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Minimalism

Downsizing My Closet by 75% – Minimalism

My reasoning behind tossing out 75% of my clothing is two fold. On one hand, it has a lot to do with my journey into minimalism and doing more with less. On the other hand, it has to do with my decision to change the way I dress.

In terms of minimalism, my goal is to get to a point where all of my possessions, can fit in one 60 Liter Backpack (I use this for all my international travel and backpacking trips) and one very large brown box weighing no more than 40 pounds that I can easily ship around the country for around $50 – $80 depending on location.

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brown box60 L Backpack

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(Note – I do have stored in a closet at my Mom’s house in New Jersey 4 year books, a few travel souvenirs, about 1,000 photos I took with disposable cameras back in high school, 2 guitars, and a few paintings of mine. For the sake of transparency, and because I am not a stickler for rules, I personally, am okay with this! My main focus right now, is what I am carrying with me in order to live my day-to-day life.)

In terms of my style, I want to dress in a way that reflects who I am, that lets me express myself, and that makes me feel more like the woman that I am. I grew up a Tom Boy, wearing plaid shirts and muddy jeans. And until recently, I’ve always worn clothes that didn’t stand out, that were comfortable but not stylish, and that lacked personality. I’ll always love a classic jeans and a plaid shirt day, but it’s time to up my style.

That being said, I went on a mission to get rid of every piece of clothing that A.) simply was taking up space and rarely being worn, and B.) didn’t suit my style or personality anymore.

Below, are the 5 steps I took to accomplish this that made this task, actually, incredibly fun.

I invite you to join me on the challenge!

1.) BUY NEW CLOTHES THAT YOU LOVE 

Yes, this sounds counterproductive. But in fact, this made it incredibly easy for me to tell the difference between the new-me, and the old-me when I was sifting through my clothes. All I had to do was glance over at my new look, and it couldn’t have been more clear that the old piece of clothing I was holding in my hand no longer suited me.

I encourage you to take a moment to consider the following: What do your clothes say about you? Do they reflect who you are?

I’ve never been a fashionista. Like I said, I was a Tom Boy to a pretty hardcore scale when I was a kid. But, I do believe that clothing can be a wonderful way to express yourself. Why not take that opportunity? Think about it.

2.) ASK YOURSELF, “DO I EVEN LIKE THIS TOP?”

I can’t tell you how many shirts I owned that I didn’t even like. I wish I knew why I even purchased them in the first place.

Yet, I have moved 3 times in the past 2 years, and have decided to bring them along with me.

If you look at the piece of clothing and you don’t think to yourself, “Damn, I look and I feel good in this,” chuck it.

3.) WHAT DO YOU HAVE MULTIPLES OF?

I had about 4 pairs of running shorts, 5 pairs of leggings, 3 pairs of sweatpants, 20 oversized t-shirts, 3 pairs of boxer shorts, etc.

There is absolutely no reason to own so many multiples of so many things.

  • Pick your favorite one (at most 2) out of the piles
  • If it’s for a task you do a lot (many running shorts because you run several days a week) you can be more lenient.
  • Look for any that have holes, don’t fit well, or are clearly aging. Get rid of those.

I kept 3 of the oversized t-shirts because I love them, I wear them to bed, and a few of them have sentimental value to me. I chucked one of the boxers, and donated 4 of the leggings.

As far as my running shorts went, I kept the 2 that had zippers on them and donated the other two. Sometimes, if they all look good to you, judging based on utility and usefulness can be a good deciding factor.

4.) INVESTIGATE THE QUALITY

Get rid of any article of clothing that is ripped, worn out, has holes, etc.

For me, I am aiming for all of my possessions to be of high quality. I don’t want to wear sweatpants with a giant rip at the bottom, or an old cotton shirt that is pilling. Why would I do that, when I can replace it or already own something that is of higher quality and suits me better?

5.) THE MAYBE PILE

Before I left for my 3 month trip to Guatemala I went through all of my clothes doing this exact process. From there, I created a maybe pile that I decided I’d go back and check upon my return.

It turns out, nearly all of these clothes, I had forgotten about, and it was that much easier for me to get rid of them.

So, if there are a few you aren’t sure of, consider putting them in a box and not returning to that box for another month. Then, a month from now, when you open it up and there are pieces you find yourself saying, “omg i missed this!!!” or “oh, I didn’t even know I owned this thing” …well, you’ll know what to do.

Good Luck!

My next step is going to be Triple3 Challenge: 33 clothing articles for 3 months. This kind of challenge requires you to get good at mixing and matching, and teaches you how to live with less.

I find this stuff so exciting! I love the idea of only owning and using and wearing that which I need. And furthermore, it is of the best quality as well, so I feel good when I’m wearing it, and I know it will last.

And finally, by doing challenges like this and by tossing out your unloved clothes, it makes it a lot easier to know when an object (in this case an article of clothing) is really worth your money and time.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

Share with me what you're getting into that matters to you. It could be stepping into entrepreneurial pursuits, embarking on a journey of the self, making a crazy life change, or even if you're totally stuck. I want to connect with, support, collaborate with, and learn from as many people as possible through this blog (that means you!) Click the *Share* link in the main menu and let's connect by filling out the form.

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  • I love the adventurism of this blog. When People who do not know me discover that everything I own fits into one (very nice) Domke bag, their jaw drops. 2 changes of clothes. All my cameras. Now, with Google Glass I might zilch the cameras. Google Glass has FREED me up. Toothbrush. Splurged on headphones. That’s about it because that’s all I need. No STUFF. Been there. Done that. Garage sales are boring and how many can you have in one lifetime. Hotels always want to know where my bags are (they view this with suspicion).

    I can get out of Dodge on a moment’s notice.

  • I’m never going to get down to one bag of possessions but like you I have recently changed my style a bit and got rid of a lot of items that just didn’t work anymore.

  • Hi,
    Love your writing on downsizing. I sold my house in April and moved from 3200 sq feet to 450 foot RV and a 100 ft storage unit. When I looked at all of the clothes I had I thought the same thing.. when will I ever wear this? and does this really reflect my style? I began working on my dream wardrobe, stuff that wouldn’t wrinkle and was wash n wear.. also stuff that went together so that I could have less and not spend so much time looking for things that went together. Still putting it together and working on a Kickstarter campaign in my spare time.
    Thanks so much for you inspiration.

  • Helen A

    I have to say I am genuinely inspired by the comments. This may be the start of my new journey! Thank you.