! I am so ready!

  • Would love to join. Count me in. I’m already excited 🙂

  • JC says:

    I was wondering if you might include a good way to store items you aren’t using but will need to use again. Specifically I am thinking of baby and children’s items. We have one daughter and don’t want to get rid of hints as she outgrows them, because we hope to need them again. Also people have given us items that she isn’t old enough for yet. What to do with those items? All nice stuff but I haven’t come up with a great storage solution. I am tossing anything stained, torn or broken and I m getting rid of a thing nice that I know we won’t use

    • JC says:

      So many typos in my post above! Tiny iPhone screen to blame!

    • Kelly S says:

      We keep a large plastic tub of items that are too small (hand-me-downs for future kids) and one of items that are too big/old (including some toys from my own childhood), but that’s it.

      I know many would disagree, but I have started not to save much in the way of clothing for future kids, unless it’s something I really love. We have two daughters, fairly close in age, and I’ve been surprised by how much we DON’T use from one daughter to another. Different seasons, different interests and personalities (even as babies), different life situations… plus, we’ve ended up getting plenty as gifts for my younger daughter (both toys, clothes, diaper changing table, bouncy seat, etc.) PLUS I know I could easily find things if needed for so cheap at consignment shops. So I feel like many of the clothes I’ve schlepped around for 2 years (we’ve moved several times) weren’t worth saving. AndreaDekker.com has more about this concept – she was my inspiration for getting rid of much of our storage stuff.

      Beyond thinking if something makes us happy or is useful, our rule when we are considering getting rid of something is, “Would this be very costly to replace? Would it be very time consuming or difficult to replace?” If not, we’ve gotten rid of it – and much of the clothing/toys we have seem like they’d be easy and cheap to replace.

      Just my thoughts. 🙂

  • Kristin says:

    After I had my gallbladder out a couple of years ago, I only had one pair of dress pants that didn’t bother one of my new incisions. Thankfully, they were black! I wore them to work every day for nearly a month. Here’s what I learned: no one notices what you wear, even if you wear the same thing for nearly a month!

  • Christie Magera says:

    A relative just sent me the link here in Uganda to show me that you had on one of our shirts! Loooooove it! Thank you for your love and support!

  • Kathleen says:

    I think it is wise to invest in clothing you will wear a lot. I recently took my 16yo daughter jeans shopping and she ended up spending about $50 on a pair. But they fit very nicely and jeans are something she wears all.the.time. I wouldn’t splurge on many things, but jeans are where I make an exception. They must be comfy and well-made because they are my go-to wardrobe item.

  • Laura says:

    I’m wondering if you have any advice for me, as I’d love to follow your challenge and purge our house of clutter. My husband has three closets full of clothes he never wears and refuses to part with them. Do you have any suggestions for getting him to de-clutter with me? Thank you!

  • Christine says:

    Have you heard about the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo? It was life changing and so motivating. I encourage you to read it. Her basic idea is to get rid of things that don’t bring you joy. I can’t believe how much stuff I got rid of.

    A few years ago my husband and I had to downsize from our 3 bedroom house to a 650 sqft one bedroom apartment and we got rid of a ton of stuff, obviously, because it wouldn’t fit. That move was one of the best things because I really realized what we absolutely needed and truly wanted to keep. Since then we have moved in a larger place but still haven’t increased our stuff. This book was really freeing and helped me get rid of things that I was holding on to for “someday” or whatever other reason.

    Hope you can read it before this current challenge. They have a free audio download from the audible app!!

  • Amber Brannon says:

    I’m going to join you also in this 500 item purge Challenge….. I have been blessed by having all my clutter and of course girls love shoes and purses and I have been holding onto things that I loved but will not use cause its difficult to wear clothes that no longer fit and I am top of the list with holding onto to clothes that I could open a consignment shop that would have sizes ranging from 3\4 to my lovely size 12 and honestly I’m not upset with weight I have found my true love and I’m am happy before being small was from stress and in a relationship that was unhealthy and going thru that made me hold onto things it was something he couldn’t have control over. that being said I pray for those women and children that might have gone through this can say and become free of that cause deep down it did end up with him still controlling me by allowing my downfall and hoarding so Today I’m setting myself free and giving my life and my amazing husband the best part of me. Thank you for sharing your airline event and starting a cause for a challenge that will touch so many lives because you have touched mine. May God Bless You!!!!

  • This is great! I totally get all your conclusions because I came to the same ones a few years back and it has radically changed my life.

    Every year a group of us do the Little Black Dress Project, where we wear the same item of clothing every day, and fundraiser what we can while we are at it for working to help those fighting human trafficking. It is funny because when I began it, I would have never considered how much I’d learn from it. I was just a lonely person who decided to wear the same dress for a month. Later, other people joined me and im hoping this year we will raise a total (over the combined years) of 20k, by adding all our small networks together.

    But, I didnt expect how much it would change me internally–living with less and how it created so much less stress AND less focus on what I looked like (i totally didn’t mean to Rhyme that). I didnt feel like I owned a ton of clothing, didn’t go shopping that much, or put that much attention unto my appearance before this–it wasn’t something I’d consider an issue–but doing this really challenged me to be free of these things just by the nature of the project. Now I look forward to it every year because it totally refreshes that mentality in me. I began to simplify in other areas.

    As I follow you on a lot of plateforms, especially all the business/blogging advice, when I saw this I was super stoked because I love how as your transformed, you pass it on to the rest of us. I just makes me happy to know as you continue with getting rid of stuff in your life this year, you will be leading us to not be controlled by stuff. Which is such a part of learning contentment and for those of us who follow Jesus, our spiritual maturity.

    Anyway, I will be praying for you as you act this out and checking in to learn more from your experience, and passing it on to my other LBDPROJECT participants 🙂

  • K Ann Guinn says:

    This is great (although I’m sure it did NOT feel great at the time)! I am slowly learning the joy of living with less, but still have a way to go. When I spend more days at home, I do enjoy wearing the same (clean) outfit many days in a row. It does make things less complicated, but also saves time and money on clothes-washing.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

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