With spring just around the corner, this is the perfect time to declutter and minimize. Instead of just cleaning, let’s focus on getting rid of items that are taking up physical and mental space. Sometimes, when we clean, we literally just move things from one corner of the room to other so that we can get the dust, but what if we actually remove things so that we can reclaim space, time and money. I understand that letting things go can be tough, so over at The Do Something Project, I like to challenge my readers to run short self-experiments or mini projects to see what’s really needed to make you happy.
Let’s start with clothing. There’s a statistic floating around that we really only wear 20% of our clothes. For some, this is probably true. We spend a good amount of time figuring out what to wear in the morning, cleaning up that one chair in the bedroom with all of the clothes and figuring out how to fit everything into the closet. All of this costs time, money and mental energy. Here are a few challenges for you to take on to start minimizing your closet.
Photo by Tu Tu on Unsplash
Project333 is the minimalist fashion challenge started by Courtney Carver. It invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months. Essentially, you pick out the 33 items to start with and box up the rest. With this personal project, you have to strategically choose your items as you want to be wearing clothes that you love, clothes that don’t look dated, clothes that fit and clothes that can be carried throughout a season or two.
If 3 months is too long for you, try out the 10×10 Challenge where you select 10 items to be worn for 10 days. It’s a little shorter and you won’t have to contend with needing to wear your clothes for multiple seasons, but you have to be strategic so that you can re-purpose different clothes for different occasions. This is where you need to get creative with your closet and this is where you also will start realizing that you may already have a capsule wardrobe of classic, key pieces that you can count on.
Inside Out or Reverse Hanger Technique
This last project doesn’t require you to limit your wardrobe, but it does require you to do what I call “data collection.” Essentially, each time you use an item and put it back in your closet, put it inside our or reverse the hanger. After a week or two, see how much of your closet is inside out. From there, take a look at the clothes that weren’t touched:
• If the tags stills exist, return or re-sell the item. Sometimes we buy things for that initial euphoric feeling of scoring a deal, but after that wanes, we may not even like what we bought which is why the tag is still on there. If this is the case, let go of the item and get your money back. Most stores will accept items as long as tags are intact. You may not get the full amount or cash back, but it’s better than completely wasting that money.
• If the item needs some TLC. These could be clothes that you love but missing a button, clothes that needs to be ironed, clothes that needs to be hemmed, etc. Place them in a pile and determine if you are willing to do the work yourself. If you absolutely can’t sew, then it’s time to bring these to someone who can. If you have lots of things that need to be hand washed or ironed, set aside time and do them all at once.
• If the item doesn’t fit, we have to be honest with ourselves. If we are working towards losing that weight, then that’s great, but if we are not, let’s move on. One thing to keep in mind too that if we working to lose that weight, our future selves might not want these old clothes. Let’s not weigh down our present self with having to hold these in case our someday self wants them. Chances are they won’t.
If you do any of these projects and finding yourself really being challenged, share them with your social media community. Ask for feedback, help or advice. All of these projects are only a few days or a few months, but sometimes that’s all it takes to take on new habits, gain a new perspective and learn something new. When you really think about it, a few weeks is a drop in a bucket. By going through these self-imposed personal projects, you have the opportunity to try what works for you. You are also forcing yourself into situations that you may not be comfortable with and in many cases those situations are where the magic happens. The sooner you can reclaim your time, money and space for yourself, the better off you will be. In other posts, we will cover other areas of our lives to minimize.
Catherine Agopcan is a writer who loves to take on projects and educate others on how consumption affects their bottom line using the tenets of minimalism, sustainability and personal finance. Read more of her work at The Do Something Project and Sisters for Fi.