Minimalizing My Closet

“Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris

I have gone through many fazes of trying to cultivate a minimalist wardrobe. Over the past couple years I’ve donated a lot and purchased some quality basics that I love (hard to do on a limited or varied income, which is why it has taken a few years!). I have never been one to enjoy endless hours at the mall, instead preferring to scour the internet for that one perfect item, then agonizing over whether or not I should purchase it. This has made it easy for me to have a smaller closet than many women out there, but I still have accumulated many items. With the weather turning to Fall I thought it’d be a good time to do a closet clean-out, along with a good ol’ challenge.

There are many benefits to a minimalist closet:

  • Simplifies your morning. No/less agonizing over what to wear.
  • Can effect your wallet. When you focus on a few quality basics purchase less frequently (because they’ll last longer than a Target find) paired with some cheaper (but still in good shape) thrift store items, you will find that over time you spend less on clothes.
  • Packing becomes effortless.
  • When your space is visually uncluttered, you mind often follows suit.
  • Laundry becomes less time- and energy- consuming.
  • Counter to what you might typically think, simplifying your closet offers more opportunities for creativity. When you have a large closet you often rely on just a few outfits so you don’t have to deal with going through everything. When you simplify things and are challenged to come up with more outfits with less clothes, you stretch your typical creative bounds.
  • Accessories become your friend. Limiting your outfits makes accessorizing both necessary and fun. Adding an accessory to your closet is also often much cheaper than buying a new shirt, and can often have an equal amount of impact.

I’ve challenged myself to use only the clothes from my new minimalist closet for the next 30 days. All my reject/unsure clothes will either be donated or put away, not to be worn.

My goal was to have no more than 10 items in each category (shoes, short sleeves, long sleeves, etc.), though it was a flexible goal.

It best to start by laying out everything you own, so that you don’t miss anything. Some may need multiple surfaces for this, and I recommend separating each surface by category. Here’s what I started with:


The short sleeves should read 24, to include what I was wearing. I also found some sweaters under the bed after I took the picture, which is why the number is off.

There are a few steps I go through when I do a closet clean-out:

  • Lay ’em out lay ’em out.
  • Remove any obvious thrift store donations: things you haven’t worn and have no desire to wear, or items that are damaged beyond repair. Put them in a separate pile/box/bag.
  • Now go through each item and ask yourself: What other items can I wear this with? Does the color/pattern/fit clash with most of my other pieces? Does it flatter my current figure? Does it make me feel good when I wear it? How often can I wear it? How versatile is it?
  • For those items you aren’t sure about, put them in a place hidden away. This can be in boxes, garbage bags, or suitcases under your bed.
  • Take a last look through what you have left. Any other modifications? What are some obvious holes in your wardrobe?
  • Set a date to go back through your Maybe pile. Thirty days is a good time period, though others have done 100 days, one season, or even a year.

The Maybe pile can be used it two different ways: 1) During the challenge, whenever you remember an item in the Maybe pile and want to wear it, take it out, trading it for another item in your closet, or 2) Don’t touch it during the challenge and evaluate after.

Here’s what I had after:


The dresses include a dress I’m getting in the mail (thanks Mom!).


Not sure about the hiking boots, as I’ve been wearing more “barefoot” style shoes and they have just become uncomfortable. Also, that is a cat, not a pair of cat-shaped shoes.


And the rejects/Maybes:


Shoes I never wear. Anyone interested in buying a pair on hardly-worn Frye boots?



Donation on the left, Maybes in the drawer.


While simplifying one’s closet won’t necessarily change the world, starting with this task is something that most people can accomplish. After you’ve simplified one area of your life you may suddenly start seeing other places you can simplify.

Comment if you are also creating a minimalist closet!


2 responses to “Minimalizing My Closet

  1. Pingback: Cleanin’ out ma Closet | It was "buy one, get one free."·

  2. Pingback: Simply Simplifying Again | janes journals·

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