Last year I jumped on the bandwagon and read Marie Kondo’s book, the life changing magic of tidying up. The first time I read it – I thought she was crazy. The second time I read it – I thought she was right.

I needed to let things go. I began a journey fueled by minimalist blogs to clear out my house. To minimize.

As I read blogs about capsule wardrobes and saw friends complete them, I felt like a failure. I liked clothing. Clothing makes me feel safe. I know deep down inside those feeling are from past childhood experiences, but through those experiences I have grown to love fashion. I felt bad about this, until I didn’t.

An article I read somewhere on minimalism said you have to make it your own for it to work. It’s not about an exact number of shirts you own, it’s not about how empty your house is, it’s about making minimalism work for you and using the principles to guide your life.

My outlook on minimalism and how it relates to my life changed after that. Those few words have guided me in my quest to reduce, not simply for reductions sake but because I want more from my life than cleaning and organizing.

Sunday I decided it was time for another closest clean out. I’ve done this once a month every month this year.

This was my 4th major clean out – which in and of itself should tell you how much “stuff” I had in my closet.

The first time I let go of things I didn’t like, things that were stained, or things that were worn out. Those items were donated, turned in to rags or trashed.

The second time I let go of things that didn’t fit correctly. The clothing I liked and kept around thinking maybe one day this will look right on me, even though that day never came. I gave most of these items to a friend who shared a bunch of the running stuff with another friend. I didn’t feel guilty at all about what I let go of in this round because I wasn’t seeing what I had spent go to waste. I saw friends who were using the items.

The third time I felt compelled to clean out because I knew I had a lot of items in my closet that I wasn’t donating or giving away because I had spent too much money on them – reasoning with myself that maybe one day I would come to love them again. I knew the day wouldn’t come that they would be items I loved again. In order to let go of these items I wanted to in some way recoup the cost of what I had spent. I listed these items on poshmark {and made back thousands of what I had spent}.

This time my closet was fairly lean compared to what it was on December 30th of last year BUT I knew I needed to go further.

The first time I reduced I thought about doing the clothing hanger thing, where you flip around the hanger and return it correctly once you have worn an item, but I know that my obsessiveness would drive me to wear those items, only because I didn’t want my hangers facing the wrong way.

This weekend I knew what items I hadn’t worn since January. If I hadn’t worn them for weather reasons, okay. Anything else that hadn’t been worn in three months needed to go unless I had a good reason not to wear them – formal dresses – suit jackets – special occasion outfits. All the items that I hadn’t worn were items that I liked {they made it through the first three rounds}, and still do like, but that they weren’t my favorite for whatever reason so I always gravitated to other items.

In order to not feel guilty about getting rid of clothing – I liked, that was not worn out and that was good quality – I had to give it to a friend who I knew would appreciate some new items in her wardrobe. She had already mentioned there were things she liked in my poshmark closet and had planned on shopping in it, so I knew she would like and wear what I gave her {If you download the poshmark app on your phone code BOAWZ will get you a $10 credit towards your first purchase}. I was ruthless in removing things and didn’t pay attention to the brand names when removing. I did this because I have a tendency to look at a shirt and think – oh I paid XX amount for this shirt. Ugh if only I could have that back? Okay I’ll keep it. But the truth is, I can’t have that money back – I can however work on not purchasing things that are anything other than a favorite.

What I learned during this last clean out has taught me a lot about my personal style – which was another goal in my reducing.

I like prints and bright colors, but I really only wear prints and colors when I’m running. I buy them in regular clothing but they sit in my closet gathering dust.

I like black, white, grey, and denim. If I stick to those basic colors with a pop of color now and then, I’m happy and I like my outfit every day without fail.

If I only have favorites in my closet, I take care of them. I took the majority of my shoes out of their shoe boxes and made a shoe wall – something I’ve always wanted to have. Seeing all my shoes in one place, also helps me remember that I have a lot of shoes, so I likely don’t need another pair, unless of course it’s one that I absolutely love.

Closet 1

I wear running clothing and athletic lifestyle pieces more often than anything else in my closet.

I decided in one of the earlier closest clean outs that I wasn’t treating my workout gear with the respect it deserved. Stuffing it in drawers where it was getting snagged or forgotten was not a good way of taking care of it. I decided that shirts needed to get hung up and leggings like all of my Nancy Rose Performance ones needed to also be hung and taken care of so they last.

The bottom row of clothing in my closet is all athletic gear – it makes getting ready to workout fun when I can see all the bright colors. I even organized a bunch of it by color instead of style.

Closet 3

I’ll never be minimalist when it comes to running gear, so I am not going to even try. I like new fitness clothing because:

  • It motivates me to work out when I use it as a reward. I’ve rewarded myself in some small way for all 31 of my marathons. I don’t feel bad about this in the least.
  • When I feel fit and strong I workout harder. Workout gear I like makes me feel fit and strong.
  • I workout in some fashion 6 days a week – whether that is running, pilates, yoga, strength training, swimming, hiking, etc. Some weeks it’s 7 days. If I didn’t have a ton of workout clothing I’d get sick of what I was wearing and I’d be doing laundry every two days. {As I would later learn – you don’t count athletic clothing in your capsule wardrobe anyways}.

If I had set out in January to reduce my closet to what it is now in one fell swoop I would have just filled it back up again. It helped that I did a New Year no shopping challenge, so I wasn’t buying new things to fill up my closet regardless. That challenge REALLY helped me grow as a person, which sounds silly, but it’s true – I’ll talk about it in another post.

My closet is still filled but this is the most organized and “minimal” it’s been in years.

Closet 2

Yesterday as I sat in my bedroom, my favorite room in the house, I thought about how I was going to go about this closet clean out.

I’m not a minimalist by minimalist standards of “stuff” but I am moving towards a minimalist way of thinking and my actions are more minimalist than ever. My bedroom also happens to be the room with the least amount of stuff in it so it’s zero surprise to me that I feel most calm in the room and that it is my favorite. It’s a peaceful room uncluttered by distractions.

As I thought about the clean out – I started to feel a bit guilty about how much I own, till it struck me.

I am minimalizing certain areas of my life so I can maximize others.

The less time I spend on cleaning, putting away, organizing, finding space for things – the more time I have to spend with my children doing fun things, the more time I have to run or to workout, to draw, to get back in to sewing, to read, to learn something new. I will never have a capsule wardrobe and I’m cool with that now. I’m not going to give away all my belongings and live in a Tiny House, but that doesn’t mean I am not living by minimalist principles and working to make it my own. The only way I’ve found to waste less time on stuff, is to simply own less.

Minimalism is helping to give more life to my life by giving me back time I was otherwise spending on my “stuff.”

I learned this from four closet clean outs.

Social - Minimalism

%d bloggers like this: