I think it’s been two weeks that I am wearing the same yellow dress almost every day. You will have noticed if you are following my Instagram Stories! Is it because I have nothing else? Not quite. In fact, I could have a new outfit for every day of the next two weeks – including a few yoga outfits.
But I find that I just don’t care anymore.
I used to make sure I balanced how many times I would wear each item of clothing so none of them felt left behind (and yes, I even thought they might be sad about it). I wouldn’t wear the same jeans more than a few times in a row lest people thought I didn’t wash my clothes. I wouldn’t wear the same clothes in front of the same people, fearing that they might think I had nothing to wear.
But where do all these assumptions come from?
Most of us start to integrate these ideas during high school; when we’re just trying to be expected. Some people would even define their status of being ‘’poor’’ or ‘’rich’’ depending on how many new outfits they would have each season. And as time went on, we tend to forget the core and the ‘social norms’ become things we’ve accepted and believe to be right.
Of course, there’s some value in taking care of how you present yourself. Particularly in a business context, you want to smell fresh and be presentable.
But does having less clothes really makes you look poor? Does it make you look put together just by buying expensive clothes and jewellery? Does a change of season really mean it’s time for a whole new wardrobe? Mostly not.
These are just patterns we’ve learned to integrate into our mindsets. And holding onto them can be harmful – particularly when we’re not in the right circumstances to keep up with the expectation of buying new clothes constantly.
Mindfulness teaches us to raise our awareness and be conscious of our choices and actions. This is the core of most of my articles about implementing new habits or changing old patterns in all aspects of our lives. But what remains consistent is that the first step is always awareness.
So let’s raise our attention and change the way we treat our clothes!
Yes, you can still be super fashionable and aware – don’t worry!
Before you go bezerk and throw out half your wardrobe (and yes, I’m guilty; I gave away half of mine), take time to ask yourself a few questions:
- Where do my beliefs about clothes truly come from?
- Do I base my worth on my clothes?
- How does it make me feel to choose outfits every day?
- Do I feel weighed down by how much I own and how much washing I do?
- Do I have a hard time choosing what to bring when travelling?
- Is it hard for me to leave clothes behind when I’m away?
If you’ve answered yes to few of these things, maybe it’s time that you consider shrinking your wardrobe, getting informed and enjoying the piece of mind that this will bring you! Let’s get started!
1. Get more information
Deciding to throw away with awareness is also about understanding others’ journeys to minimalism, the strategies they used and the logic that brought them there. Find the things that resonate with you and can make this an informed decision that works for your situation. This is a process and it will take time; so arming yourself with knowledge is a good place to start.
- Read how it can minimise the brain power wasted in such inconsequential choices and build a visual brand identity
- Learn how select clothes can help reflect your personality and leadership style
- Utilize this checklist for a minimal wardrobe
2. Choose your new wardrobe values
Start by observing what your wardrobe is telling you. I mean it. Write yourself a 200-word paragraph about what your wardrobe would say if it were to speak to you. I am so full and feel older than I am. Why am I carrying so much extra weight of old t-shirts with paint splatters or underwear with stains? I can’t breathe here.
It’s a fun game, but also effective. Afterwards, close your eyes and visualize your ideal wardrobe. I am not just talking about a Pinterest ‘’walk-in’’. Go a little deeper and picture somewhere that respects your place, clean, spacious; somewhere where you can see exactly what you have and its use in your life.
Isn’t it silly that we live in such abundance that we can forget we have certain clothing items? For me, taking control of what you have and raising your awareness pass by a process of eliminating anything that you aren’t aware of, and only keeping items that you know you have.
This is an unbelievably true lesson for business as well. Being aware of your photos and having your files and documents ordered in such a way that is simple, effective and clear will be life-changing. Take control over the blur and choose with intentionality what you keep in your life and what you let go of.
After recognizing the ‘’feelings’’ in your wardrobe, write yourself 3-5 values you want to cultivate for any new items you will buy from now on, before even starting the cleaning process. For example, you want your pieces to be elegant, eco-responsible, locally-made, fashionable, feminine… there are so many options.
In doing this, you’ll have strong principles in mind when choosing to bring something home. Instead of consuming with impulse and envy, defining these guidelines for yourself will help you along the way. It is one thing to get rid and let go, but another one to break the pattern of automatic consumption. Implementing these new strategies in how you shop and buy your clothes can make sure this process isn’t just a one-off, but rather a new way to live.
3. Start the cleaning process.
If it is the first time you’ve made a big shift in your wardrobe, don’t be afraid to start slow. Taking it step by step allows you to learn how to let go this time and every other time after it. As time goes by, it will become easier and less emotionally challenging.
And if it’s not your first time, realise that there are different ways that work for different people. Here are a few ways to help get you started:
Make a pile of items that truly make you happy and display them in a pretty way in your wardrobe. Leave the rest in a box or in storage for few weeks, and see which one you are truly tempted to add back to your wardrobe or wear. When you stop seeing the clutter – even temporarily – you’ll realize there is no need for it and it will make it easier to let it go and give it away.
Break down the task and challenge yourself to get rid of a category a week.
- Old or stained underwear
- Socks with holes
- Clothes that are too small
- Clothes where the color has faded
- Items that haven’t been worn in 6 months
- Items that are not fitting your vibe or ‘’ideal self-vision’’
- Items that are to paint or ‘’in case of’’ and only keep 1 set.
Follow the KonMari Method where you basically only keep items that bring you pure joy. It is a bit more extreme but a good way to make a big shift.
Take on the Project 333 method, where you only choose 33 items of clothing per season. It allows you to learn how to be satisfied with less and still keep items in another storage. What I like most about this is that it reduces your exposure to most of the clothes you would think you need. After three months, the emotional attachment to clothes is less strong and it is easier to let go.
No matter how you do it, make sure you ask yourself these questions:
- Do I keep things because I might need them out of fear of loss or lack?
- Am I grateful for those items?
- How long do I keep a clothing item without wearing it before I let go?
- Can I give this away?
- Does it bring me joy?
- Do I feel my best self in this?
- Does it respect my new wardrobe values?
- Am I attached to the memory of it or to the actual clothes? (Taking a few photos that you can keep can help you keep a hold of the memory but let go of the actual clothing)
- Does it bring me joy today or did it use to bring me joy?
You are perfectly capable of taking control over what you have and make sure it truly suits your vibe and vision.
And don’t forget to have a little fun while you declutter. Put on your favorite music, have a coffee by your side, whatever it takes! Sending you good vibes and I’d love to see how you’re making changes to your wardrobe. Share it via DM on Instagram!
French-Canadian Expat in Berlin, my name is Marjolaine, but you can call me Bow. I m a Yoga Teacher, Female Founder, Mindfulness Coach & Pop Singer. I maintain a balance between two worlds with a calm and worry-free mind. Aside from my Mindful Business, you can find my first dream-pop album ”We Better Enjoy Now on Spotify! After travelling & living abroad for over three years, I understand the reality of young entrepreneurs & digital nomads. We all want to live fully, but we sometimes get lost in the midst of life. Are you ready to bloom and discover mindfulness as a tool for change? Are you ready to get one step closer to living your most beautiful & exciting life starting today?
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