Decluttering/Organising / Life / Living Frugally

{Real Living} Embracing a Minimalish Wardrobe

Before and After Minimalish Wardrobe

My friends and I used to joke that I have enough clothes to wear a different item every day, without ever having to repeat an outfit.

While it’s true that that was (is) a joke, the reality is that I have far more clothes than I need. The reason for the glut of garments relates to my need for possessions, and the link to self-worth. While I used to buy things to make the house beautiful (to make up for the fact that my body was never going to fit into designer jeans or trendy dresses), I used to buy clothes to emphasise the fact that you didn’t have to be thin to look beautiful.

I have quite a good sense of style; I know what looks good, and perhaps more importantly, what looks good on me. But wearing it more than once wasn’t an option. OK, I would think to myself they already know I look good in that outfit, now I have to show them I can look good in something else. Occasionally, if I was going to events, parties or gatherings where the people would all be different from a previous event, party or gathering, I might deign to repeat an outfit. But more often than not I would just buy a new one. And new jewellery to go with it.

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The end result was a bulging wardrobe and chest of drawers, despite the fact that I frequently donated clothing to charities. I shudder to think how much money I have spent on clothing that I have only worn once or twice (or perhaps not at all).

I have known this for quite some time, but I’ve never really felt ready to let go of the self-worth that comes with being able to rock 365 different outfits. And then, one day, I was reading a blog post about Montessori. I love Montessori (and Steiner, and Reggio) and one of the things that I love about it is its sense of space. There’s no clutter, everything has space and clean lines. I was hoping to replicate this in the decluttering of my house, but it’s a slow, slow process (the Rumpus room is cleaner than it was, but not as clean as I would like it to be eight months later).

From that blog post I found a blog called Unfancy. This blog (currently on hiaitus) extolled the virtues of something called a capsule wardrobe. While I don’t think that I’m ready for a capsule wardrobe (partly because I don’t think that Melbourne’s weather is extreme enough to warrant vastly different outfits between Summer and Winter), I was inspired to take stock of what I owned and to consider how much of it I really needed.

Surprisingly the answer was not a lot. I began by removing every single item from my wardrobe. I returned 40 items to it. I didn’t do a before count, but by examining how many count hangers I had left over, I guesstimate that I remove approximately 80 items of clothing from my cupboard. It wasn’t easy; I loved a lot of those items.

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I got rid of a beautiful lightweight dressing gown that I bought a few years ago, and only wore on a handful of occasions. I originally purchased it thinking I could wear it on Christmas Day when the kids were opening presents. That way, if I accidentally ended up in any of the photos, I would look nice. The reality is that if there’s photos of me in a dressing gown then it means I have horrible greasy bedhair. No amount of gorgeous dressing gown can save that. So it went.

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I got rid of two black pleated skirts that I had never worn. I love pleated skirts. I especially love back pleated ones. But these just did not sit right on me and so instead of hanging onto them for when I lose weight, off they went.

I found a skirt I purchased more than ten years ago and wore to a wedding once. I love that skirt with a passion (it had moved house with me multiple times because I loved it that much). I loved it so much that I didn’t wear it in case it got wrecked. But it didn’t fit any more, and as I looked at it, I realised that what I loved about it was the belt, so I rescued that but the skirt got ditched. I suspect that very soon even the belt will be gone.

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The same thing happened in my chest of drawers. Everything came out and only 16 items went back in. Approximately 30 items got the chop.

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That also included items of which it was not easy to let go. I still remember buying these tshirts more than 15 years go. I had lost a whole bunch of weight and was rocking boots a denim skirt and these tshirts and feeling oh-so-fab. No matter how much I loved these tops and how much I enjoyed reminiscing when I looked at them, they’d done their duty and it was time for them to move on. As an added bonus not only do my drawers close easily, but I have space! Space! For years I have been bemoaning the fact that we need a bigger house, or more storage or SOMETHING but the reality was that I just needed fewer things.

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I originally decided that I would try to pare my possessions down to 150 items.  This would comprise of:

15 shoes

40 dresses

15 bottoms (pants/shorts/skirts)

40 tops (t-shirts/blouses)

15 jackets

25 jumpers (including cardigans)

I have to admit that I think this is going to get a shake up once I finish my purge (even after getting rid of something like 25 pairs of shoes, I still have 19 pairs and I’m not ready to let any of those go yet) but even if I don’t quite make it, I still think that I’m much closer to having a wardrobe under control than I was before.

Have you embraced a minimalish wardrobe?

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2 thoughts on “{Real Living} Embracing a Minimalish Wardrobe

  1. Well done with your major cull! Isn’t it the most amazing feeling? I too used to think you. Couldn’t re wear things but although there are the occasional frustrations I’ve felt so much better with less! The real challenge now is not shopping 🙂

    Lovely post
    Jess
    Therealjlow

  2. Yes and it’s wonderful! After the big clear out I tended to go back now and then to have another sort through. Gradually I got rid of more. Not buying things also helps keep the wardrobe small!

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