living simply (one): wardrobe minimalism

Here’s the deal:  I’ve been feeling like I should do this for a long, long time.  I’ve recognized that I need to simplify for a while, but, oh how I have procrastinated doing anything to actually make progress towards a simpler life.  I thought about how busy I was with a new baby.  I thought about how much time it would take to clean up.  The idea stressed me out and overwhelmed me.  I convinced myself I just wasn’t the organized type. But, the thing about excuses is that they’re just excuses, which get in the way of doing what you know you actually need to do.

Then I read Jen Hatmaker’s book.  I love the subtitle: “Staging an Experimental Mutiny on Excess.”  I read it and I knew.  I knew that it was time to finally do something.  I need a mutiny against excess!  I have so much, when others are struggling to have enough. So, I finally hunkered down to do something about it.

One of the areas in which I’ve completely chucked self-discipline out the window is my wardrobe.  I don’t wear half of what’s in my closet, yet I’ve continued to buy new clothes whenever I see something I like.  My style has evolved in the last few years, but rather than replacing still-nice clothes that I rarely wear, I’ve just kept them all.  As a result, I have a closet and  dresser overflowing with clothing that I never wear, while I re-wear the same rotation of items that I love (like that one perfect white tee four times a week, thanks).

I stumbled across this “minimalist fashion” blog about keeping a capsule wardrobe. It gave me the final push I needed to simplify!“““` Caroline, the author, has different “capsules” of clothing for different seasons, as dictated by the weather, with only 37 articles in each one (including outerwear and shoes!).  I was astonished.

So, as Caroline suggests, I took everything out of my closet and whittled it down to a reasonable amount.  I ended up with about 40 items.  I’m a little embarrassed, honestly, because 40 items sounds like more than enough and I had nearly triple that before I went through all of it.

It’s been a few weeks now since I actually cleared out the closet, so I’ve had some time to reap the benefits of a pared down wardrobe.  So far, it really has simplified my routine.  I take less time to get ready in the morning, which has given me a lot more time than I expected. I never would’ve thought that exercising closet-constraint would actually free things up so nicely. My mornings before work feel downright leisurely.  And really, is there anything better than a leisurely morning?

My closet (and the rest of the bedroom, if I’m being honest) is so much cleaner.  I can see everything I need and find it quickly.

The biggest change this has made for me is the way it changes my perspective on impulse buying. I was socking away a good amount of money each month on all the t-shirts from Target I could get my hands on, only to wear the same three over and over. Now, I consider the pieces I already have in my wardrobe (which I can do quickly because it’s, you know, minimal) and whether I really could and would use something new. Most of the time, the answer is no.

So, here’s to the start of a simpler, more generous life.  I like the way it looks so far.



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