Friday, December 21, 2012

Minimalism and my Closet

When I first started reading up on minimalism, what struck me was the concept of the minimalist wardrobe.  Miss Minimalist has her post on her unbelievable 10-item wardrobe, Everyday Minimalist posted about the 30 and extreme 15 piece wardrobe.  I was fascinated by this concept.  I've read on many minimalist websites that on average we wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time.  This made total sense to me.  There are plenty of items in my collection that I rarely reach for, and a select few I gravitate towards constantly.  Why should I even be keeping the pieces I never seem to choose to wear?  Should I keep a piece just because I spent money on it, even if I don’t enjoy it? Since the big move, I have gone through my wardrobe piece by piece 3 times and used the following criteria:

·         If I haven’t worn it in the past year – donate
·         If it no longer fits and cannot be altered – donate
·         If it does not fit my current style – donate
·         If it has holes or stains – throw or donate

Both times I gave away between 1-2 shopping bags worth of clothing to charity.  And I can’t say I have missed those pieces, and I can’t even remember what most of them even were. 

I set two goals for myself:
  1.  Reduce my clothing so it fits into ONE suitcase.
  2. Try not to purchase any new clothing items for an entire year.
To achieve goal one I instituted a process I read about on multiple blog sites.  I placed a shopping bag in the back of the closet.  Anytime I try on an item and don’t LOVE it, I put it in the bag.  If after a month or so, if I have not thought about it or wanted to wear it, I donate it to charity.  This trick has worked very well for me, and I can confidently say that since the move I have scaled down on my wardrobe by about 40%.

Goal number two has been very difficult, and I broke after 4 months of no purchases.  The break was also not because I NEEDED something.  I had had a horrible day at my job and was feeling sad, homesick, lonely and was low in the self-esteem department.  So I did the worst thing anyone trying to live minimally could do; I went to the mall.  At the mall I feel most at home because it is the most ‘American’ thing I can find in my current country of residence.  And I bought…cute pjs…  Not a proud moment in my new minimalist life style.  Even as I waited for the bus outside the mall, buyer’s remorse set in…  As I admitted my folly to my husband, he reminded me that it is ok to buy new, as long as something old goes out.  So I chose a pj shirt and pants that I wear less often, and put it in the donation bag at the back of the closet.  I have since thoroughly enjoyed my new items and have not thought about retrieving my old ones at all.  I did learn from this experience though.  Shopping when I’m having a bad day is NOT the answer.  And I have found other ways to treat myself instead of accumulating THINGS.

What are your thoughts on retail therapy?  Have you found other ways to turn a bad day around?  What about wardrobe maintenance and control?  As always, would love to know your thoughts!