The Great Declutter: Goodbye Wardrobe, Goodbye

This is hard.

Yeah, that’s my wedding dress. I was ruthless.

In addition to my workout wear, casual wear, shoe collection and  work wear, I also purged for my husband.



I. Am. Exhausted.

The day ended with me hauling four HUGE bags of clothing to the car (with my son on my back in the baby carrier I might add) to take to donations.

Exhausted but feeling a lot lighter.

I can clearly see the clothing that I have. It is all items I actually wear. Most of it looks pretty good on me.

On advice of my sister who is also cutting her wardrobe I am going to create a spreadsheet of every single clothing item. Crazy but so doable now. From there I will identify what pieces I would like to add. A few items I have kept are also pretty worn out, some of my workout gear particularly, so they will be replaced.

Onward and upward.

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  • Way to purge. I did the spreadsheet once after a mega purge and it was really illuminating. I read that once you have the list of stuff you need to fill in the gaps you should carry it in your wallet to stop you from buying stuff on sale that you don’t need. Like the blog, very interesting.

  • I’m envious. Nice work! I’m not a crazy clothes-buyer but I definitely have clutter in this department compared to the small number of things I actually wear.
    Any advice for dealing with those nagging feelings, like:
    – I haven’t worn it much but I might (i.e. a mistake)
    – it’s nice clothing but isn’t that great for me anymore

    I guess the answer is, be ruthless, but any other tips appreciated.

    • Thanks!
      If you might wear it but haven’t try wearing it around your house a couple times. See if you just need some time to get comfortable in it. My sister calls this shopping in your own closet.
      If it really was a mistake purchase you’ll know after a few wears. Remember that if you are never going to wear it the $ was lost at purchase – not when you donate it.
      If it is still in good shape you can call your local consignment stores and make an appointment.
      Good luck =)

      • I love this line. “Remember that if you are never going to wear it the $ was lost at purchase – not when you donate it.” I have had people tell me I waste things when I donate them. That is exactly the response I need to use. Thanks!!

        Just found your site. Love it so far. :)

  • A good idea that I got from Peter Walsh who wrote several books – was to turn every single garment hanger backwards in your closet. Then start from the left and work your way down choosing the next garment. When you return the washed/drycleaned garment back into your closet turn it the right way. Then you can see what you keep choosing and what you keep ignoring. I have eliminated a lot of my wardrobe this way as I realize I just do not want to wear the next garment in line. No drama as then I really”know” I don’t want to wear it anymore.

  • This is my first visit to your blog that I found through another Mommy blog and I am so happy I stumbled upon it! I am all about living a minimalist lifestyle….in more ways than one.

    I purge my closet on a regular basis. I have rules that I live by 1. if it doesn’t fit perfectly GONE 2. If I haven’t worn it in 1 year GONE 3. If it has any stains, snags or pulls GONE!

    I always feel a ton lighter when it is done !

  • Did you make the spreadsheet so I can get inspired? I’m buried under clothes and want to minimalize my wardrobe. Thanks.

  • I cringe when I see you gave away the wedding dress. I am not even married! I had no wedding and I own no wedding dress. But still ….
    I read your posting on leaving facebook, too. I decided to waste time in the blogsphere rather than on facebook as my email/url tells. :-)
    I just decluttered my following-list. Some bloggers changed their topics over time, farewell to them, too!

    • It was easier than I thought. Don’t miss it at all and if I ever had a daughter I look forward to some day going dress shopping with her.
      Yes, you can fritter away just as much time on blogs and Twitter as you can on Facebook. I’m really working on my screen time this year. Taking breaks, leaving my phone at home, putting my laptop away.

      • I just reread your posting, I want to de-clutter my wardrobe once more.
        I really wish to live out of 1 closet all year round and not 1 closet (either summer or winter) + 2 seasonal boxes (containing all the clothes for the other season).
        I really ant to get to the point where there are no more bi-annual swaps of winter- and summer wardrobes. Maybe I make it by March/April (that’s when the next swap will take place)

    • Lots of people run around taking pictures of, and videotaping the things they want to hang on to. At the same time, we’re missing out on the actual moment because we’re so busy trying to preserve it. I think it’s the same with the wedding dress. You’ll miss out on _now_ if you hang on to too many memories.

      For me, it helps to tell myself that, nothing lasts forever anyway. Be what you can for yourself and for the people around you, right now. That’s the best investment you can make.

      Stones from a glass house :-)

      • Eva, thank you for your insightful comment (missing out on now). I have been working to minimize and simplify and am stuck in my efforts to continue purging. (That’s why I’m checking a couple of blogs right now, looking for some inspiration.) I moved a lot in my earlier years and have mementos from so many people and places. My husband and I are working toward a life and lifestyle transition and want to travel light! Thank goodness we have become minimal consumers; now I just need to be able to let go!

  • Hi, I just discovered your blog. I am on a similar journey.
    You have done a great job on simplifying your wardrobe and your husbands wardrobe.
    It is so much easier to get dressed in the morning when there are only your favourite pieces that fit and suit you.

  • After successfully tackling my kitchen, I’m now taking on my wardrobe.

    And to me hopefully the success lies in tackling what I feel up to. If I can’t continue with one part, I take on another part of my home or life.

    Seems to work.

  • After cleaning out my wardrobe I took a quick photo with my phone of each item (rather than the spreadsheet)… and then got rid of a few more things! I’ve also found it helpful for the stuff that’s stored less obviously (like winter clothes).

  • I am retired with a grown daughter. Her wedding dress is stored after being expensively cleaned and packed in a special box, in a basement closet waiting for her to “have enough room” to store it. That’s another story…
    This passing down of wedding dresses comes from a time when women became mothers at age 16 or so. Clothing was a major investment and passing down a wedding dress (for those few affluent enough to have a dress they would never get good use of) was more realistic as the mother would have a daughter getting married while she herself was still a relatively young woman. Thing is, women didn’t live that long in those days!!!! Old age, sickness, childbirth deaths: ended a life before storing stuff became a burden even if a woman had much stuff to store. Get rid of the thing. Don’t waste your energy on continuous figuring out what to do with the d..n thing.

    • While I see history being historicly that way and seeing that interesting view point I however will be keeping my wedding dress .i dont keep many clothes in the first place and would like to keep my dress because I want to keep fit ,see if it still fits remember my wedding day and pass on a beautiful modest dress my daughter if I have one . it doent take up much space even in my minimal closet

  • I am also purging my closet. This weekend I am going to the Salvation Army at my country to give that for the homeless people. Those are good quality items from my “past” life as a crazy shopper. I am very happy with this style, I enjoy more experiences, my home keeps clean, I can invite friends to come around my home and I always have money, creativity is in mind and not in things. I still need to sell items. I have returned my credit card and I am feeling so cool and so free and ready to go! By the way this is very christian actitude, when you donate your stuff you are in certain way following what Jesus says in the bible. I keep now because I have more time in environmental causes. This weekend I am also going to plant trees. Some people think that being minimalist is lacking creativy. Nothing more wrong than that. Creativity is in the mind.

  • I’ve just started reading your blog, and I find it very inspiring.
    My husband and I live a very simple life in our little appartment, but I’m actually bad at getting rid of clothes, and I would like that to be one of my resolutions for 2013!
    One tip about wedding dresses, for future brides: I got married in a simple, second-hand, summer dress, which I already owned and am still happily wearing every summer, three years later! That way, no need to agonize about getting rid of a bulky dress, which has strong emotional value for you, but which you’ll never wear again!
    Just a thought…

  • One way of thinking about things has helped me dramatically: that I am simply a “steward” of things. The house I live in and the land surrounding it are well-cared for by me, but I don’t feel as though I possess it. I am tending to it until such time as I don’t. If I hold the mindset that I am a “steward” of all that I have, then I don’t feel tied to it or restricted by it. I really use it as an “action” word, in an effort to care for the people, places and things in my life. I am having a hard time to explain it, but this method frees me from worry, to some degree.

  • Also, if when the time comes to replace pieces of clothing after you have already de cluttered, try making quality purchases that are Fair Trade and organic. Keep up the good work! Useful information; I live wig a husband who hates that I have a minimalist complex. Feng shui and all, he thinks I am a little nuts and hides things so I won’t get rid of them or he assumes I did if he loses something 😀

  • Hi, just curious…
    re: “…I am going to create a spreadsheet of every single clothing item.”
    – Did you do this? Do you still maintain a clothing spreadsheet?

  • I’m still working on it. Funds are limited, so I can’t get rid of, say, a winter coat that is too big for me until I can find another (new or used, but a style and colour I like).

    I can’t pile stuff in “the car”, as I’ve never owned a car in my life (and am very proud of that) – not always easy to take things to charities and to the éco-centre, where one takes worn-out clothing to recycle the fibres…

  • Per spring/summer, autumn/winter – pick a base colour eg, black, white, grey, navy, beige, olive etc – then – 1 dress, 4 outerwear (cardigans, coats etc), 4 tops, 4 bottoms. When items get to $1 per wear, donate what is too worn or didn’t work for you (but first work out why so you don’t make the same mistake). $500 max for spring/summer clothes, $500 max for autumn/winter clothes, $500 max for other like handbags, underwear etc. I treat the whole thing like a mission, project manage the whole thing using Stylebook app and have a small but matching clothes inventory. It feels great!

  • Just found your blog through Lorrie Lippincott. I recently read Stuffocation by James Wallman. After reading that we sold one of our cars and I put my wedding dress in an agency. Experientialism allows me to remember my wedding was one of the most wonderful days of mylife but I don not need the dress to remind me of it, especially when it sits in a boc x under the bed! We are shorty moving house so I have been de-cluttering for about eight months, but we have never been very materialistic so it has not been that hard but still cathartic. My wardrobe, and my husbands, has decreased somewhat as we have not replaced things yet when they wore out. We are moving to a new home with land and room to grow our own so we are on a new journey from England to Wales and very excited about living a new simpler life. You are on my list of blogs to inspire me.x

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