How to Live Out of a Car for 32 Days

Over Hill Under Tree requested that I write about my packing list: what I took, and what I picked up along the way.  Before I left, I wrote “Packing for a Month-Long Roadtrip,” but I like the idea of sharing what I took that was necessary, and what I could have left behind.


Every time I stayed with someone, I took three bags with me into their house:  my purse, my laptop bag, and my 14 x 22 inch suitcase.  This meant I always had my phone, computer, clothing, and toiletries with me.


A 14 x 22 inch suitcase is not huge, and I fit a month’s worth of supplies in it.  What exactly did I have with me, and what would I have changed?  

  1. Small towel and washcloth (never used either one)
  2. 2 tank tops (I wore them each a couple times, but I honestly only needed one)
  3. 3 t-shirt type tops (I wore 2 regularly, and 1 I only wore once…should have left it at home)
  4. 4 nicer tops (I wore these the most)
  5. 5 camis (used the white ones a lot, probably all were not necessary)
  6. 2 sweaters (the weather did not cooperate, and they were not often necessary!  I only needed one)
  7. 2 pairs of jeans (one to wear, one to wash)
  8. 1 pair of sweatpants (always necessary for cozy nights)
  9. 2 pairs sleeping clothes (one to wear, one to wash)
  10. enough underwear and bras and socks to not feel gross
  11. shower bag (with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razor, and loofah)
  12. toiletries bag (with face wash, toothbrush, tooth paste, moisturizer, cotton balls)
  13. makeup bag (with…makeup)
  14. jewelry container (I wore one statement necklace with everything, I wish I’d left the rest at home)
  15. TOMS shoes (I wore these almost every day, because I’m not a shoes girl)
  16. straightener (to straighten or curl my hair!)


NOTE:  I roll my clothes and puzzle them together at the bottom of my suitcase, then arrange bags on the top.  Dirty clothes either went in the top pocket of my suitcase or in a separate plastic bag.  I had a laundry bag for dirty clothes, but I accidentally left it at a friend’s house in Alabama.


In my car, I kept a couple extra items that were pretty necessary, and a few that weren’t.

  1. full-size shampoo, conditioner, and body wash (to refill my travel-sized bottles – this was genius and I recommend everyone do it to save space)
  2. jacket, hoodie, and jeans jacket (I never once wore the jeans jacket and should have left it at home)
  3. nice brown boots (for the rare occasions when I wanted my feet to be in something other than TOMs)
  4. rain boots (very necessary in Maryland, when it rained almost every day)
  5. clutch purse (used once, wish I’d left it at home)
  6. tampons (useful once during the month – always be prepared)


I went a little power-hungry, knowing I had the whole car at my disposal.  I definitely packed more than I needed, but some things were handy to have along!

  1. DSLR camera (never used it, waste of space)
  2. game bag (with board and card games – never used it, waste of space)
  3. food basket and cooler (genius!  definitely helped me avoid snacking on gas station treats or fast food quite as often)
  4. audiobooks and book basket (um, super necessary)
  5. typewriter (necessary because I was delivering it to a friend!)
  6. box of gifts/cards (trying to be a semi-thoughtful guest)
  7. Harry Potter costume (wound up chickening out, so I shouldn’t have brought it)


  1. donated books (for Fancy Coffee with Tricia)
  2. food refills (occasionally from the store, more often from generous hosts and hostesses)
  3. bag of goodies (usually books bought or gifted to me)
  4. toothpaste, DayQuil, and Nyquil

Sorry I don’t have more pictures!  I didn’t think about doing another packing post until after I’d gotten back and unpacked.  Hopefully these lists have been helpful, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

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