Minimizing has been a really important topic for me lately. And it all started with minimizing my wardrobe. I stumbled upon and watched The 10 Item Wardrobe TEDx Talk from Jennifer L. Scott and it inspired me. It made me realize the importance of my choices and what I spend my money on. Watch her inspiring talk here:
Ever since I was little, all I wanted was more. More candy, more attention, more friends. I didn’t ever really focus on the quality of these things, I only wanted more. I specifically remember that when I was little my dad would give me $1 on Fridays to get candy at the snack bar. I would get the cheapest candy I could, so I could get the most of it. This usually consisted of Lemonheads, Now & Laters and other fruity treats. The issue? I LOVE chocolate. But if i spent my money on chocolate, I would only get one candy bar. So I decided that I would rather have a lot of candy that I didn’t really like, than to have one piece of candy that I did like.
And that was pretty much my model for life. I would buy the most clothes I could, for the cheapest price. I may not have liked them as much, they may not have been the best quality, but I had a larger quantity. I always went for quantity, not quality. Which isn’t really how the saying goes. But I would bet that a lot of us fall into this same trap.
Our culture focuses on more, just as Jennifer L. Scott points out. If we can change our mindset and put the focus on quality instead of quantity, it can truly improve our lives.
How To Minimize Your Wardrobe
So, I started my minimizing journey with my wardrobe. I went through everything in my closet, just like Jennifer suggests, and asked myself these 5 questions:
- Does this fit me?
- Is this age appropriate?
- Is this my true style?
- Do I love this?
- Do I wear this?
I ran into a roadblock regarding the question “Is this my true style?”. “Umm, what is my style?” I asked myself. So I took a look at my clothes, noticed what colors I have the most of and took note of what “style” the clothes I loved the most were. I also looked back at my Pinterest clothing boards to see what I’d been pinning, what I was drawn to, what immediately caught my eye. This process helped me decipher my style.
After that it was pretty simple. I was able to get rid of almost half of my clothing just based on the question “Do I wear this?” alone. It did take some motivation, but after I removed a lot, I just kept going. I will say though that I’m definitely not down to a 10 item wardrobe. I think it’ll take some time to get there, but I’m not giving up!
Change How You Shop
This process has also changed how I shop. Like I said, I used to be in it for the deals. I went for the thrill of the buy, not because I actually needed something. Now I follow these guidelines when shopping:
- Decide before you go what you need to buy. It can be general like tops or pants, but the more specific you are, the more likely you are to get something you truly love.
- Don’t compromise! So many times I’ll have in my mind exactly what I want and then when I get there, they have something similar so I get it, but then later I’m disappointed. Wait for the right buy! It’s out there and you’ll feel so much better when you get what you actually want.
- Only buy items that match 3 other things in your closet. I read this tip in a post and I love it! Here’s an example, I bought a shirt that matched a pair of pants, a sweater and a scarf that I already owned. This rule also helps you stick to your true style, because if it matches what’s already in your closet, it’s probably your style.
- Think, think, think. Take your time. Try on different sizes. So many times I just want to zoom in and out, again only buying things that I’m later disappointed in. Find the size that really fits and ask yourself how often you will be able to wear the item.
- Be realistic. Is this something that you will wear again and again or is this just something that will eventually sit in the back of my closet? Don’t be persuaded by the thrill of the buy.
- Don’t be afraid to return something. If you sober up from an impulse buy to see that you really don’t have anything that matches it, it doesn’t really fit or you were trying to step outside of your style, don’t be afraid to return it. You’ll feel much better getting your money back than letting it sit in the back of your closet.
As I’ve been applying these tips, my wardrobe has turned into something I really love. When I first got rid of a lot of my clothes, I felt like I didn’t like anything in my closet. But now it’s starting to take shape and I’m making better decisions. I also feel better about my spending habits and don’t look at shopping as a release anymore. Well, most of the time!
These ideas have also carried over into other areas of my life. I cleaned out my jewelry box (there was A LOT I didn’t ever wear), my toiletries and my pantry. It has removed clutter and I feel good when I see that my home is organized. And I focus more on making good buying decisions, instead of just wanting more, more, more.
Minimizing rewards us with a more simplified life. No more forcing ourselves to wear clothes we don’t like just because it’s in our closets! It saves time. Time that we can then spend on important things, like more time with friends and family. Take the plunge and see what minimizing could mean for your life.
Are you excited to minimize your wardrobe? What are you hoping to get out of it?