One of the main things people do when they want to live a minimalist lifestyle is to work on paring down their wardrobe.
There are several benefits to having fewer clothes, including being more eco-friendly. And, there are steps and tips to help you create a minimalist wardrobe that will satisfy your needs.
The Benefits of a Minimalist Wardrobe
Here are some of the potential benefits of owning less clothing at one time:
- Your budget will improve as you spend less on clothes.
- Trying to figure out what to wear is less stressful without so many choices.
- This aspect of your life is organized and creates a feeling of accomplishment.
- Less time on wardrobe issues frees you up for other things.
When you declutter and organize any area of your life, you’ll reap benefits that snowball into other aspects of daily living. Plus, less buying is better for the environment.
Let’s go on to how you go about creating your minimalist wardrobe.
Steps to Create a Minimalist Wardrobe
Here are steps to start getting your clothes habit under control for convenience and a minimalist approach:
1. Set Aside Time for the Job
If you have a large wardrobe, don’t decide to tackle the job of decluttering it with only an hour to spare before an important appointment.
To get the job done properly, this is something you need to schedule for half a day or more to get it done right. You might even want to invite a friend to help and provide moral support.
2. Don’t Forget Other Closets
When we talk about clothes, it’s natural to think about bedroom closets and drawers. That’s where the bulk of most people’s wardrobes is located.
However, you’ll also find clothing in other areas of the home such as the mudroom, garage, or basement. It’s especially true for outerwear.
You can collect up everything and cover it all in one go, or you can break the job down into smaller sessions. Starting with the bedroom, you can work outward to other areas of your wardrobe over several periods.
You’ll know your situation best to make that call.
3. Empty the Closet and Drawers
The first thing you need to do is get everything out in the open where you can see it. Then you work backward by putting back into the closets and drawers only the things you’re keeping.
This works best because everything is out of the closets and drawers at the start, forcing you to make the decision before putting it back.
4. Ditch the Obvious Discards
After you’ve emptied the closets and drawers, it’s time to get rid of things you know you aren’t going to keep. They may be worn out or you just don’t want them for some reason.
Some of these items will have been buried at the back of a drawer or closet and you’ll have forgotten about them. Now it’s time to bring them to light and deal with them.
To get rid of the obvious discards, make two piles. One for the trash and one for items to donate, give away, swap, or sell. It’s more eco-friendly to keep as much out of the trash as you can. Always recycle and reuse whenever possible.
Important note: If you’re going to swap or sell things, be very careful not to fall back into accumulation mode and make matters worse for your own wardrobe.
5. Make a “Sort Later” Pile
After you’ve dealt with the things that obviously need to go, you can create a “sort later” pile. There are inevitably going to be items that you aren’t sure about.
It’s okay to put those articles aside and come back to them when you’ve finished with the no-brainer clothing.
Keep this pile until everything else is finished, or even for a day or so after. Then, revisit it and make a final decision on the items.
Note: Don’t put off dealing with this pile for too long. You don’t want it to become a bag in the corner that’s never finished.
Some tips for dealing with the more difficult items include:
- When was the last time you wore it?
- Does another item serve the same purpose?
- Is someone else more likely to use it?
- How does it really make you feel?
- Does it actually look good, or do you wish it did?
Don’t let the “later” pile linger. Do the tough work and develop a truly minimalist lifestyle.
When you finish working through the steps, your closet and drawers should only contain clothing you truly intend to keep and use. Everything else should be trashed or gone to a new home.
But do keep in mind, you can be minimalist and have some items that you keep for special occasions. It doesn’t mean you have a closet with just 3 t-shirts on hangers that you wear over and over.
Tips for Creating a Minimalist Wardrobe
Now that you know the steps to take for creating a minimalist wardrobe, here are some tips to help you achieve your goal, and keep it going long-term.
Choose Fewer Colors
Instead of trying to work with a rainbow in your closet, choose a couple of colors that you prefer and make them the basis of your wardrobe.
It also cuts down on accumulation if you choose shades that work well in several seasons so that some items get a longer shelf life.
Set a Clothing Budget
One way to nip the overspending on clothing is to set a budget at the outset. Budgeting is a very underused tool to avoid accumulating items that aren’t necessary.
Even if you need reminders to keep the clothing sprees in check, setting a limit from the start will give you the mindset to make conscious decisions.
Limit Shopping Trips
Limit your shopping trips to just necessities. Avoid going to the shopping mall to “browse.” It’s a recipe for impulse buying.
If you feel the urge to just go “see what’s new,” find something else to do. It’s a good idea to develop a hobby to distract you from filling time with window shopping.
Embrace One of Everything
You honestly don’t need four raincoats and six winter coats. Decide how many of each type of clothing you actually need to have and reduce your wardrobe accordingly.
Buy Quality to Last
When you can, buy quality clothing that will last longer and cut down on spending and the need to shop. If you shop for sales, you won’t spend as much or need to replace them as often.
When a Sale is Not a Sale
Speaking of sales… they can be a good thing. But they can also be a trap. Be careful not to spend too much time at the sales rack.
A sale is only a true sale if you actually need the item. If you buy something at a discount and don’t need it, you haven’t saved any money. People like to say, “You can’t go wrong at that price!” But you can.
Use these steps and tips to get your runaway wardrobe under control and embrace the freedom of a minimalist lifestyle.