How to Minimise Your Wardrobe

30 items of clothing, 8 pairs of shoes, 2 bags

You might have noticed that my wardrobe size has decreased again. My tagline now reads 30 items of clothing, 8 pairs of shoes, 2 bags. Recently I removed eight items of clothing and one bag from my wardrobe. I also added three new items of clothing, which I will discuss in a future post.

There is a general consensus on how to declutter. Most minimalists advise to take everything out of your wardrobe, and divide it into three piles: keep, unsure, discard. When I first started downsizing my wardrobe, I basically followed this technique. With time, as my wardrobe has gotten smaller, this kind of method has become superfluous. When you have fewer items of clothing, you know what you wear and what you don’t wear. When I declutter now, I analyse my items based on their function and style.

Function: For me personally, an item is functional if it fits well, is comfortable, and can be worn in a number of different circumstances.

Style: Aesthetically, what I’m trying to be conscious about when I shop is my authentic style, work appropriateness, and dressing for my future self.

Earlier in the year, when I monitored my outfits for three weeks, I noticed that there were still items of clothing that were getting neglected in my wardrobe. I decided it was time to remove these pieces as their inefficiency was frustrating me. These items clearly lacked functionality or style.

I thought it would be worth going over my reasoning for discarding these items, in case you wanted to see inside the mind of a madman. If you are someone who is trying to declutter your own wardrobe but you feel stuck or are unsure where to start, this analysis could help inspire you to discard some clothing.

Items 1-2: These items fit in the ‘casual summer’ category, and they really had no other purpose in my wardrobe. When on summer holidays earlier this year, I barely wore them. It is clear now that unless I am able to wear an item in a number of different situations (especially work), it has no longevity in my wardrobe.

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Items 2-4: I got these tops for work, but they were not well considered purchases, and really don’t suit my style. I was shopping for these out of anxiety that I would not have enough clothing to wear over the summer and I was not considering my long term wardrobe goals. The grey top is now in my leisure wear drawer and I sleep in it. I got rid of some older worn out sleeping tops to make space for it.

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Item 5: This top was not of good quality, and even though I followed the care instructions, it warped in the wash. It is also in my leisure wear drawer now.

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Item 6: This knit was not the right cut or colour and as a result did not get a lot of wear. It is also in my leisure drawer now. I will love wearing it around the house in winter and not worrying about pilling or getting cat fur on it. This means that my six winter knits can be kept in better condition.

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Item 7: This knit was old, stretched out, and not the best quality. It was too bulky to layer under my favourite leather jacket.

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Item 8: White jeans are not a long term investment in terms of my style. I don’t feel comfortable when I wear them because they don’t feel especially flattering.

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I had barely used this bag, and I’ve had it for years. All three of my bags were clutches, and I had very little desire to use this one. I really only used it when I forced myself to use it. It was a gift and that made it slightly more difficult to donate.

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I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that some of the items I have removed from my wardrobe are things I purchased last year, after I completed my seven month shopping fast, implemented my shopping rules, and thought I knew how to shop better. None of the discarded items were on my shopping wish list, which is a lesson to us all. I purchased some of the items in the months leading up to summer, concerned that I would have nothing to wear to work as it warmed up. Rushing to cross items off my wish list in a short amount of time was the culprit of this wardrobe crime. Had I been more moderate in my purchases, I probably would have realised I did not need these pieces. This has been a really important lesson for this year, and I have spaced out my purchases and considered each one more thoroughly as a result. I have also made sure that each item bought has been special or unique in some way, to avoid buying ‘filler’ pieces for my wardrobe. I should know by now that these are the kinds of items I have discarded the most in the past.


35 thoughts on “How to Minimise Your Wardrobe

      1. What’s really pathetic is that I have a uniform I wear to work. The only time I wear “normal clothes” is when I’m not working. I travel a lot. My wardrobe should be even more minimalistic as I don’t travel with much. Stop the madness! RARELY do I shop, so I save money and time there, but…

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  1. Some of my more recent purchases (after completing a shopping ban) have ended up being sold back to the thrift store as well. I didn’t enjoy recognizing my failure to only buy what I truly loved/needed, but it was a good lesson!

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  2. I swear it’s like looking in a mirror! White jeans, black clutch, black cashmere sweater. All beautiful purchases, but they were unflattering (white jeans), unrealistic (clutch), or not as high quality as I thought and therefore not holding up well (cashmere). I just hate spending good money on pieces that should be of superior quality and then let me down. Especially when they are my basics and I do my research! Now, I am diligently searching for replacements that are more appropriate. I’ve realized I don’t care for jeans, so I’ve cut them out entirely and opted for thicker black leggings from Theory. Love, love your posts!

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      1. I adore cashmere, but the sweater I purchased turned out to be rather less than stellar despite the price and reputation of the company from where I purchased 😦 I am saving to replace with a quality piece from Eric Bompard 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I refuse to wear white pants. I always feel like I’m asking for a disaster, especially on public transit. I have one white skirt I’m keeping until after my wedding in case I feel the demand to look bridal for something. It’s very pretty but I’m always paranoid while wearing it.

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    1. Yeah, it’s so true. I’m so messy that I even get white tops dirty pretty easily. I love the way white looks when my hair is dark, but I think I’m going to limit purchasing white things in the future. I haven’t bought anything white this year, and the white things are wearing faster because of how much more washing they need. It’ll probably be a white free household for me within the next couple years. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

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      1. I got an adorable polka dot tee from ModCloth in the last year or so. It has a bit of white and my preferred alternative to stripes. So many capsule enthusiasts *love* stripes but I only like Beetlejuice style stripes.

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      2. I’ve noticed this too. I ”ve whitled down to one white sweater, blouse, and scarf despite how beautiful and light they look in summer. Beige seems to be a better option for messy me. Silver jewelry also brightens my all black look throughout summer 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Getting ready for the seasonal transition in the north made me realize how little value what clothing I possess has. Putting away winter scarves made me realize I only love one in particular, a blue Alpaca wool one. Unfortunately, several were gifts from my kids who bought several Pashminas for me while overseas. The same is true for purses. Their nice, but I don’t use and am torn about getting rid of them.

    I think ridding myself of other clothes is the price I paid at the time. Never mind, I’ve only worn two or three times in the last 5 years. Now, I am no longer in the professional circuit, I have to come to terms with the reality of this.

    As we get older (I am into retirement), I want to be frugal, as well.

    I love your blog. It really does open my eyes to so much.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Live all the way up in Alaska the weather every yet with seasons are so unpredictable. Either wet, snow, frozen dry tundra or too hot. Always trying to buy clothing throughout the year to accommodate but a couple months later realize I don’t wear them a lot anymore. Also an anxiety shopper and need to learn better self control habits. When I get rid of a lot of things and keep it simple I feel so much better but then mindlessly start getting more things :/

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  6. Hi there, what a fantastically helpful post. I especially liked the concept of ‘dressing for my future self’ – that’s such a helpful way of evaluating what wardrobe items stay and go. Thanks as always, Lorraine (Minimal-Lol)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I just minimised my wardrobe to about a fifth of the original size. Most of the items I bought in the last year had to go. I think I’d lost my way with an over stuffed wardrobe. I’m not buying anything now for a while so I can decide what I really need. I still have some items that need discarding but I’ll do another cull when I’ve learned more. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  8. I think you’ve really highlighted how it’s an ongoing ‘tweaking’ process even when you feel like you’ve purged all you can purge out of your wardrobe. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about chucking recent purchases; it shows that you’re more decisive about your style now. Imagine how long they might have stayed in there if you hadn’t made the decision to simplify, and you wouldn’t have learned the lessons they were trying to teach you.

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  9. I think that you should stop beating yourself up about this! Life isn’t a straight line from A-B-C… to Z, it’s a meandering pathway. You go in a direction, learn something, correct your course, and go on and do it again and again. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. You did the best you could at the time, you learned better and changed. That’s what growth is, and life. BRAVO!!!!

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  10. Reading your thought process is interesting. Before my recent trip, I culled my 64 piece wardrobe down to 59. Living in the desert SW of the United States, I really want to WANT white jeans but my lifestyle is not conducive to them. When you cut down like this, do you go back afterwards and create outfits for planning purposes?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not really. I guess when there are fewer pieces, I already know what I have, and I’ve inevitably narrowed my wardrobe down to a certain style, so most things just work together. I don’t really need to think about it… When I buy new things I already know what I want and how that item will interact with other pieces in my wardrobe.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I find this really interesting! I’m definitely not down to only a few items of clothing but when I was packing to move to Amsterdam for 3 months I definitely had to think strategically about what to bring as I didn’t want to burden myself with too much clothing. This is really inspirational! Keep it up! Much love ❤

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  12. Sometimes minimalising (did i even spell that correctly? ) can be an awesome feeling. In my case, it was extremely difficult at first, because it was not planned/sudden. I escaped an abusive relationship. It’s amazing how grateful you become for the small things and how simplicity can feel liberating! 🙂

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  13. So glad I stumbled upon your blog. I have a fabulous wardrobe and really enjoy dressing up but I frequently think I have way too much. I’m in a life journey towards simplification and I look forward to applying it to my wardrobe. Thanks for the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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