Posts Tagged ‘clothing’

22nd March
2011
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.

22nd February
2011
written by Randy

I’ve been home for 10 days now, which is the longest I’ve been in one place since November. For more than two full months, now, I’ve basically been living out of a backpack.

I had two brief stops at home in December, which allowed me to make changes to my packing strategy, before spending 30 days overseas. Each time I was able to apply things I had learned, and improve my experience.

The experience has been immeasurably helpful in understanding what I’m getting into with my 100 things challenge. I’ve got a much better idea what’s necessary, as well as what’s simply not necessary at all.

I had packed an additional pair of pants — gray dress pants, in case I decided to attend something fancy. That never happened, but I did wear the pants one day, half way, just because I found it necessary to launder my jeans after two weeks.

I did get more use out of the one dress shirt I had packed. I chose one in gray, which was a good versatile color choice, but the shirt itself was too “stylish”, making it less versatile overall. Also, having one dress shirt and one pair of dress pants, I should have chosen them in different colors. Gray with gray wasn’t good planning.

In getting down to 100 items, I think the most versatile solution is going to be pants in gray — most likely as part of a suit — along with one or two pairs or jeans. I’ll probably stick with just two dress shirts, one black and one white. And I’ll probably make use of one or two sweaters as layering options, to turn those few garments into multiple outfits. I’ll need a couple of shirts for warm weather as well, but I’m going to wait until it warms up before worrying about that.

I’ve already described my strategy with undergarments, though I’ve found REI brand t-shirts, underwear, and socks all to be higher quality and more comfortable than the Under Armour brand products I started with, so I’m cycling the UA stuff to my workout gear, and any new purchases will be REI brand. Granted, I probably won’t be making any new clothing purchases for quite some time.

Every day I remove at least one item from my closet. A this rate, I’ll reach my minimalist wardrobe pretty quickly. I had a lot more than I ever realized, but it’s finally getting notably empty. I expect that within a few weeks, I’ll be ready to do a count of my clothing, even if I’m not yet ready to do a count of everything else…

25th November
2010
written by Randy

Over the past few months I’ve had a lot of attention on simplifying my wardrobe. I’ve already shared with you how I’ve reduced laundry complications and improved my peace of mind by getting rid of the whites, and how I’ve reduced the size of my wardrobe by only keeping what fits. The next thing I’ve focused on (and will continue to focus on) is convenience for travel.

I like to travel light. In fact, I prefer not to ever check any luggage. Even if I’m traveling for a month (or more!) I only want what fits into a backpack. But I don’t want to wear dirty clothes, and I’m not comfortable with the idea of wearing undergarments two days in a row. The key is fast-drying. If you have fast drying socks, underwear, and t-shirts, you can wash them every night or two, and live comfortably with only 2 or 3 of each item.

For many years, I’ve been the guy with 30 pairs of cotton underwear, 30 or more pairs of cotton socks, and dozens of t-shirts, all of which could only be worn once and had to be tuble-dried because cotton holds moisture, aka sweat.

Recently, however, I’ve made a point of buying undergarments with more synthetic material, rather than cotton. These synthetic materials do not hold moisture, which means they hold less odor. It also means they can be hand washed and they will easily dry overnight. This makes them perfect for travel, but it’s also pretty convenient at home, and it’s allowed me to significantly reduce the amount of undergarments I need to keep on hand.

Two t-shirts, one black and one gray, are enough to fit almost any situation. They can be worn alone, or layered for versatility or warmth. When you buy solid t-shirts with no prints or patterns, they work with everything and make your wardrobe more versatile. Two items go a really long way. And I can buy them to fit without worrying that they’ll shrink.

For all of these items, I’ve started with Under Armour products, which are easy to find at the local sporting goods store. They cost more than Hanes (or other commodity brands) but that price is easier to justify when you only need a few items. I’ve got three briefs, three pairs of socks, and those two t-shirts.

I’m aware that Thorlo is a popular brand for socks, and that Ex Officio is a popular brand for underwear, for their high quality, good fit, light weight, and fast drying. Perhaps in the future I will try them out and compare them. But for now, this is all new to me, and I’m happy so far with what I’m using from Under Armour.

It was a little hard to get used to at first, as I’ve always loved the feel of cotton. But since I’m buying slightly more expensive, higher quality items, I’m finding that I haven’t sacrificed anything in the way of comfort. The same would probably not have been true if I’d bought cheap polyester items.