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Over the years, I’ve gotten very good at creating a timeless wardrobe with very few items and am often asked how I always look so pulled together. The funny thing is most people do not realize that what they think is an extensive wardrobe is actually a minimalist wardrobe that – through trial and error – works very well for me. I do not have 15 pairs of jeans, 45 pairs of shoes, 30 purses and a walk in closet that is bigger than Fort Knox stuffed to the breaking point. I have very few, high quality pieces that have lasted for many years and they look just as good now as they did when I first acquired them.
The definition for minimalism is different for everyone. Minimalism to me means using as little of the world’s resources as possible ensuring there will be resources available for the next generation and the generations to follow. I have chosen to live a minimalist lifestyle and I am very selective about the items I choose to purchase or acquire to bring into my home. There are many questions I ask myself before I buy anything. These questions are:
- Is my contingency fund where I want it to be? I never use the term emergency fund because I am ready for anything that may need attention thus contingency. If for ANY reason, I have used funds from my savings, I replace those funds before I even consider purchasing ANYTHING. There is a “comfort level” for me with my finances to ensure I am able to live my life the way I want to live it while being able to donate to the charities I support. Those are more important to me than any item.
- Do I really need it? Many times, we think we NEED an item when the truth of the matter is we WANT it. Take a step back and decide which it really is. Often when we take a step back and really think about it, we decide we don’t really need it. By the way – neither is wrong because if you bring it into your home and want to continue to live minimally, you must be sure to eliminate something so that you are not straying away from your minimalist path.
- If you work outside of the home, how many outfits do you feel you need? After you determine that number, how many outfits can you create from what you already have in your closet? This was actually easy for me because I have also limited the colors in my wardrobe and gravitate toward blacks and blues. What colors do you gravitate toward in your clothes? When I worked out of the home, I could easily survive on 5 suits – one black, one blue, one gray, and 2 that were different colors. In my case those colors were red and copper. The key was to incorporate pieces that would mix with ALL of my suits to create several different looks.
- If you work in the home as I do, it is actually much easier to create a minimalist wardrobe. Because I have chosen to live in a rural area, my clothes tend to be jeans and jean shorts and black or white t-shirts. I do not wear the white t-shirts around the farm as I am often out with the horses or working in the yard – I stick with black. I also have chosen to purchase higher quality t-shirts so that they don’t fade or get little pin holes after they have been worn for a few months. I have cowboy boots that are more than 10 years old but are worn every day. Most of my t-shirts are several years old. Ditto my jeans. I do have a simple black dress, black dress pants, black blazer and a black sweater that covers any other event that I may attend. I have not had to purchase anything to supplement my wardrobe in many years because I have selected classic, timeless styles. For me, that has always been my style and I have never been one to gravitate toward fad items.
- When I am looking for something particular to add to my wardrobe, I will often take a look at consignment shops as many times I can purchase an item that has been worn very little or not at all. For me, recycling is another great way to save our resources.
Before you head out to acquire any new item, take a good look at what you have – literally. By this, I mean take EVERYTHING out of your closet and drawers and sort into type of clothing – business, casual, vacation, etc. Look at each piece without attachment. You will find items that may have tags on them, are too small, or just never worn. Those are the first to be donated. After you have selected the items that will be leaving your home, see what’s left and if you can create a minimalist wardrobe as I have with most things you already own.
Try taking the Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge here!
For tips on how to begin your decluttering journey, you can Start Here, or snag a copy of the 30 Day Challenge (our Minimalism and Decluttering eBook).