A few years ago an airline lost my luggage and being the zen master that I am, you can guess how I reacted. I freaked out! I think I said something like, “My (insert luxury brand here) heels are in that suitcase…and I need them!!!!” Yeah, I “NEEDED” them and reacted as if my life had been upended on a massive scale.
It was only months later — when sharing the story — that I realized that contrary to my socialist-leaning values, I was a bit bougie, definitely a clotheshorse and still working on my Zen.
The attachment to our stuff
Overreaction aside, a funny thing happened the next 2 days while I waited for my luggage. I was able to get dressed and out the door in 30 minutes! My hotel room cleaner and by the time my luggage was delivered, I had begun to feel less encumbered. I was really enjoying my vacation and didn’t have a problem wearing the same pair of jeans three days in a row.
That led to a decision to travel light and only pack what I can fit into a carryon and at home, I started thinking about what I could get rid of to better manage my closets. It was hard and I couldn’t decide what to toss so instead, I focused on creating a more organized wardrobe.
Doing that didn’t feel like deprivation… and I didn’t worry about tossing items I might later regret. I let the side of me that had a genuine appreciation for order and a genuine disinterest in housework take the lead to find a solution for my wardrobe dilemma.
The closet inspiration
A Madison Ave (NYC) store like this one became my inspiration for how I wanted my closet to look. As you can see, there’s breathing room between each piece of clothing, and that’s how I came to my interim solution (although at the time I thought it was a permanent solution). To maintain an uncluttered “boutique-like” closet, I would store seasonal items and switch out approximately half of my wardrobe every spring and fall.
The second year as I was switching my wardrobe out, I began to give more thought to what I was putting back. Would I wear this item? Is it in good shape and ready to wear? I began to put more thought into what I would be wearing each season, and eventually, became a more discerning shopper too. Also inspired by that Madison Avenue boutique, I started to organize my closet by color, clothes type and length.
Not quite minimalism
These days, I get such a thrill when I look at my curated and neat wardrobe. Actually, I think it gives me too much satisfaction, but you know what, I would never have gotten here if I tried to hard-knuckle it and become an extreme minimalist or ignored the fact that, like it or not, I’m a little obsessed with clothes. By going for what I wanted, more order and less housework, I was able to find a way to develop what I call a semi-minimalist wardrobe.
If you’re interested in some level of minimalism but love clothes/fashion as I do, the semi-minimalist approach might be the way to bring order to your closets without freaking out too much about giving up things you may not be ready to let go of. Later, you might decide to become a minimalist, or not.
But starting now, with whichever approach is best for you, let makeup artist, Sanni Sorma’s tips for deciding what items you should get rid — now or eventually — inspire you.
Christine is a lifestyle coach living in Los Angeles. Using systems, routines, and some psychological trickery, she can help almost anyone hack their mind and life for greater productivity. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if she's available for one-on-one work.