Less is more. We’ve all heard it but rarely believe it. So we often overbuy and fill our closets and drawers to the brim. Then we moan, “But I have nothing to wear!”
This article points out that we often bury our best pieces with articles of clothing and jewelry that don’t mean as much to us, leaving us still feeling incomplete. So get de-stuffacting and uncover your favorite things!
Tip 1: Give up the guilt (if you have any)
It is not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you for buying so many things. From the earliest age, we are taught to be consumers – to look, buy, gather, hoard. Also, we get a very addictive chemical thrill every time we buy something – you know the feeling – even if the high doesn’t last.
Don’t worry though; handled right, you’ll get a similar feel-good feeling once you’ve lightened your wardrobe.
Tip 2: De-stuffocate with friends
Overturning millennia of training in gathering is hard. Just as we are hard-wired, as evolutionary psychologists believe, to love sweet, salty, fatty foods, so are we hard-wired to want and value material things. If you do it with a friend or friends it’ll make it so much easier. You know how it’s much easier to tell a girlfriend that something looks good or bad on them, than it is to know if something looks good or bad on you? Well, it’s the same with things in the wardrobe. Throughout, compare and compete: if your friend has got rid of 30 things, see if you can get rid of 31.
Tip 3: Minimalism in a minute: the bin-bag experiment
This is the extreme version for brave (or desperate) people seeking instant change. Ideally with a friend, put everything – yes, everything – in black bin bags so your wardrobes are bare. Then, each day, as you need something, take it back out again. This way, you’ll find out what you actually need.
Tip 4: Minimalism in a month
If that feels too much or too weird, start small. Find one thing you really don’t want, need, have never worn, and get rid of it. The next day, find two things. The next, three things, and so on, for a month. (It’s best to start this on the first of the month, so the number of things you throw out is the same as the day on the calendar.) This game was created by The Minimalists, Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Milburn. They call it the Minimalism Game.
Tip 5: You don’t need to be, or want to be, a minimalist to benefit
You can also de-stuffocate by going through your wardrobe, taking things out, and making piles:
(i) Things you’ve never worn – you can tell because the label’s still on, and they’re still shop pressed
(ii) Things you haven’t worn for a year
(iii) Things that are uncomfortable
(iv) Things you have worn but you’ve grown out of
(v) Things you hope to wear again some day
If you’re taking your time, put them in separate bags, and put them in the loft. If you haven’t missed them in a month – or three months time – they have to go (or else, what’s the point in keeping them?).