35 Days of Favorites: Clothing

This post is part of a series called “35 Days of Favorites”, in honor of my 35th birthday. You can read more about the details here

Last year, I decided to clean out my closet, get rid of anything I didn’t use and love, and shop more carefully in the future.

I have LOVED owning less clothing. Because I only keep what I love wearing, I rarely feel like I don’t have anything to wear.

Owning less clothing made me realize fairly quickly which item was my favorite:

Kaylia and me

That grey scarf is the best clothing purchase I’ve ever made. I have worn it over and over (and over and over…) again since buying it last year. I have a few other scarves, but none as versatile as this one.

It goes with almost everything in my closet, it’s comfortable, and makes me feel like I’m just a little bit dressed up when I go out.

Tips for Owning Less Clothes 

Along with discovering how much I love my grey scarf, here are a few other things I’ve learned about owning less clothing over this past year:

1) I love scarves and cardigans, in general.

Being able to layer, and mix and match, means that while I don’t have as much clothing as I used to, I feel as though I have more options for how I want to wear what I do own. This has kept me from getting completely sick of my clothes over the last winter (along with the fact that I only keep what I really love).

 2) The  Three-Piece Rule feels true to me. I can be wearing jeans and a t-shirt at home, throw on a cardigan and a scarf (usually my grey one!), run out the door, and feel like I’m wearing a different outfit without actually having to change.

3) Having one or two neutrals as the base of my wardrobe is smart. I stick with black or navy, and only buy clothes that go well with my basics, usually grey, white, or jewel-tone colors.

Sometimes I look at my clothes and wonder how boring it must be for people who see me constantly wearing so much grey, black, and white, but it’s easier to mix-and-match, it fits my personality to keep things simple and basic, and I honestly don’t think anyone thinks about my clothes enough to notice or care.

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It feels kind of ridiculous to write out my wardrobe strategies, because I’m a little embarrassed to confess how much I think about my clothing. However, being intentional and knowing exactly what I want has helped me save money, simplify, and feel better about what I’m wearing.

And I love the idea of thinking about clothing so that I don’t have to think about clothing – I figure out how I will dress myself well, and then I stop thinking about it, and just feel comfortable and satisfied with what I’ve got.

There are so many fantastic articles and blog posts out there on how to own less clothes. Here are a couple that are influencing the way I think about my wardrobe:

A Practical Guide to Owning Fewer Clothes

How to Downsize Your Wardrobe With Common Sense

But having said a whole lot on owning less clothes, I also want to add this:

I have a lot of clothes because as it would turn out I just really liked getting dressed. To some, 30 pieces is a lot. To others, it’s a fraction of their closet. In my mind this idea of being a minimalist, perhaps the complete opposite of who I am, was who I thought I needed to be.  If I shop too much, then becoming opposite of that would help me, is what I thought.  I would peer into my friends’ closets and see half of what I owned and would be ashamed of the amount of items I had. So I decided to look at my closet in a different way and what I saw was not that I wanted less, but that I could do more. (Kendi Everyday)

If you love owning a ton of clothing, then do what feels right for you.

I want to own less clothes, because I want to own less stuff in general. I want to simplify my life, which includes my closet.  I just love the idea of doing more with what I already own. Basically, it comes down to this:

Use what I own. Be content with less. Shop well, when necessary.

What’s your clothing strategy? Do you use what you own? Love to shop? Want to own less? I’m curious to hear your wardrobe thoughts!

Wearing Stuff Out and Using it Up

This post is part of a series called “35 Days of Favorites”, in honor of my 35th birthday. You can read more about the details here

I’ve been a little too blessed in this life.

I’ve always lived with a lot of excess, and haven’t ever needed to learn how to squeeze absolutely all the life available out of the things I use and own.

I’ve gotten rid of clothes because I was tired of them, not because they were worn out. I’ve sent loads and loads of perfectly good belongings to the thrift shop because I wasn’t using them, and they were simply lying around my house, taking up space.

I’m so tired of excess.

I don’t know what brought on the need for change. Maybe it started with this clothing revelation, and just grew from there.

Maybe it came from the stuff I was reading.

Or from moving yet again, and getting tired of hauling around all of the useless, random stuff we owned.

Whatever the case, it’s time to do things differently, but I think this skill of using less will take awhile to learn. This past year, it was my goal to start cutting back.

To start with, I’m trying to own only as much clothing as I actually use. For example, I own two hoodies now instead of five, and I just recently had to buy a new one, because one of my old ones was so worn out, it was only fit to be used as a rag.

I own two pairs of good jeans, and keep one old pair for emergencies. I buy a new pair when I get the inevitable hole in the right knee. (Why always the right, specifically??!)

I’m trying to keep less food in our pantry, and only one kind of salad dressing in our fridge!

I packed away half the girls’ toys, and they are just as happy as ever with what they have.

And our most recent accomplishment: Driving our van until it died.

It sounds kind of dumb, but it was a victorious moment. We limped along for a long time, knowing that the end was near. And then one day, we took our van in to have a problem repaired, and were told that it would cost $900 to fix, but the vehicle was only worth $1000. If we chose to fix it anyway, another $900 of repairs were predicted within the next few months.

We bought a new vehicle because we didn’t really have a better choice, and it felt good.

vanThere sits our van, waiting to be picked up. She’s done well, and carried us many, many miles!

I still shop too much, waste too much, and think I need too much, but I’m working on it.

And every time any of my belongings legitimately wears out, and must be replaced out of necessity, it makes me feel good inside.

I would like to feel this way more often.

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Any helpful purging, “living with less” tips out there? How intentional are you about wearing something out before replacing it? Anyone else struggle with balancing “need” versus “want”?