Posts Tagged ‘clothes’

22nd March
written by Randy

This week was a major turning point in my minimalist mission. Since my return from Italy, I have removed at least one item from my closet every day. Most days more than one. After four weeks, I had amassed such a pile that it filled six large plastic bags.

And this wasn’t junk. Remember, I got rid of everything that didn’t fit or look right back in November, right after getting rid of everything white. No, in this huge pile were designer shirts, designer pants, suits, sportcoats, wool winter coats, sweaters, dress shoes…

Gosh, I had a lot of clothes! Think about that for a moment: I’ve been dumping clothes since November — that’s almost five months! I’m certainly not a hoarder, and I never thought of myself as much of a consumer, but holy cow, I had an unreasonable amount of clothing!

But think I’ve finally gotten down to a what is reasonable. Now that everything has been donated, this is all the clothes I own::

  • 2 pr of jeans
  • 1 pr of gray cotton pants
  • 2 pr dress pants (1 black, 1 gray)
  • 3 t-shirts (2 black, 1 gray)
  • 7 long-sleeve button-up shirts
  • 3 short-sleeve button-up shirts
  • 3 polo shirts
  • 1 gray sweater
  • 1 black zip-up sweater
  • 2 suits (1 black, 1 brown)
  • 1 long wool winter coat
  • 1 short nylon winter coat
  • black leather boots
  • black leather shoes
  • brown leather shoes
  • athletic shoes
  • 1 Adidas workout suit
  • 4 pr boxers
  • 4 pr socks
  • 1 pr shorts
  • 1 pr swim shorts

I suppose it’s possible that I’ve missed something, but I’m pretty certain this is everything. So if you count everything, that’s 42 items. And if you cheat the way popular internet minimalists do, you can group the underwear and group the socks and call say 34.

For now, I’m going to leave it at 42, because it’s a lucky number, and because I’ve still got things to dispose of on my bookshelf and in my desk. I know I’m still over 100. But the really exciting detail is that finally, after more than 4 months, I’m done with the topic of clothing! I may drop one or two more items, later in the year, but I can say now, without any doubt in my mind, that I have a minimalist wardrobe.

And on the topic of donating, I also donated an older laptop to someone in need of a computer. I probably could have sold it, but the money I’d have gotten wouldn’t compare to the feeling I get from helping someone. So while I was taking everything else out of the apartment at the beginning of this week, I carried that laptop off to UPS and sent it away, too.

8th November
written by Randy

In my last post, I began talking about how I’m simplifying my wardrobe and I talked about getting rid of my whites. Today I will talk about phase two of my wardrobe simplification: getting only keeping clothes that fit.

This probably sounds really obvious. It’s the same advice they give on all the tv shows and all the radio interviews and all the decluttering and minimalist blogs: “go through all your clothes and get rid of everything that doesn’t fit.” But what’s interesting is that nobody ever talks about how to do that!

The first step is the obvious one — pull everything out, and one-by-one, try on each item and see if it fits. Don’t keep it if it doesn’t fit; it’s only eating up space. At least if you donate it, someone will wear it. (You’re certainly not going to!)

Making that first pass through everything and getting rid of things that don’t fit will likely make an immediate reduction. You will most likely have a large stack or pile of clothes that used to fit before you gained or lost weight, or that have shrunk over time, etc.

But that’s just the obvious step. You’re not done.

The next step is to wear everything. Everything. In my case, I took everything out of the closet and left it stacked next to my bed. Each day, when getting dressed, I put on something from the stack. If if makes it back through the laundry, it goes back into the closet.

What I found was that a lot of clothes “seem” to fit when you try them on and look in the mirror, but when you wear them for a day, you realize there’s a reason it sits in the back of the closet or on the bottom of the shelf.

I had several shirts and sweaters that seemed to keep creeping up throughout the day, and I would keep pulling them down at the waist. That’s uncomfortable — I don’t want clothes that make me uncomfortable.

I also found that with my long-sleeved shirts, many times the sleeves were cut in such a way that they pulled up high on my wrist when I moved. *GONE*

A couple of sweaters had sleeves so long that they would hang down around my hands and keep getting in the way throughout the day. *GONE*

One sweater looked absolutely great on me when I first tried it on during step one, but when I actually wore it, I found that it bunched up and fit totally wrong when I would sit. *GONE*

When you take something out of the closet and try it on for less than a minute, you’re not really getting the experience that you get when you wear it all day. Those 30 seconds aren’t long enough for you to notice the awkward tailoring, the itchy material, or the fact that the edges keep turning outward leaving you fidgeting with your clothes all day.

I’ve recently worn almost everything I own, and I’ve gotten rid of all those items that made me uncomfortable. I noticed that the things I got rid of tended to be the things that were always on the bottom of the shelf, as if I subconsciously knew that I didn’t enjoy wearing them, but I couldn’t justify letting go of good clothes that fit.

Today, however, I have the confidence of knowing that anything I pull out of the closet is going to fit me nicely, all day long. When I meet new people, I make an impression with my personality, not with my fidgeting. And at the end of the day, I don’t feel unnecessarily stressed out.

It really gives to meaning to that old saying, “the clothes make the man.”

5th November
written by Randy

Over the past few months, I have been simplifying my wardrobe, thinning out what I own, mostly getting rid of what’s there, but occasionally adding something to make it all work better.

Completely changing a wardrobe makes for a really dramatic television show, but in everyday life it’s not so easy. Some things have to be done gradually for monetary reasons. Other things just need to be done slowly to prevent shock.

I’ve been going through the process in phases, and I think it makes sense to write about those phases separately. So I’ll have a few more posts coming on this topic soon.

Today, I’m going to start with color.

For most of my life, I’ve shopped for variety. I’ve always had black shirts, brown shirts, green shirts, white shirts, blue shirts… etc. I have black pants, brown pants, gray pants, khaki pants, white socks, blue socks, black socks, khaki socks, t-shirts, tank tops, and more.

My clothes had too much color. This may be less of a problem for other people — a family of four, may have no problem filling up a load of whites — but for a single guy, having to keep three separate loads for white, light colors, and dark colors means two things: having to own a lot of each, and always having something dirty left over.

All that variety wasn’t making my life better, it was making it worse. But I didn’t realize that until I started getting rid of it.

So the first thing I did is buy a couple packages of black socks and a couple of plain black t-shirts, and then I gathered up all of my white socks, white t-shirts, and white briefs, and tossed them out. Now, the only white things I have left are a couple of nice shirts, and those can be hand-washed or dry cleaned.

Laundry day just got much simpler! I no longer have to wait several weeks for that basket of whites to fill up. And I don’t need to own so many shirts or socks because I can wash them more frequently since the colored basket gets full faster.

I now have half as many socks and one-third as many t-shirts as I used to… and as an added bonus, everything matches! After a week or two of this, I realized I could get rid of all those other brown and blue and gray socks that I was only saving because they matched a particular pair of pants.

Just this one change has had a huge, positive effect on my happiness. It means less mess, less work to clean, less work sorting and folding and putting away… and less “stuff” that I actually own.