Our items are a distraction and keep us from realizing who we actually are. When you take the time to go through your items you start to recognize a pattern of who you or someone else thought you should be. This is especially present in your clothes.
The amount of clothing items I owned took up so much space in my closet and my mind because I was constantly managing them. When I think back on my old closet I realized I only wore a fraction of the clothes and some of the ones I did wear where not even ones I loved. One such item was a floral dress that I recently donated. I realized I bought that dress in the hopes that I would be that person one day. I wore it a whopping 2 times since I purchased it in 2016 but each time I wore it I felt uncomfortable and it did not seem to fit my personality. I have no idea why I ended up buying that dress other than I wanted to like it because I thought I should.
So many of our items are for the person you either think you should be or what other people have told you that you are. I realized while going through my closet and dresser that I am not that person. No matter what I did that dress I bought was always going to feel like it wasn’t right for me. Going through your items means you will have to confront who you truly are and what you actually like. I realized I bought clothes for 1 of 4 reasons.
- I wanted to like the item: as in my future self would be someone who liked it
- The Item actually fit: As a 5’0′ person who grew up with clothes not fitting properly and many attempts to hem my own pants. I truly enjoy finding items that fit, even if I I don’t like them or they don’t go with anything else I own.
- I wanted the new style to be me: ie: floral dress
- I actually liked the item: this was only about 10% of my wardrobe
I also realized I kept what other people had bought me for similar reasons with a few exceptions.
- Guilt: I felt guilty that the item they bought me wasn’t something I would wear so I kept it.
- They knew me better: I thought the other person must know what looks good on me better than I do. Sometimes they were correct, but usually it wasn’t something I would wear.
- I didn’t know my own style: I allowed everything in the hopes that the item they gave me was my own “style”.
- Unable to easily replace the item: I grew up in a lower income home and if we were given something as nice as clothes we kept them, even if we didn’t wear it because we couldn’t afford to just replace clothes left and right. The items we did wear ended up being used and loved so much that they eventually wore out, still leaving like new items untouched.
It took me 4 full decluttering sessions before I was mostly left with items that I love and would wear. I know some people will think that I had too many clothes or that I should have been more thorough the first time. I would agree that I had too many clothes but I’m glad I was able to go through them thoroughly all 4 times because I was still figuring out my own style. Even now I still have a donate bag in my closet for easy access because even after going through my clothes so many times I still had a few items I wanted to like or thought that my new self would wear. And the next time I try it on and I don’t like it I can easily throw it in the donate bag.
While purging my clothes I considered doing a capsule wardrobe. I think a capsule wardrobe is a great idea for more consistent weather locations. I live in Utah and our weather is rarely consistent meaning it can snow in May and as early as September and it can be really warm in January. With the fluctuating temperatures in one week I can wear short, leggings, tank tops, a coat, flip flops, and boots all because of the weather changes. I know it is still a possibility and the people I know who have a capsule wardrobe love them, but for me personally I like seeing everything I have all year long.
I have also noticed that some capsule wardrobes tend to be two toned. I completely understand having basics and keeping a color scheme for accessories and matching clothes. I personally really enjoy wearing colorful tops and accessories which is not always conducive with a small capsule wardrobe. I do have several simple items that can be warn with anything that makes my wardrobe more functional.
When I know what I have I am able to create easy outfits that work for me, for my job, and at home. I have realized that spending more on quality items saves you money in the long run. Having shopped at Wal-mart and then a moderately higher end clothing store such as Dillard’s makes a world of difference because the cheaper clothes only last 1 or 2 season as the more expensive clothes last years. Also in the event that you happen to have a body that does not fit the “usual mold” you should be able to find an item that is close to or the exact size you need. Wal-mart may have plus side clothing, but if you are taller or shorter than the average you will most likely end up with clothes that do not fit properly and you are left to either seem them yourself or wear the clothes the way they are. When we have clothes that actually fit us we tend to feel better about ourselves.
I do realize that minimizing your items with less disposable income will mean that you do not have the income to replace something if it wears down. A suggestion you could try is to have a couple of back up items that you know will wear down such as pants, coats, and gloves. These extras items can be set aside just in case or just having a few more items. Personally because I have a hard time finding pants that fit me well. I do own 6 pairs of jeans and 2 pairs of slacks that fit perfectly and are the correct length.
Remember decluttering and even minimalism is not about the number of items you own, but about intentional living. If you start your day with a cluttered closet or dresser and you can’t seem to put together an outfit you like that is when you know you need to declutter your clothes. When we have too many options first thing in the morning it can make you feel flustered and overwhelmed. I remember waking up and thinking about an outfit and when I tried it on it didn’t work, that is a great time to start your donate pile. When we have too many options to chose from as far as clothes go we will inevitably wear the same thing we always do.
I hope you are able to use the experience as a sound board for your next decluttering project. If you are interested in further information on a capsule wardrobe check out one of my favorite bloggers at Simple Lionheart Life . As always be sure to share any thoughts or suggestions you have.