Another week down in the No Buy Challenge and another week of sticking to the goals. I’ve decided that instead of focusing my posts on the challenge each week (I will if there’s anything to update you on) I’d start doing some of the other posts I’ve been planning with just a short update at the beginning for the challenge. So, as promised in earlier posts, today I’m focusing on my simple wardrobe.
Over the last few years I’ve become increasingly interested in reducing ‘clutter’ in our house. With limited energy, my ability to maintain the house to an ‘acceptable’ standard of cleanliness had dropped. All too often there were items lying over every conceivable surface in the house, washing piling up (dirty and clean) and dishes in the sink.
As part of my year of ‘Enough‘ last year, I spent a considerable amount of time removing a lot of the things and stuff that had built up but wasn’t actually needed, useful or loved. I have focused mainly on my own things, hoping to lead by example for E so my wardrobe was one area that got regular attention and I’m quite happy with the result.
There are many, many posts out there about how to create your own minimalist wardrobe, check out:
- Courtney Carver’s (Be More with Less) Project 333
- Francine Joy’s (Miss Minimalist) 7 steps to a minimalist wardrobe
- Brooke McAlery’s (Slow Your Home) Minimalist Wardrobe Questions Answered
This is how I’ve modified the guidelines I read to suit my lifestyle and preferences.
An initial culling
When I first began my wardrobe clean out I pulled everything out of the cupboard and tried it all on with Janelle (my trusted friend) to assess what I liked and actually fit well and looked good. Anything that didn’t meet any of these criteria either got donated or thrown out depending on the state they were in.
Chose a colour scheme
I chose two main neutral colours – black and grey (I do still have a few white and brown items but mostly black and grey) – and two spectrums of accent colours blue/green and pink/purple. Anything that didn’t fit these colour schemes were donated, apart from my orange coat (A honeymoon purchase and my favourite winter coat).
Turned my coat hangers backwards
Last year I turned all my coat hangers around and only flipped them when I wore an item, anything not worn at the end of the year was donated. I found that all my short sleeved shirts are now gone, I tend to wear blouse style tops if I wear my suits, and I only have one long sleeved shirt.
Thanks to this process I now have room to hang everything, including jumpers, t-shirts and bottoms (were folded last year) so I’ve turned them all around again this year so I can assess how many of these items are actually worn throughout the year.
Pay attention to how I feel in each item
Throughout the year I donated several more dresses because they just weren’t comfortable, either they were too tight or they had zippers/buttons on them that were just not comfortable against my overly sensitive skin (a symptom of my Fibromyalgia).
Pay attention to what I wear most
A lot of the guides for minimalist wardrobes recommend X number of tops, X pants, X dresses, etc. This idea didn’t work for me.
I’ve found that because my tummy can (and does) bloat daily – going from almost flat to looking 5 months pregnant by the end of the day – I tend to wear dresses more often than any other item of clothing. I hardly ever wear skirts, jeans or pants any more – anything with a waist band that isn’t stretchy really.
As a result I only have one skirt, one pair of jeans (maternity jeans), two pairs of shorts (one stretch cotton), a pair of maternity leggings (worn almost daily in winter). In comparison, I have 9 dresses.
I also get really cold quickly so I have more items that I can layer such as cardigans, jackets, etc.
This wardrobe suits my life with chronic pain, limited energy, and daily fluctuations in body shape (bloating).
To avoid a recurrence of wardrobe ‘clutter’ I’ve established some guidelines to maintain my wardrobe:
- One in one out (for every new item that comes in an old item needs to leave the wardrobe)
- Stick to colour scheme (any new items need to fit with my colour scheme)
- Natural fibres (no wool) – my preference is for cotton or bamboo, I’m allergic to wool so none of that
- Pockets! (Over half my dresses now have pockets and I’ve made a decision that any new dresses need to have them, this helps dramatically with reducing what comes in because there aren’t that many out there that do)
What items of clothing do you find yourself drawn to most days? Do you think you could live with a minimalist wardrobe?