Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 3: Minimizing our Wardrobes

The Task: Reduce our clothing to the bare (haha, pun intended) necessities.

The Why: By not putting reasonable limits on the clothing we own we find we are always kind of in shopping mode.  We walk past a store, or see a good deal, and think "why not?"  By reducing our clothing to what we really need and wear we can set a cap on our clothing possessions to save money and avoid stress when getting dressed.

Plus, all of the things we don't need will stop being wasted in our closets and can go to a thrift store where somebody who needs them can buy them for next to nothing.  My extra maternity clothes will be sent to a pregnancy crisis center.

The How:  It's easiest to trim down your wardrobe, I think, if you have a sort of uniform that you wear most of the time.  A go-to combination of clothing types that you can mix and match to wear on an ordinary day.  For example, a typical uniform for a stay at home mom could be a pair of jeans and a nice fitted t-shirt.  For me, it's a skirt (normally a long flowing hippy skirt!) a solid color t-shirt, and a pretty accessory like a scarf or colourful headband.   This means that if I have 4 skirts, 4 t-shirts, and a few scarves I can keep myself dressed in an array of fun combinations while only needing to launder my clothing twice a week.

What We Kept:  Keep in mind that we live in a climate where weather ranges from frigid cold to heat-wave hot.  Plus, I'm pregnant, so I need to keep maternity and non maternity clothing.  I think all that considered, we've achieved our goal  of keeping the clothes we need and ditching the ones we don't.

Kelly has:
4 skirts
4 sleeveless shirts
4 regular short sleeved t-shirts
4 maternity short sleeved t-shirts
3 regular long sleeved shirts
1 maternity long sleeved shirt
3 sweaters or cardigans of varying warmth
2 cute summer dresses
1 sweater dress
1 formal dress
2 sets of pajamas
2 pairs of running shorts
bras, underwear and socks
5 scarves and a funky headscarf
1 swimsuit

Luke has:
1 vest
3 pairs of work jeans
3 pairs of nice jeans
3 pairs of black pants (2 casual, one formal)
8 t-shirts! Some for work (he works in construction), and some nicer ones for leisure
3 polo shirts
3 casual short sleeved button up shirts
2 casual long sleeved button up shirts
2 white dress shirts (one short sleeved, one long sleeved)
4 sweaters
2 pairs of casual shorts
4 pairs of work shorts
ties, belts and 2 fedoras
2 pairs of pajama pants
underwear,socks  and undershirts

The Verdict:  For the first time in my life as a mommy I feel like getting dressed is a simple (and fun!) task. I grab a skirt, a seasonally appropriate solid coloured shirt and pretty scarf!  Easy Peasy.

And my absolute favourite part of getting dressed is picking out a pretty scarf to wear.  If you're worried about trimming down your wardrobe, consider a few nice accessories.  Five scarves can turn a small-ish wardrobe into seemingly endless possibilities!

We are doing one small thing every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!


  1. Have you heard of 'Project 333'? (http://theproject333.com/) It's a great resource for people who want to get started on reducing their wardrobe.

    I no longer work outside the home and happily released my closet of all work clothes shortly after I left. I only keep in my closet what keeps me the happiest.

    The easiest decision I made (and it's not for everyone!) was to wear only black, grey, navy or white. I love the change. It's easy enough to accessorize for a bit of color if needed but honestly - I often do not find the need.

    I have four short sleeve tshirts, four long sleeve tshirts (of each color above), a white button down and a black button down shirt. Two pairs of jeans, two pairs of denim capris, one pair of black dress pants and one pair of denim shorts (we live in a mild climate!). Two coats, five pairs of shoes (rain, running, dress, sandles and everyday) two pairs of workout pants, two pairs of workout shorts and a swimsuit. I don't wear skirts or dresses. A couple of tank tops (3) for layering and I'm set. (By the way - without accessories that's already 31 items!!). It doesn't take long. With clothing being too cheap and too plentiful our closets overflow too quickly.

    Great job on your clean out! Wishing you continued success!!

  2. "it is easier to simplify than to organize" - totally resonated with this thought from simplenotebook (thanks for the recommendation!) and this post totally illustrates it! you don't need a lot of bins and fancy hangers to stay organized - just toss out all the clutter! great work. I am not there yet, but I am working toward a closet like yours. Will you be doing a post on your kids closets too? How do you handle saving clothes for a younger sibling to wear someday - is it worth it?

    1. I'm sure I will be doing posts on the kids clothing. I think it's worth saving the clothes if your kids are close together in age. But only the nice stuff! If something is stained with pureed carrots, turn it into a rag! lol.

  3. I love this new blog. I mean love love love it! <3 I am excited for when you start to do Monthly Challenges too. :)

    Great job pairing down! I did my last pair down when I was pregnant with #2 (this time last year), and it's tough to decide what's worth keeping and what's worth donating when you're not in that size at the moment, but will be soon. I definitely need to do another pair down now that I'm back in my pre-pregnancy size.

    Where do you get your scarves? I love them! I normally throw on a Mommy Necklace (I have 2) and call it a day, but those that wear scarves look so well put together.

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad you like the blog :) The first monthly challenge will begin august 1st...I'm going to post details in the next couple days!!

      2 of my scarves came from Old Navy, the rest from thrift stores. I've really come to love wearing scarves...even though my husband teases me when it's 80 degrees out and I'm wearing a scarf! lol.

    2. Thrift stores and Old Navy! Smart lady. I haven't been in a store in so long that I forget what offers what. Once I do my minimizing/re-evaluating, I'll have to check them out.

  4. We downsized our wardrobes a few months ago and I even purged the kids' clothes that were waiting to be handed down. I donated so much stuff and do not regret it. Our house is small and I have very little room for storage. I try to keep the kids' clothes down to a minimum, too. I have three boys and a girl. They boys wear out most of their clothes before I can pass them down and my daughter's clothes aren't worth hanging on to until we maybe have another girl. Good for you for downsizing and making a commitment to the year of less. I just found your blog and I will check back often.

  5. Oh my, another blog of yours for me to read. I love your imperfect homemaking blog and will probably be soon addicted to this one also. Thank you for bringing a little joy and umph to my day!

  6. "It is easier to simplify than to organize"- AMEN!!

    I try to pare down our wardrobe all the time. It is trickier with older kids (my daughter is 13 and my son is 10,) but luckily they are not slaves to fashion. I do try to mix in a few trendy items with good quality basics every season or as needed, same as I do for myself, just to keep us a little fresh and current, but I am much better than I used to be. (We live 10 minutes from an Outlet Mall and I shudder to think of how many pieces of clothing my kids used to own). Will definitely keep these lists in mind when we go back to school shopping next month and try harder than ever to buy things that they can mix & match and layer. Thanks as always!!

  7. I can't believe you could do this in one day! I find that wildly impressive. It would take me honestly, an entire weekend straight thru to organize/separate/donate my closet. (and that's if someone takes my kids away!!) It's a disaster. I'm not proud about it and maybe I can use this as inspiration. But wow! To do it all in a day?! Cheese and crackers that's impressive.

  8. I love this post! I spend so much time deciding what to wear, and end up wearing the same things all the time so I do agree with your 'uniform' concept. My husband totally does this already - he buys the same type of jeans, the same type of shorts, the same type of socks, etc. and replaces as they wear out - and I always notice how much easier it is to do his laundry than mine or the kids, because his stuff is more uniform in type and shape. And it takes him way less time to pack, whenever we go places.

    I have so many clothes that I love, but I don't wear. Perhaps time to re-evaluate and simplify. Thanks for the nudge.

    WIll you be doing the kids' clothes as well?

  9. Visiting from your other blog- cannot wait to read about this journey to simplicity! I am really interested in minimalism and anything about it. Good luck with this endeavor!

  10. I definately can't do this in a day but I will be working on it. I realized that my clothes are not versatile enough, though. I have too many shirts and skirts/pants that don't match, so I'm going to get rid of a bunch and go look for some solid colors that I can do more mixing and matching with. I did get rid of half of my (four) throw pillows yesterday and my sofa feels happier for it. We have already been using cloth instead of paper towels, so that was done. I am looking forward to following along.

  11. thank you, I'm loving the new blog!! Our closets proved to be a bigger challenge than I expected =) I'm looking forward to the journey to less.

  12. Easier said than.done when u work in a professional upscale environment ..... If I didn't work, than I wouldn't care if I wore the same thing every few days

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  14. Thanks for giving me the push to do this as well. I tend to hang on to clothes in case I ever 'need' them. Your blogs are amazing. You are definitely inspiring me to start simplifying my life!

  15. I'm a bit stumped as to how I go about doing this. I have a 6-month-old and plan on having more children. So I have my pre-pregnancy wardrobe, my maternity clothes, and my wardrobe of things that fit me currently since I am still trying to lose my baby weight. Any tips on making things more versatile?

  16. I cycle through my clothing a lot, partially because I really love getting rid of things that have lost their appeal, and also because I do a lot of resale shopping (so I don't feel any hesitation in donating something that I purchased secondhand for 3 bucks). I know some people believe in having a few quality pieces of clothing, but I have a hard time investing in something that's probably going to get stained/ripped/laundered incorrectly/otherwise spoiled. I know I still have a bunch of stuff in there that I probably don't need, but it's not in the way.

    One trick that I do to keep clothing pared down is this: we purchased a bunch of nice wooded hangers and then determined that we would not buy any more, so if we have too many clothes (and not enough hangers), that means that something has to go.

    @Megan B: dresses are the easiest for the "just had a baby" or "newly pregnant" plus they're super comfortable. A couple of more loose fitting shirts work for pregnancy and post-pregnancy. Just look for a style that's appropriate for a bigger belly. For bottoms, a couple of jersey cotton skirts that you can just pull on or some pants with an elastic waist (not sweat pants, but some casual cargo pants or something like that) will work. And if you do lose weight (whenever you get around to it), just have 1 pair of pants or something in backup that look great and can work for a variety of different purposes.

  17. My husband and I share a closet plus we have two dressers so I always assumed that there was no way that we could have to much clothing, but we do. He has an assortment of ties when he wears scrubs to work and I still have "someday" jeans that have been around for five years. They are getting donated tonight! If I am ever that size again I will buy a NEW pair of pants!

    I love the series Kelly!

  18. I am so glad I found your blog. I have been feeling a very similar urge for some time. It is wonderful to find a like-minded person who will be a motivator and cheerleader in my life. We have been blessed with 5 children through adopting and fostering (3 of which are 2 and under). For a while we considered finding a larger place to live and then decided to make the most of the space we currently have.

    I have gone through my closet a couple times lately but after reading this post, I went through it again more intentionally. I was able to box up about 5 diaper boxes of clothes to donate to our church "Day of Hope" ministry. It feels really good to let go of things.

    I'm looking forward to approaching simplicity one step at a time along with you this year!

  19. I've just purged my closet - but it is still plenty full. So I'm going to do it again. And again. I've turned all my hangers around the wrong way, so that I can see what I truly wear, and what I'm just holding onto.

    I found that I own 8 jackets/blazers (not outerwear, just fashion). I live in south Texas. It is almost never cold enough to wear a jacket. I just love them - they "finish" an outfit. But I'm going to have to admit that a scarf finishes an outfit just as well. Purging jackets - I think I can, I think I can....

  20. You've inspired me!! Yesterday I purged my son's wardrobe - the amount of stuff in there that was too small for him was amazing - including a pair of swimming trunks aged 2-3 - he turned 7 on the weekend!!!! I'm hoping to get my 2 daughters wardrobes sorted out today and will do mine and my husbands wardrobes next week.

  21. learned an awesome trick from a friend regarding buying any new clothing: Make sure it goes with at least three other things in your wardrobe, and that it can be worn more than one way (dress up, or dress it down) If you can (hard in Canada, I know) try to make sure it can be worn more than three months of the year. it minimizes what's in your wardrobe, and makes you really think about what you're going to add to it. I've ended up with a much more streamlined wardrobe that works much, much better.

  22. I don't know if I could limit myself as much as you have! I am currently transitioning from grad student/preschool teacher to full time ministry. But you've inspired me to be ruthless, especially with my old clothing. I'm moving (tomorrow!) and I think I'll try to find a way to figure out what I don't actually wear. My biggest dilemma are all my old high school and college shirts that I am being (way?) to sentimental towards, and still hanging onto! Words of wisdom?

    1. Try making a quilt with those shirts!! Can be for the bed, the sofa, or for a picnic!!

  23. Wow, I'm so inspired! My husband and I love finding new ways to improve our simplicity and efficiency! I must admit, cutting down the clothing is hard for me because I think, "I'll wear out these items and then I'll have these other items to use and not have to buy more!" But, I should really part with a lot of it, especially if I don't REALLY like it.
    I like what you said about a scarves... I've never worn them and haven't been around people who do, but it sounds neat and I'd like to try it! Perhaps sometime you could include a few photos of how you wear your scarves?
    May God bless you in your year of less, and thank your for sharing about it!
    ( : David'sKate : )

  24. I think it's great that Luke has kept fedoras to accessorize with. And your scarves are beautiful! I try to go through my closet every now and again, and always manage to get rid of stuff, but I can never seem to still ever have enough room. I guess I've been going about it the wrong way? Going to try again!

  25. Luckily I hate clothes shopping so I have a pretty minimal wardrobe of jeans and t shirts. Also the fact that I rarely change out of my morning gym clothes to do the school run on our bikes makes life simple. If I do shower and change it is commneted on at the school gates!

  26. My mini Wardrobe is a place where i put my all clothes like jeans t shirts shoes etc.



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