I’ve always been a bit of a clothes horse. My family pastime is second-hand shopping — we pride ourselves on finding unique, high quality items at very small costs. This has led to quite the “hoard” of items, each awesome and unique in their own way. I am highly invested in fashion too. I definitely use my clothing as a way to express my identity. I take great pleasure in matching outfits in eclectic ways, and mixing aesthetics to make an impact when I enter a room.
But over the years my collection has burgeoned to the point of a hoard, where, on laundry day, I don’t have room to put everything away. I couldn’t make outfits or utilize the awesome pieces, I had because I could barely find anything in my overflowing drawers and closet. So I recently did a massive culling of my huge collection of clothing.
I’ve been through the purge and grow stage many times before, and this time I am taking a somewhat different approach. Awhile back I read the Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up — book that helped so many people. I loved it, and did a major culling. But those sparks of joy weren’t enough to control the coursing river of my fashion binging.
More recently I’ve been reading and watching a number of videos about minimalism. In particular I’ve been enjoying Break the Twitch, which focuses more on minimalism as a filter or frame of mind, rather then a specific system of rules. I also discovered Into Mind, a blog and book about applying the ideas of minimalism to your closet and creating a curated closet that fits your needs and lifestyle that is purposeful and purpose-driven.
I purchased Anushka (of Into Mind)‘s book, and am utilizing it some as a guide curate my clothing… I’m currently focusing tracking what I actually wear each day. And I’m getting rid of things that don’t fit my body, my lifestyle, my fashion sense, or my standards for construction and materials. While I distill what it is I currently wear and like, I will develop a sense of what I want to move towards, if I decide I need to make changes to the status quo. (The answer there will probably be yes!)
With the help of my dear friend Elena, I managed to rid myself of five bags of clothing. I also had a tub for off-season clothes, and a tub of sentimental clothing to be stored.
Here is what worked this time:
Don’t think too long on any one item
I found if I could decide right away, I wouldn’t talk myself into keeping something I didn’t really want.
Don’t force yourself to be binary!
Have multiple bags for multiple purposes. I sorted clothes into: keep, toss (aka bring to clothing swap or give to charity shop), off season (summer), sentimental, and Oregon Country Fair memorabilia. I eventually lumped the sentimental and OCF clothing together in one place to be stored and eventually made into a quilt.
If in doubt, put it on
Sometimes just seeing a piece of clothing on my body that I hadn’t worn in awhile was enough to remind me why I either did or didn’t want to keep it. Maybe it’s itchy in a weird way, or has a funny length. Maybe it feels cozy, or looks amazing on, even though it’s not much to look at on the hanger.
Go through it ALL
I dumped out every drawer and removed every single hanger. I had to look at every single piece, and then really react to how much I really had. Seeing how massive my clothing collection was really helped me to let go of items.
Clump similar pieces
Put button ups, sweaters, long work pants, etc. all in piles by similarity. You may have repeats of things you don’t realize. It’s okay to have more then one of something, but you should KNOW you have multiples. If you have several of the same item, it’s also a good indicator that it’s a mainstay of your current wardrobe.
Look for items you don’t own, but that would allow more use of wardrobe
For example we brainstormed, and realized that part of why I don’t wear many of my t-shirts is that I don’t like the look of t-shirt and jeans. But if you add a classy blazer, or put it with a skirt and tights, I like it better. So I decided I needed to add some blazers to my wardrobe and see if that helps me wear my t-shirts more. I also decided to get a turtleneck to wear under a beige wool dress that I loved, but was both itchy and too close to my skin shade!
What’s my next step?
Plan a time to go through other elements of my “look”
We did clothing, but not hats, shoes or scarves. I also need to go through socks and underwear and dump anything that’s falling apart. Since the weekend of the great culling I also made time to go through my toiletries, make up and beauty products.
Continue to document my daily outfits
Then do a summation at the end of my two week experiment.
Continue to collect images of outfits that inspire me
…from Instagram, Look Book and other fashion sources. These should be truly wearable outfits, not high fashion.
Boil all these elements down into a style that is absolutely me
What other places could I look for inspiration either for the crafting of my curated look, or to continue to apply the attitudes and ideas of mindful minimalism to my life?
What are the rules you consider when you cull your possessions?