As a millennial I put everything in the cloud, like my photos, movies, documents… so why not my clothes? I traded my walk-in closet for a virtual closet. It wasn’t an easy idea for me to grab a hold of at first, but once I understood just how easy it made my life, there is no going back.
A year ago, Trevor and I went from traveling every few months, to selling the house and making it a full-time experience. This meant I had to find a way to fit an entire walk in closet wardrobe into a suitcase. No easy feat for a woman! I ended up selling 95% of my clothes, shoes, handbags, jackets and accessories online, but I was still faced with a major challenge with what to do with the remaining 5%.
Should I pack a winter coat and keep it with me at all times, even if we land at a beach destination for 3 months? Should I pay for a storage unit monthly and fly home when I need to swap winter for summer clothes? Do I just buy a new wardrobe at each location we visit? Being faced with these unsolvable questions made me realize just how hard packing for full time travel really is. Let’s be real, I struggle packing for a 7-day trip to Mexico, let alone months or years at a time.
Our transition into full time travel also came with a transition into minimalism, and I wasn't about to through all my progress out the window because of my clothing. Carrying extra baggage around the world or constantly shopping for new clothes is hardly embracing the minimalist lifestyle. Giving into the urges of my old hoarding ways was a step backwards I wasn't willing to take.
I figured I can’t be the only one with this nomadic fashion issue, so I started Googling my problem hoping I could find a solution.
That is when I came across DUFL.
If you follow me on social media, you know how much I rave about this service. Each time I use it my mind is blown by the fact that something like this EXISTS and it actually works.
So genius me… I naively packed for Scotland thinking at most, I would need this: a trench coat, boots and a scarf. Little did I know, that damp cold is a killer!! . I posted on my Facebook asking people’s advice if I should just suck it up for a few more weeks, or have my virtual closet @DUFL send my winter coat to me. Everyone said I needed a coat, but so many people just said “buy one there”. And I was tempted! Who wouldn’t want to shop in Europe for new clothes??🙋 BUT, then I remembered what this year has been all about. Since January I’ve sold my house, gotten rid of all debts, and sold 90% of my stuff. I’ve learned to embrace having less, buying less, and re-using the things I own. Appreciating the things I have!✨ So, it all worked out to be a no brainer. I just had my virtual closet send out my winter coat (my fav coat in the world actually!) so I don’t have to buy anything at all! ✌️ It was a great reminder that I own certain things for a reason, and I have setup systems to help me be a travelling minimalist… I should stick to it! 🙌 . But really, I’m so excited to receive my big warm coat tomorrow! Scotland is a chilly (but beautiful!) place. . Have you ever underestimated the weather when travelling?✈️
DUFL is a personal valet service of sorts that stores my clothes (in addition to all the shoes I am still trying to hide from my husband) and sends them to me on demand, when and where I need them. They also pick up the clothes I no longer need for the moment, or the ones that are in need of a good wash, eliminating my dry-cleaning bill.
They have about 80% of my wardrobe photographed, hanging in their warehouse, and uploaded into an easy app that I have 24/7 access too. It's almost like online shopping, but the best part is I already bought and paid for the clothes eons ago. I feel like Alicia Silverstone in ‘Clueless’ when she is going through her digital closet computer program, only with 2018 technology.
I open the app and tap all the clothes I want/need. Let’s say I am traveling from Miami to NYC in December and I need winter gear. I will tap on my winter coat, a few scarves, sweaters, jeans, and bootie heels.
I tell DUFL where to send my stuff. I type in the hotel, Air bnb, or address of my friend’s house I am crashing at, the date I will be arriving, and click ‘order’. Usually I give them 3 days’ notice, but they can work with my last-minute schedule and get me my stuff in 1 day if necessary.
I arrive and gasp in awe. When I get to my destination there is a cute piece of luggage neatly packed with all my belongings and even treats like kale chips or body lotion they throw in to make my day. Everything is pressed and wrapped and it feels like opening a box of online shopping goodies.
I let them deal with it afterwards,
When I am done in that location, I simply open the app and request for them to come pick everything up. (Which I don’t need to be present for btw) I can keep a few items, send it all back, or even cram in some new items I may have purchased. It doesn’t matter to them at all!
Super easy right?
DUFL literally lets me pack for a trip within minutes!
This is where people ask me, “Sounds expensive, how much does it cost??”
And this is where I answer, “Nothing compared to what it would cost for me to NOT use it!” Sounds like a cliché way to cover up an overpriced service, but I am being 100% serious. DUFL has actually saved me money in a ton of ways and I’m more than satisfied with their rates.
To SEND: To have them send me a fully washed, professionally folded and packed suitcase with any items I need, anywhere in the USA, and then back again to their headquarters when I am done (to all be cleaned, stored and uploaded back into the app) will be $99.95 Roundtrip.
They will also send stuff internationally, with rates depending on the country I need it sent to.
To STORE: To keep an unlimited amount of clothes, accessories, bags, shoes, even marketing materials in their warehouse is only $9.99 a month.
Let me point out how CHEAP that is:
- How much was your last dry-cleaning bill? I don’t know about you, but the last time I had 2 silk tops, a jacket and a dress dry cleaned it came out over $100 all on its own. Not to mention the hassle of dropping it off and picking it up from the cleaners.
- I would have no need to check a bag at the airport, saving at least $50 on checked bag fees EACH WAY.
- If I had to purchase a winter coat, sweaters, and jeans when I landed in NYC, the bill would look more like $1000 than $100.
- If I had to fly home to a storage unit to grab my winter gear, the flight would cost me anywhere from $200-$2000 depending on where I was coming from.
- I used to play the storage unit game and it cost me $170 a month, or worse when I found out that added up to $2000 a YEAR. You won’t find any climate controlled, fully insured, valet type storage unit for anywhere close to $9.99/m.
When I add up storage fees, checked bag fees, dry cleaning costs, having to purchase new clothing, or even flying back home to grab new gear, DUFL comes out to a fraction of that amount. If I really wanted to get sassy about things, I could point out that one of the MAIN reasons I was keeping my house despite traveling all the time was so I had a place to store all my CRAP! Since DUFL now keeps it all for me, I don’t need to pay a mortgage for a place I am never using.
Since sending them most of my clothing in May 2017, DUFL has sent me gowns to an event in New Orleans, rainy weather outfits to the Oregon coast, casual wear to Lake Country in Canada, trench coats and silk tops to London, wool winter coat to Scotland, beachwear and Instagram dresses to Bali, spring layers to Myrtle Beach, and dozens of other destinations.
My virtual closet’s efficiency is far superior to any physical one I’ve ever owned.
So, does this mean only full-time travelers should have virtual closets?
As a full-time nomad, I am actually a smaller group of people who have virtual closets. I’ve met other DUFL users who are ‘road warrior’ business executives, contractors who travel a lot for work, couples who take mini trips once a month, and people who just want an easier travel experience.
Basically, if you travel, dislike dry cleaning and laundry, get stressed out by packing, hate checking luggage at the airport, want to minimize clutter and streamline your life, you should be using DUFL.
I used to think a giant home with a fully loaded walk in closet would make me happy, so I climbed every ladder trying to fulfill my materialistic goals. Once I achieved them I felt downright miserable and completely overwhelmed. All that crap wasn’t making me happy at all, and I knew I needed to do something about it.
Selling my house and 95% of my belongings over a year ago was a major life changing move for me. It forced me to become a minimalist whether I wanted to or not, but now I am addicted to the simplicity of the lifestyle.
But just because I am a minimalist doesn’t mean I want to give up every piece of clothing I own and commit to only one black t-shirt. I still want to have style and the comfort of knowing my favorite outfits are just a few clicks away. I have no desire to perpetually shop for cheap fast fashion in each country I visit, when I could be re-using my own wardrobe for years to come. I also shudder at the thought of trying to drag every item of clothing I own around with me 365 days a year. Imagine trying to haul around every photo you’ve ever taken in your suitcase? Or every DVD you’ve ever watched in your backpack?
There is a reason we started storing things online instead of letting them weigh down our physical world. That same life hack can now be applied to things like our clothing, accessories and even beauty products. DUFL has been my ‘security blanket’, allowing me to step into a world of high tech minimalism without fear. I will no longer let the words “But what will I do with all my clothes!?” hold me back from traveling the globe.
Would you ever try using a virtual closet?