A Minimalist Closet

Every so often, my closet overwhelms me. It is in disarray, doors and drawers won’t close, and it seems I have nothing to wear. In the past, I would often respond to this situation by buying new clothing or accessory items. Lately, I’ve taken a different approach. As part of our rightsizing and frugalizing efforts, I take this as a cue to pare down and let go of the items that are no longer serving me.

This winter, my closet reached just such a chaotic state. This year’s purge didn’t result in getting rid of as much as I expected. But, it was effective to freshly organize and reduce to the available space. Shoes are one of my spending vices. In our small closet, space is limited. I forced myself to reduce my shoes until they fit the allotted space. The mindset of “enough” means I don’t need to hold on to worn out running shoes or other items that are infrequently worn.

I employ a few techniques in a closet purge (or pare down, as the case may be). The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees is a helpful resource in finding your personal style. This book was useful in terms of deciding what types of items I should keep, and seek out in the future. I also use a dash of Kon Mari, especially with items that are tough to reduce. Remember those worn out running shoes? I’m not too proud to admit that I thanked them for all of the miles and memories they’d given me. For the less woo-woo among you, I also like Marie’s folding method for items in drawers, too. And I’ve learned from the minimalists–asking myself what is necessary and what is adding value before deciding what remains.

At this point, I probably still have more than I need. I’m working to reduce by attrition: no new purchases unless at least as many items go out first. Here’s one example, I want a pair of Birkenstock sandals, but will not allow myself to make the purchase until I get rid of another pair of shoes. And at present, I don’t want to part with any of my shoes. So, I wait.

During the project, I realized that I’d long ago eliminated most of the items that no longer fit or that were impulse purchases that did not fit my style. On this round, I got rid of things that were in disrepair or otherwise unsuitable for my current life. It was great not to toss piles and piles of clothing. At the point of purchase, I’m doing a better job avoiding overbuying and selecting needed items. I’m crystallizing what’s missing. This helps me shop for items that actually increase my wardrobe, rather than buying more of the same.

Everything is simpler and more enjoyable when my closet is well-organized. It takes less time to get ready for work on weekday mornings. Packing and unpacking for trips is easier. Laundry is manageable, especially because I’m more likely to properly put away clothes, either in the hamper if dirty or reshelve if not, when my closet is orderly.

Now that the weather has finally warmed in the midwest, it’s time to swap out my few strictly seasonal items. This is a great opportunity to revisit everything. Any winter items that went unworn are up for elimination. Same goes for items that no longer fit well.

Anyone else engage in regular closet maintenance? Is the work ever done? Please share your tips!

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