As we were getting ready for Angie’s annual trip to Texas this weekend, I couldn’t help but notice that by the time we finished packing her bag, nearly 1/3 of the contents of our closet were gone! No, she didn’t over-pack (even though she will be gone two weeks). We just don’t have that many clothes. Which is kind of awesome if you’re into the whole minimalism thing 🙂
I recently read that the typical American owns more than 300 articles of clothing and purchases, on average, one new item each week (at a cost of about $1,800 per household per year). We also toss about 70 pounds of clothing (per person) into the landfill each year.
Fortunately, Angie and I are not big clothes shoppers (or clothes tossers). At last count, our whole wardrobe looked like this:
|Short Sleeve Shirts||22||16|
|Long Sleeve Shirts/Sweaters||17||12|
|Hoodies or Sweatshirts||6||4|
|Jackets or Coats||3||3|
Here are a few of the ways we keep closet clutter to a minimum:
Pick a system that fits your lifestyle.
As I was researching minimalist wardrobes, I came across a number of different suggestions: The 40 Hanger Closet, Project 333, capsule wardrobes, and even a very inspiring 10 item wardrobe. Whether you follow one of these or design one for yourself, having a plan for your wardrobe will help keep you on track. We currently have 70 hangers and 4 drawers/cubbies of tees and shorts. If a new item comes in, an old item goes out.
Refuse to buy more hangers.
Limiting the number of hangers that you own is probably the single best way control clutter. Think of your closet as an apartment building and your hangers as apartments. If every apartment (hanger) is full, there’s no room for new tenants. Just like an actual building, you can’t add on new apartments on a whim. To bring in new items, old ones must move out.
Take stock of your closet every few months.
I know it may seem obsessive to declutter the closet quarterly but gifts from well-meaning grandmas and those too-good-to-pass-up sale items have a way of sneaking in and stealing your hangers. At the very least, take a walk around your wardrobe at least once every 6 months and remove anything you haven’t worn during that time.
Love it or leave it (to someone who will).
When it comes to clothing, love is all that really matters. I have a few nice shirts that other folks say look great on me but I can’t stand them. I hate the way they feel or the way they hang off my shoulders. As cute as they may be, I’ll never wear them so they just hang out in the closet. If you don’t love an article of clothing, pass it on to someone who will.
Stay out of the store or close your eyes when you walk past the sale racks!
Unless we absolutely need to purchase an article of clothing, we don’t go into clothing stores…not even to browse or kill time. In stores like Walmart and Target that sell clothing alongside necessities, I try not to even peek at the racks. Sure, it’s tempting when I see tee shirts for $3 but as Angie likes to say bargains aren’t really bargains if you don’t need them in the first place.
How large or small is your current wardrobe? What strategies do you use to keep clutter at bay?