When I first started getting interested in a minimalist lifestyle, not buying anything new wasn’t the big difficulty. I found it hardest to reduce what I already had. I somewhat followed my instinct, but looking back it could have been easier with more guidance. That’s why I decided to create this small guide to help you downsize your wardrobe. I started writing the Minimalist Wardrobe series on my former blog and have now decided to re-vamp the posts and continue with the series here.
This step is important to achieve an overview of your belongings. Go through your entire closet item by item: pants, sweaters, dresses, coats. Get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the past year. If you own items you consider investment pieces, but you don’t wear them – put them on platforms such as ebay, Vestiaire Collective or Trendsales. Getting some money in will make parting with items much easier. The same goes for cheaper or more basic clothes that you don’t really wear anymore: sell them on a flea market or donate them to local organizations.
Now you should be left with things that you ideally have frequently worn within the past months making this next step significantly harder: Be honest to yourself. Do you need 6 pairs of black jeans? 8 basic shirts? 4 blazers? Pick your favorites of each type and give away the others. How many you may want to keep is of course up to you and depends on circumstances like your job and hobbies. I don’t need more than 2 blazers, because there’s rarely an occasion for me to wear them. On the other hand, I do however need different types of shoes, because I have to go out with my dog in any type of weather. Try to part with as much as possible, but don’t be too hard on yourself in the beginning as this may kill your enthusiasm for minimalism in general.
Style & Matching
If you want to keep downsizing in the long run, you will have to own and invest in pieces that are easily combined with each other. If you like wearing striped shirts and sneakers, you probably don’t need lacey skirts or colorful sweaters. Instead, basic jeans or a jeans skirt could match. Keeping a few statement pieces isn’t a problem, but make these the exception and try to make 85% of the wardrobe compatible. This probably means sticking to fewer colors – in my case, it was black, grey, navy and dark green. One of my statement pieces is a bright red bag, which lightens up all my outfits. Deciding what looks good together is a process, so take your time trying out combinations.
Sort it & Watch it
Find a way to organize your clothes for a visual overview. Sort them by type and color and try to hang as many as you can (I forget about half the items that I have folded up somewhere). The clearer overview and sorting will help you keep track even better of what you’re wearing how often. If you notice an item being worn less, lay it off.
How many clothes should I own?
Some people own no more than 2 items per type, others are happy owning 5 each. Personally, I enjoy owning less and less, but this is only possible if you know your style well and have the financial resources to invest in exactly what you want – or already own it. My closet has shrunken in size and grown in quality over a long period of time (read: years). Give yourself time and let the minimal lifestyle grow on you.
As mentioned before: Becoming a minimalist is a process. You will grow more and more comfortable with less and less. Try it out!