Hello, friends! Today I’m starting a new series called Minimalist Monday. The idea is that periodically, on Mondays we’ll take an area of the house to work on. We will focus on making that area more organized and reducing the amount of sheer “stuff” we have in our homes. Today, we’re focusing on how to declutter your closet.
The reason I want to do this series is because sometimes I think we can be overwhelmed by stuff. Our 900 square foot condo is a perfect example of “too much stuff.” We have hardly any spare room because we are holding on to so much: furniture, books, records, wall art… the list goes on. While I like to describe our house as “cozy,” I think a realist would describe it as “cluttered.”
With such little space, it’s important to me that we make the most out of what we have. How freeing would it be to, instead of having tons of meaningless junk, have just a few meaningful items? I want the things in our house to make a statement about who we are and how we want to live. I don’t just want objects filling a void.
Not to mention, when we are intentional with our stuff, it helps us be purposeful with our finances. Rather than wasting money on every little thing, we can invest our money in where our heart is. This will in turn make us feel like we are squeezing every penny out of the dollars we spend.
My goal with Minimalist Mondays is to help inspire others to walk alongside me in a journey towards having more purpose with our stuff. Instead of accumulating things just to have them, let’s focus on being mindful about what we have and why we have it, and what we need to let go of or make more space for in our lives.
I picked the topic “decluttering your closet” as my first Minimalist Monday post because it seems like a good time of year to clean out the closet. Winter is fading away (hallelujah 🙌🏻) and spring is on the way. It’s a time for new beginnings and to a time to clear the air.
The other reason I wanted to start with decluttering your closest is because I have a little experience in this area already. Two years ago I learned about capsule wardrobes and decided to make my own. However, even a capsule wardrobe needs regular maintenance. At the beginning and end of each season, I pull out all my clothes and reevaluate whether or not to keep each item. I also make a list of what needs to be replaced or could help complete my capsule. I have now pruned my wardrobe five times. In doing so, I’ve come up with some basic rules about how to go about maintaining your closet. These rules have helped me avoid making emotional decisions and instead guide my wardrobe choices with logic. Now, when I’m done I feel refreshed and unburdened, instead of unsure and overwhelmed. I can’t wait to share them with you and see how much you let go of. I filled three trash bags! Here are my seven rules for decluttering your closet.
1. Does it fit?
This is the most obvious rule, and yet I think for many women, it’s hard for us to abide by. We all have our “skinny jeans,” pants that used to look amazing on us and we just know we’re going to fit in again someday. Over the last few years as I have learned more about body positivity, I have realized how important it is to only keep clothes that fit. Holding on to clothes that are too small is not only a waste of space, but it’s a daily reminder that you don’t look the way you want to. Let go of that negativity! Buy clothes that fit the amazing body you already have. When you dress for the body you have instead of the body you want, you’ll find so much more satisfaction when you look in the mirror. Besides, if you decide you want to lose weight you’ll want to buy NEW clothes, not put on some old, out of fashion jeans you’ve been hanging on to for years.
2. Is it in good shape?
In addition to hanging on to clothes that don’t fit, I tend to hang on to clothes that I absolutely love, but aren’t in the greatest condition. Whether it’s a t-shirt that’s pilling or jeans that have ripped in an unseemly location (anybody else always wear out their jeans on the inner thigh?), keeping stuff just because it’s your favorite isn’t a great idea. The truth is, you’re probably not even wearing those items out and about because they’re in bad condition. If you really love a piece of clothing that’s in bad shape, buy another! By keeping your wardrobe fresh and clean, you in turn will feel and look better when you wear clothes that present you at your best. So if it’s ripped, tattered, missing a button, stained, stretched out, or in otherwise bad condition, time to let it go!
3. Does this fit my current style?
I have an absolutely gorgeous teal and coral floral print dress. It buttons up the front and has darling little cap sleeves. It’s silky and soft. Every time I pull it out of storage to hang in my closet, it brings a smile to my face. The problem? I haven’t worn it since my senior year of high school!
While I used to love florals, bright colors and patterns just aren’t my style anymore. I find myself gravitating towards neutral colors, solids, and stripes. My floral print dress may be pretty, but when I decided to minimize I knew it was time to get rid of it.
The more I minimize my closet, the more I narrow down what my sense of style is. And the more I realize what I like, the more like myself I feel in the clothes I wear. So while you may have a piece of clothing that you love, if your style has changed enough since you bought it that you won’t be wearing it again, it’s time to let it go. Still not sure if you should toss it? Check it against my next rule:
4. Do I have at least three other things I can wear with this?
Another thing that will help you narrow down your sense of style is by examining like pieces in your closet. If you find that you have three or more items that will look good with a certain piece, then chances are it aligns with your sense of style and you’re going to wear it. But even if you love something, if you don’t have anything that matches it you won’t wear it. For example, I have a funky, multicolored patterned wool cardigan that I think is quirky and fun, but it matches literally nothing else in my closet. Time to toss it.
5. Have I worn this in the last three months? If not, will I wear it in the next three weeks?
If your answer to both of these questions is “no,” it’s not worth holding on to. Unless the answer is “it’s my wedding dress!” If you have worn 90 outfits and an item of clothing has not made the cut ninety times, why are you holding on to it? But what about “special occasion” pieces? I address that in my next rule:
6. Will I wear this more than three places?
(Are you picking up on my threes theme yet?) Again, unless the answer is “it’s my wedding dress,” if you can’t think of more than three places that you’ll wear something, it’s time to get rid of it. With your fanciest clothes, keep things you could wear to a wedding, for a holiday party, at a fancy dinner, or on a cruise. Be intentional with your choices, being particular about keeping things that are versatile, timeless, and match other accessories or clothing items.
7. Do I feel excited about this piece?
If something has passed all of the above criteria, but you still aren’t sure if it should make the cut, follow your heart. Do you just love this piece? Do you feel great when you wear it? Is it easy for you to visualize yourself in it? Or are are you just ho-hum about it? If something doesn’t make your heart thump, don’t keep it. When you fill your closet with clothes you truly love, you will find yourself more inspired as you get dressed in the morning, better able to say “no” to impulse purchases that don’t fit your style, and you’ll look more put-together.
Since first minimizing my closet two years ago, I’ve found a noticeable difference in not just my attitude, but in the reactions of people around me. I never find myself wondering “What should I wear?” in the mornings anymore, because all of my clothes go together. It’s easy to just grab a couple of pieces and they always match. Because of this, I often receive compliments about how put together I look, or how cute my style is. I love the flexibility and freedom that a small wardrobe gives me.When we are intentional with our stuff, it helps us be purposeful with our finances.Click To Tweet
What about you? Is there anything about a small wardrobe that appeals to you? Do you have any misgivings about minimizing your closet? Tell me about it in the comments!