It’s been about a year since I’ve embarked on this journey of minimalism. It all started with a capsule wardrobe and has slowly trickled into other areas of my home and my life. It has been a slow process with many, many, many rounds of decluttering, but I think I’m finally at a good place where I’m happy with the things I own and I think hard before I buy.
Looking back to where I started, I have definitely come a long way. I remember the video when we filmed our first closet decluttering and how filled our bed and apartment floor was with piles of clothes. Now with only 65 items of clothing total and 14 pairs of shoes, I feel like I have a pretty firm grasp of what my style is. I have found so much joy in having a mostly monochromatic wardrobe. I definitely feel like my wardrobe is more cohesive, and that I can get dressed in the dark and not look too much of a hot mess. I also really enjoy having a Spring/Summer wardrobe and a Fall/Winter wardrobe that I switch out twice a year, but I think the ultimate goal for me is to pare my wardrobe down to just have one wardrobe that will work all year long. Living in LA means you only really need a few light layers anyway, so having seasonal capsules don’t quite make sense here.
When I first started this journey, I was really self-conscious that people would start to notice if I kept repeating the same dress or the same outfit week to week. After a while though, you start to realize that no one cares. No one thinks you’re that important to keep track of how many times you wore a certain top or that you already wore that outfit this week. I can hardly remember what I wear in a week, let alone what someone else wore. NO ONE CARES! It was so liberating to realize this because I could truly dress for me: my mood, my body, and my lifestyle. The ultimate test was when I wore the Everlane Cotton Box-Cut Tee Dress three times in one week, and no one seemed to notice. Besides, what’s the point of buying clothes if you’re not going to wear and love them regularly?
Along this journey, I’ve formulated some uniforms that don’t let me down and make it easier to get dressed if I’m running late or the coffee hasn’t quite kicked in yet. I have enough black cotton dresses to get me through a lifetime, and all of them look good with mules, sneakers, boots, and sandals. These muji cotton wide leg pants have become another staple in my wardrobe and can be worn with a multitude of my tops, but I prefer to pair it with a simple graphic tee and a denim jacket.
A friend of mine had someone professionally organize her closet for her, and that closet organizer (aka my dream job) told her that people only wear 20% of their closet on a regular basis. At first, I didn’t believe that statistic. It seemed so small, but with each and every passing round of decluttering of my closet, this statistic really seemed to resonate with me. Even as the total number of items in my wardrobe got smaller, I was still only wearing a handful of things regularly. I’m not quite sure what the magic number (if there even is one) will be for me is, but I’m just hoping to get to the point where each item in my wardrobe is worn and loved regularly. With every declutter, I let go more of the just-in-case clothes: the just-in-case-I-lose-weight clothes, the just-in-case-I-have-an event clothes, the just-in-case-I-want-to-wear-something-girly clothes, etc. Life’s too short and my closet is too small for just-in-case-clothes.
I’ve gone through the decluttering process enough times now to formulate some criteria for what stays, what goes, and what comes in to my closet. When I’m sifting through my clothes, I take everything out of my wardrobe (this is a way less painful experience now than it was a year ago). I find that taking everything out really makes me evaluate each and every piece before putting it back into my closet. When I’m evaluating each piece, I will ask myself: Have I worn this in the last month or two months? Do I plan on wearing this in the next month or next season? Does this fit well/Is this flattering on me? Do I even like this still? Does it make me feel good about myself? If I’m unsure or I answer no to those questions, I will either try it on just to make sure, and/or I will decided to donate it to a charity shop or give it to a friend.
When I’m looking into buying something I compare it to the clothes that I do wear regularly: Is it filling a gap that I’m missing in my everyday life? Will I wear this as much as I wear this or that? What else in my closet can this be worn with? Do I really need this? I will then give it a couple days (or a couple weeks/months if it’s a bigger purchase) before I make the decision to buy it to make sure it’s not out of impulse and that I really do want it. More often than not, I will talk myself out of wanting it. But if I do end up buying it, I tend to really love and wear that item.
I’ve noticed that since embarking on this journey towards minimalism, my anxiety has gone way down. There are so many articles on how minimalism is an answer to anxiety. Getting ready and dressed is definitely easier and faster. I worry less about wearing the right thing, and hardly regret what I wore or wished that I had worn something different. I am more comfortable and am more sure of myself. Having a clutter-free space has always brought me peace, and now the upkeep of our apartment is even more minimal. With less stuff around, there is less to organize or keep clean.
Minimalism is more than just owning less stuff; it is a lifestyle and a mindset. Since beginning my Summer of Enough, I had so much more time to declutter and reorganize other parts of our apartment and my life. I let go of mugs, cups, and plates that we never use but had “just in case.” Our desks had accumulated so many papers and other random knick-knacks over the years–aka more “just in case” things that we simply just don’t need. I tackled my email subscriptions and the people I follow on Instagram so that even online, my space is positive, calming, and clutter free. When you focus less on all things you want or should have or could have, you really do begin to appreciate the things you do have. You also really do begin to realize that you don’t need all that much to be happy and feel fulfilled.
So what now? The journey continues! Istill have a long way to go, but I’m excited to see what this next year brings. I am just so happy, and actually pretty proud that I’ve stuck with this because it seemed overwhelming and impossible at times.
My biggest advice for those of who you are thinking of starting is: just start somewhere. Anywhere! Just start and it will start trickling into other areas of your home and in your life. You don’t need to pare your closet down to 37 items in one go or go zero waste in one week. It is a slow, and meaningful process. You will stumble. It will be hard at times, but you will also learn so much. So just start somewhere.
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