Can you believe how fast November passed?! My November held the tailwinds of the lows but also some significant highs in the form of not one but two long visits with loved ones from Canada! Exactly the rejuvenation I needed! All the while, I’ve been posting daily purge prompts on Instagram and Facebook so we all could go through our closets bit by bit with the ultimate goal of keeping the best and donating the rest.
My goal was to cull at least 30 pieces and it’s safe to say I blew that goal out of the water!!
I know that sounds like a lot but hopefully it just helps y’all to understand that my closet is a very dynamic place. There is a lot of comings and goings; the comings are within my means, which is important to note because I don’t think anyone should go broke shopping for clothes, and the goings are always re-something – repaired (by someone else), reused, repurposed or recycled if the piece is as worn out as that poor poor swimsuit I shared on Day 20:
The Closet Minimalism Game helped me to deconstruct my wardrobe. The purge prompts were hard for me too! I had to come face to face with why I was keeping some pieces and then make a decision. Since I have a big closet, I can accommodate a big wardrobe and that is both a blessing a curse. One of the things I did as a result of the Closet Minimalism Game is reorganize part of my closet.
This is how I organized my closet in Canada and I was stuck on it. Throughout the month, I came to realize that this system is no longer serving me and my different circumstances. Light tops are now the heartbeat of my closet!! If I’m not wearing a dress, I usually rely on my “summer” tops as the starting point for my outfits and I hardly ever need long sleeves or a finishing layer. Things had to change.
Believe it or not, this small change has made a big difference! Exactly the rejuvenation I needed! I have a better sense of what I have and what I might keep an eye out for while thrifting! Sometimes you need to break things down before you can build them up again, better than ever. (And all the therapists said AMEN.)
A while back, someone suggested I post about building a wardrobe and I guess what I want to say is that your wardrobe may always be under construction, and that is a-okay. My needs shifted with my move to Texas and change in job (I learned tonight at Canadian Book Club that another term for SAHM, Home Economists, Trophy Wives and the like is “Manager of Family and Consumer Sciences” haha) and I immediately started to fill in those holes in my wardrobe by thrifting summer tops, shorts and casual pieces and giving myself permission to put my pants and blazers on hold indefinitely. If you are not in a season of transition, you may not have as many holes but that doesn’t mean you’re done building.
We all need basics or core pieces (think denim, black tee, chambray shirt, etc.)
AND we need interesting or statement pieces (think fun prints, embellished shoes, trendy items, etc.)
AND we need functional pieces (think workout gear, pajamas, swimwear, etc.).
And, many of us need novelty. Nothing wrong with that, Sister.
I get why some people prefer a standard uniform or wear black all the time; there is merit to saving your mental energy and time for more productive things rather than making new decisions every day about what to wear. However, many of us enjoy the creativity involved in the everyday activity of getting dressed. Furthermore, deconstructing or purging your closet allows you to practice giving to others through donations or swaps, and makes room for new blood and vitality in your closet which then allows you to go out into the world and support local thrift and other local businesses. If you always wear the same outfit or never change your earrings, you miss an opportunity to contribute to the economy of your community. I am NOT saying, go buy fast fashion or give into the consumerist mindset of always wanting more. I am saying, once a year, take time to purge your closet and then rebuild it thoughtfully over time. Not only will you support your community, you’ll meet people and build relationships, you’ll have something to do even if you’re a Manager of Family and Consumer Sciences or if you’re retired or tempted to let inertia have its way. The Closet Minimalism Game is NOT frivolous business.
Did you play along? How many pieces did you purge? Did you experience revitalization like I did?!! I would love to hear about your experience with the Closet Minimalism Game and generally, how you build your wardrobe! Let me know in the comments, then go out and do things and see things. 🙂
I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and don’t mean to criticize but there are much better ways to contribute to one’s community than shop and if someone has a well curated wardrobe then they wouldn’t have lots of items to donate because they didn’t like them. I carefully choose my clothes, keep them for years but still contribute in other ways.
Thank you for reading my blog!! Hopefully over time you’ve garnered that I wholeheartedly endorse community support in its many varieties! I myself just returned home from BSF – I spend several volunteer hours every week serving God and my community, as just one example! Another example, after Hurricane Harvey, I witnessed so many people coming together and contributing to the Houston and Katy communities – it was love in action. However, as I discussed in my “Limbo after the storm” post, I don’t like to classify contributions as “better” or “worse” because I think that each of us has something to offer and each offering has merit. Similarly, approaches to a sustainable wardrobe may differ but still have merit. Having a well curated, consistent wardrobe is a great approach to a sustainable wardrobe! I prefer a more dynamic approach (obvs!) with lots of comings (from secondhand, local or ethical sources) and goings. Neither is better, they’re just different and thank God for that because a world full of same would be pretty boring. I have a couple examples in mind of how shopping contributes to the community. Firstly, another Harvey example: Katy Christian Ministries, a little local nonprofit thrift shop that was flooded yet remained in business while rebuilding… because the revenue generated from their thrift shop supports MANY other community endeavours including supplying food and household goods to those affected by the floods. KCM relied on people continuing to donate and shop there in order to continue their valuable work. So yep, I donate there and I shop there not only because it’s fun but also to support the community. A second example is small businesses – local makers, artists and entrepreneurs. They have no business if there are no customers, so when I shop local small business, I am indeed contributing to my community. This goes for different kinds of industry including farming, restaurants, and artisans like my sister who designs and makes jewelry. If no one ever changed their necklaces, she’d be out of business. As I said in this post, I don’t believe anyone should exceed their means nor do I believe we should become thoughtless over-consumers. But I do believe that your shopping dollars matter and how you spend them CAN contribute to your community, so spend wisely! Thanks for your comment!
I took mental note of each of your purge prompts and then did a big cull at the end of the month. I didn’t take pictures because I was actually quite embarrassed by the amount of stuff I donated! Yes most of it was thrift purchases being donated but some it were fairly recent scores and still money spent. I didn’t count individual items but there were at least 4 large shopping bags crammed with stuff. Then there is the guilt over the few things that needed to be thrown out because they were that worn. I’m probably more a collector than a minimalist but the experience did teach me that there is a critical mass of stuff I can personally accumulate before I start to feel overwhelmed. Even though I tend towards a comfort zone and standard look, too many of those uniform pieces completely sucks the fun and creativity of dressing. At least for me.
However, I also think it is important not to get hung up over curating the perfect wardrobe from the get go. I’m a huge overthinking type and have done at lot of research on things like colour palettes, style systems and am fairly picky about what I do thrift. I still needed to go through thrift and purge cycles to further refine things that belong in my closet. Maybe not having a lot of access to high quality clothing growing up had some influence on that. This is my second year participating in the closet minimalism game and I think it did inform me as to what quality items are worth investing in from local, sustainable businesses. When I first got into fashion I largely dismissed the quality vs quantity advice as smug because I didn’t have that generational knowledge to even know what a quality made item looks or feels like, let alone the budget to buy any of it.
I like the idea of “critical mass” before becoming overwhelmed – well said and I’m in the same boat as a thrifter and collector and someone who enjoys a dynamic wardrobe. I for one appreciate your excellent knowledge on colour palettes and your thoughtful approach to purchases and ethics in the garment industry. And yes, I believe it’s an ongoing process because we change, our styles shift and evolve, our needs shift and evolve BUT it can and should be a fun process that suits one’s personality! Thank you so much for participating in the Closet Minimalism Game – I’m betting I’ll be ready to do it again next November! I wrapped it up here with a clothing swap with a couple other fellow Canadians and hope to expand on that next year!