There are a number of online projects and movements to help you downsize your clothes, your closet, your wardrobe, etc. You can see the idea illustrated with Project 333, the 40 Hanger Closet, or Go Downsize. No matter what strategy you choose though the concept is tried and true.
Think about what your life would look like is you owned fewer clothes. Are you thinking?
- You would have more disposable income.
- You would have more time to live your life (because you would be staring in the closet less).
- Mornings would be less stressful.
- Your closets would be better organized and uncluttered.
- Packing for trips/vacations would take less time and require less luggage.
- Laundry days would be easier (not necessarily less, but definitely easier).
Unfortunately, instead of enjoying the benefits of owning fewer clothes, most of us buy into the part of the American dogma that says more is better. And because we do, we accumulate more and more clothing each season without purging from the previous one. We are convinced that new clothes will make us happier, more fashionable, and more popular. Unfortunately – more often than not – they quickly lose their luster and just end up getting in the way.
So I ask you to consider going a different route with your life. Try owning fewer clothes. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy the freedom that it brings.
Here are a few steps that may help you downsize and reorganize (as well as reprioritize).
- Admit that you own too much clothing. Take an honest look in to your closet or drawers and assess. That is basically how you get started. Be honest though.
- Wear fewer colors. Sounds simple enough, right? It is probably harder than you think. But to keep with the honesty, most of us already have a few favorite pieces we wear consistently anyway. We like the way they feel or the way they make us feel or even how we look in them.
- Embrace the idea of one. When one can be enough, embrace it – one black dress, one swimsuit, one winter coat, one black belt, one pair of black shoes, one pair of sneakers, one handbag… insert your own based on your occupation, lifestyle, or climate.
- Donate, sell, recycle, discard. Depending on the size of one’s existing wardrobe, an initial paring down won’t take long. Make a few piles – donate, sell, or recycle. Start with the clothes that you no longer wear. You’ll be surprised how much you can remove.
- Impose an arbitrary moritorium on shopping. For many, clothes shopping is a lot like eating. You’re bored? You shop. You’re tired of the rainy weather? You shop. A commercial comes on Netflix? You shop. To begin breaking the cycle of purchasing and discarding (the average American throws away 68 lbs. of textiles each year), set a self-imposed buying freeze. A solid 60 days can be enough. And if you allow yourself enough time you may even find your view on clothing and the marketing around them to change.
- Set a monthly spending limit. Pick a low number and stick to it.
- Purchase quality over quantity. Only buy clothing that you truly love – even if it costs more. If you stock your closet full of things you love, you will have less desire to add to it.
Have you recently downsized your closet or wardrobe or dresser? How did it make you feel? Is there a reason you haven’t? Are you scared to? Do you have an emotional or unhealthy attachment to your garments?