Minimalist Clothing: How to Downsize Your Wardrobe



I have had the pleasure of working with a number of family and friends to take on (what they considered to be) the daunting task of cleaning out their closets. For me it was quite the opposite- an exciting adventure of a day and a chance to connect with a loved one and bring them joy and spaciousness to their life and home.

So how can you begin?
• Clear a day, a half a day, a few hours, whatever is needed for your wardrobe load
• Get a reliable friend, bags for clothing you will donate, a clear head, happy state of mind, some good music, and clean fuel (fruit recommended) so you can keep going strong
• Get Clear
o What is your goal?
• Mine – to get rid of everything I did not wear regularly and to be able to fit all my clothes comfortably into my backpack
• My Mom’s- to get rid of all the clothes she did not wear or would not wear, to feel more spacious
• Laurie- to clean out and organize her closet (donated 10 large garbage bags!)
o Whatever your goals are, get clear and write them down. Have them visible. Develop some questions that will help keep you on track

Question Ideas:
• When was the last time I wore this? When is the next time I will wear it?
• Is this article of clothing comfortable? Do I enjoy putting it on?
• Do I feel good/happy/fun wearing this?
• If you are not sure about an item: am I hanging on to this for utility? Or sentimental reasons? Could I achieve that utility or sentiment another way? Could I let it go? Would that feel OK?
• Have the clothes for the life you are living
o Don’t own a wetsuit or scuba gear if you never get in the water (if it’s something yo often, great, maybe it’s worth owning that skiing gear, but if it’s only an occasional thing, maybe it would be better to rent or borrow. Consider your options).
o Things to consider: size, style, wear and tear, practicality, fun factor, comfort, usage

• Make piles
o Yes, No, Maybe (try on?)
• Try everything on. Decide what stays and goes.
• Put your keepers away nice and neat
• Put all your donation things in bags and bring them to a donation bin right away
• If you really are hesitant about getting rid of certain items, put them in a bag in your closet. Calendar an alert for yourself for a month from now. If you haven’t worn them, donate them.


So, for example, if an item of clothing is not going to add to my life significantly, I don’t get it. It has to meet the following requirements: it must be comfortable, I must be able to do acrobatics in it, I want it to be fun to wear and make me happy when I put it on, I want it to be easy to wash and dry with the rest of my clothes, it must easily fit in my small backpack of items I own, it must replace one or more items in my wardrobe (so my wardrobe stays the same size or gets smaller).

Those are specific standards I have for my clothing, though I have broader standards for the items in my life in general. I recognize that I feel happiest when I feel light and free, without the weight of stuff on my mind. In order to keep my life simple, I keep it minimalist. These are some of the questions I ask myself to keep excess out of my life:

Will this add value to my life?
Am I excited about this? Does it sound fun?
Do I feel hesitation about taking this on?
What will be the cost (in energy, time, mental space, money, etc) to take on and maintain this item? Is it worth it to me?
What need of mine is this item helping me meet?
Could I get this need met another way?
How frequently will I use this?
Could I borrow this item when I need it instead? Or rent it?
Would a test trial with this item benefit me?

And so on and so forth. In fact, these are the questions I ponder when thinking about adding anything to my life- something physical or something more abstract like a new activity or relationship. I enjoy making sure I’m really connected with myself and tuned into the feeling of the life I want to be creating, then excitedly pondering the factors that surround the new scenarios. It is from that space that I have found I make the decisions that feel the best for me. They are thought out, informed, and feel really understood by all parts of me.

Be discriminating. Elevate your expectations of life. Don’t just settle for a good life, insist on an awesome one. When you get used to living that way, if something is worth your time, you will know, because your excitement about it will be clear.