Let’s Talk Clothes, Part 1: Minimizing

I’m working my way through a few personal goals related to slow living, minimalism, and more sustainable living.

It has been, and will continue to be, an ongoing process. I’m constantly learning, growing, and changing. Though there are many ways I can do better, I am embracing my imperfect journey and trying my best.

An important aspect of this for me is clothing, which I’m going to chat about today! It also happens to be Fashion Revolution weekβ€”perfect timing to start this series of posts.

Where I started

I had a closet stuffed to the brim with clothes, but only a few pieces that I truly loved, that fit well, and that I wore regularly.

I spent way too long staring at my clothes thinking, hmmm what should I wear….

I usually bought clothing on a whim, or when there were sales on β€” buying whatever I liked the look of with no regard to whether I actually needed that item of clothing.

I gave NO thought to what the clothes I bought were made of, where they were made, who made them, etc.

I had:

  • clothes that I’d never worn with tags still on them
  • clothes that didn’t fit quite right (or at all)
  • clothes that didn’t look flattering on me
  • clothes that I didn’t feel comfortable in but liked the look of
  • clothes that didn’t go with anything else in my closet (no pants to match a top, a dress that needed a different kind of bra, etc.)
  • clothes that I was saving for a specific time or event
  • clothes that I hadn’t worn in ages
  • + just TOO MANY clothes

My process:

First, I took every single item from my closet and made three piles, trying items on as needed:

The “yes” pile: fits well, wear regularly and LOVE β€” would not want to live without it

The “maybe” pile: fits but don’t wear often, not the most flattering, like it but don’t LOVE it, saving for a time when…

The “no” pile: doesn’t fit well/not flattering, haven’t worn in ages.

Next, I went through my “maybe” pile, tried items on, and either put them into the “no” pile or put them back in my closet for a “trial” period.

The majority of my maybe pile ended up in my no pile, OR I kept it for a few weeks, noticed that I really had no desire to wear it, and either donated or sold it. I still have a few pieces “on trial” right now.

My advice: be ruthless! At the beginning it is HARD to let go of things, especially clothes. We often buy clothes that we *wish* would fit us well, look nice on us, or that we hope to have an occasion to wear one day…

If you don’t wear it often, if it doesn’t fit well, and if you don’t LOVE it, toss it in the no pile. You should feel happy to wear the clothes you own.

For me, one of the hardest parts was getting rid of clothes that I hadn’t worn in awhile and was “saving” for the future.

I’m currently a stay-at-home mom, and will be for at least another year and a few months. I had a lot of clothing that I used to wear for work but hadn’t touched since late pregnancy.

Why was I holding on to them?

Because one day I’ll have the need for them again!

But who knows WHEN that will be, whether they’ll fit, or if I’ll even like them whenever that time comes.

Instead of taking up valuable space in my closet, I can either sell them and make money to put towards pieces of clothing that I need right NOW, or donate them so someone else can enjoy them.

Paring Down

Yup… I pared my closet down even further after this!

Again, I took every item out of my closet, but this time I sorted them into piles based on type: sweaters, pants, camisoles, dresses, etc.

I went through each pile and took out any items of clothing that were similar. For example: somehow I had FOUR beige sweater/cardigans. I had absolutely no need for four pieces of clothing so similar, so I chose my favourite one to keep and said farewell to the rest of them.

I also tried everything on again to make sure I absolutely loved it, felt comfortable wearing it, and had corresponding pieces to make complete outfits.

At this point, I realized there were a few key items that I was missing from my wardrobe that would complete certain outfits or compliment other pieces I absolutely loved. So, I made a very specific list of items I needed to add to my wardrobe, with the spring and summer seasons in mind.

The Results

I’ve repeated this process above about 3-4 times since January (it’s now mid-April). I definitely needed to do it several times to become more comfortable in embracing my evolving personal style and understanding the clothes that I love and that serve a purpose in my life right now.

I now have 30 items of clothing in my closet (including activewear, but excluding pajamas and footwear). I’m guessing is about 1/4 of what I had before??? I wish I’d have kept track, because it would be so interesting to know!

What I CAN tell you is that:

  • I don’t feel stressed out or weighed down when I look in my closet for something to wear.
  • It takes a lot less time to get dressed.
  • Everything fits well and goes well together.
  • I love all the clothes I wear.
  • I have soooo much more closet space.
  • I feel more confident.

Stay tuned for my next post, where we move from chatting about minimizing to optimizing. We’ll chat intentional purchasing, capsule wardrobes, and more! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic of clothes, so feel free to leave a comment below, or chat with me over on Instagram.

Maybe the clothes I no longer need will be new favourites for you! You can shop my closet on Poshmark. If you’re outside of Canada and see something you love, feel free to contact me and I can get a shipping quote for you.

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