A simple closet didn’t just change my wardrobe, it changed my whole life. When I challenged myself to dress with 33 items or less, including clothes, shoes, jewelry and accessories for 3 months, I didn’t know what to expect.
It took a couple of days to sort through my jam-packed closet, dresser drawers, and all the boxes in the garage, but I finally cleaned my closet out for good.
My stuff was strategically scattered all over the place, so it never looked like too much. When I pulled my shoes and coats in from other closets, brought all of clothes from different seasons in and had 100% of my wardrobe piled on my bed, all I could think was, “How did this happen?”
It was horrifying, but important for me to see it all in one place like that. I needed to feel overwhelmed by the stuff I had acquired, collected, stored, and ignored, before I could let it go. I didn’t let it go right away. For the first 3 months I simply boxed it up and put it out of sight. All that remained in my closet were 33 items.
- 21 items of clothing
- 4 pairs of shoes
- 2 pieces of jewelry
- 6 accessories
My closet looked empty and I wondered how I would get through the next three months with nothing to wear. Would I be bored? Would I have enough? What would people think?
3 months of dressing with less changed me.
There were the easy to identify outside changes …
- My mornings were easier.
- I got ready on time.
- I had more free time.
- I saved money.
- I looked better.
And then there were the more meaningful, life-changing inside shifts.
- I felt lighter with less guilt and decision fatigue. Seeing all the money I spent on clothing I didn’t wear or enjoy every day wore me down. When the stuff went, the guilt went with it.
- I had more attention for things I really cared about. Now that my weekends weren’t consumed with shopping, and I wasn’t searching the internet for the best deal, I had time to consider what my real interests were.
- I began to find confidence in who I was instead of what I wore. I always thought I needed something new to wear to be confident. I needed the right heels to feel powerful, or a new dress to feel sexy, or a new jacket to feel put together and prepared. I felt all of those things and more without anything new.
When I realized I was happier dressing with less, I got even more curious (and serious) about living with less.
Almost 10 years have passed since I started dressing with less and in that time, I continued to dress with 33 items or less every 3 months, gave away close to 90% of my stuff, downsized from a big house to a small apartment, and left a corporate job to do work I love.
Living with less helped everyone around me too. With each thing we let go of a chunk of stress went with it, and we became a happier family and healthier individuals.