When I first began my Zero Waste journey over a year ago, I could no longer ignore that had accumulated a lot of stuff. While evaluating my possessions, I realized I hadn’t accumulated a lot of furniture or belongings per say, the majority of my possessions were clothes.
This story epitomizes it: I went to Australia in 2014. I was going for three weeks and was flustered with what to pack. I ended up bringing one medium and one large suitcase (I think I also brought a duffle bag but can’t remember, oh god). My uncle, who lived in Sydney at the time, picked me up at the airport. I could tell he was suppressing judgment of my many bags. I felt like such a loser. I had never been out of the country before, and only until I was bogged down by all of my stuff for three weeks did it dawn on me how much clothing I had, and how attached I was to it.
A few years after my trip to Australia, and probably 3 apartments later, I was living in a 3 bedroom house in North Boulder with two dear friends. It’s in this house that I read Bea Johnson’s Book, and thus began my love of Zero Waste and minimalism. Bea’s book let me into her home and showed me a new lifestyle was possible. At this point, I could no longer live with the way I was. Clothing piled all over my room, laundry was an arduous task, items with holes or that no longer fit staying put in the same drawer for months. I was sick of my own shit when it came to clothes.
So, I made a change. I decided that if my clothing was always all over the place, then I was no longer allowed to have that much clothing. In a short period time, I decluttered my closet and dresser, donating bags of clothing. By the end of the process, I was able to sell my giant dresser on Craigslist. By downsizing my wardrobe I gained extra space in my bedroom and made a little cash off the dresser, I felt free as a bird. (It’s quite possible that at this time I became addicted to the excitement of decluttering, but that’s a story for another day!) With this transition, I also donated my medium and large suitcases and chose instead to only have a carry on suitcase. Most of my wardrobe fits in there now, and it makes travel so much easier.of
Now, there is no looking back. My laundry is much easier to do, sure I still leave my clothes scattered on my floor from time to time, but it takes minutes to clean up instead of, well, you get the idea. I no longer have to spend such a long time picking out an outfit. Everything I own I love and fits me well. I don’t need a lot of options, I just need to find those few things that I truly feel great in, and I believe the same is true for you!
I would say the only downside to having a minimal wardrobe, if there is one, is that I don’t always have the money to invest high-quality pieces, and shopping second hand can take a long time to find that perfect piece. Sometimes I go months looking for the right pair of jeans or shoes. I no longer support fast fashion, so I basically only shop second hand. My eventual goal is to be able to put my money towards ethical brands in addition to buying secondhand. in
So, you might be wondering if I keep a capsule wardrobe at this point. My honest answer is no. I don’t count how many clothing items I have. I have a lot of pieces that are multi-seasonal, though I do swap out thick sweaters and long sleeves to keep them nice in the off season. A capsule wardrobe feels a bit too structured for me right now, though I really enjoy watching videos and doing research about them. I see how the trend of minimal wardrobes is catching on, and it excites me. With less time spent on shopping, washing, and tending to clothing, we have more time for things like friends, relationships, books, and community, (okay, and Netflix).
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