As you may know, since January I’ve been on a mission to steadily pare down on the number of things in my home. Despite having a slightly minimalistic tendency and aversion to crap before this journey, clutter still always managed to find its way in. It has been a continuous process weeding things out of our lives. Even following a major decluttering and yard sale we had back in the spring I continued to feel the weight of “too much stuff.” I think once you start trying to live with less, you become much more aware of the excess stuff around you. Or at least that’s been the case for me. Finally though I feel like I’m starting to make some headway. It’s taken three quarters of a year to get here but the recent months have been a time of getting down and dirty. Being honest with myself about whether I truly enjoyed something or if I was just holding on to it in hopes eventually I’d use it or because of some sentimental obligation. One of the biggest hurdles has been my closet. Though I have yet to buy a single article of clothing, shoe or accessory in 9 months and have already done one major and several small sweeps of my closet, it continued to be packed full. What the heck?! How does that happen? After another day of ruthless cutting, its now closer to where I’d like it to be. It’s amazing what I was still holding on to: that dress worn for a friend’s bachelorette 9 years, the long sleeved swim suit cover I bought over 5 years ago yet never saw the light of day, and the stack of scarves that are so bulky they make my head look like I ticked off a witch doctor. You know, that kind of stuff.
I saw this Ted talk about the 10-item wardrobe and the speaker talks about being inspired while studying abroad in France by her host family. Her host mom, “Madame Chic,” had a very small wardrobe of only her favorite, best looking clothes. She was confused by the speaker’s wearing of tattered sweats to bed, wondering if they had become damaged in the wash while she was there. The whole point behind it was she always looked chic, even with very few items. “Madame Chic” had a style that permeated throughout her entire wardrobe so she always presented herself beautifully at all times. Keeping this point in mind I weeded out the shirts I found myself always wearing as a way to avoid wearing the nice clothes in my closet. Wait, what? As a way to avoid wearing the nice clothes? Yes, its true. I’ve always had this tendency to avoid wearing the clothes I like out of fear of messing them up on the days when I wasn’t planning on seeing anyone and then no longer having them to wear when I truly wanted to look nice. So then I’d end up more often wearing my least favorite items rather than ever the clothes I truly liked. What was the point of having this closet full of clothes if I was only going to wear a handful? This is what led me to weed out my most “bumming it” clothes so that I was only left with what I could pretty much wear anytime, but still with confidence. A couple older tops that I still loved were held on to as items to wear when working or playing outside. As someone who enjoys outdoor activities, a minimal wardrobe of only chic items would not work for me. Having a mix of nice and comfortable, all that make me feel like me, is what does.
I will say that keeping only items in your closet that make you feel your best, is freeing. And it is true that having fewer items helps make decision making easier. Asking myself questions like “Does this fit?” “Is it flattering?” “Is it my true style?” “Is it age appropriate?” “Are there multiple ways I can wear this?” helped to weed the items that weren’t me or worth keeping from my closet. For items that hadn’t been worn in ages or ever, I’d ask myself if it’s something I’d truly ever wear. Most often the answer was no, and they were put into a pile to be donated.
After everything in my closet has been closely scrutinized this is the end result…
By true minimalist standards this is still probably is too much, but instantly I felt less bogged down by stuff. I didn’t stop there. All my drawers were thinned out of workout clothes that weren’t my style or old tights that just took up space. Then I went through the front closet and took the number of coats I was holding on to down from 16 to 7.
Currently all the items I have cleaned out of my wardrobe are in another room waiting to be donated. This has given them some time to be saved if I find that I’m not ready to live without them. So far I have saved one pair of street tennis shoes and an old pair of super comfortable jeans that really can’t be worn beyond the comfort of my house. But I love them because they are great for lounging for several reasons: they can be worn around the house and in the yard without concern of messing them up, stretching them out or wearing out the knees. For now they may continue to be saved but if I start to feel the clutter building up again, they may have to find a new home.
Now on to my next goal: trying to wear everything in my closet. Since warm weather is fading a way, I’m starting to get the chance to get some wear out of my cool weather threads. Anyone else after months of 90 degree weather reaching for the heavy sweater when its 50 degrees out? I’ve felt the itch to dig back through the pile a little more during these cooler past few days. Mostly for long sleeved tops I don’t care about to work in the garden, even though I kept one old long sleeved, short sleeved and tank top in my drawer for this purpose. These changes made have made a huge difference already though and resulted in wearing things from my closet that were barely ever worn before because now I don’t have the old worn out stuff to lean on. By trying to wear everything I have, I’m hoping this will help to finalize which items left in my closet should remain and which should go.
Thanks for stopping by! 🙂