Pros and Cons of Living in an Airstream Trailer After One Year


Our Airstream Journey:

In January of 2017, we moved out of our studio apartment in Manhattan and into an Airstream travel trailer to live in full time while we relocated to Washington state. We spent our first month in the Airstream traveling, parking at a different campsite nearly every night while we slowly made our way across the country, covering roughly 5000 miles in total.

We started at the Airstream dealership, Colonial Airstream in New Jersey, and headed south through Virginia and Tennessee and then started moving westward through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, all before going north again up through California and Oregon and eventually arriving at our final destination near Seattle, Washington.

Camping in Monahans Sandhills State Park in Texas

Camping in Monahans Sandhills State Park in Texas

It was this long trip that made us fall in love with this lifestyle. Living in a travel trailer gave us the freedom to all travel together, our rabbit included, and have adventures in amazing new places every day, but still be able to come back to a place that felt like home. 

One we arrived in Seattle, we found a long term parking spot where we have lived in the trailer for the past year. While we loved traveling, Anthony's job is in Seattle, so after our month long adventure moving here we knew we were going to have to enjoy a more stationary life in the Airstream. 

In all of our "What Could Go Wrong?" lists and planning we had made before we began our Airstream adventure, we fully expected most of the problems to arise during the month of travel and figured that once we arrived at our final location it would be smooth sailing from there. Surprisingly, it was just the opposite.

While we travelled, everything worked out almost perfectly, there were no major issues to report all throughout our trip, and when we arrived in Seattle we were so relieved to start living in the trailer in a fixed location. It started feeling like an actual home and we were able to start a garden and see a different, maybe slightly less adventurous part Airstream living. Little did we know, this is when the real adventures and lessons would begin. 

What We Didn't Love about Living in the Airstream:

I'm going to start with the cons or the negative experiences we had while living in our Airstream so that we can end on a positive note. It doesn't feel right to even say anything bad at all about our experience because overall, we loved it and would do it over again in a heartbeat, but I think some of what we experienced, the good and the bad, could be helpful if this is a lifestyle you're interested in and want to hear about the full spectrum of experiences we had.

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The Small Stuff:

These are just the little minor inconveniences we don't hear mentioned too often about what it's really like to live in an Airstream full-time.

  • When you first move in, expect lots of small injuries. The process of adapting to a smaller space involves a lot more cuts, bangs and bruises than we had anticipated. Whether it's bumping your head on the light fixtures or smashing your elbow coming too quickly around a sharp corner, expect to get a little beat up while you form that muscle memory that eventually guides you more smoothly through your new space.

  • Metal riveted walls look beautiful, but they can and they will eventually cut you. Every single time I wiped down the walls especially around the kitchen, I'd get cuts from the sharp edges of the metal. It's not jagged metal or anything, but it's blade-sharp metal that leaves thin, fast-healing cuts. Obviously still not ideal, but just something to be aware of when polishing those shiny walls.

  • I managed to overdraw on power almost daily and we had 50 amp hookups. This wasn't such an issue when we were travelling, but once we were parked for good and we got out the rice cooker, blender, and several more kitchen appliances, the limits of 50 amp power became much more pronounced.

  • The layout of an Airstream is designed for travel and adventures, not for being parked in the same spot for a year like a stationary home. While we enjoyed our time in that one spot, we found ourselves not going out as much as when we were travelling and through staying inside a lot the furniture seemed to get less and less comfortable everyday. This is no fault of the Airstream, but just a sign that if we weren't going to be using the trailer for travel anymore like it was intended, we would have to make some modifications for it suit our needs.

The time someone tried to break in at 2 a.m.

Our long term parking spot was located in the town of Bothell, a rapidly growing suburb of Seattle, which had always felt like a pretty safe place to be. We lived near an RV park, but a little out of the way in one of their long-term spots on a hill top surrounded by a beautiful meadow and lots of tall trees. We had two other RV neighbors, but they both had homes and only stayed in their RVs during the work week, so we were usually all alone on the weekends. 

One rainy Saturday night in November of 2017, we awoke to some strange sounds coming from the outside of our trailer. It sounded like someone or something climbing on the Airstream and then we thought we heard someone try to open the door as well, which was locked. We turned on the lights and tried to figure out what was going on and that's when we heard yelling. Anthony looked out the window to try to see who it was and that's when he saw a man standing on top of the trailer next to ours smashing his foot through their roof vent. Immediately he called 911. 


Five minutes later a police officer arrived and then shortly after several more police officers showed up. They told us they believed someone was inside our neighbor's trailer. We told them no one was supposed to be in there because the family that lives there goes home on the weekends. They surrounded the trailer, guns drawn, and yelled through the megaphone urging the occupant to come out of the trailer several times. Eventually they pried off the door and sent in a police dog followed by several officers. What happened next was the craziest thing I've ever seen. 

Out of the trailer came the dog and multiple officers escorting out a completely naked man in handcuffs with pupils the size of dinner plates. All of the officers cheered-- they seemed very happy to have caught the perpetrator and that no one was hurt. They tried to get him to sit down but it was apparent that he had consumed a lot of meth and was covered in injection wounds. They kept trying to give him a blanket to cover up with but he threw it on the ground repeatedly, determined to stay completely naked. 

The cops later told us that he admitted to leading them on a high speed car chase earlier that night, ditched his jeep at a local auto shop and took off running before ending up on our hilltop where he was trying to find a place to hide out. He was trying to get into our trailer, but since it's rounded and it was raining, he wasn't able to get onto the roof. He must've heard us wake up and that's when he started yelling before climbing up the ladder on our neighbors trailer, which has a flat roof, and found it much easier to get inside. While he was inside our neighbors trailer he took off all his clothes, did some more meth, drank their milk, and relaxed in their bed. It didn't seem like he was there to steal anything, but more like he was just really high on meth and didn't know what was going on anymore. He kept telling the police they'd need to buy him a new door for his trailer. 

The owners of the trailer showed up a few hours later and were very fortunate that they, and their two small children, weren't home when this guy came crashing through their bathroom ceiling vent. He was arrested for vehicle prowling and spent a night in jail before being released with a pending court date. 

After this terrifying experience, it really began to sink in for us that while our trailer felt like a home, we were actually living in a vehicle, which means we don’t have the same legal protections as if we were living in a house. We still felt fairly safe knowing that our Airstream was more difficult to break into than other trailers, and if anything this put the Airstream through an interesting safety test, but the reality of what could've happened that night gave us a lot to consider about staying safe while living in an RV. Since this incident we have taken several more self-defense and safety measures. 

The time a tree almost fell on our trailer:

Earlier in March of 2018, A powerful windstorm brought down a giant Douglas fir tree which landed right next to our trailer while we were home. This was caused by the seven acres of forest being cleared next to us, so this tree was exposed to high winds it was never meant to endure. This was the second major close call to happen to us in that spot, and we didn't want to wait around for the third strike. 

While we wanted to keep the trailer, we didn't have anywhere else we could park it. The land we purchased last summer doesn't have a septic or running water yet, so we couldn't take it out there, and all of the RV parks in our area aside from the one we were staying at would be a very far drive from Anthony's work. This is why we made the sudden decision to move out and sell our trailer.

For the full story check out my post here

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What We Loved about Living in the Airstream:

Overall, we loved our experience of living in an Airstream travel trailer. While our time spent traveling and staying at a new campsite every night was by far the best part of the lifestyle, it was still an amazing experience to live in the Airstream in a fixed location. It really began to feel like home.

Here's some of our favorite things about living in the Airstream-

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  • We expected with our daily living and use of the trailer that eventually something would break and we'd need to take the trailer in for repairs. We figured maybe it'd be the water heater failing, or the AC breaking, but to our surprise and delight nothing major ever broke. Some minor things broke- the small round mirror in our bathroom fell off the wall during our travels and our awning arm got bent in a wind storm, but nothing major failed on us the whole year that we lived there. Airstreams are built to last and we experienced that first-hand.

  • Living in a smaller space also helped us to stay more organized. There are so many little storage nooks in creative places all over the trailer, so there was always a place for everything, and while we couldn't have tons of items fit in there, everything that we did own had a place. The small size of the place also made cleaning much easier. Vacuuming takes only a few minutes in a trailer and having less space really inspires you to keep the free space that you do have clean and tidy.

  • Since we chose the International Serenity model of Airstream, which has more windows instead of overhead storage, our space was always bright which made us feel much more connected to the outdoors.

  • The kitchen in the Airstream is in many ways better than any apartment kitchen I've ever had. The convection oven/microwave can cook anything, and some things it cooks much better than any regular oven could. The sink is super deep, which is important since there's no dishwasher, but you could tell a lot of consideration was put into these small things and it made using the Airstream kitchen daily a very pleasant experience. If you love to cook, you won't be sacrificing anything that you love about cooking while living in an Airstream.

  • We were worried that living in such a small space would start to feel cramped or restricted, but that was never our experience. There was just enough space to feel comfortable and we rarely found ourselves wishing we had more room. Even after a full year of living there and acquiring more things, we always found creative ways of storing them. We were definitely glad to have decided on the 30 ft. trailer for our full-time living situation.

  • The trailer passed an important, albeit terrifying, experience when someone tried to break in and failed. This was likely because of the round shape of the trailer which he had difficulty climbing on top of and also the secure lock on our door. I think if someone really wanted to break into anything, our trailer included, they probably could, but Airstream has done a good job of not making it the easiest thing in the world. If you are considering a trailer with a flat roof and a ladder on the back, I'd advise you to consider how that might invite in the wrong kind of company, even if you live in a safe place, that's still a big risk to take.

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Ultimately, we are so grateful for our time spent in the Airstream and we would go back and do it all over again if we could. It was an incredible experience which taught us a lot about ourselves and enabled us to have adventures that we'll always remember. 

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One day, we might get another smaller Airstream for actual traveling as opposed to living in it like a full-time home, but for now since we don't have any travel plans and are starting to settle in to living in Washington, that won't be happening anytime soon. While we wish we could have kept living in the Airstream for another year while we build our house, we know we made the right decision to part with our Airstream at this point since we were no longer traveling and taking it out for adventures.

"A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.”

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For more information, click the button below to check out our videos documenting our travels in the Airstream on Youtube!

Why We're Moving Out & Selling Our Airstream Travel Trailer

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If you had told us one week ago that we'd be selling our Airstream travel trailer and moving back into an apartment, we wouldn't have believed it. Up until last week we couldn't see any reason to ever want to sell our trailer and move. We expected that we would live in it at least for the next year while building our house and then possibly keep it around for years to come. Then, a windstorm came and changed everything for us. 

At around 7 pm last Thursday, Anthony had just gotten home from work and was feeling very anxious about the weather. The winds were gusting upwards of 50 mph, and as we live on a hilltop in the convergent zone, the gusts can get especially intense. As the gusts grew stronger and stronger, Anthony became more concerned and couldn't do anything other than look out the windows and watch as the tall evergreen trees next to us were bending sideways.

I was trying to stay calm. We had been through worse windstorms in the trailer before and had only seen a few small branches go flying by so I figured this would be the case with this storm as well. I even started to get upset with Anthony for his fixation on the wind and inability to relax. My intuition that night was completely wrong. 

Anthony was looking out the window during a particularly huge sustained gust and watched as the giant evergreen trees next to us bent completely sideways. He yelled over to me that one was about to go down and suddenly we heard a loud crack. I screamed and covered my head, attempting to brace for the potential impact of a 200 ft. fir tree smashing through our aluminum trailer. Time slowed down and the sound of the crack felt long and slow and then we heard the booming sound of the tree hitting the ground next to our trailer.

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We looked outside to find that this giant tree had been completely uprooted and landed 20 ft away from us. It had taken out a couple of smaller trees on it's way down as well. We didn't want to stick around and wait for another one to fall, so we grabbed our bunny, Violet, and all got in the car to go wait out the storm in the parking lot across the street where we could watch the trees bend over our trailer from a distance.

This is the point when we began to discuss the idea of selling the trailer and moving into an apartment. 

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Aside from our current spot, RV parks which are a reasonable distance to Anthony's work basically don't exist, so we didn't really have the option to move the trailer somewhere else. We considered staying where we are, but we were still surrounded by several more tall evergreen trees and knew we didn't want to be near them in the next wind storm.

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The tall trees next to our trailer were all old evergreen trees that used to be in the middle of a dense natural forest, but recently after 7 acres of forest were cleared on the lot next to us (as shown in our last video) these old trees were now being exposed to high winds that they were never meant to endure. It became clear to us after talking with the RV park staff as well as the contractor on the 7 acre lot next to us, that no one was going to be watching out for us and checking on these trees. We had to make the difficult decision to take our safety into our own hands, so we decided to sell the trailer and move.

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This past weekend was incredibly sad for us because we loved our life in the Airstream and it didn't feel right to end our adventure of living in it so soon, but we knew it was the right decision for us and that we needed to take our safety concerns seriously after such a close brush with what could've been a disaster. 

Our bunny Violet, adapting to our new place

Our bunny Violet, adapting to our new place

We found an apartment walking distance to Anthony's work and spent this past week moving in and adjusting to apartment life again. While this doesn't change our long-term plans, and we still plan on being in our house that we're building a year from now, no longer living in an Airstream and moving back into a city is a big adjustment for us.

There are certainly many things we have now in our apartment that we didn't have in the trailer and it definitely feels luxurious to have all of the standard amenities again, but there's still a lot we're going to miss about our life in the trailer. 

I'll be writing a post soon about all of the pros and cons of living in an Airstream travel trailer full time for more of a detailed look at what we loved and what we didn't so much love about RV life, but until then I just wanted to post this update for anyone who was curious to know why we made such a sudden change.

We'll be continuing to make videos and share our experiences with our next adventure of building our house which hopfully will be starting in the fall.

Life in the Airstream Update & Lots of Cute Wild Animals Are Visiting!

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For the past year, I've been living fulltime in a 30 ft. Airstream travel trailer in Washington with my partner, Anthony, and our dwarf rabbit, Violet. When we made the decision to leave our apartment in New York City and move across the country to Washington, we decided that the best way for all of us to get there would be in an RV and that we would continue to live in the RV while we look for land and eventually build a house. 

Over the summer, we found and purchased 7 acres of beautiful forested land and are now currently in the final stages of designing the house and getting ready to start the long process of applying for building permits. Since it's been quite cold here these past few months, we haven't been spending as much time out at the property, so we've mostly been inside the trailer working on making some of the big decisions that come along with building a house. 


After a full year of living in our trailer, we are so happy with the decision we made. While the space is pretty small, the amount of windows and skylights makes it feel much more open. There's definitely not enough room in here to have everything we want, but it's been a good lesson in living more minimally and being careful to not accumulate stuff that we don't absolutely need. 

That being said, there have been certain non-essential items that we have been accumulating recently which have brought us a lot of joy and entertainment- mainly our bird feeders, of which we now have four or maybe even five... I've lost count. 

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Most of them are the kind that suction right to the window so we can creep on the birds as they feast on their seeds. We have one on the kitchen window so I can watch the birds as I do the dishes and cook, but we also have a lot of them around our bedroom as well and it's the best thing to wake up to see beautiful birds at the window every morning.

It's been so much fun to see the variety of birds that come by and to try to identify them. After a few months of feeding them, they've started growing their families and because of this we've also been getting more visits from big predatory birds like owls and eagles, but we don't have any pictures of those big guys unfortunately. 

Over the past few weeks we've been taking lots of pictures and videos, and we've especially been enjoying the short animated gifs that are made automatically on our phones, so i thought I'd share a few here!

This pretty bird is called a Northern Flicker:

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He's a type of woodpecker and one of the loudest visitors to our feeder because he likes to use his long beak to peck at the seeds and send them flying everywhere. (3).gif (4).gif

Another bird who's been visiting lately is the vibrant blue Stellar's Jay. They usually come in pairs or small groups and have such a pretty bird song.

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All too often though, our most common visitors have been the squirrels. No matter where we set up the feeder, they find their way in and eat nearly all of the seeds before the birds can get any. I only have slightly more patience with them than Anthony does because they're still so cute. (6).gif

Then we have the deer, who we believe may be the reason our broccoli plants have some big bites taken out of them. The other day they came right up behind our trailer and we watched them graze and play in the meadow. (1).gif (2).gif

Okay, that's probably enough wildlife photos for this update!

One more thing, for now I've deactivated my instagram page @wholesomelyelle. I haven't been enjoying using it since they changed it from chronological order to an algorithm-based feed, and also since I haven't been on Facebook for the past 4 years, it felt strange to still participate in a Facebook-owned platform when that's not what I had signed up for originally. I may still reactivate it in the future, but I just wanted to take a break for a while to focus on other things. 

For now that means you'll be hearing a lot more from me right here on my blog and hopefully more on Youtube as well! I'll continue to post updates on life in the Airstream and more healthy recipes will be coming your way this week so check back in for more soon!

How I Downsized My Wardrobe Before Moving into an RV- Regrets, Dealing with Non-Vegan Items, & Alternatives to Fast-Fashion

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Almost exactly one year ago, my partner and I moved out of our 200 square ft. studio apartment in NYC and into a 150 square ft. Airstream travel trailer. Losing out on 50 square feet of space may not seem like all that much, and honestly it wasn't much of a big change at all, but the large amount of clothes and shoes I had managed to cram into our tiny apartment closet was more than I felt like I needed.

I knew that I had to sell or donate lots of clothing and shoes which I had accumulated over the years of working in retail and also from accepting sponsored clothing as a fashion blogger. I had piles and piles of clothes, crazy high heels, leather boots, all of which were no longer in alignment with who I felt like I was anymore or what I wanted to support or promote. 

Most of my clothes were way more bold and attention-grabbing than I felt comfortable with anymore. I'm not even exaggerating, a significant portion of my wardrobe was actually rainbow tie-dye or holographic.


I don’t know if this is just a side-effect of getting older, as I’m 26 years old now and most of those clothing items I had gathered in my late teens and early 20s, but I knew I had to make some changes to my wardrobe if I was going to be leaving NYC and moving into a smaller space outside of a big city. I also knew that I no longer wanted to support fast fashion brands or buy any new clothes or shoes made from animal products.

How I got rid of most of my clothes:

Some of my clothes were worn very lightly or even still had tags on them so I knew I wanted to try to sell them to get some money back, but I didn’t know how to make that happen. Then I heard about an app called Poshmark. I created an account on there and began the process of photographing and listing my freshest, best quality, name-brand items. I priced everything to sell quickly as I didn’t have a ton of time, and to my surprise and relief everything sold very quickly.

I’ve also heard of people having success on a similar app called Depop, but since Poshmark worked so well for me I stuck with that one. Poshmark is a US only site though so consider Depop if you live anywhere else in the world.

There were also some well-worn items of clothing that I loved so much, specifically tons of vintage dresses I had accumulated over the years. At one point in my life I worked at five different vintage clothing stores all at the same time. That meant working at a different location of each vintage clothing store every day of the week all over different parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Needless to say I accumulated a lot of vintage items.

I decided to save three of my favorite vintage dresses, even though I don’t get to wear them often these days, and the rest of my well-loved clothing items I gave to friends who didn’t mind the rips and imperfections. It felt really good to give away some of the clothes that I had sentimental attachments to to my friends because I knew they would love them as much as I did.

The rest of my clothes which I couldn’t sell or friends didn’t want, were all donated to a local Goodwill. This was about two giant duffle bags worth of clothing and shoes.

Regrets & what I wish I had kept:

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While I don’t need a lot of fancy clothes anymore as I don’t go to parties or events, there’s one item I definitely regret donating and think about often and that’s this vintage ruffled lace top.

I gave it away because it had always been too big on me, but I didn’t realize how unique of an item it was and how difficult it would be to find a replacement for. I could have gotten it tailored to fit me or worn it with a top underneath, but in the rush of clearing out my closet, it got donated and I definitely miss it a lot.

Is it a practical item to have in my wardrobe? No. But sometimes when we find something that’s special to us and as unique as vintage clothing items can be, it’s good to think over the decision to part with them a little more carefully as they will be nearly impossible to replace.

Things I kept that I probably shouldn't have but did anyway:


My most cherished clothing item which I still have in the closet of our tiny RV, is my white frilly late-1970s gunne sax dress. There’s definitely a theme going on with all of my most loved clothing items and it has something to do with white lace, high victorian collars and ruffles.

I haven't even worn it since moving into the RV, so clearly it doesn’t make any rational sense to keep it around, but having just one special vintage dress there that I could wear should the occasion ever present itself makes me feel happy, and since we have the closet space in our RV I’ll be keeping it for now.

I don’t think minimalism and downsizing should be as all-or-nothing as some make it out to be. A lot of people have said if you haven’t worn something in a year or even six months, that it’s time to get rid of it. Generally, that’s sound advice, and for most items in our wardrobe this makes sense, but I think this mindset of having less just for the sake of having less and getting rid of your most favorite impractical item could leave you with regrets in the future, so maybe don't apply it to every single item.


Things I still have from before I went vegan (Leather, Wool, Fast-Fashion):

When I went vegan in 2015, I knew that changing my diet would be the easy part. However, I had a closet full of animal-based clothing. All of my shoes were leather and so was my favorite bag which I took with me everywhere.

At first, I didn’t stress about it and decided I’d continue to wear the leather shoes and bags and replace stuff as I go. Then, about three weeks after going vegan, I got a job working at a vegan shoe store and suddenly I had replaced many of my shoes and bags way faster than I had ever expected to be possible.

When this happened, I began to either donate or give to friends all of my leather stuff. Some of the stuff I hadn’t even found replacements for yet, but at this point I was beginning to see leather for what it was, cow’s skin, and it genuinely gave me the creeps. Parting with my leather stuff became much easier once I fully allowed myself to understand the cruelty in it.

Wool, however, is almost just as cruel. Even though you don’t have to kill a sheep to take their wool, and sheep must be shorn because they are bred to produce so much wool, the practice of breeding these human-dependent, product-producing, sweet gentle creatures into existence and treating them like commodities is just wrong. In a profit-driven system, sheep are shorn as fast as possible to save money and time, which often results in injuries or death to the sheep, and once their wool production drops as they age, they are sent to the slaughterhouse.

I don’t even like wool as a fabric, sure it’s warm, but it’s also so itchy. Still though, I have a few items in my tiny RV closet that contain wool that I have yet to replace. Being that wool is not skin, it doesn’t gross me out quite as much as leather so I can almost tolerate it being in my wardrobe, although I’m still not proud of it and I don’t promote it to others. I definitely don’t plan on buying anything with wool in the future, but for now my two wool sweaters and one light purple wool jacket are some of the warmest winter clothes I currently have and they’ll be with me until I can afford to replace them.

While I would love to have a closet full of entirely sweatshop free clothing, the truth is that some of the clothing items I have are from back in the day when I’d shop at companies that use sweatshop labor like Zara and H&M. Fortunately, these clothing items are few and far between because most of my clothing is thrifted, but there are still some items that I bought before I was shopping more consciously.

I still wear those items occasionally, but since I don't want to promote them, when people ask where I got them from I either say I forgot or I straight up tell them it’s from a fast fashion brand so it’s likely long gone from production and also not from a place I actively support anymore.

What I’ve learned through downsizing my wardrobe and trying to have a more ethical closet:

The journey towards a smaller and more ethical wardrobe is going to be a long process that looks a little different for everyone. You shouldn’t take an all-or-nothing approach and get rid of every impractical or unethical item all at once, because it’s usually not that easy to replace so many items quickly.

When you first start to connect to the truth of what you are purchasing, especially with going vegan, you might feel like you want to get rid of everything but then you realize how expensive it can be to buy new clothes that aren’t made in sweatshops. Sure there are always thrift stores, but this isn’t practical for many busy people who don’t have the time to sort through everything. This is why I never want to push my views on other people and fully get why everyone can’t 100% stop buying fast fashion and go completely eco-friendly or vegan.

The process is going to depend peoples unique circumstances and ability to make these big changes. The fact that so many people are beginning to think about these things and care about what they are supporting with their dollar is a huge step in the right direction. Even if they’re not at the point yet where what they are purchasing reflects their values for whatever reasons.

It’s important to not get wrapped up in having to be completely perfect or make the most ethical choice every single time, but just to bring more awareness to each purchase and consider where it’s coming from and the effect that’s having on the world. Not to feel guilty when we make a “bad” purchase or go the other way and adopt a virtuous identity as a consumer who makes more conscious ethical choices, but just to simply connect with the reality of what we are doing regardless, so that we don’t blindly consume and end up with a bunch of junk that we don’t need or that falls apart after one wash cycle.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Are you trying to buy less and/or buy things that are vegan and sweatshop-free?

I plan to write more about this topic going forward and eventually do a tiny closet tour to show some of my favorite ethically-made vegan clothing and shoes, so check back in for that if this is a topic you're interested in!