When I moved back home after graduating college, my degree wasn’t the only thing I brought back with me. Stuffed into a giant suitcase in the trunk of my parents’ car were all the clothes I had been wearing over the past 4 years – all of which needed to find a home in my teeny tiny closet in our rather small house. This would have been fine, really, if it weren’t for the fact that my closet was still brimming with bedazzled t-shirts I had purchased when I was in the 8th grade (anyone remember when Aeropostale shirts still had monkeys on them? Yeah. I had enough Aeropostale monkeys in my closet to start up my own zoo).
I’m a pack rat when it comes to most things, but worst of all when it comes to clothes. Any time I ever tried to get rid of something, my mind would instantly go to that scary place filled with thoughts like, So what if that Tinker Bell shirt has 3 holes in it and fits more like a crop top these days. I need it! Or, I don’t even like these jeans anymore, but I spent 4 hours’ worth of my campus job’s paycheck on them. Getting rid of these jeans is getting rid of my hard-earned money!
It’s good to hold onto the things that really are important to you. I have a t-shirt that I’ve never worn sitting in my dresser drawer, but it’s signed by a band my best friend and I went to see in high school and a tangible representation of those memories is not something I’m just going to give away. But the problem with having an overwhelming amount of old clothes collecting dust in your closet is that you can start to feel overwhelmed by the ever-growing mess around you. In my case, the state of my mind matched the state of my wardrobe: Cluttered.
So one day I began to fill 3 giant donation bags with old clothes I knew I would never wear again. Not only were they clothes that were falling apart, but also shirts I had bought years ago that I felt no longer served the vision I had of myself and the manner in which I wanted to express myself. It took a really long time, but dropping those clothes off and then coming back to a closet that had empty spaces in it felt like coming up for air after being underwater for too long. I could breathe a little more easily.
Having a minimalist wardrobe doesn’t mean owning only the simplest of pieces, trading in all your patterned shirts and destroyed jeans for plain blacks and whites. It doesn’t mean giving up all the clothes that mean something to you just because you can’t wear them anymore. And it doesn’t mean setting strict rules about what you’re ‘allowed’ to keep, like making yourself get rid of everything that you don’t wear at least once a month. You can decide what minimalist means to you, and how minimalist you want to go. It might just mean doing what I did – keeping the band tee from that amazing concert but getting rid of the Tinker Bell shirt that had 2 (okay, 3) holes too many.
It might seem like a small thing to do in the long run – you’re probably thinking, how much can donating some clothes really turn my life around? – but picking out your outfit in the morning (or, if you’re like me, the night before) knowing you won’t have to dig through 14-year-old you’s wardrobe in order to get to current you’s wardrobe not only saves you time but gives you more peace of mind.
And we can all use more of that, right?