Guide 4: Intentional & minimal wardrobe
Intentional & minimal wardrobe: secrets to decluttering and maintaining a simple & mindful closet.
Think of all the time you’re going to be spending shopping, maintaining and decluttering time and again, what about all the time spent on laundering and ironing, repairing and storing of those items.
When you mindfully declutter and minimize, you gain more time, more space and you save more money.
This guide will enable you to work towards a more curated wardrobe that you control, as opposed to it controlling you.
1. Identify your “personal uniform.”
It took me a long time to accept my uniform. I struggled finding my style in punk, hip-hop and even postmodern feminist culture. But it was only when I started to live intentionally and minimally that I finally embraced my style.
Now, my closet is made out of items I wear the most and the ones I wish I had more of.
My rule of thumb in maintaining a well curated and loved wardrobe is to own the clothes that are a good fit, made out of soft and easy to care for fabrics and of plain calm colours.
I go shopping with a list of items needed in hand, first checking the second hand market before I have to hit the stores.
To begin, let’s make note of what your ideal life looks like in relation to your style, both fashion and lifestyle and keep that at your heart when decluttering.
Then, list the items you wear each day in the week or make a list of your favorite items, those you wear day in, day out, those that you wished you owned more of.
If I have not yet convinced you to take control over your wardrobe, I suggest you take a day where you take the inventory of things. By that I mean counting every single item of clothing, intimates, shoes and accessories that you own.
If your list falls within 100* items, Kudos to you! If you already have a small wardrobe, perhaps you might want to pair down to 50|75 items.
If you’re the owner of a very large wardrobe and the idea of going down to 100 items is anxiety-producing, try a larger number of 150|175.
The key is to identify what you wholeheartedly love and need.
*The 100 items is an arbitrarily picked number, that I chose as a guidance for myself. This activity is not entirely about counting all of your clothing.
It is about understanding and appreciating what we do already own and learning to be mindful about future purchases. So the ultimate goal is to own exactly the right number of things for you and your lifestyle.
2. Hold up!
Do not rush to entirely trash your wardrobe. The intention of embarking on this decluttering journey is to adjust our habits and to tame our shopping for comfort and on a whim.
You want to curate a wardrobe filled with your favorite items that make you feel good. Only once you feel ready to minimize, take each category at a time.
Take out all of your tops, then all of your bottoms, then all your vor suits, exercise clothes, shoes, accessories.
Alternatively, if you have the time, stamina and feeling decisive, I suggest you take all of your things out at once.
The Yes Pile. I love it and I wear it often.
The No Pile.Those items your wore once. Those that were a rather gory gift or a hand-me-down. Those that you are saving for the day you are finally able to fit into. That bridesmaid dress that you wore at your best friend’s wedding five years ago, or a pair of those grandma knit wool socks with irreparable heel holes.
The Maybe Pile. This pile is a little more tricky. So, take the time to ask yourself the following questions about each item: Is this something I would like to put on now? When is the last time I used it? Would you buy this right now again? Can you use something else instead of it?
After doing the sorting, then:
Yes Pile. Put everything nearly back into your wardrobe.
No Pile. Quickly separate the items into the following piles: It is important not to dwell on each item! Keep your rhythm up:
Gift|give away these items to friends and family who will enjoy and use them.
Sell these items on eBay (International), Gumtree (UK), Trendsales & Den Blå Avis (Denmark), Blocket & Traders (Sweden), Quoka (Germany), Markplaats (NL), Craigslist (USA)
Donate these items that you won’t sell or give away.
Reuse these items that can serve another purpose. Those worn out cotton socks can be reused as rags, old tees and shirts can be made into reusable bags for produce or into reusable napkins, tissues or hankies.
Recycle properly. Check your local recycling centers and charity shops.
Trash only those items that are irreparable.
3. Post decluttering
Avoid shopping on a whim.
Avoid shopping for comfort. Retail therapy brings most joy in the moment leading up to the purchase and plummets immediately after the purchase. When the urge to shop suddenly creeps up on you, take a moment to reflect on what is driving it. Most often I find the source comes from anything BUT my lack of clothing. So take the time and listen to your favorite band, read a book, go for a walk or hang out with your friends.
Only replace items when absolutely necessary.
Make a list of items you need when going shopping and stick to that list.
When you buy a new item, try to let go of that similar item that you already own.
When your clothes get too worn, put them straight for reuse or recycle so they don’t take up space on your shelves anymore.
Inventory of things template for your mindful decluttering journey
This is a list of basics that everyone is likely to find in their wardrobe. Of course, your job and lifestyle might need specific uniform, so adjust the list appropriately.
It is absolutely crucial to start this journey by noting down your ideal life and look.
AND reflect back on it when going through your things.
It is most likely unnecessary to have an abundance of cocktail dresses if you are a gardener or a highschool teacher|sports coach.
This template is not there for you to have an exhaustive collection of clothes, for the odd what-if scenarios.
Rather, it is a guide into understanding and appreciating what we do already own.
The ultimate goal is to own exactly the right number of things for you and your lifestyle.