Beginning of the year, I stared into my closet and thought, what the hell is going on here? I had shoes littering the entire floor space; one third of them I didn’t even wear anymore. I had a corner of my closet that had formed into a section that I thought, “Oh, one day I’ll wear that, but no, not today. It’s not what I’m feeling.” Guess what . . . I never felt like wearing those clothes. So many clothing pieces and shoes just sat there untouched, and it was such a waste of space and potential. How could it have gotten this way for me?
We live in a world where the fashion trends are changing more quickly than ever before. One Autumn, it’s nautical season, then Spring comes and it’s pastel colors, and then for Summer, Boho fashion is all the rage . . . should I go on? Needless to say, it’s tiring trying to keep up with all these trends that don’t really match one another. That’s how my closet filled up with clothes I didn’t wear enough because they didn’t match the rest of my wardrobe.
At the end of that day, it was clear to me that I wasn’t completely in love with a lot of the items in my closet. I didn’t vouch for them when it came time to pick out my look for the day.After doing a little self-reflection, I realized that the most good I could do was to embark on the journey of mindful consumption.
Mindful consumption is not about being a hermit. It's buying selectively and sustainably. It is focusing on yourself, and what your personal style is (no matter the trends at the time). It is about intentionally choosing to love every piece that you wear everyday.
But what’s the first step through the clutter?
Walk over to your closet and take stock. Are there clothes with tags still on them that have been sitting there for weeks, maybe even months? What about those really cute shirts you bought during the last sale, but have only worn once or twice? It happens to all of us, but at what cost? It might be shocking to many to see just how much clothes we own as a person. It's time to let go of the clothes that no longer feel right or make us feel beautiful - so pull those clothes out of your closet.
Once you've cleaned our your closet, the next step is to categorize them. Be honest here. To keep things simple, I use 3 categories: 'Basics' / 'Mix & Match' / 'What Was I Thinking'. The idea here is to restructure your wardrobe according to who you are now and your lifestyle.
'Basics' are always great as building blocks to great everyday outfits. 'Mix & Match' are also a yes. They're the items that you can style for different looks. Make sure each piece in these 2 piles give you a happy feeling. And the last pile is simply the ones you haven't worn in over a year, is falling apart, or you don't feel beautiful in.
Donate the things that no longer make you happy
Be willing to let go of things that no longer serve your happiness. Donating is a great way to support a cause you believe in. Research organizations that upcycle or give a new lease of life to these clothes.Once that’s done, congratulations! You’ve decluttered your closet and have created a fresh opportunity to change your shopping habits and style choices.
From here, we rebuild.
A lot of misconception with simplifying our wardrobe is the idea that we can no longer buy anything. But it's more about buy less, higher quality items that last. A simple rule for me is to buy things that make me feel something. Basics and staples are important building blocks to mix and match into different looks. Ask yourself:
- Does this fit my lifestyle?
- What are the key items that will make my life easier?
- Can I mix-and-match it with other things in my wardrobe?
- Is it made to last?
- Does it align with my values? Is it really supporting the people who made it?
- How mindful is the brand with its environmental impact?
Make an intention to buy more of the things you'll enjoy wearing every day, and you'll get the most out of your closet.
Mindful consumption is a mindset, one that is hard to grasp simply overnight. It can be overwhelming thinking about the big challenges our Planet is facing; the beginning of this year has not been encouraging... but the key thing is to focus on simple habits you CAN change - and stick to them.
The beauty of a minimal wardrobe is not only that it reduces clutter but that it makes dressing easier and you happier. And for every extra wear your favorite dress gets, you are saving the planet from additional strain. Win-win.