Monthly Archives: October 2014

A diminutive wardrobe and a word of encouragement

For years I have gone through my closet every spring and fall.  I purge the items I didn’t wear during the previous six months.  Then I drag down the heavy box of the approaching season’s clothing and switch everything over, usually purging as I go.

I used to do this because there was no way on earth all of my clothes would fit in the closet at the same time.  I thought I was so smart for storing away the out-of-season clothing in order to make room in my closet.  Well, that probably isn’t a bad idea, but my motivation was not quite what it should have been.

Last year an online friend challenged me to reduce my wardrobe to less than 100 pieces of clothing (not including PJs, exercise clothes, or underwear).  I do not recall the size of my wardrobe at the time, but I think it was right around 100.  I actually found a lot of useless stuff in the closet and came down to 80-someodd pieces of clothing. That felt like a big accomplishment at the time, and to be fair, it was a big accomplishment.

As this year has passed by, my things continue to decrease in number. My dresser drawers repeatedly showed up empty. I now store linens in the bottom drawer and yarn in the next two up. I only need two drawers for PJs, exercise clothes, and unmentionables. Everything else hangs up.

Being able to see my wardrobe hanging in the closet makes it much easier to spot something that is not being worn. My closet is 1950s tiny, so real estate is precious. If I don’t love the article of clothing in question, it doesn’t get to take up my limited space (that mentality goes for the entire house).

This weekend I made the big fall swap-a-roo/purge.  I reviewed what was left and felt a little short on variety. I went shopping, guilt-free mind you, to pick out a sweater and leggings to add to my wardrobe, and it feels complete again. It is small – now down to 40 pieces – but it doesn’t feel small. It feels like a closet full of items I love and use:

  • Hunting clothes – 4 pieces
  • Summer skirt suit – 3 pieces (obviously I won’t wear this during the upcoming months, but I do not want to store it)
  • Black skirt suit – 3 pieces
  • 1 grey dress skirt
  • 3 pairs of dress pants
  • 3 pairs of jeans (1 grubby, 2 fit for public use)
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 5 tee shirts
  • 1 ¾-length tee shirt
  • 5 long sleeved tee shirts
  • 2 flannel shirts (one of them is NEVER worn out of the house)
  • 3 button-up dress shirts
  • 6 sweaters of various weights

And that bin I use to store out-of-season clothing? It is less than a quarter-full. I could probably get away with using a paper grocery sack instead.

I was not trying to reduce my wardrobe as small as it will go. If that were the case, then it could probably be smaller still. It is just that the challenge to reduce the number of pieces I owned to less than 100 heightened my awareness of what was in my closet. As time went by and I continued to purge, the number gradually diminished as well.

This is probably a good picture of how my minimizing journey is going throughout the house. It was not my intention to have less than one shelf of books on our bookcase, for example. It just kind of happened over time. With this in mind, I suppose my word of encouragement to anyone who wishes to start on this journey is just “start somewhere”. As your journey continues, you will find you can live with less.

As always, thanks for reading!