Living Simpler: Downsizing my Fashion Clutter

Living Simpler: Downsizing my Fashion Clutter

Hi everyone! I wanted to chat about something I’ve been trying to embrace this year, and a journey that I’m on.

In the frenzy of keeping up with trends I have amassed just a bit too much stuff. Lately on blogs and YouTube I’ve started seeing so much great content and inspiration around minimalism, and while I probably will never become a true minimalist, I love the overall spirit of this movement: having fewer, nicer things that you wear more often.

At the start of 2016 I set the goal of wanting to simplify my life and live with less. This spans many areas of my life, but I’m starting with clothes, shoes, accessories and cosmetics. Clutter generally creeps up on most of us, but for me, what I like to call fashion clutter is the bulk of the problem. You trend setters know what I mean! It’s the classic problem of “a closet full of clothes and not a thing to wear”. This predominantly manifested itself in my closet, and definitely in my makeup vanity. (Depending on your interests and passions you might experience the same phenomenon in say, gym clothes, or books, or kitchen utensils and appliances.)

And so, with a full cup of motivation I set out on my journey to simplifying! My main goal now, and guiding principle is to have fewer, nicer things that I love, and therefore use much more!

I began by reading a book that was all the rage through 2015, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. I highly recommend it, it’s a quick read, and although a bit quirky, the underlying principles work for me. I may do a proper book review on it, but in summary, her philosophy is that you should only hang on to things that spark joy, that you’re glad to use or make you happy. After reading her book I’ve done several rounds of closet purging, and let me tell you, it feels amazing! You’ll be shocked at how good it feels to let go of stuff.

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I really believe that all that physical stuff weighs you down in your home. Once I got rid of a lot, my closet, apartment, and mind all felt more open, airy and like there was more breathing room. I no longer want to own that much stuff.

I also started looking for other bloggers or YouTube vloggers who embraced this movement of living with less. There’s lots of great resources out there! One concept that I’m still hoping to one day embrace is the idea of capsule wardrobes. This is a system where you pick a specific number of items for the season, and pack everything else away, making outfits just from your “capsule” collection. The idea is that you’ll get more wear out of these things, and also can more easily see when you need to replace something. That way you shopping is sparked by a true need, rather than a want.

The key thing I’ve learned so far this year is that it’s going to take me a bit of time. Time to purge, donate, reduce. Time to use up consumables like makeup or skincare. After all there’s only so much you can do each weekend! But here are some practical tips I’ve learned along the way to keep tackling that fashion clutter and stay on the road to simpler.

  1. Set aside the time and pick a category: Start with something that isn’t the biggest category, like shoes, or even jackets/outerwear. That way you can set aside a couple of hour, but not wind up with a room full of clothes on the floor at Sunday evening 9pm and your home is a mess!
  2. Make a fast decision: Marie Kondo says to pick up each item, see how it makes you feel, and go with your gut! For example, an old sweatshirt from college sparks, “Oh I love this old thing!” then keep it. But if a short sequin dress sparks, “Oh gosh, I remember when that used to fit… argh I need to get it together” then perhaps donate that dress, it doesn’t spark positive thoughts for you, let it find a new home!
  3. Don’t negotiate with yourself (or others!): It’s really hard to stick with your decisions if you stare at an item too long, and then your mind starts coming up with excuses for keeping it. Just push those thoughts away! Also, it’s easier if you do this exercise alone because other family members might come up with excuses too and slow you down.
  4. Your items could use a new home: When you discard an item, don’t consider to mean you are casting away something now that you’re done with it. It doesn’t mean you’re a mindless consumer who is just tossing stuff now. See it as a positive. That item was great for you while it worked for you, and now it might be a new favorite for someone else! And it’s very good of you to let it go and become useful to someone else. This allows you to sort of “release” the mental clutter of that item too, like saying “thanks for the fun times! bye now!”. Marie Kondo advises clients to thank their used items for all the usefulness they provided.
  5. There might be hidden pocket money in your things: If you have items in good condition, there are lots of online resale sites now that might help you make some extra cash for them. For higher end goods check out sites like Fashionphile.com, Trendlee.com, or TheRealReal.com. And for contemporary brands I’ve been trying out the Poshmark app. Here’s what I setup for sale in “my closet” there. 

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I’m hoping to share more as I simplify and build a more streamlined, chic, and well worn wardrobe. I hope this was helpful! Leave me any questions or comments below and I’ll be happy to answer any questions! Thank you for reading!

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