Editor’s Note: This is a post in the series, Simplicity in Action.
I certainly did not become involved in minimalism by my own choice. Like most students, I was both broke and mobile. I had unreliable jobs between classes and internships, and after paying rent I was usually left with under $100 a week, so my budget was tight. I also always had incredibly small living quarters (even by New York standards) which were usually shared with three or four other people. Plus just by chance I wound up having to pack up and move every four months or so. My life was completely unstable and minimalism was absolutely necessary in order to preserve my sanity.
I graduated last year and I continue to study and practice minimalism. It’s no longer as necessary, but I have become comfortable living a minimalist lifestyle and I appreciate the aesthetics. However, through the years the one area that I could never seem to control was clothing. I have always had a ton of clothes, much more than any person ever really needs. I bought them on Ebay, at sample sales, and at thrift stores. Somehow they just kept piling up.
After a few years of wrestling with my closet, I have finally found why I it’s so hard to control my shopping and why my closet was so unnecessarily large. If you were to open my closet, most of my clothes would not look like they belonged to a twenty-something woman in her first job traveling between Boston and Brooklyn. You would see a fur coat fit for a socialite, an embroidered rucksack perfect for a world traveler, a sleek suit for a high-powered CEO, and a jumpsuit for an artist.
We are visual and social creatures, and unfortunately we make assumptions about people within the first few seconds of meeting them based on their appearance. Therefore by wearing and owning these clothes I could pretend I was a socialite, a world traveler, a CEO, and an artist. I found that whenever I was in a rough patch or dissatisfied with my life, I’d buy a costume for myself, trying to become the person that I was unable to be. I then had trouble getting rid of anything, because all of my clothing was imbued with one of my possible future selves. Let’s be honest, it’s easy to give the appearance of being that girl that backpacks through South America. It’s a lot harder to actually put in the time and effort needed to become that person. Buying the look with my plane ticket money gave me the instant gratification I needed.
I have had enough of all that pretending. It was not only damaging to my bank account but to my own development as well. No one wants to admit to using their clothing as a crutch and my life has finally become more stable, so no more excuses. In the past year I have traveled to Mexico and Barbados, and I’m planning a trip to Africa and possibly Iceland. I have actually taken the photography lessons and now go out a few times a week, posting the photos on my blog. I have forced myself to overcome my shyness and to reach out to old friends, host dinners, and attend social events. And, miraculously, I have pared down my closet to a fifth of its previous size to reflect who I am today.
Coincidence? Maybe. But I can tell you that I certainly no longer feel the need to wear my aspirations
on my sleeve.
Read more from Erin at Pixel Perfect.
Other good stuff …
I am teaching my last virtual blogging workshop. If you want to start a blog or get more intentional about the blog you have, check out the course description and let me know how I can help! I am offering free 1:1 calls next week to answer questions and help you determine if this course is right for you. Here is more information on how we can connect.