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Minimalism…or not?

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

I’m in a quandry.

Completely torn in two directions.

I dream about living a minimalist life. Away with clutter and too much stuff, bring on the streamlined look – less to look after, space, light, freedom. I really want to live like that.

But I’m having a terrible job getting rid of anything.

I’d decided that when I got back from vacation I would start paring down my wardrobe. I have waaaaaay too many clothes, partly because I make a lot and partly because I keep things I like forever.

Now that I’m looking at everything I can’t bear to part with anything. (Well apart from two manky sweaters, which I knew I would never wear again in a million years). The rest? Can’t let go….

I look at things and realise that although they aren’t my favourite thing to wear, they still have a lot of wear in them and it just seems wrong to get rid of them, even though anything decent gets donated to the church bazaar, so has a chance of going to a good home. Most of the clothes I possess I bought because I actually liked them. And I actually still do (mostly).

I’ve realised that what I really want to do is wear things until they wear out and then get rid of them. (I mean I worked hard to earn the money to pay for them). But realistically it would take me about 50 years to get to a manageable level because clothes today just don’t wear out. At least not if you have as many as I do and so don’t wear things all that frequently…..

Do any of you have this problem? How have you solved it?

What a first world problem…..


18 Responses to “Minimalism…or not?”

  1. Judith Says:

    Hi Helen, my closet looks like yours sounds. It’s so full that I can’t hang up anything else. I hereby challenge you to a closet makeover. It would be so nice to have some empty space! There is a lovely resale shop in a neighboring town that I donate to…it looks like a nice boutique…everything so neat & beautifully displayed. Maybe you have something similar near you. Let’s do it , Girl!!!

  2. Vreni Says:

    Oh that sounds so familiar. I’ve come up with a way to trick myself. I put the things I haven’t worn in for a long time in a bag and put them in the basement out of sight. Then I forget about them for about 6 month (or sometimes longer), if I haven’t missed anything from that bundle, I give it away but I don’t look at the clothes again. I do that with other things too, not only clothes and it works for me.

  3. Tracey Says:

    Pretend you are moving. Would you pay to put this item on truck to take with you? We are moving in a month and although we will have about the same amount of space, I have a lot of stuff that suddenly doesn’t look like it’s worth the time, money, or mental energy to take with us and make space for.

  4. Kyrena Says:

    Marie Kondo’s books helped me a lot. Asking yourself if an item ‘sparks joy’ sounds funny at first but you’ll get used to it and it really helps! Good luck with decluttering!

  5. Carol Wilkie Says:

    I prefer to think I am setting my possessions free to have a new life with someone else.
    It means you can revitalise what is left.
    Good luck

  6. Sue Says:

    Lately, after washing, I have been putting recently worn items at the botttom of the stack or back of the closet. If something makes it to the top or front and I skip over it several times or try it on and rediscover why I don’t wear it, it goes into the giveaway sack I keep by the dresser. The sacks are gradually working their way out of the house and I feel better about what I have and how I look.

  7. Paige Says:

    I’m at the same place Helen! I’ve got many clothes that I don’t wear, but don’t want to part with because either 1. I’ve made them, or 2. they were expensive and classic pieces that won’t go out of style. That being said, many of those are not my size any longer. And I’m not going to go back to life in a corporate office, so they are unnecessary. The made things, though? That’s a puzzle. I LOVE making things. Not everyone loves receiving them. Clearly I need to become more judicious in my projects.

    This fall I’m going to attempt the 333 Project (google it). I don’t know if I’ll be able to get down to 33 things (and I’ve already decided my shoes won’t count), but I’m going to try.

    Good luck to you!

  8. CarlaHR Says:

    Like you I have way too many clothes, the vast majority of which never get worn mainly because they are a little (ok much) too snug across the middle. I did a big weed out last year but it does not seem to have made a difference. When I rotate my wardrobe once the weather turns cooler I will sort out the summer things before they go into storage and the winter clothes before they make it to the closet.
    I wish us both good luck!

  9. Helen Says:

    I have exactly the same problem with the things I’ve made myself Paige – especially the things I’ve knitted. I know how many hours went into them!! Not sure I could survive on 33 items – but I look forward to watching you do it!!

  10. Helen Says:

    The problem for me are all the really nice things that almost never get worn because I have no occasions to wear them!

  11. Helen Says:

    That’s a good thought – it’s helped me this week while I’ve been sorting!

  12. Helen Says:

    Hi Kyrena – this really helped me yesterday – it turned out there was quite a lot of stuff that doesn’t really spark any joy! I’ve managed to fill an Ikea bag – but it doesn’t seem to have made a massive difference to the wardrobe!!

  13. Helen Says:

    Maybe I should actually move and be forced to downsize!!

  14. Helen Says:

    Hi Judith
    you motivated me to get my act into gear and I have managed to weed out a big bag of clothes – I don’t see a huge difference, but I can get things onto the clothes rail a little easier now!
    Hopefully I’m on a roll now!!
    Best wishes

  15. Swissrose Says:

    Ah Helen! I could pontificate – and would if I got the chance lol!!
    I eventually became pretty ruthless both with things that had cost money and things I knit myself. They all get sent to the Brocki, someone will be pleased to get a bargain or appreciate a handknit (and I’ve frequently seen – beautifully- handsewn garments there, too). It’s then all about sunk costs… yep, I have Yorkshire blood and the waste not, want not etc. etc. but I had to get grim! Still not perfect but much better and a lot more manageable. The other thing was to get rid of things are are for an imaginary, fantasy lifestyle: that struck a chord!! I no longer own smart trousers, for instance, because I never need any…
    I started with Project 333, resd a lot of blogs & essays (The Minimalists…) and am fascinated by capsule wardrobes (always have been, to be fair!). Marie Kondo provided new impetus and I remind myself regularly via Pinterest! Also, I love Francine Jay’s

  16. Swissrose Says:

    Joy of Less and Erin Boyle’s Simple Matters…

    oops, my phone was quicker than me!!
    To be continued in person, I think!! x

  17. Julie B. Says:

    I think paring down on things you have made yourself would be really hard. I don’t think I could do that.

    I also read Marie Kondo’s book, and that helped me look at things a lot differently. I got rid of a lot of things after that, like old mugs and books I’ll never read, and knick knacks. I have enjoyed the feeling of calm that having fewer things brings.

    I admire you for addressing this issue at all, Helen. It’s a hard one, especially when you’re creative and/or sentimental.

    The quilt you made me? That will be passed on and cherished for generations. It *always* sparks joy! xoxo

  18. Thimbleanna Says:

    How fun to see you back in this space! I don’t have a problem with clothes — I don’t have that many. Fabric is a whole other story though — I have WAY too much of it and I can’t let it go. I’m hoping I’ll be able to use some of it up when I retire — otherwise my children will have a very annoying problem when the end comes LOL.