Image in the process of decluttering my closet. Way too much stuff. Plans to apply a redo closet by applying a minimalist mindset.
To bring peace and eliminate wasted energy, let’s think like a minimalist to declutter our closets. Minimalism is anchored in the principle that less is more and life is best lived in a state of freedom from the unnecessary burdens associated with an overabundance of things. Some 300,000 years ago, we were nomadic beings following the seasonal and climatic changes in search of food and water. To survive as a nomad, only possessions that were functional, mobile, and necessary existed. Fast forward to today, when less than 1 percent of the 7 billion individuals who populate the world live as nomads, we have evolved into sedentary dwellers with a possessive mindset fueling the habit of collecting things, and clutter.
Let’s strive to return to the unencumbered lifestyle of nomads by applying minimalist principles to declutter our closets.
Establish an Intention for Your Closet
Imagine you getting in a car not knowing where you want to go; that’s what we are doing when we fill our closets without thinking through what’s our style, what is the look we wish to create, and what is it that we are hoping to achieve. Before you start your closet decluttering journey, you must be clear about your fashion destination. Ask yourself, what is your intention?
Clippings from Vogue capture my fashion vision.
Decluttering Tip: An exercise I do each year to chart my fashion destination is to create a lookbook. Very similar to the process of doing a vision board, I clip images from magazines that depict the essence of my style. By creating a lookbook, I am forcing myself to answer the question, what is my style? This lookbook then becomes my guide to think about what items in my closet I should keep while also informing me of possible purchases needed to develop my desired look.
Remember Timeless Wins Over Trendy
Timeless pieces are items that never go out of styles, such as the all-occasion little black dress or the classic pump that can be worn for dressy or casual outings. Think pieces you could see yourself loving five, ten, and many more years into the future. However, not all of the pieces in our closet are timeless. There are those items that reflect an era in life or pop culture crazes that may seem dated and out of alignment with our fashion vision. Let’s remove those pieces from our closets to make mental and physical space within our minds and wardrobe.
Decluttering Tip: Sort your closet into the following three piles:
- Clothes that you’ve worn in the last 12 months.
- Clothes with sale tags still on them.
- Everything else.
Alter and Restore Pieces
As a minimalist, one looks to lengthen the useful life of clothes through alterations to either adjust sizing and/or reimagine an item to fit within your current fashion vision. If the cost of altering an item can’t be justified, then it is fair to say that the piece’s useful life with you has probably ended. Clothes unable to be altered and/or restored are best to be removed from the closet but can gain an extended life by being donated to a charity or even selling through a consignment arrangement. Either way, the minimalist only keeps that which they plan to use.
A good tailor can easily help you reimagine pieces in your closet.
Decluttering Tip: Establish a good relationship with a tailor. This will enable you to periodically discuss with your tailor the possibilities of altering pieces to extend their useful life within your closet. A good tailor can easily help you reimagine a garment.
Wear What Brings You Joy
A goal of a minimalist is to surround themselves with items that bring them joy. The same can be said about what you wear. Aspire to create a closet that brings you joy. Therefore, pieces that don’t quite fit, and can’t be altered, outfits that are reminiscent of bad memories, or pieces that you just don’t like must be removed from your closet to maintain a sense of joy.
Decluttering Tip: When you are cleaning out your closet, try items in front of a mirror to see how they look on your body and whether they make you smile.
A decluttered closet creates a sense of peace and joy.
In closing, remember the benefits of nomadic life – an uninhibited existence resulting from freedom of possessions. From a minimalist perspective, clutter is an energy drain that limits growth and beauty. As we think about clothing, we want our wardrobes to reflect the balance and peace in our lives caused by a departure from cluttered closets.