I don’t own so many clothes these days. In fact, this is more or less the contents of my closet! And while it feels strange to be sharing something as personal as my wardrobe, it’s something I’m often asked about. A few years ago I made the decision to reduce it to only the essentials (37 items) making packing, moving and life much easier. I’ve never looked back, so want to share what I’ve learnt!
I adopted minimalism as a lifestyle quite a few years ago; the idea of removing the non-essential in order to focus on what’s most important. It means many different things to different people; but for me it’s about living a simpler life (not trying to own or do too many things) and instead putting my energy into travel, creativity and the people I love. And so, this idea extended to my wardrobe too.
NOTHING TO WEAR
I used to have wardrobes full of stuff (in different countries!) yet always felt like I had nothing to wear. Whenever I was feeling a little down I would head to the shops, filling my wardrobe with the treasures I brought home. I’d buy things because they were on sale. I’d buy things that might fit me one day. I’d buy things for special occasions that I’d never wear again. I’d buy things that reflected the place I was visiting but didn’t really reflect me. I moved things from country to country just in case. It was ridiculous.
One evening, I laid out all my clothes and pretended I was packing for a short trip. I naturally gravitated towards the stuff I love wearing (yes, mostly black) and discovered it all worked together. The stuff left behind was filler I’d accumulated over the years. I donated all of these clothes. It included things that:
– I hadn’t worn recently (or was saving for a rainy day that never came)
– Didn’t fit me (or I thought might fit me one day, but probably wouldn’t)
– Was a style I used to wear (that didn’t suit me anymore)
– Was uncomfortable to wear (needed adjusting or I didn’t feel good in)
– Was expensive, sentimental or a gift (and that was the only reason I was keeping it)
Anything I felt nervous about, I boxed for three months and then donated (I never opened that box to retrieve anything). I also realized I don’t really wear jewelry (it’s all gone) and having five similar black jackets is useless; you’ll only ever wear your favorite one.
A FEW YEARS ON
Changing my habits was a long process, but it’s not one I regret. While I still love shopping, these days I’m much more selective and only buy things I truly love. I select items that suit me and that I want to wear immediately, regardless of occasion! It’s saved money and made packing tons easier, both for trips and moving too. And it’s so much easier to get dressed in the mornings when you love everything in your closet!
WANT TO TRY?
One of my favorite authors on this topic is Caroline Rector of Unfancy who has written extensively about what a capsule wardrobe is, how to build one with only 37 items and has shared many wardrobe examples from her experience. It’s the season for spring cleaning after all!