Wednesday, June 28, 2017

10 Ways a Minimalist Closet has Changed My Life

Erik and I are in the midst of a complete life transformation via minimalism. We've been simplifying everything from our kitchen cupboards to how we spend our time.  The less physical clutter, the more clearly and freely I am able to think and go about my day. When it came to my closet, however, I was at a bit of a loss, not knowing exactly where to begin. My closet was basically exploding despite the fact that I considered my personal style fairly simple: denim and cotton everything, basic tees, and button ups. Still, I hung on to clothing that was damaged beyond repair, didn't fit quite right, felt uncomfortable, or simply no longer fit my lifestyle. I had low quality pieces that were ten or twelve years old, spanning multiple relationships, schools, and jobs!

Recently, I heard of Project 333 from Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. I'd always heard of capsule wardrobes, but I thought it meant throwing away all your clothes, purchasing new, expensive items, and sticking to all white, black, and grey. When I actually visited the blog dedicated to this idea, I realized how mistaken I'd been. I won't go into all of the details, but the basic premise is simplifying your wardrobe down to thirty-three items (accessories and shoes included) for three months. The goal is to make getting ready in the morning easier so as to avoid decision fatigue and to make it so that you wear your favorite items every day, instead of saving them for days that actually matter. Maybe like me, you wrongly believed that most days were rehearsals for some real life in an unknown future.  I'd definitely fallen into the trap of wearing yoga pants and an old top in public most days. Nothing I was doing seemed worth wasting my "good clothes" on whether that was grocery shopping or going out for pizza with my husband. If I wore my favorite items, I worried they'd be dirty or ruined for some special occasion that might pop up before I had a chance to do laundry. By the time a special occasion did come around, I'd spend upwards of thirty minutes trying to decide what to wear only to completely demolish my clean bedroom and end up putting on an outfit that was all wrong-uncomfortable, ill-fitting, not "me." Still, I considered myself a simple, fuss-free woman.

Growing up, I'd always believed that fashion was a superficial interest. Why waste time on clothes when I could be reading? If I admitted to caring about clothes, I feared others would consider me to be vain. Truth be told, I did care about clothes. I loved perusing fashion magazines. By the time Pinterest rolled around, I was obsessed with the Women's Style page. By now I've obviously come to terms with the fact that style is an extension of the self. What you put on in the morning says I'm this or that about you to the world. When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you're not insecure or distracted by how you feel or look. I totally did not get this even a year ago.

Earlier this month, I decided to give the whole capsule wardrobe thing a try, deciding to include accessories in the list of thirty-three items, but not shoes (I have like five pairs of shoes as it is, so no need to limit myself further). I also did not include pajamas, workout gear, or working-around-the-house clothing. My rule, however, was that items from those categories be worn only in their designated places (e.g. workout clothes are for the gym only, not grocery shopping!). By the end, I had a few basic tanks, several dressier tops, two button downs, a denim sleeveless top and a cardigan, two pairs of leggings, three pairs of pants, three pairs of shorts, a few dresses, a couple necklaces,  one pair of earrings, and a watch. 

Every item that made the cut feels good and looks good. I don't have to pull or stretch or yank anything up, down, or around. Although I'm only about three or four weeks into this transformation, I'm already reaping the benefits:

  1. I'm better dressed than I've ever been.
  2. I receive far more compliments now than I ever have. This isn't a goal, but compliments just feel good.
  3. I've become a lot more creative, pairing items I wouldn't normally think go together.
  4. Getting dressed in the morning takes less than five minutes. This gives me so much extra time to: drink my coffee, cook a real breakfast, sleep in, enjoy my daughter, write, and read!
  5. More time to make breakfast means about six dollars at Starbucks a day and over a thousand dollars per year. Is that math correct? I don't know; I'm not a math person, but it save me a lot of money!
  6. I walk confidently everywhere I go. When I was running out in my "around the house" clothes, I always felt kind of scrubby compared to every other else. I just feel like I walk with my head higher now. 
  7. My desire to wear trendy clothes, regardless of whether or not they fit my style or lifestyle has completely diminished. Sleeveless tops and ruffles are adorable, but I've never been a girly-girl, so I simply don't wear ruffles and sleeveless tops.
  8. Every day feels like a special day now. I no longer treat each day like it's rehearsal for life, a life where I'll wear that expensive top or that beautiful dress. 
  9. I don't find myself comparing myself to other women as much anymore. I admire them, sure, but I rarely find myself thinking that if I just had those shoes or her whatever, then I'll finally be happy with myself.
  10. I do far fewer loads of laundry each week. To be exact, I do one load per week-less clothes, less to wash. This is better from an economic and, more importantly, environmental standpoint.
If you're curious about starting a capsule wardrobe, check out this site and just do it! At the end of these three months, in September, I'll let you know how it all went and get started on my fall capsule wardrobe so be sure to check back. 

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