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5 Lessons from Minimalism

Less Wardrobe Anxiety:

An overflowing closet only sounds good on paper; it’s highly impractical, well at least in my case. Despite a closet that spilled over to every nook and cranny in my apartment, dressing for important events/occasions gave me a special dose of anxiety. 90% of the time I defaulted to, “I don’t have anything to wear so I have to buy an outfit” rationale. While de-cluttering I realized it was virtually impossible to create any kind of order with so many clothes and I was suffering from a bad case of the tyranny of choices, which in essence resulted in wardrobe anxiety (yeah, that’s a real thing) and some very questionable purchases. Living with less stuff was all it took to restore sanity in my closet (and probably head too).

Emotional Shopping:

After reading a few books on de-cluttering, minimalism as well as the psychology of shopping, I realized since 2009 I have been what is described in industry jargon as an impressionable emotional buyer. Basically that means I often shop to lift myself from stress, frustration or a bad mood. Consumer culture influence, which includes exposure to at least 3,000 ads a day played a big role in enabling my emotional shopping habits. The result was a gigantic collection of clothes and shoes that served no purpose other than dysfunctional wardrobe. I’ve got to consciously watch out for emotional triggers and the psychological warfare unleashed on us by aggressive campaigns and advertisements. While I am nowhere near a shopaholic (thank the heavens), this realization has nudged me to be extremely critical of my shopping habits. To balance the equation I’ll be working with capsule collections with the option of adding a maximum of five high quality pieces each season.

black trousers with gray blazer

black trousers with gray blazer

Cathartic Purge:

The first rule of the KonMarie method from The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up (which I read with the intention of organizing my closet) is: discard. The idea is to get rid of everything that does not illicit positive emotion. I was skeptical but went with this philosophy and not only did I get rid of 90% of my closet (with minimal tears) but also the purge high spread to my entire apartment and directly led to my realization that I don’t really need to be super organized, I just need less stuff.  Even though I have significantly less, it’s all stuff that I truly love and actually get some good use out of.

Style Evolution:

Hidden in the chaos of an overflowing closet was my personal style, which I wouldn’t have discovered had I not discarded items that I don’t wear. My left over pile was all neutrals with minor hints of color, which ironically is what I have been wearing the most over the last year. I’ll be exploring minimalism in all aspects of life and hopefully by the end of the year the adjustment will be complete.  At the moment, I’m just enjoying the almost-bare closet where I have a visual on every fashion-beauty item I own, including make-up and hair products.

Since I have less clothes it follows I will definitely (and notoriously) be breaking the blogsphere’s cardinal rule of no outfit repetition. In fact I am limiting my options even further with a 37-piece capsule collection each season, which means I have a capsule combinations challenge. I think finding multiple ways to express style with reasonable shopping updates is exactly what I need to fully engage the minimalist style adjustment.

Refocus + Reprioritize:

As a fashion blogger I was completely engrossed in my closet whether be it putting together new outfits or coveting a trendy item on the web, all of which deducted time from other interests and even slowed down productivity on the few interests I managed to get around to working on. While I still favor fashion (and definitely shoes), the purge provided mental clarity that helped me reconnect with interests that had fallen off the wagon. In the aftermath of the purge I felt very compelled to reevaluate and reprioritize my life in a manner that’s more congruent with meaningful interests and goals. Of course all of it is still a work in progress but for the most part I can honestly say the purge really did redirect my attention and I am a lot happier with how I am managing my life as a result.

The purge was definitely one of the most cathartic experiences I’ve had in a while. After the mourning episode (yes, I actually cried over my shoes), I’m so delighted that only favorites dominate my closet. Even though the KonMarie method is intended for tangible organization, I am applying it to non-tangible aspects of my life like goal setting, time management, social media and living on less in general.

Wearing: Express Editor Pants (similar) || Thrifted Blazer || Zara Sandals (similar) || Vintage casio watch

 

 

  • Firstly, I think that no outfit repetition rule is ridiculous. I think it is very possible to work with less, it actually allows you to be more creative. I have found that if I clean in stages, I am less likely to be overwhelmed and second guess my decisions. I’d like to commend you on your journey to minimalism, while it can be difficult, it can also be exciting! Check out into-mind.com she runs a fantastic blog on the very subject.

    • I agree. No repetition makes no sense. I mean, if you like an item then logically you would wear it often, no? Yes, cleaning in stages is best. The KonMarie method uses categories like clothes, books, memorabilia etc…each day you thoroughly clean one category.Thanks for the blog link, I’m already hooked.
      And thank you so much for the encouragement. See you soon (I hope) 🙂

  • While I don’t label myself as such (mostly because I hate labels), I’m very much into minimalism as a lifestyle and have actively been exploring that since I discovered the movement years ago. I’ll also recommend http://www.unfancy.com. She’s a fashion blogger with a capsule wardrobe as well. And girl, I repeat outfits on aaall the time (and my blog reflects this!). It’s ridiculous not to, as pointed out. 🙂