SUV & Airbnb Organization Tactics for Living the Nomad Life

Highline Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana

MISSOULA – Greetings from Montana, my 37th state!

It’s been five weeks since selling my house and leaving Arizona, and having slept in FIVE different beds in FIVE different cities since… I’m definitely honing my packing and organization skills.

I’ve noticed that one of the major concerns with living a nomad life — where you travel by passenger car (or, in my case, SUV) to a destination and then live out of an AirBNB or similar accommodations for a period of several weeks — is keeping my things straight and sorted.

Because packing and moving in and out is a lot of work, stress, and ‘OH CRAP, where did I put THIS THING?!?!’ — I’m trying to streamline the process as much as possible with these organization and packing tactics.

Suitcases, stackable totes, and plastic drawers, oh my!

4 minimalist and organizing rules I live by for the nomad life

1. I unpack as little as possible, but enough to be “lived in”…

I choose storage options that double as home organization, keeping “like” things together and immediate-use items handy.

2. I can’t skimp on the home office. I need dual monitors to be ultra effective while working remotely…

Airbnbs tend to lack miscellaneous electronics like extension cords, multi-outlet plugs and other random stuff we take for granted at home (learned this the hard way). So I bring these things to be safe.

3. I plan to be traveling for 6-12 months, so I want clothing for all occasions and all seasons…

But not too much or multiplies, because it can be washed. Hiking, fancy night out, day at the lake, or a beer garden — I’m here for all of it!!

4. Travel size beauty only lasts so long until it runs out…

I try to strike a balance between “economy size” for the stuff I use on the daily and travel size for the stuff that perhaps will take up a lot of space but isn’t used so often. 

If you want even more TMI, this is what specifically goes into my Honda CR-V in a real-life Tetris game!:

CLOTHING

  • two suitcases — one carryon, one full-size. I tend to sort and divide attire by season, for ease (IE: summer/spring in one suitcase, winter/fall in the other)
  • two stackable plastic drawers — one for various undergarments and the other for athletic wear
  • one clear plastic bin for shoes — about a dozen pairs including athletic shoes, sandals, wedges/heels/flats, and boots
  • stack of clothes on hangers that fold up in a box or suitcase

TOILETRIES

  • tote containing bulk items like shampoo/conditioner, hair dryer/curling iron, etc.
  • small plastic drawer containing overflow beauty and cosmetic items and medicine/first aid
  • travel case for those weekend trips

OTHER/PENNY (my adorable miniature Australian shepherd)

  • two stackable bins — containing miscellaneous items that I might need on my journey like camping gear, Penny’s accessories and toys, and various electronics
  • Penny’s dog bed and food container
  • insulated soft cooler with a few key kitchen utensils (wine opener, good knife, whisk, salt and pepper grinders), plastic utensils and plates, some dry pantry items and to fit whatever I need kept cold while on the road

And hey nosy people… you know you want to take a peek! Check out the video tour below of my Airbnb in Missoula and see my packing secrets in action.

Take a look and tell me… is this anything close to what you were expecting!?! Leave a comment! 🧳🎒🚙

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