I’m so excited for this post. Mitch just commented that I haven’t been this hyped about a post since my minimalist guide from a few weeks ago, and he is totally right because I am so so passionate and excited about this topic. I feel so happy and free in my little minimalist life over here, and one area that I feel the most free in is minimalist traveling. While traveling in the past, I have felt distinctly frustrated while clumsily rushing through an airport while trying to balance the multitude of bags, blankets, pillows, food, water bottles, and sweaters that my friends and I bring with us. It’s always felt like it is simply not worth it to carry so much with me, and packing lighter has been a dream come true for me. Now when I walk through the airport, I have only my backpack on my back, and my hands are free to carry any food I pick up or to carry my water bottle (because if you know me, you know I always have my water bottle in my hand– damn that water stuff is good).
Below is exactly what I packed for the trip that I’m currently on, up in Washington, so I packed a lttle warmer than I would for other trips. Even with a sweater and a blanket for the airplane (not pictured), it was a roomy fit in my backpack. For some items, like the shoes, I simply wore them so there was no need to keep room for them in my backpack. And remember that I wore an entirely separate outfit on the day of the trip, so I essentially have one more outfit that is unaccounted for in this photo.
A couple more quick things to remember: I am traveling for nine days on this trip, including the two days of traveling, so I am definitely planning to rewear a couple of these clothing items. I am purposefully packing items that I can easily mix and match, e.g. all of my pants are high rise, and all of my shirts are crop tops, so they can easily be exchanged for one another. Also, I do have access to a washer and dryer because I’m staying in my in-laws’ house, so I do plan to wash my clothes midway through the trip, extending the life of the clothes that I pack.
If you want to use this as a minimalist traveling guide for yourself and your next trip, save this PDF and check off items as you pack them. These are what I consider to be my absolute essentials, but yours may vary from mine. Happy packing, and happy minimizing!
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.
Hi friends! If you’re thinking “Wow, Kassy has been MIA for a while,” then you’re right! I have had a lot of life adjustments in the last few months, including moving twice, gaining two new friends and roommates, completing my first year of college, and in the process of all of that, I decided to downsize and minimize a LOT of my material possessions.
Actually, I’m skipping over a big (kind of embarrassing) detail about why I downsized so much. See, Mitch and I have been living down here in California for about a year now, going to school, meeting new people, and spending a butt ton on rent. Toward the end of our school year, we realized that we really needed to readjust our costs to keep afloat in the future, and the best way we thought to do that was to move out of the very expensive apartment we were living in. In an attempt to lower our rent costs as much as we possibly could, we started looking at unconventional housing options– why spend so much on rent if we care a lot less about the kind of place we live in and a lot more about the kind of places we could spend money going to with friends instead?
One simple day, we landed on the idea of getting a trailer (SPOILER: WE DIDN’T). We kind of loved the idea. We could buy a trailer, make it our own, park it at a campsite or a trailer park, and live in our tiny little home. In an attempt to pursue this dream, we realized that trailers are indeed tiny. So we decided pursue a back-burner dream of ours: to become hippy minimalists who live in a trailer and eat vegan food.
Over the next month, I really fell in love with the minimalism idea and felt like it aligned with so many things that I agree with and love already. The trailer idea didn’t work out the way we anticipated, and ultimately we moved into an apartments with two new rad roommates, but the minimalist journey continued for me. Before that point, I had been an absolute clothes junkie. I probably went shopping about once a week and every time seemed like a haul. It was always mindless, and looking back I didn’t really enjoy the experience of shopping very much, but rather I enjoyed daydreaming about my future where I would wear the items I had in my cart, where I would look fabulous and fashionable and be the woman of my dreams. Shopping was also my way of “getting out of the house.” I felt like I was doing something valuable by adding to my wardrobe and simultaneously finding a hobby that I could do when I felt lonely or bored without needing or depending on anyone else. My dependence on shopping is so destructive, though. It always made my feel a little empty at the end of the night after shopping, because regardless of the number of clothes I had, I still didn’t’t feel satisfied. I’ve wasted money, time, and effort on it, and boy has it been a learning experience for me. And I say that my dependence “is” destructive instead of “was” because I don’t think that my dependence on shopping is even nearly solved. I still get the urge almost every day to go out and get something, and I work every day to channel what is often my loneliness or boredom into something more productive and fulfilling.
Today, I really only have a small fraction of the clothes that I used to own, with only eight shirts, five pairs of pants, two dresses, two rompers, and a few outfits for work and for the gym. So far, this more minimal lifestyle feels so so good. Though clothes were the hardest and most complicated items that I got rid of, it wasn’t only our wardrobes that we minimized. We ended up taking four or five packed-to-the-brim-with-boxes-on-our-laps trips to Goodwill, dropping off about 80% of our furniture, dishes (even my blogging dishes!), books, towels, bathroom products, and knick knacks. I can’t say exactly how I will feel in the future, but I know that right now, today, I feel good. I feel lighter. I feel like I am doing something good for the world by stopping my clothes habits and creating even more demand for more products. I feel like I’m able to focus more on the things I’m doing than the things I have. I have gone to the gym more. I have gone swimming more. I have read more. I have eaten better. I feel okay. I feel good.
If you’ve experienced a steep downsizing or minimized in your life, what was it like for you? How are you feeling now? Let me know!