It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s easier to get dressed the fewer clothes I have. Last spring, inspired by Courtney Carver’s 333 Project, I had determined a 30-item* warm weather wardrobe. I put cold weather items in a separate closet (and did not wear them) and I donated any other warm weather items that didn’t make my top 30 cut.
The more I simplify my closet, the easier it gets. What else helps me?
- Not second guessing. If the fit or my enthusiasm is borderline, I donate.
- Using drop boxes in parking lots. I make small donations regularly rather than waiting to accumulate a large bag for a trip to the donation center.
- Asking myself if someone else could be using the clothes or benefiting from their sale. Why did I have a huge parka in my closet unused for 7 years? How many old t-shirts and jeans do I really need to keep for household chores?
- Buying better quality.
- Shopping ethically. I agree with my sister-in-law who noted recently how good she feels when wearing clothes she feels good about!
Last week, I selected my cold weather wardrobe of 30 items that will serve me until May. In preparation, I bought one good pair of jeans made in the USA to replace 3 poorly-fitting pairs. Then I went through all my cold weather items and selected my 30 – this is all I will wear until the weather warms up. There were around 20 items to donate, most of which are in great shape and fit me, but had to go. There was some overlap with the warm weather wardrobe, so there are actually under 50 items total for the year.
I’ve got 47 pieces of clothing in my closet for the year that I can wear to work, on weekends, or to social events! My mother told me that, at one point in her childhood, she had two dresses to choose from when getting ready for school. I don’t think she was exaggerating – she grew up in the 1940’s with little material wealth in a small rural community. It’s a reminder of a different time and a different meaning of “I’ve got nothing to wear.” 47 sounds like A LOT! So I’m not planning on any clothes shopping until at least spring. If I feel a desire for something new for a special event or I receive an item as a gift, something in the 30 has to go.
My closet was previously filled with a lot of clothes that I just sorta liked – stuff that had to be moved when I moved, took up space, made choosing what to wear harder, and that I felt guilty about not wearing. My wardrobe is becoming intentional, not haphazard, but is still transitional. As I move towards living simpler, I know that my wardrobe will get pared down more and more. Again I see how minimizing provides a greater appreciation for what I actively choose to keep.
* These 30 items exclude jewelry, accessories, underwear, fitness clothing, pjs, footwear and coats (all of which I’ve purged separately).
- If you are thinking about reducing the number of items in your closet, check out Courtney Carver’s Project 333 – wearing a maximum of 33 items per season (including jewelry, accessories, jackets, and shoes).
- See my previous post not made in the usa for thoughts on ethical shopping that make a minimized closet easier.
- Who’s making your clothes? “In 1965, 95% of US clothes were domestically made. Today 97% of clothing sold in the United States is manufactured elsewhere.” More info at Eileen Fisher.
- Give me gratitude or give me debt by Glennon Doyle Melton. I admire her “You guys. I’ve got a REFRIGERATOR!” gratitude – that sounds like the way I’m feeling when I consider I have 47 clothing items I really like – thankful!