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I spent a few minutes going through my wardrobe again this morning and reflected on how different this process is two years after I first decided to get rid of most of my clothes.
I used to own a wardrobe overflowing with clothes. After spending 13 years as a stay at home mum, I enjoyed buying proper clothes when I went back into the workforce. I shopped the sales and grabbed some great bargains – pretty much anything that was cheap that fit me. I didn’t put an awful lot of thought into it. Buying lots of cheap clothes seemed smart at the time.
Then I found myself with a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear. I would wear clothes out of guilt because I hadn’t worn them for ages. Getting ready for work in the morning was time-consuming and stressful! Then, one day I was flipping through my Pinterest feed, as you do, and I stumbled across the idea of the 40 Hanger Closet.
This changed my life.
After doing a fair amount of research into capsule wardrobes and minimalism, I took the plunge and gave away 2/3 of my clothes.
This was a pretty drastic step at the time. I went out and purchased 40 good quality timber coat hangers (I like these ones). I culled all duplicate clothing, so I only kept one pair of black pants, one white t-shirt etc. I planned it carefully, and then I was brutal.
That was two years ago.
Looking back from here, reducing my wardrobe was one of the best things I have ever done, and I will never go back to owning a lot of clothes.
Since that first cull, I have modified the original rules to a sustainable version that works for me.
I have around 50 hangers in my wardrobe, which does include both summer and winter clothes, and a few special dresses for going out. It includes pretty much all of my clothes apart from a couple of pair of shorts, work out clothes, pyjamas and underwear. They are folded KonMari style in 3 dresser drawers. I am still pretty careful about owning duplicate clothes, but I do own more than one black dress and more than one white shirt.
The Benefits of Owning Less
I Look Good
Did I really just say that? Let me rephrase that... I feel good about the way I look. The clothes I own are good quality, all mix and match each other, are easy to look after and fit me well. I never wish I had more to choose from, and I go to work feeling put together each day.
One of the triggers that happen to me when I am stressed or under pressure is that it takes me ages to decide what to wear. I used to think it was just plain indecisiveness, but it mostly happens when I'm stressed. Having fewer clothes to choose from really helps me cope when I'm facing those difficult days. I have since found out that there is such a thing as decision fatigue.
Easy to Care For
I find it easier to look after my clothes; I have less laundry than I used to, and my clothes are relatively easy to look after. I have a few pieces that take a little extra work to care for, but it's an intentional decision, and I don't mind taking care of nice things that I love, especially because there are just a few of them.
I Spend Less
I shop with a purpose. I rarely browse, and I rarely buy on impulse. I have been looking for a pair of black sandals to replace some that broke last Summer. I have kept an eye out for ages, looking for the right ones. I found a pair recently, and after trying them on, I wasn't 100% sure. So, I went home and thought about it. After a week, I went back and bought the shoes. I know I am happy with my purchase, and I will get loads of wear out of them. My old glued together sandals went in the bin today.
I haven’t always been good at this, but I am getting better. You can read about my Monumental Minimalism Failure here.
Today I spent around half an hour and went through all of my clothes again. I have a bag to donate, and a bag to throw away. Everything I own fits neatly in the space I have, and they are all clothes I love and enjoy wearing. I have more than enough!
I hope my experience may inspire you to have a go at living with less. Or, if you are already on the journey, I hope you can reflect and celebrate how far you’ve come.
Here are some books that have really helped me rethink my perspective on how much I own, encouraging me to accumulate less and enjoy life more. I hope you find them helpful as well.