A small wardrobe has been one of the most helpful aspects of minimalism. Three awesome things happened when I simplified my wardrobe!
- Easy outfit selection — every piece is my favorite and is versatile
- Manageable laundry — items are reworn and all washed in one load
- Less clutter — spacious drawers make it easy to put things away
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!