Howdy, friends! Welcome back! This one goes out to all the folks who read my last post and realized that their true calling was to become a minimalist, or to all those who just read whatever I post to keep up with me (Hi mom!).
So You’ve Decided to Minimize Your Wardrobe
Minimalism is not about downsizing your belongings so much that you cross the line into being a cool kid, bragging that you only own five articles of clothing, but feeling uncomfortable with your limited options. It’s about owning only what you need and learning to let go of the rest. Everyone’s minimalist journey is unique, but these are a few steps that I followed/follow to help me transition to a smaller wardrobe more easily.
1. put on every single item of clothing you own
OWN IT GIRL (AND CUPID)
This initial step helps you to get perspective on the clothes that you haven’t seen or felt yourself in for a while. For me, this was the most exhausting step because I used to own a LOT of clothes- an entire walk-in closet stuffed to the brim. This step was also probably the most important because it reminded me of those pieces that I’d been holding on to for “when I lose ten pounds” or that I never really felt comfortable in but that I’d held on to because I thought I needed at least one of them in my wardrobe (i.e. a cocktail dress, a huge winter coat, a matching pair of pjs, etc.). I tried to look critically at every item I put on to challenge myself about whether or not I really enjoy it and if it adds value to my life.
2. get rid of everything except for your favorites
After I tried every item on, I came up with a very simple task for deciding whether or not I would keep it. I asked myself the same question about every single one, and tried to answer myself honestly: “Is this my favorite?” Is this your favorite shirt? Your favorite pair of shorts? And for every time you think “no,” toss it in a Goodwill pile where it might find someone who does cherish it as their favorite. For every time you think “this just might be my favorite shirt,” keep it. Wear it even more!
Our wardrobe defines how we feel about ourselves in most cases, and if we continue to hold on to those items in our closets that don’t really fit our personal styles or our current body shapes, I think we are negatively impacted when we look at those items. I used to keep so many pieces that didn’t look or feel quite right. They weren’t my favorites, but I kept torturing myself with them anyways, and every time I would see them in my closet I would feel a little worse, a little more self conscious, and a little less satisfied with my current body. If you’re holding on to those items that you think will inspire you to lose weight to fit in them, or if you think you’ll wear them when you’re feeling especially confident one day, just do yourself a big fat favor and toss them out!
3. If you’re not sure, pull it out of your wardrobe
If you really aren’t sure, and for some items that will definitely be the case, don’t hand it over to Goodwill quite yet. Instead, just pull it out of your wardrobe and set it aside for a while. I have a little basket in the corner of my room that I continually put items into that I am not quite sure if I love, and if in the next few weeks I think “man, I would love to wear that shirt today,” I pull it back out of the basket and wear it. For the vast majority of things that I pull out of my closet, I never put them back in. In fact, when I look back at the basket I think “wow, why did I ever even keep that in my closet? I would never wear that!” Rule of thumb: if you’re not sure, pull it out.
4. give your old clothes to charity
Whether it’s to a Goodwill-esce thrift store or to a clothing bank that works more directly with people who are homeless, letting your clothes go feels a lot easier when you know that someone else might get more use out of them than you ever did. When you’re giving clothes away, think “is it possible that someone could love this item more than I do?” For most of the items we own in our lives, the answer is a resounding YES. I only know of a few items in my life that I feel confident enough in to say I love it more than most other people could, and it’s usually because the item was gifted to me by someone I love or because I endured an important time in my life and the item reminds me of the time and helps me to reflect on it. Giving your old clothes to charity makes sure that you can feel good about what is happening to the clothes to which you feel emotionally attached but that you know you don’t really love; it helps you to let go of them with the confidence that they could be loved deeply by someone else.
5. keep downsizing
The most important lesson that downsizing has taught me is that I am never done downsizing. Downsizing is a state of mind that you use to critically question the necessity of items you own. It helps you to continue asking yourself whether or not you really need what you have, and why you think your material possessions bring value to your life. When I initially downsized my wardrobe, I donated about eighty percent of the clothes I owned, leaving me with twenty-something shirts and twenty-something pairs of pants, but in the last few months since downsizing, I still find myself looking more skeptically at the items I kept, thinking “even with fewer items, I still don’t really wear this shirt. Do I really need it, or could someone else love it more?” For most or the items that I question, I feel so much better once I throw them in the donate pile, and since my initial downsizing I have already cut my wardrobe almost in half. That means that even after initially downsizing, I was still holding on to twice the amount of clothes that I really needed, wanted, and loved. Today, my closet looks like this (minus two more items from this photo!)
I think you’d be surprised at how very few items you really need and love from your wardrobe. I can also tell you from personal experience how refreshing it feels to simplify a wardrobe. I now have so much easier of a time deciding what I’m going to wear. I never have those mornings where I try on five or more outfits trying to feel right in clothes that I don’t love, eventually settling to feel a little off during the day in whatever outfit I decide on. I feel comfortable and happy, and despite my numerous blog posts talking extensively about it, I really don’t have to think about my clothes much. If you’re feeling inspired to downsize but want to know more of my personal experiences or adventures, just ask! I’d love to help you through it if you think that downsizing can help you to feel even a little lighter and a little happier in this beautiful life.
Peace to you, love to you, and happy minimizing!