Becoming Minimalist With Clothing

The cooler temps are reminding me that my second favorite season is about to begin, boot season. I am anxious to get my fall clothing going and to put away the sun dresses for a few months. I have an average sized closet and it is full. My clothes are all arranged by color. However I am willing to bet that I am like most of you, we have a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear. So instead of grabbing something that I haven’t worn in awhile, I grab the same pair of jeans that I wore last week and the same shirt that I wore a few days ago.


I am consistently trying to challenge myself to try new ways to live with less clothing while still staying fashionable. Here are a few things that I have done over the years as fun experiments in figuring out the clothing dilemma.


First up was the backwards hanger trick. I turned all of my clothes with the hangers facing the wrong way. As I wore each item of clothing I put it back on the hanger facing the right way. This worked and showed me what I wore. Be warned it is a lot of work to turn all of your hangers backwards in the closet and with someone with a touch of OCD it didn’t look “right” to me.


The first thing I tell my clients with closet issues is the one in one out rule. For each new item of clothing they bring in, one (or two) needs to go. I do this religiously. I only have so many hangers and I am not buying anymore, ever. However I may “borrow” some of my husband’s hangers! Seriously, this really is the easiest way to not have your closet explode.


Another trick I tried was I didn’t buy clothes for six months. This was easy for me to not buy the clothes. But what I found was that I gained weight. I am not sure what the connection was as I don’t spend a lot of time shopping for new clothes. But I think the monotony got to me. I needed to add in a new shirt of new pair of pants to break things up.


This summer I did the easy option of only turning the hangers backwards once I wore something. This past week I counted how many items I wore and the number was 31. During the summer I had two vacations, conferences with award ceremonies and TV appearances. I was shocked when I discovered that I only wore 31 pieces of clothing. Looking at the 31 I know there are at least 8 in there that were bad choices. As of today I have approximately 150 pieces of clothing. Yikes! For fun I counted my husbands, he has around 50. I have some work to do!

(Day 1 over 150 items of clothing)

Now I am taking this hardcore and removing all the clothes from my closet and only bringing in what I wear. I am going to do this for three months. I am going to focus on 33 items, including jewelry, scarves and shoes. Yes I said shoes. I counted the shoes I wore this summer and it was over 15. This I predict will be an issue. I am using the number 33 and 3 months because of a website I ran across called The 333 Project from my friends The Minimalists.


As luck will have it, my son left for college and I have an empty closet to use. I am really excited about this idea. I will focus on groupings of clothes. When I worked at a clothing store when I was in law school I use to put groupings together for the customers and we would try to reach high numbers in options of outfits. Because I like a challenge I am excited to try this again.


If you do not have a spare closet, try putting everything you wear on one side of your closet. Being visual is key here! Start laying things out on your bed and seeing how things can be mixed and matched. A dress shirt can go with jeans, a skirt or dress pants. My idea is that each item of clothing needs to go with at a minimum of 5 different items. Those red pants need to go with at least five shirts or it will not make the cut.


So here is my challenge…start finding your 33 pieces. I predict you will notice that you are wearing timeless pieces. I also predict that nobody will realize that you only have one pair of jeans. You will find yourself with more time as you have a narrow focus on what you will wear and there will be no shopping during the 3 months as you have your 33 pieces.


To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,


MS. Simplicity

Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things!