Living a minimalist lifestyle is all about simplifying, finding more pleasure in consuming and possessing less, and living with intention.
From tiny houses to capsule wardrobes, we all are looking for ways to clear distractions out of our lives. This quest for less stuff is not entirely surprising, given the number of scientific studies linking happiness with experiences, gratitude, and mindfulness — not wealth and materialism.
One way to jumpstart a minimal lifestyle is to create your very own minimalist wardrobe. Here’s how.
By: Alex Moore
First: Strip Down
The first step in creating a minimalist wardrobe is to pare down what you already own. Stripping down to the essentials can reveal how much clothing you have accumulated mindlessly and how little of it you actually want or need.
Not sure how to begin? Try the 30 Day Minimalism Game developed by Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, the filmmakers behind the acclaimed documentary, The Minimalists.
On the first day of the game, discard 1 item of clothing; on the second day, discard 2, and so on until you discard 30 items on the thirtieth day.
Even better, challenge a friend to join the game with you, so you can hold each other accountable.
You can also use Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method. The queen of tidying up suggests that you empty your drawers and closets, pick up each item of clothing individually, and feel whether the item sparks joy within you. If it does, keep it; if not, discard it.
The KonMari Method can be especially helpful for those of us who attach nostalgic value to our clothes. If a formerly beloved dress or shoe no longer sparks joy, you need not feel guilty.
Simply thank the dress or shoe for the joy you once shared together, and then release the item from your possession so it may bring joy to another.
This method has the dual benefit of helping you minimize your wardrobe while also helping you to practice mindfulness and intentional living.
Second: Love the Clothes You Have
The process of simplifying your wardrobe can be an effective way to examine your style and what you love. You will naturally gravitate toward certain fabrics, textures, and styles.
Having a wardrobe that is efficient, less wasteful, and more reflective of your personality is invigorating. For that reason, wearing handmade clothing resonates with many minimalists.
Put your clarified sense of style into the creative outlet of sewing. Pull out your starter ultra mini sewing machine (if you don’t have one, get one!) and try your hand at making your own clothing. SewMamaSew has great resources for transitioning to a (mostly) handmade wardrobe.
Allie Olson’s website, Indiesew, is another great resource for patterns and a supportive community . Olson spent an entire year without purchasing a single item of clothing and instead, relied on the sewing skills her mother taught her to make everything she needed. Now she’s on a mission to curate awesome sewing patterns and take the frustration out of making your own clothes.
Third: Staples to Mix and Match
Stripping away the excess and focusing on what you love to wear is a good start, but to be practical, your wardrobe must work for you.
To set yourself up for success, make sure your wardrobe includes high-quality staples that you can mix and match for your lifestyle.
Staples may include a well-fitting suit and a comfortable pair of jeans for men or a little black dress and a versatile jacket for women. The basic necessities will vary depending on your daily needs, personal style, and budget.
To help you decide what staple items you need, try Project333, created by writer and speaker Courtney Carver, who shares ideas for living your life on purpose.
The idea behind Project 333 is to cull your wardrobe to 33 items for every 3-month period. The beauty of this idea is that you can start anytime and rotate through your minimalist wardrobe by season.
Carver’s website has a list of staple items to get you started, and you can follow her and other Project 333 participants online with the hashtag #Project333.
Creating your own minimal wardrobe is a worthwhile pursuit in and of itself. Additionally, you may finding that going minimal in your closet may lead you to live more mindfully, naturally, and peacefully in general. Perhaps one pathway to inner peace is cultivating peace in the clothing you wear on the outside.
Alex Moore of the SewingMachineJudge is a business major who has figured out the immense value of thrifting and DIY-ing. He writes about it on every occasion he finds, guest blogging for several online magazines. Find more about Alex on Twitter.
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