I’ve cleaned out my closet a couple of times per year for as long as I can remember. There’s something about the feeling of a simplified drawer or closet rack that makes me feel great. I’m a very visual person so the newfound space and the tidiness of a drawer… it always makes me feel ready and refreshed for a new season.
For a long time, I’ve used the Marie Kondo method of taking everything out of my closet and drawers, piling it all on my bed, and going through each item asking myself whether it “sparks joy” and deserves to stay. While I love Marie’s philosophy and her method always felt really effective (I’d always have lots to donate), I noticed that I was still having to go through everything about twice per year because I always had this lingering feeling that I had more than I needed.
A few weeks ago, I discovered a new approach that was much quicker, felt easier, and was definitely more effective. It was inspired by a YouTube video by The Minimal Mom and her method really resonated with me.
A little background on what inspired this…
In this postpartum stage of life, I have struggled with how to handle my clothes, my changing body, and my expectations. While I’ve trusted my body and made a moderate effort to make reasonably healthy choices, I recently realized I had an unconscious expectation that by now my body would naturally be the same size it was before I got pregnant. There’s no reason for me to believe this, it was just something in the back of my head apparently. For various reasons, mostly because I *had an actual baby* and then suffered from postpartum depression (something that took a long time for me to realize), much of my old clothes don’t fit. And that is ok. I think it is natural to want to be able to wear our old clothes because it is part of feeling like we are still somewhat our “old” selves.. something that felt important when I was having a really hard time feeling like myself in any way, before I addressed my depression.
Regardless of why someone might be feeling unsettled with their wardrobe, this is great method to end up with only things you truly feel great it.
First, I made my bed for a blank space to complete this.
Second, I started pulling out my favorite pieces. The things I reach for day after day. I thought about what I wear in a normal week and started laying it out on my bed by category (jeans, leggings, shorts, tees, etc.)
The only rule was that I have to feel great in it right now.
As I grabbed items from my drawers, closet, and the laundry basket, I thought about how many of one category I need for a normal week or so in my life. How many pairs of leggings is enough? As I took the time to think about how much of each thing I actually needed, I laid out my most favorite items until I got to that cap number. In some categories, I had fewer favorite items than I may have thought I “needed,” but that was a good opportunity to ask whether I really need more than three pairs of jeans or if three is actually plenty for right now. I decided it was.
As I picked items, I found it really easy because I was just grabbing the things that I already always reach for. The things I always pass over for whatever reason stayed in their drawer. Once I got through all of the categories, I saw it all laying on my bed and it weirdly felt like all of my clothes were there because in front of me were all the things I *actually* wear time and time again…
I was astounded by the number of items still in my drawers, closet, and under bed storage bin. With everything left, I put it into three categories: maternity, donate, or “I love this so much and want to wear it, but it doesn’t fit right now.” Maternity went into a box in our basement for storage, donate was bagged up, and “I love it, but it doesn’t fit” went into my under bed storage/very back of my closet to be pulled out at a later date.
I cannot express how refreshing it felt to put only the things I feel great in RIGHT NOW into my drawers. Don’t we all deserve that? To open our closet and see only options that make us feel great? Things that elevate our mood because they are the comfiest, most flattering, most “us” pieces we can show up for life in? My sister Carla is such a proponent of this and I’m glad it finally sunk in for me during this seemingly transitional stage. Whatever shape my body is at the moment deserves to be respected and cared for with clothes that fit it well.
The Final Numbers
I counted up each category because I was curious:
- 5 leggings
- 3 athletic shorts
- 1 hiking pants
- 5 athletic tanks
- 6 pants (3 jeans, 3 other)
- 9 tanks and tees
- 5 sweatshirts
- 3 comfy/sweatpants
- 4 cute tops
- 7 dresses (5 sundresses, 2 nicer)
- 6 sweaters
In total, I donated six bags of clothes and shoes. I can’t express how wonderful it is to only have things I love staring back at me when I open my dresser. Every piece feels more valuable and special. I plan to maintain this level of minimalism going forward because the freedom is invaluable to me. I’ll keep you posted! If you are feeling discontent with your clothes, I encourage you to give this a try! It really is risk free because you can pack things up and store them until you feel comfortable actually getting rid of them. If you try it, please let me know how it goes.