So I’m afraid I’ve done something rather… extreme.
It all started when I re-read one of Bea’s old blog posts which talked about her minimalist wardrobe. She only has a few of each item. Something like 6 pairs of shoes, two cardigans, one pair of shorts… you get the basic idea. The advantage? Its cheaper for one. No shopping for shopping’s sake. You have an inventory of clothing and you stick to it. When one item wears out or becomes un-useable you give it away and buy a replacement (preferrably second hand). Therefore eliminating the whole “oh but this top is *cute!!*” bullcrap. If the cute top is incorporated into your inventory, there better be something else you want to get rid of. Its also simpler. Less clothes to keep track of. No losing things down the back of the closet, no massive washing days (something I am super bad at). I often find that I have a very small family of clothes that I wear a whole lot and then everything else gets worn once every other month (or less). But I find that because this less-worn collection is so vast, I often spend ages fighting my way through it to get to my black sleeveless top or my comfortable PJ bottoms.
So I started thinking… would Bea’s system really be more efficient? Would it be impossibly bland and boring or would my wardrobe become a clear, clean easy, organised space where I could just grab and go?
So I decided to do an experiment. I copied out Bea’s list (which looks like this) and tried to populate it WITHOUT OPENING MY CLOSET DOOR! It was actually quite interesting. Most of the items I remembered and added to the list had names (like my “London Skirt”… guess where I bought it. And my “elf jacket”)…
- 9 tops – So easy. And a lot of my tops are layers that can go over basics to make them more formal.
- 3 sweaters – I hate sweaters so in this allocation went mostly to singlet tops.
- 2 cardigans – One black, one white.
- 5 bottoms – Jeans, pinstripe pants, my London skirt, short black skirt, PJ pants, knee length denim skirt… dammit, that’s six.
- 3 dresses – My dresses are stored in the fella’s study (there’s a built-in there) so I decided not to mess with that… for now.
- 5 intimates types – Not gonna happen. I have mountains of lingerie and (for now) its staying that way. But if I was going to minimise this, I’d probably cut down, but NOT to five! Probably around twenty (plus socks or including socks I wonder?)
- 6 shoes – I ended up going with seven. Damn tennis shoes broke the bank.
- 3 bags – I couldn’t think of a third one so I had a big laptop bag, my black handbag and my wallet!
- 5 jackets – Hard because I live in such a cold climate now, but I got there. A mix of coats, zip-up hoodies and office-style jackets. Coats aren’t stored in my closet, but I’m keeping in mind which ones I am keeping.
- 9 accessories – HAD to break the allotment here. Even before I looked in my wardrobe. Scarves and gloves and beanies are a must in this climate (unlike warm-ass California where Bea lives).
So once I had the list in my head, I opened the wardrobe and immediately started on my “I can’t BELIEVE I forgot this!” stage.
This was my wardrobe yesterday morning:
I don’t have a whole lot of space (the other half is full of clothes belonging to… well.. my other half ). Things are cramped in there and I honestly haven’t cleaned out any clothes since I moved out of my parents house all those years ago. But yes, as I was saying, it was actually really interesting to realise how many items I had totally forgotten. Some of which I do wear a bit… but probably not as much as I should considering how much I like them. For the purposes of the experiment, I wasn’t going to throw all of my clothes away, I was just going to pack them up out of sight for an unspecified period of time to see how I liked having a minimalist wardrobe. If I felt like I was dying of bored I would bring everything back out again. If I liked it… maybe that would be that. So I felt like I could be pretty ruthless. But despite that, I still had a really hard time sticking to my list. I think I ended up breaking the budget almost every category.
Once I was done, I packed up everything I wasn’t keeping in my wardrobe. A lot of it actually did end up in a pile that is going to be donated to charity. A lot of that was stuff like my black singlet top with paint mark down the front that I wear when I can’t find my good singlet top. Now THAT is pathetic. The rest is sitting in another cupboard (and some is in a bag under my bed). Here’s the after shot:
Pretty nifty, right? It makes me think of the setup a lot of high-end clothing stores have. It was also rather interesting getting right down to the bottom of the stuff and finding items I hadn’t worn in years and had completely forgotten about. I felt ashamed to be wasting so much. And wearing so little of my collection. But… to be honest… I wear the clothes I like. A lot of stuff in there, I really didn’t like at all. Basically what is in there now, is my absolute favourite stuff and my absolutely most useful stuff that I really love wearing. Which has meant that yesterday and today, I have actually really loved both outfits. And I keep dreaming up new combinations that I could wear together that I mightn’t have ever throught of before I did this exercise.
As for my packed-away clothes, its only been two days so I haven’t missed them yet. I have loved being able to go right to my wardrobe and grab whatever I want without fighting through hundreds of other things that I never really wear in order to find itr. I feel like I was really careful with my decision making and there is enough stuff here to see me through whatever event I have to attend (I work at home so that does help a little, but even if I didn’t, there’s probably enough that I’d only have to wash clothes once a week).
If it works out, I might donate or sell all my other clothes and then go ahead and do the same to all my other posessions. The difference between what we keep and what we use is really phenomenal. I want a simpler life, I think I’m heading towards one now.