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What Goes in the Suitcase?

Submitted by Bethany on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 12:34

By now most of you know that we are in the process of uprooting our entire lives and moving to Europe for an indeterminate amount of time.  If this is news to you, you can check out Joel's blog post about it here

As part of this completely crazy plan, we are selling our house, both cars, and 90% of our possessions.  Only things we truly love and family heirlooms make the cut to stay in storage at my parents' house (thanks mom and dad!) and only practical and necessary items make the cut for the single suitcase and carry-on item we will take with us.  That's right, I get to pack one suitcase to live out of the for the next...year? more? of my life.  

So far I've ruthlessly cleaned out my closet.  I had waaayyyy too many clothes (an entire wardrobe before I found LuLaRoe, and then an entire LuLaRoe wardrobe).  It was pretty easy to narrow things down to just my favorite pieces - you know those ones you always grab for because you know you'll look and feel good.  It's still about 50% LuLaRoe, but I'm excited to mix back in some of my other favorite items.  One fun discovery that made it easy to eliminate so much was that most of my pants don't fit anymore - because they are too BIG!  Yay!

However, now I am stuck on how many shoes I take to Europe.  If you've known me for a long time, you know that I used to have a bit of a shoe addiction.  I had well over 100 pairs at one point.  In 2009 my mom challenged me to go an entire year without buying a new pair of shoes, and I did it!  That successfully broke my habit, and my collection has declined steadily over the years.  It's also gotten more practical - I no longer own even a single pair of heels because I just don't like them anymore.  I bought a pair last summer for styling photos and because I loved them - cute little black ankle booties, but every time I wore them I felt like my feet were going to fall off.  They have now made their way to a good home with a young friend who can still stand in heels all day and not want to die. 

So here is my entire shoe collection, from sandals to winter boots and everything in between: 

Shoe Collection.jpg

A surprising amount of those pairs have been with me since high school - the brown Danskos in the front row, the entire converse collection except for the purple pair - the red ones I even wore to my junior prom.  The four pairs on the end of the first row are Tieks - my absolute favorite ballet flat of all time.  My only regret is not making my first pair a red pair instead of the plain fabric ones.  They are expensive but worth the investment.  Birkenstocks are my go-to sandals, though at least two of my pairs are woefully in need of repair. The three pairs of flip flops are cheap crap, but perfect for the beach.  The pair of Vibram five fingers (aka toe shoes) my mom bought for me when we went on a cruise and hiked a waterfall.  My Keen hiking boots and sandals are very practical but not the cutest of shoes, and my snow boots are a must if we end up anywhere winter-y. 

So this is my dilemma, my shoe-lemma if you will.  How much do I take with me?  The Tieks fold up flat which is nice and are good for both every day walking and fancier occasions.  But do I need all 4?  The Danskos are worth keeping, but probably not taking.  One pair of flip-flops seems like a necessity for 5 weeks at the beach in Cyprus, and a good pair of sandals, in general, seems like a must - but which pair?  Hiking boots are practical (and Joel loves to hike) but take up so much room.  I love my converse but the colorful ones are awfully outfit specific and limiting - I don't think I could bear to part with them but are they worth putting in storage?  

Basically, I wrote this post to say, HELP!  What would you take with you?  What have you taken with you on extended vacations?  How many pairs can I fit in a suitcase without taking up too much room?  What should I wear on the airplane and for travel?  Hit me up with your best advice, please!

XOXO, Bethany