My Secret to Curating a Minimalist Wardrobe

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A small wardrobe has been one of the most helpful aspects of minimalism. Three awesome things happened when I simplified my wardrobe!

  1. Easy outfit selection — every piece is my favorite and is versatile
  2. Manageable laundry — items are reworn and all washed in one load
  3. Less clutter — spacious drawers make it easy to put things away

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So what’s my secret to maintaining a small wardrobe?

Even though we try to keep our purchases at a minimum, things inevitably creep back in over time. To keep my wardrobe small, I set space limits with a small dresser, a handful of wood hangers, and two plastic bins (similar) for seasonal things. I like this method better than having a certain number of pieces because, one, I don’t want to take the time to recount my clothes, and two, this method gives me a little flex. I set small space limits, but then have the freedom to include anything that will fit.

However, the main reason that I love using space limits is that they let me know when I have too many things. When I start noticing piles of clothes on floor rather than being put away because a drawer is too stuffed, I know that it’s time to pare down again.

This happened just recently when a resurgence of clothing was kicking around the floor.  The slow-drip of accumulation wasn’t able to sneak around my space-limit alarms! Commence minimizing!

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Here are the two steps that I used to pare down.

1. Pile everything. I gathered every piece of clothing, shoe, and accessory into a large pile. This KonMari method is my favorite for this step because it lets me see the impact of what I own and allows me to view each thing objectively.

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2. Sort and Donate, Sell, or Recycle. Next, I sorted everything into their respective storage systems and tossed anything that didn’t fit in my space limits, wasn’t used in a year, didn’t like/fit, was an unnecessary multiple, or was damaged or ragged into donate, sell, or recycle bins.

This time, I let go of a whole bin worth of clothes and accessories. I even decided to sell a pair of nice water shoes that I bought for our trip to Costa Rica to make space for our next adventure.

And, that’s it! Super simple. I just piled and sorted using the above criteria.

What did I keep?

Arranged by space-limit, below is what I kept. Note that items aren’t crammed into place. Loosely fitting a small handful of things into each drawer reenforces accessibility and makes it super easy to put things away — not to mention the fact that it just makes for a more pleasant experience overall.

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Dresser

Bottoms and bulky items. (top left) Two pairs of jeans (dark and light), one pair of black opaque tights, two pairs of black, fleece-lined tights, pjs, and two sweatshirts. Dark, black, or neutral colors for bottoms makes outfit pairing extremely easy.

Tops. (top right) Here is where I add color. I just make sure that each shirt or blouse can be paired with most of the bottoms. I can also add color with the addition of a scarf.

Activewear, including shoes and socks. (bottom left) No more “I can’t find my shoes” excuses! Having my gear in one place makes the transition to working out a little easier.

Most-used shoes. (bottom right) My shoes are neutral colors so they match everything and can be worn for multiple occasions. Currently, this drawer houses my booties that got me around Europe and super versatile black boots. Less-used shoes are stored in bins above my dresser. Keeping all of my shoes off the floor and stored in this manner helps prevent clutter.

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Hangers

I hang up a handful of blouses, two pairs of black pants, one black skirt, dresses, and sweaters/cardigans and a black puffer vest. My dresses are comfortable and can be worn for multiple occasions.

Rather than cramming our large closet full, we try to keep it light and airy. It’s actually become a space that I want to feature instead of closing the door out of embarrassment when guests come over.

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Seasonal

I fashion my wardrobe for only two seasons — warm and cold. This reduces storage needs and simplifies outfit pairing since everything can be worn all year. When temperatures change, I just switch out a few things from the bins above my dresser. One bin (left) includes my canvas shoes, versatile nude heals, and winter accessories and the second bin (right) includes my warm-weather clothes and a handful of less-used cold-weather items.

Also, coats. We live in Minnesota where coats are an absolute. My Eddie Bauer parka is amazingly warm for biting Minneapolis temperatures. I also have a couple extra coats for sweaty outdoor activities like running and hiking/camping. They’re stored in our coat closet near the front door.

Even though we keep purchases at-bay, stuff inevitably slides back into our home. Thankfully, I can relax and trust that the built-in alarms that space limits provide will let me know when to pare down again. Ultimately, staying on-top of small, bite-sized amounts is much more manageable than letting it accumulate and overhauling in one intensive sweep later.

I would love to know what clutter-busting systems you love or are experimenting with. Do you have a favorite trick for keeping your wardrobe at your ideal size while reducing clutter? Comment below!

Simply, Becky

23 thoughts on “My Secret to Curating a Minimalist Wardrobe

  1. Great post! We’re also aspiring minimalists, but you certainly take it up a notch. 🙂

    Part of what I love about living in Minneapolis is the old houses have really tiny closets. Kind of forces you to pare down your wardrobe.

    What part of the hood do you guys call home? We’re in SW minny.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re also in the southwest area! Our apartment seems to have the opposite problem… small living room and huge walk-through closet, ha. I dream of finding a house here that has small closets though. Have you lived here a while? We’re originally from the east coast, but are 100% in love with this area!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I moved here in 95 from Michigan, my wife in 2004 from Nebraska. We love it too – Winter weather and all (okay, maybe not sooo much the winters…) Having started out in the burbs, so glad to be living in the n’hoods since ’04.

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  2. Inspiring! I’m working towards optimizing my wardrobe too. I wanted to do this after I moved to another country – the second time, didn’t happen the first time. I realized I had to manage so many things! It gets tricky when you share a wardrobe with someone, you can’t exactly make them optimize too. But, I guess I can lead by example and see how that goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yes!!!! 😍I would 100% make room for those! One of the reasons I love space-limit systems so much for my wardrobe is that I determine the size of the system and can keep anything that fits! It also helps me keep the larger collections of things under control, like books. Gosh, we’ve got a book hoarding problem, but we love them!! Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! I loved this post. I’ve recently been way more conscious about which items I allow into my wardrobe. Neutral pieces for two seasons is such a good idea and I had never heard of space-limiting until now. How neat! Thank you so much for sharing your insight!

    Liked by 1 person

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