building a minimalist wardrobe: tips and reflections

Over the past year, a goal of mine has been to do a closet purge. Instead of donating a clothing item or two, I wanted to go big this time. I was sick of hanging on to clothing that a) I wasn’t wearing b) I didn’t love. Recently, I finally had time to clean out my closet. Here’s a few tips that worked well for me when getting started:

  1. take ALL of your items out of the closet
  2. have three designated areas where you can place piles of clothing
  3. separate clothing into three categories: 1) love it & would wear it 2) not sure 3) this needs to go
  4. put #1 clothes back into your closet. take #3 clothes out of your room, put them into a box or bag and next to the door (or straight into your car). these clothes are being donated
  5. go through your #2 clothes, the “not sure” pile. try on every piece of clothing and see what you think. you’ll be putting some back in your closet and others will go to your donation pile
  6. if you are still stuck with some “not sure” items, sleep on it. but don’t put these clothes back in your closet. keep them someplace visible and go through them again in a day or two.

When I reflect on this experience, I’d say that it was the most productive and efficient spring cleaning that I’ve ever done. While I was overwhelmed to start the closet purge, when I finally got going it was simple and quick. I LOVE how my closet looks now vs. before. It’s a lot easier for me to find what I want to wear in the mornings.

Surprisingly, I’ve run into one hiccup post-closet purge. Remorse. Of all of the clothing that I donated, there’s ONE sweater that I miss. I attempted to wear it the other day and then realized that it was gone. I gave it away because it doesn’t fit me well (read: not flattering), BUT, there was just something about it that I liked. And it holds some sentimental value. I feel sad that it’s gone. Part of me wants to scream, “get a grip!” but then I remember why we have hoarding and cluttered homes. We DO get attached to stuff. To things. We all know that we shouldn’t, but we do. So what do we do when we find our self kinda sad that we gave an item away in the pursuit of minimalism?

For me, the following has helped:

  1. I pray for whoever wears my sweater next (& hopefully it’s more flattering on them than it ever was for me)
  2. I remind myself that even if I kept the sweater, it could get ruined (staining or in the wash) or lost
  3. I think: better to give it away now while it’s still in style than to keep it for many years and then no one wants it
  4. I remember that I can’t take material items with me when I die
  5. I smile when I think of a precious time when I was wearing the sweater and I’m thankful for the gift of memory

Thinking of cleaning out your closet? Go for it! Have reflections from doing a major closet purge? Please share. And for those pursuing a minimalist lifestyle, keep on keeping on. It IS a journey. But I’m so glad to be on this road.

4 thoughts on “building a minimalist wardrobe: tips and reflections”

  1. I have to remind myself not to compare with others or contentment disappears and regret (about letting go) steals the joy of focusing less on possessions.

  2. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten that helped changed my mindset about decluttering was, “when you take everything out of the space, only put back what your ideal self would have”. It’s definitely helped me with my closet, and helps me let go of items I keep because they’re “okay”, but I don’t really need or enjoy. I’ve found that I keep so many items for no particular reason other than I can’t find a good enough reason to let go of them. A minimalist mindset flips this on its head: I have to find reasons to keep things I don’t need, not reasons to get rid of them.

    1. This right here makes all the difference. thanks! “A minimalist mindset flips this on its head: I have to find reasons to keep things I don’t need, not reasons to get rid of them.”

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