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Monday, January 13, 2014

Minimalism with clothes: what to toss, donate and keep

Hello friends!

you've seen this picture before...  I posted it in late December when I decided my clothes for the next 3 months starting January 1st...  You know I have been following project 333 for a while now... althus I did come up with my own rules...  it still helped me rationalized my wardrobe, taught me to dress with less and  showed me to my very own style! Now I must admit that my list of items has changed since I last published it...  here's my original list and it's amendment... since I am no longer shopping and   there are no occasion for me to receive gifts, it will no longer change...

My list of items are:

Black velvet leggings
Royal blue velvet leggings (new item)
Grey leggings
Purple corduroy pants
Off-white velvet pants
Red velvet skirt
Black velvet skirt (new item)
Beige and navy skirt
Black dress
Purple plaid shirt
Pink plaid shirt
Jean shirt
Flannel shirt ( new item - handed down by my son who it no longer fits)
Black fancy top
Black long sleeve t-shirt
Grey 3/4 sleeve t-shirt
Navy long sleeve t-shirt
Beige sparkly long sleeve t-shirt
Beige long sleeve t-shirt
White short sleeve t-shirt
Grey short sleeve t-shirt
Jean jacket - removed - will not wear in winter!
4 vests... yes I LOVE vest and wear them all the time!!!
2 cotton knit sweater to go with everything! (new items)
this brings the total to 29 items!  it follows my rules! 

Now if you ask me... to this day, I think it is WAY to many items!!!  But I am keeping them all! because I love them ALL!  Because they fit me very well....  because they represent me so well...   they mix and match easily!!! 

I do realise that I could get away with MUCH MUCH LESS...   as you can see in that post, roughly 15 items would have allowed me to dress almost a month without repeating any outfits!  isn't that crazy???

Now if you've been following me for a while, you must remember that I use to have so many clothes!!!  It was just nonsense!!! I was addicted to shopping...  I had no sense of style...  many orphan items...  clothes bought months ago with price tags still on them...  clothes wore once out of guilt...  and so on...  I am not proud of admitting that...  however I am proud of how far I have come!!!

I get often ask HOW I did it...  How I have diminish the number of items?  How I would do if I had to decrease that number further more...  now that all I have I love and fits me well...
Well here are a few tips....  some are obvious...  but nice to be reminded off and some are just my own deductions... Here's how you can select what goes in what pile: Donate and Toss

1) Price tag still on after a week - Donate or return if you can
2) Still in the shopping bag a few days after - Donate or return if you can
3) Too big - Donate (truth is you do not want to fit in that ever again!)
4) Too small - Donate ( if you do loose the weight, you deserve new clothes!)
5) Does not fit you current lifestyle - Donate
6) Orphan item - Donate (you do not want to risk going shopping for one more item!)
7) Keeping because it was a gift as the only reason - Donate
8) Not quite sure you love it anymore - Donate
9) Torn, faded, missing button, stained - Toss (face it you will not fix it!  Ever!)

For the above exercise, I do recommend getting a good honest friend to assist you as they will tell you as it is! even if an item really does not suit you!

Now that you donated and tossed some of it.... take a very good look at what is left... and now is the time to make a difficult decision...  how much do you want to keep?  It is a magical number? Is it just enough to fit in a particular closet? To be able to dress for a month with no repeats? I personally started with "needs to fin in my side of the closet"....  went down to about 50... then 42...  35...  33... and now less than 30...  but YOU need to figure out what works for you!  So think about this...  and then when you are ready, here's the next step... and you might need a friend for this one too... because this is the hardest part I find!  Most likely, in all that is left, you love, wear everything...  some items more than other but still... it will be more difficult to let go...  but you need to make it to your magic space or number!

Here are some suggestions...

1) Go by color coordination!  Keeps items that mix and match with one another... it adds flexibility!
2) Go by lifestyle. If you do something once a year, maybe you can borrow/rent an item for that occasion
3) Go with material - I love velvet - my choice for the colder months!
4) Keep a few neutral bottoms, it allows you for more tops
5) Keep neutral tops (white, beige, grey , black)m - allows you to add color to the bottoms
5) Keep what ever reflects the image you want to put out that reflects what's inside! (when you dress according to your true nature, you are more self confident and attractive period.)
6) Pretend you are moving far  far away and everything for the season you are looking into needs to fit into one suitcase - what would you bring?
7) Select your (magical number here) favorite items

Of course you do this by season...  of course it's your own rules... so basically anything goes....  but if you want to dress with less you have to start somewhere...  even if it's just the donate and's a good start!  And no you can't celebrate by going shopping!!!  And as  tip, spread out what is left so your space does not look empty... it will be easier to resist the urge to fill out empty spaces!

My last tip would be, if you are unsure of one or a few items, just box them up....  tape the box shut... put it away for 30 days....  and in 30 days, if  you did not go back in the box, DO NOT re-open, and just bring to a donation bin...  let's face it, if you did not even think about something for 30 days, how much do you really like/need that item???

Ok so now it's your turn... you do the exercise... and let me know how it goes or if you need help! This is why I am here for....  if you feel to urge for a more private discussion just let me know... we'll figure it out!



  1. Having vast amount of clothes in your wardrobe is good because you can try and mix-match your outfit-of-the-day according to your taste and preferences. But the reality of it is that you simply can't wear all of them at once and they will become outdated eventually. So, instead of throwing them to the bin, it would be better if you give them to those who badly need them. It won't hurt to give a couple of old shirts or jeans you don't use anymore, right?

    Alison Perris