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Paring Down Your Wardrobe

Paring Down Your Wardrobe

Why you should be thoughtful about what you bring into your wardrobe and how to do it

Day after day, one ad and one store at a time, we are bombarded with different fashion choices. The world of fashion is a never-ending and never-sleeping industry bent on extracting your money from you. And, speaking for a lot of people, they are more than happy to offer up that money to stay on top of the trends and have those items that they see online or in the store windows that they absolutely love.
And I’m here to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, I am also here to offer you a different perspective. 
What if your closet wasn’t brimming with a whole pile of clothing that you swore you “needed” but now have probably forgotten that you own? What if you only held in your closet what you actually wear on an ongoing basis?
Statistics have shown that the average person only wears 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. That means that your closet is likely full of articles that haven’t seen the light of day in months, if not longer!
                   Modern Day Cluttered Closet
Have you ever run into the problem where you open your closet in the morning to get ready for your day or for a special occasion and as you stand there looking at your exploding closet you think to yourself, “I have nothing to wear.” 
If this has happened to you, don’t worry, you are not alone. What you are most likely suffering from is something called “decision fatigue” or “the paradox of choice”. What this means is: the more choices you have to make, the harder it is to make a decision, and the less confident you are in the decision you ultimately make.
I have some good news for you, there is a cure for this!
There is a way to turn your closet from a storage room into a closet again. This is done by being intentional about what stays in your closet. Aim to fill your closet with items that are high in quality, that you really love, and that fit your lifestyle. Quality over quantity will always make your life easier, in every regard. Think buy less so you can buy better.
         Minimalist, intentional wardrobe
It starts by changing your mindset. In order to clear out the unnecessary clutter and keep your closet full of only the things that make you the most happy, you need to make the conscious decision that it’s time to make a change.
Once that decision is made, it’s time to let the decluttering begin!
I know a lot of people get overwhelmed at the thought of decluttering, understandably so, but it is not as scary and intimidating as most people think that it is. What’s important to keep in mind is that you go at your own pace. If your closet is jam packed with clothing, know that you don’t need to go through everything all in one day. Decluttering is a process and one that should be enjoyed.
To help keep track of your progress, whether you decide not to tackle the whole project in one day or not, it is helpful to divide your room into 4 sections, or get 4 bins. Label these bins “love”, “maybe”, “donate”, and “seasonal”. Doing this will help you with the initial overload and help show you where you left off if you need to come back to it at a later time.
Decluttering Bins
If you find that your “maybe” pile is really large when you’re finished there are a couple of actions that you can do.
  1. Leave the pile for a couple of days and then revisit it. Explore and seriously assess each individual item. Being critical with each item is very important. After some time away you will likely get a different feel for each item and be able to make a more informed decision.
  2. Put the maybe’s back into your closet beside the “love” items, but turn the hangers the opposite way. As you wear the “maybe” items turn the hangers back around and add them to your “love” section of the closet. If after a specific amount of time you don’t wear any of your “maybe” items it’s time to get rid of them. If you’re going to take this approach, give yourself a deadline right from the start and set a reminder in your phone to come back and reassess the items. Don’t wait too long though, 3 months is typically the average length of time for this experiment.
         Hanger De-cluttering Challenge
  1. Put all of the items in a box and put them away into storage for a predetermined length of time, again 3 months is a good length, but you can decide for yourself. Set a reminder on your phone to go back and grab those items out of storage at the end of your experiment’s time frame. If you didn’t miss anything that was in the box then donate all of it right then.
When going through your closet keep in mind to get rid of the clothes that don’t fit you, that don’t look good on you, that you don’t wear on a regular basis, and the clothes you don’t love.
Now that your closet is decluttered it’s time to start defining your personal style! This is the fun part because it’s through your style that you get to express your personality. 
Let the experimentation begin! Find out what you truly like and what you don’t. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles, colour palettes, patterns, etc. Have some fun finding items that you love that are wearable in different combinations. And don’t be afraid of colours. Just because you are choosing to own less doesn’t mean you have to settle for blacks and grays.
When you’re ready to get back into the world of shopping be sure to hold fast to your more intentional mindset that you have been developing, otherwise you will likely find yourself falling back into your old habits of cluttering up your closet once again. Don’t go shopping for clothes just because they are in fashion or on sale. Look for those items that will fit and suit you. And only shop when you actually need something!
Doing this will allow you to approach your wardrobe every day with a sense of love, no matter what outfit you picked and leave you feeling confident, amazing and yourself all day, instead of confused, frustrated and fatigued.
Studies have shown that people are only able to make so many high quality decisions in a day before decision fatigue sets in resulting in things like decision avoidance, impulse purchasing, decrease in our quality of choices and eventually an inability to make decisions at all. To avoid this it is important to limit the number of major decisions you need to make in a day. Paring down your wardrobe will definitely help with this. 
      Decision Fatigue
It is commonly known that major politicians and businessmen such as former United States President Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg have been known to reduce their everyday clothing down to one or two outfits in order to limit the number of decisions they make in a day. This allows more room for higher level decision making.
Owning a lower number of higher quality clothing items will not only free up your closet space so that you can actually see what all is in your closet, but owning a higher quality of clothing will mean your clothing will last longer. Longer lasting clothing results in less shopping and a happier bank account. And ultimately a happier life.
             Minimalist, Clutter free closet
Enjoy the process of making your life better and easier, one clothing item at a time! And if you need help or some motivation there are many different
minimalist clothing movements out there that are ready and waiting for you.
Two of them that are noteworthy are Project 333 that you can find more information on here, and the 10X10 Style Challenge that you can read more about here.
Whatever your method, always remember that you are not in this alone and the process is supposed to be fun. So enjoy yourself and, if you need to, invite a friend over and make a party out of it.
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