It's 3 months since I committed to a 40 piece minimalist wardrobe and I can say, without a scintilla of doubt, that I have no regrets. Getting down to this low a number of clothing items wasn't easy and the last items were particularly hard to lose. However, it was worth it. Having a minimalist wardrobe makes my life simpler and therefore happier. This is what I've learnt from having a 40 piece minimalist wardrobe thus far.
1. With a smaller number of carefully selected items all my clothes are functional and loved. They fit, are comfortable, suit my lifestyle and are in good enough condition.
2. Choosing what to wear takes less time.
3. Washing, ironing and putting away my clothes is quicker.
4. I can wear my favourite clothes every day.
5. My wardrobe space stays tidy without much effort. Bliss.
6. 40 pieces is more than enough items of clothing for me – some items get more wear than others, isn’t that always the case?
7. I don't own occasion wear but have a more flexible wardrobe that can be dressed up or down.
8. I still get a lot of flexibility and different looks from 40 pieces.
9. I've learnt what suits me, feel more confident in outfits and wear them over and over again.
10. I feel confident that in the future I will make less mistakes over clothes and that my wardrobe will become more streamlined and coordinated.
11. Feeling content with my current clothes and enjoying the ease of getting dressed means I hanker less after new clothes and what others are wearing.
Paring down my wardrobe to 40 pieces has been an ongoing, gradual process over the last 4 years. Achieving my goal of a wardrobe that is small, manageable and affordable is a satisfying feeling. Not only have I simplified this area of my daily life but I have also learnt a lot about myself in the process. Stripping back my wardrobe has forced me to take a long hard look at each garment I own and the emotional attachment I have to it. By allowing myself to clear out clothes that I had negative feelings towards I have also cleared out tonnes of emotional baggage in the process. The clothes that were too tight, unflattering or reminders of past overspending have gone and with them their associated feelings of self-loathing, guilt and disappointment. These days my mind is lighter as well as my clothes rail.
We all have different needs, values and emotions tied up in the clothes we buy and the garments we hold onto. Buying and hoarding clothes we hardly wear can lead to negative feelings which in turn can lead us into buying more and more in the vain hope that the next purchase will make us happier. And this is easily done when clothes are so readily available and advertising so seductive. It takes discipline, courage and mounds of mindfulness to change shopping habits but it can be achieved.
Here are a few questions to ponder if you're gearing up to a wardrobe detox or about to make a new clothing purchase.
How many clothes is enough?
Do we buy new clothes to impress others when we don't really need them?
Do we use clothes shopping as a distraction or as a reward?
How much does our self-worth come from the clothes we wear and the image we try to project?
Is looking our best just about the clothes we wear?
How much space, time, money and energy are we prepared to commit to our clothes?
Could the simple pleasure of a tidy capsule wardrobe give longer lasting pleasure than the temporary thrill of a new outfit or “bargain”?
Isn't it time we accepted our body shapes and fluctuations of weight as normal and learn to judge ourselves less critically?
Could we do something more meaningful with our free time other than shopping?
Wouldn't it be a good feeling to look forward to our next clothing purchase knowing we are buying something we need rather than want?
I'm not suggesting we shouldn't enjoy our clothes, fashion and shopping trips or that a minimalist wardrobe will suit everyone. However, I do think a good wardrobe declutter can give us as much a boost as a spot of retail therapy can. Paring down my wardrobe and beginning to build a minimalist collection of clothes that I love has made me a more confident dresser. Here's to minimalist wardrobes, lighter minds and natty dressing!
Have you edited your clothes recently or are you finding it hard to let go of past clothing mistakes? I'd love to hear from you.