A small rack of clothing

The Minimalist’s Wardrobe: How to move towards having less clothes


As a professional organiser and declutterer I have become a sort of decluttering addict in my own home. When I get bored the first victim of my purging tendency is my wardrobe. If I were to rate how large my wardrobe is I would probably give it a 5 on 10. All of my clothes fit inside a single small wardrobe and a set of three drawers, and I wear almost everything that I have. For some reason though, I have that looming thought of “I don’t really wear that but what if…” that plagues almost all of my clients. So, I decided to do some research on Minimalism to see if I could come up with a few basic rules and whittle down my wardrobe. Minimalism is much broader than just having less clothes, but I have compiled the following list as a way to help the non-Minimalist purge their wardrobe:

1. Intention in what you own

One common theme that I found in my research was that the items you own need to have a real reason to be there. If there is an item in your closet that you justify with a “I might wear that again”, it should go. The clothes that you have in your wardrobe should be clothes that you wear all of the time, are comfortable and suitable for your lifestyle. If you’re like me and you don’t always know what you need until you don’t have it, keep a running list and stick to it when you’re out clothes shopping.

2. Finding freedom from societal standards

Another point that came up a lot was that consumerism and society shouldn’t come into play when you’re making decisions on what to bring into your home (and in this case, wardrobe). Minimalist or not, I think we can all agree that society makes us believe that we need to look a certain way and wear certain things in order to be accepted. This is simply not true, and we can free ourselves from that mindset by being content in having only what we need. When you’re going through your wardrobe, ask yourself if it really brought you happiness to buy that piece, or if you bought it simply because it was trendy.

A lady folding clothes on as bed

3. Valuing yourself and your time

One thing that every Minimalist blog, website and article I read mentioned was the total shift from a distracted cluttered life to one with more time and value. When we stop seeing clothes as an important personality stamp we’ll spend less of our free time shopping for them and rifling through outfits in the morning. Also, when we wear the same things on a regular basis we become more attached to them, helping us to appreciate what we have instead of taking it all for granted.

4. Helping the environment

This wasn’t mentioned in a lot of the Minimalist material but it was an underlying theme that I connected to what they were saying and my own deep values. We are harming the planet and other humans by buying fast fashion that pollutes our earth and encourages slave labour. A recent blog post records two APDO members wearing only six items of clothing for six weeks in order to prove that we don’t need fast fashion. If we added up the value of every item in our wardrobes and divided it by six, we would probably be left with quite a big number that could have been invested in a quality item made locally with natural materials that will last much longer. I’m not suggesting that we all live with only six items of clothing, but I’m definitely suggesting we end our addiction to fast fashion and start investing properly in our wardrobes.

What I’ve learned from this is that Minimalism is a way of life and a practice that is taken very seriously by it’s delegates. I don’t intend to become a minimalist, however I am inspired to use their practices intermixed with my own values to create a home that is perfect for me and my partner. The above list is easily transferred to any part of the home, and I encourage you to give it a try!

This article was written by Krista Thompson of Zen Den Oxford.

Krista Thompson

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