The Benefits of a Minimalist Wardrobe

Many CEOs adopt a “uniform” strategy to cut down on the number of daily choices they need to make. Wearing the same clothes every day allows them to spend more time on what matters to them. I am not as extreme but I do adopt a similar concept. Aside from being a time and decision saver, a minimalist wardrobe has many other advantages. Here are a few that I really enjoy:

  1. You get to wear your favorite pieces every day.
  2. You can curate a few items each season to update your capsule collection. Keeping in mind you will also donate a few to keep the balance.
  3. You will be more creative with how you pair your pieces. Having fewer items really pushes you to figure out how you can maximize their use.
  4. You will curate a more balanced wardrobe. Instead of having hundreds of tops that may be very similar, you’ll start to focus on specific cuts and styles — a turtleneck, a button-down, a v-neck, a t-shirt.
  5. You will fine-tune your style. You’ll realize that you favor a certain cut or style very quickly with this method. If you find yourself avoiding a piece, donate it. That way you can find a piece that makes you happy and someone else can benefit from the piece you are avoiding.

Now that you have your capsule collection, rotate the items in your closet so that you can keep track of when you wore them. This keeps things spaced correctly so that you don’t wear a piece too often and also urges you to wear all of your pieces.

The Minimalist Inbox

One of the areas that really benefits from being minimalist is your inbox. I can’t tell you how good it felt after I finished working on my inbox. It was such a weight off my shoulders. I had no idea that treating my inbox as a giant to-do list was weighing so heavily on me.

Imagine all of the emails in your inbox. Now imagine they are replaced with two words: No Mail. Feel free to let out a sigh of relief.

This is no small task. And I’m not going to lie to you, the initial clean-up is going to suck. But it is so worth it! Here are three tips that helped me get started:

  • Get rid of junk mail. Click unsubscribe whenever possible. If you’d still like to receive emails from your favorite stores, why not group them all into one email? I use Unroll.me so that all of these arrive in one single email. So much easier to review and delete so you only use what you really need.
  • 7 simple tactics to keep your inbox empty. Read this helpful article on things you can do every day to keep your inbox empty.
  • Read this essay. It will inspired you to be a minimalist when it comes to your inbox.

What tactics do you use to keep your inbox in check? Leave me a comment, I’d love to know!

Going Digital

This process almost made me give up on minimalism. I felt incredibly overwhelmed and almost threw away my husband’s social security card! I can handle the other clutter just fine but financials and paperwork make me die a little on the inside. It is truly important to tackle this, though, because it can pile up very quickly.

You should take your time when tackling this project to avoid making costly mistakes. A great way to do this is to break it down into phases and reward yourself by taking a day trip to somewhere you love. I headed to Palm Springs after tackling phase one and I was able to recharge and keep the momentum going at the same time.

Here are some tips and tricks that I found for going digital:

  1. Go Paperless. I wanted to reclaim the areas of my house that suffer from our trips to the mailbox. You can find The Complete Guide to Going Paperless here.
  2. Now what do you do with your leftover piles of paper? Here is a great article on what you should keep and for how long.
  3. Keep it going! I love this video on how to stay organize and keep what’s important.

Home Goals

It all started with a wedding. The beginning of a new life together in a new home. There were basic things we needed but we got so much more than that. We had a fully stocked home and for some reason, we felt like we needed more. We kept hand-me-downs and made way too many impulse buys, even if they didn’t really fit our style.

It took six years of marriage and having a child to realize that we had too much. We struggled to keep our home tidy and spent most of our weekends trying to recover from the mess of the week.

I started scrolling through Pinterest and came across a quote that changed our home:

William Morris Quote

My goal is to look around my home and love what I see. I love photography and I love the idea of being able to photograph every inch of my home without having to move stuff out of the background. If I’m moving it out of the way, why do I even have it? It’s going to take a lot of work and it won’t happen overnight but it is something that I’m working towards every day.

Learning to Say No

When you’re trying to rid yourself of clutter, it’s helpful to become a bit of a human filter. The goal is to only have things that truly spark something inside you enter your life. Deciding to do this can mean a lot of awkward and sometimes hurtful conversations. There are lots of people who get tremendous joy from giving gifts to their loved ones and the last thing we want to do is cause them pain.

I realize there are, of course, exceptions to saying no in certain scenarios. But for other situations, I’m learning that as I practice with the smaller nos, I gain experience to start saying the trickier nos. I tried the following five steps for learning to saying no, starting with step number one and moving on to the next when I felt ready.

  1. Start by saying no to free things. One thing that I have heard is that if you wouldn’t pay good money for the item and if it isn’t something you’ve been wanting for a while, say no. (Ex: promo items, hand-me-downs, etc.)
  2. Say no to store credit cards, newsletters and membership. The goal is to be very selective about what you buy, not to guilt you or encourage you to spend more on things. Unless it is your favorite store and you get your favorite things there, say no.
  3. Say no to sales. I find that the easiest way to avoid falling into the sales trap is to make two secret Pinterest boards. One is called “Pending Review” the other “My Wish List.” If an item stays in the “Pending Review” board for longer than 2-3 months, it gets to move into “My Wish List” board. If the items that are on sale are not on your wish list, say no.
  4. Say no to spending time with people you don’t like. Your time is so precious. You don’t need to spend time with people that make you feel any sort of negative way about yourself or those you love. Keep an open mind on this one, though. People change.
  5. Be honest to those you love and say no. Now it starts to get a little harder. Sometimes we need to say no to people we care about. It’s really important to be honest in these situations. If you really don’t want something, be honest and be gracious. If you really don’t want to do something, be honest and be kind. I’m sure they would like you to be honest with them, but in order to avoid hurting those you care about, it is helpful to over communicate what you are trying to achieve. Maybe even months before an actual event happens, like a birthday for example, tell them why you’d rather go somewhere and spend time with them instead of receiving a gift. If they really want to give you a gift, share the “My Wish List” board you have on Pinterest. Make sure to let them know that what really matters is their friendship and their love.

These are just some of the interesting situations I have found myself in and how I’ve tried to find solutions for them. It’s important to note that there are no hard rules. The “recipe” will always need to be tweaked for each person. If you have any tips or stories about learning to say no, I’d love to hear them!

 

Letting Go and Tidying Up

The definition of clutter is “a large amount of things that are not arranged in a neat or orderly way” or “a crowded or disordered collection of things.” Clutter can be present both mentally and in the physical space around you. In this post, I’m attacking the physical clutter.

With the basics of minimalism now in mind, I started to think of all the things that were taking up my time. I wrote them all down and stared at them. Obviously there were things that I still needed but I thought about all the other things that were filling up my life and added no value. I thought, “What if they disappeared?”

The advice that I found on this video about the KonMari method was really helpful and helped me get me started.

I also needed a little more guidance on how to let go. A lot of minimalists tell you to just get rid of stuff but don’t address the emotional process for people that are sort of emotionally attached to material things. I am one of those people.

After getting rid of things that I didn’t mind letting go of, I confronted that more challenging step. This podcast by The Minimalists was really great because it addressed so many different sentimental attachments and how to let go.

Where to Begin Your Minimalism Journey

I wanted to share the reason I started this blog with you. Like all normal people, I went through a phase where I started to feel overwhelmed — too many things to keep up with, to many choices, to many things wanting my attention. It can get exhausting.

In the midst of this storm of clutter and chaos, I began to pay attention to the things that I actually enjoyed doing and noticed a pattern. The more simplified things got, the happier I felt.

I discovered three different bloggers/vloggers who inspired me to make a change. All three have different takes on minimalism and I really enjoyed thinking about how to incorporate their tips into my life.

1. The Minimalists

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These guys are great. My first exposure to them was their TEDx Talks video on YouTube and I love listening to their story and their focus on being truly happy. Their blog is super informative and they are really passionate about adding value to people’s lives.

2. Rachel Aust

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The lovely Rachel Aust is an Australian vlogger who focuses on minimalism, health, and fitness. Her minimalism series is perfection. Watch this video first.

3. Light by Coco.

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Coco is a super positive Dutch vlogger living in San Francisco who will inspire you to tackle the problem areas in your life. Her calm personality helps you stay zen as you look around at all your clutter. Start with this video.

I love searching for websites and videos that are both aesthetically pleasing and helpful so I was very excited to find these three minimalists. Do you have any minimalist blogs that you follow? I’d love to hear about them!