You might be familiar with minimalism or tidying up like Marie Kondo (which I talk about in a previous article) but it’s one thing to understand it and another to actually do it.
I’ve gone through multiple rounds of cleaning through my belongings and donating/throwing out bags upon bags of items. But I still found that I had too many things – namingly, clothes.
I live in a one bedroom apartment with a decent amount of storage space, and yet every inch of my closet was taken up and every drawer was stuffed to its capacity. It was driving me nuts because I would dig through my endless array of clothing and end up wearing the same five outfits.
I realized my issue. I had more clothing coming into my apartment than leaving it. I wasn’t buying items to replace worn-out ones, I was buying something because it was cute or trendy or because I had a scenario for maybe two days a year that it would be the perfect addition to an outfit.
In order to keep a minimalist wardrobe, you need to change your materialistic consumption habits. (A little more on this later.)
To do this, you need to determine what your wardrobe should consist of. And here’s where Pinterest comes in handy. To determine your core style, it might require a bit of research and contemplation. I personally recommend searching ‘capsule wardrobe’ and finding one that catches your eye.
Here are some examples of the styles I gravitate towards:
So I guess I learned that I love a neutral ‘French Girl’ capsule style – who knew??
Working backward this way and finding what you DO like will make it so much easier to determine what to toss and what to keep.
Keep the items that fit the Pinterest inspiration you found, and donate the others! Of course, if there are items you absolutely love that don’t show up on the Pinterest inspo board you’re using, you don’t have to get rid of them. I kept a few things that I genuinely enjoy wearing even though they don’t show up in the pins I included above.
Before I knew it, though, I had three big Trader Joe’s bags overflowing with clothes to donate. It felt so liberating to get rid of something that I knew would benefit someone rather than sit in my drawer and collect dust.
If you’re on the fence about something, think about the last time you actually wore it. If you want to give it a few months and see if you wear it before tossing it, do so! There are a few shirts I kept just to see if I wear them now that I have less stuff to choose from.
Another big goal of mine that I think I just about met is to fit ALL of my clothing so I don’t have to put things into seasonal storage. I’m a big believer that storage is the enemy of minimalism. Most years when I stored summer items for the winter (and vice versa) I ended up totally forgetting about what I had and would just buy more. When it came time to take things out of storage, I was kicking myself for wasting money.
Which brings me to the next tip: make it your goal to change your habits and replace clothing rather than add more to your closet.
Once you’re happy with your capsule wardrobe, resist the clever marketing and social pressure to buy whatever is ‘trendy’. Trendy doesn’t last, and many ‘trendy’ stores make their clothing so that it’s cheap and not built to last (but, more on ‘fast fashion’ to come).
Your wardrobe should be like an investment. Purchase items that add value to your life, and don’t be afraid to spend a liiiiittle more than you might be used to. It often means that you’re buying something that will last you YEARS rather than months. And, do the math: if you have to buy a $20 t-shirt twice a year rather than a $40 t-shirt that’ll last you for 5+, you save a lot in the long run. Multiply that by all the clothes in your closet, and you might realize how much financial leakage you have thanks to fast fashion.
At the expense of turning this article into an entirely different topic, I think it’s safe to say that this should be the perfect starting point for undertaking a journey to closet minimalism.
- Pinterest is your best friend. Find a capsule wardrobe that you like
- Get rid of the things that don’t fit into the capsule wardrobe inspo (save for a few items that truly give you joy/get used)
- Be aware of your buying habits – opt to replace rather than accumulate, and opt for clothing that’s designed to last.
I PROMISE that this will help reduce so much stress from your life – opening up a clean, airy, cohesive wardrobe is truly one of the best feelings. Also, less laundry, less time trying to find an outfit, and less money spent on items you wear three times max.