I push through my closet frantically, grabbing at neatly folded and freshly ironed clothes. Hyper-aware of the time constraint, I furiously try on and rip off clothes. “I don’t know what to wear!”, “Everything looks horrible!” “I can’t do anything!” “I hate everything!” I’m now 17 minutes late and on the verge of tears. I stomp out the door without breakfast and without a packed lunch, I drive aggressively to catch the train. The stress of every slight annoyance will compound in to overwhelming anxiety before noon.
An indecision about what to wear has been the antecedent to numerous anxious, moody and stressful days. Finally recognizing this and wanting a change, I found a solution to minimize the trigger.
My Attempt at a Minimalist Wardrobe
I’d been on the fence about trying the whole minimalist closet thing. What if I suddenly needed the clothes? What if I get rid of a piece that comes back in style? What about all the money I spent on these barely worn clothes?
The benefits outweighed the what-ifs. This was one clear way to minimize stress and anxiety in my daily routine. I took tips from a bunch of different blogs and came up with my own process. I want to stress that in no way does my closet represent anywhere near a minimalist wardrobe but I did purge over 40% of my items. Here is what I did.
1. Separate clothes in to the following categories:
Workout, Teaching/Playing Tennis, Formal Work, Casual Work (I work in a startup environment), Casuals, Party/Cocktail Dresses, Lounge Wear, Pajamas and Undergarments.
2. Within each category I prioritized keeping clothes that fit really well, felt comfortable (nice fabrics) and that I loved wearing.
I honestly had a really hard time letting of some beautiful pieces like my sexy jumper that I can only wear sometimes, 2 pairs of jeans and 2 jackets because I’m just not ready to go there. I still need to feel super stylish and haven’t nailed that down to just a few pieces…yet.
3. I took all the unselected clothes in to another room and sorted them in to two piles, donation and re-sale.
The exercise made me want to do the same for my dusty box of memorabilia – I got rid of so much paper, plastic and only kept what was truly a keepsake.
I put each category back in the closet and dresser and already feel so much better being able to clearly see my entire wardrobe hanging neatly in the tiny closet (my closet is exceptionally small, smaller than a New York City apartment closet, like made for an elf) and dresser.
I don’t have any blog-worthy before and after photos to show you. But I got rid of about 6 and a half brown paper bags (the kind you get at Whole Foods) full of clothes, bags and accessories. I sold some of my barely used (some were brand new) items to two local consignment stores and made some decent cash back! The rest, I donated.
It’s been 2 months and I haven’t once lingered for more than 2 minutes in front of my closet, even on date night. Another results has been that my husband now gets to have three drawers in the dresser instead of half of one. I think he feels happy about not having his clothes on the chairdrobe, suitcases and other parts of the house. Lastly, an unintended consequence of attempting to be a minimalist is that I have not bought a new item of clothing or shoes in 2 months. My impulse to spend is way down and so is my desire for new trending things. I still have a long way to go to achieve a truly minimalist closet but this is a great start.
Next up is my bathroom, a detox of my products. What are your favorite multi-use, chemical free beauty and self-care products? Please share them with me!