Ever considered adopting a minimalist wardrobe?
Early last year, I had an epiphany. I was washing, drying and folding away our clothes for what felt like the millionth time when I realized that all I did on weekends was slaving away in the house. Instead of relaxing, meeting up with friends or sitting and reading a book, my husband and I had spent (yet again) a big chunk of our weekend doing house chores.
And I couldn’t shake the feeling that our ‘stuff’ had us working for them instead of the other way around. This was a ‘AHA’ moment that turned into a I-don’t-want-to-live-like-this-anymore that turned into the decision to make a change. I had no idea what that would be but I was determined to find a way to simplify our lives.
After hearing and reading about capsule wardrobes, I was sold. I started planning for my first minimalist wardrobe and since then, I have had 30 to 40 pieces of clothes in my closet (depending on the season).
Our little minimalist wardrobe experiment, as I like to call it, changed our lives in many ways.
1. I save (plenty of) time
Probably one the most obvious benefits of having a minimalist wardrobe is saving time. Time in our modern society is the ultimate luxury. It gives you the freedom to do things that really matter to you. For me, that’s spending quality time with my family, friends, cooking healthy meals, exercise, work on my blog and relax.
Check out how this little capsule wardrobe saved me time:
- Having fewer clothes to choose from simplified and shortened my morning routine.
- Less choice means less of a chance to create a mess: I no longer feel the need to try on different combinations before I find the one I’m happy with. This, in turn, means that I have less clothes scattered around my bed or the floor that need to be folded up afterwards. Since we adopted a capsule wardrobe, our bedroom is (pretty much) always tidy and that’s because with less to choose from, there is less of a chance to create a mess.
- Fewer clothes also means less laundry. By far the biggest time saver for us was achieved through reducing our laundry load. When our closets were jam-packed, we used to just throw things into the wash without even considering if they (really) had to be washed. With fewer clothes, we pay more attention to the state of the few clothes that we own.
You can download my Capsule Wardrobe Planner at the bottom of this post.
2. My head is clearer
From the moment we wake up till the time we fall asleep, we make thousands of decisions, most of them unconsciously.
Do I have breakfast now or do I shower first? Should I answer this phone call now or simply continue what I’m working on? Do I eat this or that?
With the advance of technology, we make even more decisions than we used to 20 years ago and well, there seems to be a limit to how many ‘good’ decisions we can make.
In psychology, we call this decision fatigue. When we have reached our limits of decision-making for the day, we tend to make poorer choices.
With a 30-piece minimalist wardrobe, you don’t fret over what to wear anymore. You just grab, dress up and go. Less choice frees up mental space so you are ready to make more important decisions the rest of the day.
3. I ditched the consumerist mindset
Our grandmothers grew up with two seasons: warm and cold.
They bought fewer than 25 new pieces of clothes per year and spent about 10% of their income on it. Today, we buy an average of 70 pieces per year but spend less than 3.5% of our income on clothes.
We’ve traded quality for quantity and in the process adopted a consumerist mindset.
After building a capsule wardrobe, I went on a 3 month shopping hiatus. I thought that if I was going to make this experiment work, I had to unlearn my old mindless shopping habits and replace them with new healthier ones.
Bit by bit, my shopping impulses became fewer and farther between and while I still feel the urge to buy clothes sometimes (I’m only human :)), I am much more intentional in the way that I shop. I only buy things that I really need and I take my time to find a piece that I love and that I know will stay with me long term.
4. I am less wasteful
Did you know that clothing was the fastest growing waste stream in the UK? Last year, 235 million items were thrown away in Great Britain. In the US, it was over 16 million tons of clothes that were sent to landfill.
Cheap fast fashion means that we buy more but also throw away more. The amount of textile in landfill more than doubled in the past 20 years. And can you guess who is paying the price for it?
“Natural fibres decompose, releasing methane, a harmful greenhouse gas and significant contributor to global warming. Also, textiles can contain dyes and chemicals. These can leach into the soil contaminating both surface and, in improperly sealed landfills, into groundwater”
Having a minimalist wardrobe means less mindless shopping and as a result less waste. Maybe it’s just a drop in the ocean but I believe that small steps can bring big change!
5. I spend less
Fast fashion is not only an issue to the environment, it’s also bad for your wallet.
Having a minimalist wardrobe saved me money in 2 ways:
- I now buy high quality clothes that will last me (hopefully) a long time. Fast fashion’s price tag is pretty low but that also means that it’s poor quality and that nothing lasts very long. After the first wash, the t-shirt or sweater shrinks. After a few weeks, the buttons of the jackets come undone, etc. While each piece that I buy is more expensive at first, it remains cheaper than buying cheap clothes every few weeks.
- Once I realized how much happier I was with fewer clothes, I stopped the mindless shopping. Now, I only buy clothes if I really need to.
6. I feel more confident
After I had let go of about 70% of my clothes, it hit me that I loved (almost) none of the clothes that I had in my closet.
I had spent years buying cheap clothes from mass retailers and while my wardrobe was full of options, I valued very little of what I owned.
Planning for a capsule wardrobe helped me find out more about my own style, the type of fit and colors that I like. While my clothes are today more basic and simple than the ones I used to wear, I love every single one of them. I feel good in my own skin and this, in turn, helped to boost my confidence.
7. I am happier in general
My little minimalist wardrobe experiment turned into a full-fledged minimalism project that spread into all areas of our lives (hello blog!) We have since minimized our possessions, simplified our routines and become more mindful people in the process.
I am more content with my life now than when I was with a bigger wardrobe. We have more freedom to do things that we actually enjoy and more mental space to pursue our goals.
Are you inspired to start your own capsule wardrobe? Download my capsule wardrobe planner here: