This month’s mini-challenge for 200 days of nothing new is adopting a minimalist, or more minimalist, lifestyle, including a more minimalist wardrobe. You want to be coming out of this month with less things, more organization and a lighter state of being. I decided to follow the KonMari method for downsizing. This post is about achieving a minimalist wardrobe.
The KonMari method teaches us that it is impossible to get organized without downsizing our possessions. As outlined in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, the KonMari method is truly life-changing (as claimed!)
The method suggests that you start your downsizing journey with your closet. As I had downsized my closet last year, during my first 200 days, I was honestly expecting this to be a breeze. I thought I’d be getting rid of 5-10 items max – heck, I was even planning on doing some shopping to fill in the gaps in my closet, thinking I was almost at my ideal minimalist wardrobe anyways.
How wrong I was.
It’s really hard to ascertain how much you truly own because you regularly use only a small portion of all of your possessions. This is why I would highly recommend going through the same exercise I had with all of your stuff, especially your closet. Carefully counting what you have is the only way to truly know the quantity and quality of the things sitting around in your home.
You don’t know what you don’t know
As KonMari suggests, I grabbed all of the clothing I had everywhere in the house. Everything from jackets, to socks, to PJs. The only thing I excluded from this operation was my pair of cleats, my rock climbing shoes, fashion jewelry and fine jewelry.
I started by laying everything on my Queen sized bed, grouping clothing by categories. To my dismay (and my husband’s, who wanted to take a nap), the bed was completely covered, so I had to expand the operation to the bedroom floor.
Seeing the total volume of my clothing spread out before my eyes was shocking.
Tallying it all up was even more shocking.
219 pieces of clothing!
With just the amount of long-sleeve blouses and pants I have, I can make 27*15=405 outfit combinations.
And why do I have 22 pairs of shoes?!
This exercise was very sobering. I had no idea how much clothing I possessed – if you would have asked me before I counted, I would have said maybe 50-60 pieces total.
I took my couple hundred (lol) pieces of clothing and put them into a gigantic pile. Still shaking from the initial shock of realizing what a clothing hoarder I really was, I resolved to to cut the amount by half. Thankfully, the KonMari method had excellent advice on how to decide what to keep, and what to toss.
Does it spark joy?
Many articles about downsizing your closet suggests things like only keeping the things you actually wear, or keeping a set number of items in every clothing category.
The KonMari offers an alternative point of view. Only keep the items that give you joy.
You must take the clothing in your hands, reflect deeply on whether or not this item truly gives you joy, and toss it otherwise
I took every piece from my monster clothing pile in my hands, from shirt to sock, and asked my heart “does this spark joy?”
This method allowed myself to detach from things I’d been keeping for sentimental reasons, or because they had been expensive, or because I thought I might use them “one day”.
Taking no prisoners
Many articles and YouTube videos on downsizing one’s closet suggest keeping a “maybe” pile.
Not for me.
I decided to only keep things that I love. I wanted to cut down the volume of my clothing quite drastically, so anything I was on the fence about was out.
So, did I achieve a 50% reduction in the size of my wardrobe?
No. I reduced my clothing by over 30% and downsized 57 pieces of clothing/pairs of shoes, excluding underwear and socks.
Am I sad that I didn’t reach my goal of 50%?
A little. I still have 130 pieces of clothing – not exactly a minimalist wardrobe.
I do hope to reduce my closet further over the next few weeks to months. That being said, achieving a minimalist lifestyle isn’t a numbers game. It’s not a contest for who can have the least amount of stuff. It’s about buying less, needing and loving what you own.
Speaking of love…
A New, ‘More’ Minimalist Wardrobe
Now that I’ve methodically gone through my clothes and identified what I really love and what I do not, I am 100% happier with my wardrobe. Instead of walking into what seemed like a clothes cluster bomb that exploded, now everything fits comfortably on hangers in my closet (even my t-shirts). Not exactly “KonMari”, which recommends folding your clothing into drawers, but that’s what works for me.
My (old) clothes are off to a better place
Now that I have these three big bags of clothes, what to do?
For the less nice pieces, I’ll be donating them.
I’ll be creating a winter capsule minimalist wardrobe to further reduce the amount of clothing presently in my closet. I feel that what is holding me back from owning less is my uncertainty of what I really need to get through the varying seasons of Canada and what I will not. Approaching my wardrobe in a structured way will help with this.