Minimalism can be overwhelming. If you’re like me, anyway. Read, read, read, research, learn…then do. I did that. I ALWAYS do that. But in this case, I decided to put down the capsule wardrobe, and just start working on getting rid of the things I did not need.
If you read some/most/all of the minimalist fashion blogs, they suggest capsule wardrobes of a certain amount of items each season, around a theme, or color palette. I thought about that. What a nice idea! But it wasn’t working for me. I’ve always bought things that all “go” together, and in certain colors (black, white or grey) with some olive/military green, and one or two accents here and there, so I didn’t need to organize my closet around a color palette; it was already there.
I’ve also tried challenges off and on, 10 items for 2 weeks, 30 items for 30 days, and I thought about doing 30 items for 3 months, but all that does, in my opinion, is get you to compartmentalize your wardrobe, which may be useful for some, but it’s not what I want to do. I WANT to have all my clothing in one closet, all together, so I can see what I have all year. I’m “lucky” in that I live in a fairly moderate climate most of the time (I don’t need more than one coat) and my life is ultra-casual (I don’t need “work” clothes). And what I’ve found is that when I do separate my closet and put away winter things, I forget what I have and/or don’t appreciate them as much. Also, I don’t WEAR the things I put away as much, because out of sight, out of mind.
So, I started my purge with that in mind: that I wanted everything to fit in one closet, and I want to see everything I own, all year. I moved the heavier cardigans and long sleeves towards the back with the jackets, and tanks/t-shirts towards the front.
I should have done this methodically. I wish I’d counted the number of items I had before my “big closet purge” and could compare it with what’s left, but I didn’t. All I know, is I have a LOT LESS than I used to, probably one third. And now everything is in one closet (or half of said closet, because I share it with my husband) where before it was spread out in another closet and in boxes.
All that remains is 100 items of clothing:
15 Dresses (9 black ones)
13 Pants/skirts/leggings (9 black)
6 Pairs of jeans
22 Short sleeve-t-shirts/tank tops (9 black & 9 white)
19 Long sleeve tops (6 black and 6 grey)
15 Sweatshirts, cardigans and jackets (7 grey)
10 Cashmere sweaters & cardigans (mostly grey)
I did NOT count my exercise clothes, or “home” clothes in this list. And I’ve obviously not included shoes or bags. I’ll talk about those another time.
I’m pretty happy with this number, actually. It seems “right” more or less, and something I can stick to or under (not that I was trying to aim to have a particular number of clothing items left, however). Although I have to say that as I was counting and writing the list of everything I have left, I was tempted to get rid of even more. But I’ve decided to stop purging for now, and just live for a while with what I have.
For example, I have four black short-sleeve t-shirts: one v-neck, one scoop neck, one cap-sleeve, and one crew neck (all James Perse). I don’t wear black t-shirts very often, but I’d like to go through another fall/winter and see what I grab to layer with, if anything. Whatever I don’t wear, I’ll purge.
There are also a few things in here that I’d love to replace when I can. I’m trying to find a more comfortable button-down shirt dress (uh…this one will do) to replace the chambray one from H&M I have now. When I do, I’ll donate the H&M one. Also, I’d like to replace my asymmetrical HELMUT zip/sweatshirt jacket this fall with a black blazer, so I’ll sell that when I find one I like.
My ultimate goal for this process is to get down even more to JUST what I need. Honestly, for my lifestyle, I don’t need much…to do that, though, I’ll have to be much more methodical, carefully paying attention to what I REALLY wear and what I don’t. As it is now, I THINK I don’t wear something very often, but maybe I do, and just don’t realize it. If in a year, for example, I don’t wear the black v-neck short sleeve t-shirt ONCE, then it’s time to get rid of it.
So, as you can see, this is just the beginning of my journey, but one that I’m very excited about continuing. I feel more free, lighter, already, although I do still struggle with balancing my “job” – shopping, essentially, and then talking about it – with buying less (can I just tell you how HARD it was to close out of the James Perse sale on Hautelook yesterday?? it was FULL of amazing pieces). That will take some time to figure out, especially when James Perse comes out with exclusive Birkenstocks. I mean…how can I resist those?
Kidding aside, I know I have a lot to work on still, but I’ve made a good start.
Who else is trying to get rid of STUFF? Why? What is your process so far?
(Stay tuned next week for The Minimal Closet : Am I A Shopaholic?) *cue dramatic soap opera music*