I Want To Be A Minimalist, But I Have Too Much Stuff

I want to be a minimalist . . . but I am a dreamer. My ideal self is a minimalist, and I savor photos of homes, closets, and shelves that are nearly-bare. I am drawn to websites like Zen Habits, and The 100 Thing Challenge. I love to explore Apartment Therapy and see how couples live comfortably in 400 square-foot homes, untethered to mounds of possessions.

As far as home decor, I am fairly minimalistic. We don’t own a lot of furniture, our home is small by modern American standards – about 1500 square feet – and we don’t collect or accumulate much. We like to think of ourselves as on the lower end of consumerism. Living through the Years of the Hurricanes taught us that it isn’t wise to become too attached to our stuff; it could all be gone in a strong gust or tidal surge.

Wardrobe minimalism, however, has intrigued and eluded me. I have followed with great interest the various wardrobe challenges across the blogoverse. I contemplated, but quickly rejected as impossible, the Six Pieces or Less concept. That’s just too spartan for me (except as a travel capsule). I have tried some varieties of the 30-for-30, and it’s fun to try to live on a limited wardrobe, but here’s the truth — I get bored! I like change.

So I try to balance my love of simplicity with my drive for novelty. Here are some of the strategies I am using now:

  • I am pretty strict about one wardrobe item in, one out. It makes me a better shopper, as I must contemplate the exit of an existing piece . . . who’s it going to be?
  • I shop at and donate to local charity stores. I have seen my wardrobe coming and going! This makes me feel good, as I get to experience novelty and trends, while keeping my total possessions at a manageable level.
  • I focus on high quality for certain categories of wardrobe items: shoes, bags, blazers. I find I am content with two or three “good” purses in my inventory. I have about 12 total pairs of shoes, boots and sneakers, and I really, really love them and wear them to nubs.
I never tire of my Chucks.
  • I am less concerned with longevity for tees, casual skirts, jeans, and accessories. I rotate through these more quickly and I don’t need a big stash.
  • I have a staunch vow to not pay for extra storage space for clothing. Even if Sandy and I move onto a boat, I am determined to live with whatever clothing fits in my living space. My clothing is not going to have its own apartment.
  • I have also determined to love what I keep and keep only what I love. Life is too short for just-good-enough.

Where are you on the minimal – maximum scale? I don’t think there are “better” or “worse” ways to live, just lifestyle preferences and comfort zones, and budgetary constraints. Do you crave the simpler closet, or the more-is-more?

“Be someone who has nothing. Then everything you have will feel like a luxurious gift.”

-Shunya

Stay fabulous, xo

Wear what you love, always. Here are some goodies to browse:

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patti

16 Comments

  1. I find minimalism appealing and love to see all those cute apartments. They inspire me to decorate our own 900 square feet flat, which is huge considering spanish standards ;D. But I can’t do minimalism myself, even if tried it. I feel the urge to add three necklaces and a stack of bracelets to every simple dress. I crave for color and texture and interest.
    But I’m keeping my wardrobe in shape, discarding all the ‘blah’ things and buying only pieces that improve the fabulousness!. I think that your wardrobe has to bring you joy, whatever your style!
    besos

    • Hello beautiful Sra and thanks for coming over! I know you love color and texture, and you mix it to make a gorgeous personal style. Never stop! Stay well and I’ll see you soon, xx.

  2. I have been clothes de-stashing for quite some time. First, it was the suits and blazers. Then I pared down my wardrobe to every day remote office stuff, appearing on video clothing, appearing in person for meetings clothing (the best of the best), and the rare thrifted clothing ensemble for a blog post.

    • Good morning, Tami, nice to see you! You have a smooth process, it seems, for sorting your wardrobe. Well done! Thanks for coming by and have a great weekend, xx.

  3. I’m an avowed maximalist, as you know, Patti! But I wear everything I own, and make sure I keep track of things so that I don’t buy something I already own! I also donate and buy second-hand, so I don’t feel too bad about having a ton of lovely things.

    • Agreed – you wear what you love and love what you wear! Numbers don’t matter when you’re enjoying your whole closet. Wish we could go shopping together this weekend! Stay fab, xx.

  4. I read an interesting article about how extreme minimalism is a luxury for the rich, and it usually isn’t very sustainable. Those of us with smaller budgets hold onto things, knowing that even if we haven’t been invited to a wedding in three years, there might be one or another dress-up occasion for a special dress and we’re not going to go out and buy a new one. My “funeral dress” is 20+ years old: a black sheath with matching jacket. I wore it a lot to work then stopped office work and stopped wearing it, except for fancy occasions or funerals. I haven’t worn it for a few years. It still fits, still in good condition. I’m keeping it. I don’t regret any of my keeps, but I do regret having donated some things during episodes of “simplifying.” That said, everything but the coats fits in a 5-foot-long closet.

    • Hello TOF and thanks for coming by. Sounds like you have a thoughtful system that works for you. And of course, why not keep a classic black sheath? They are never out of “style”. Have a lovely day and stay well, xx.

  5. My shopping habits changed when I used the “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no!” rule of thumb to decide on whether or not to buy.
    Also applies to making plans too!

  6. My new goal is to get rid or stuff. Especially clothes no longer worn. I noticed you love your Chuck Taylors. I just got my first pair, white shorelines. First thing one of my relatives said was, “Have you forgotten you’re 72?” ugh. Next pair will be colorful or black. My 10 year old grand daughter says I should get high tops but my vertigo prevents me from bending long enough to lace that much! lol

    • Hello Louise and thanks for coming over. So happy that you got some classic white Chucks – wear them in great health and happiness, xx.

  7. I think I am somewhere in the middle regarding minimalism. far from a hoarder but not Marie Kondo either. I am pretty good about the one in one out thing but shoes are my downfall. I really should purge some that are no longer comfortable but if they were an investment I just cannot seem to do it.

    • Hi Darby and thanks for coming by. Most of us are somewhere in the middle, and if shoes make you smile – then go for it! Stay well and safe, xx.

  8. Great post and share thank you. I so relate as I want to be a minimalist too with less clutter.For now I am decluttering with those lovely storage bags that shrink up small for items I want to keep then I can create a minimalist wardrobe in my closet and with less items for a month or two and change items as desired.As items wear out and storage bags get empty I plan purchase wisely and less.To add interest and save space I use accessories belts,jewelry and beautiful scarves .In fact I just ordered that beautiful ombré blue and soft pink scarf you featured .I adore scarves not only do they add visual beauty to an outfit they soften and add beauty to an aging neck No neck lift needed for me just beautiful scarves moisturizers,and Yoga neck and face exercises.

    • Hi Joan, always great to see you. Thanks for your comments, and I agree about a scarf – it can really change a look. I have to try those shrinkage bags! Stay well, xx.

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