Picture these situations:
You just got home from a wonderful day of shopping. You open your wardrobe and try to hang up your new clothes. Hmm. No space there, you notice. No worries, you can just stick them in your drawers. Oh, no space there either. Oh well! Obviously you need to get yourself a bigger wardrobe. Problem solved!
You are standing in front of your wardrobe (which is overflowing with clothes) and complaining that you have nothing to wear.
Everyone has experienced these situations at some point, but the question is, why? Why do we need so many clothes and why are we never satisfied with what we already own?
Minimalism is a word that comes up when people are speaking about sustainability, or any similar topic. Minimalism is the art of living your life with less stuff. You own only what you actually need and nothing more. The idea is that it allows you to live a less complicated and simpler life and not be defined by what you own. Minimalism is also a great way to develop a more sustainable wardrobe.
My life as a minimalist happened kind of organically and accidentally. As I have been travelling the last couple of years, I started reducing the amount of stuff that I would take with me. It made sense because I had to carry everything around alone and even when I did have a rather decent assortment of clothes with me, I still ended up wearing the same few things. Then when I got back home and had my full wardrobe at my disposal, I realised I actually didn’t need 20 t-shirts or 15 pairs of pants. And so began the cleaning out process.
Having a minimalistic collection of clothing doesn’t mean that you are only allowed to have a certain number of clothes. Everyone has different circumstances and needs. For example, you might need formal clothes for your job in an office, but on the weekend, you love to chill out in jeans and a jumper. In this case, it is necessary to own multiple outfits.
And there is the keyword: necessary. These days, people buy not only what is necessary, but also what they find awesome in any given moment. And when that piece of clothing is no longer awesome? It gets thrown out like any piece of rubbish, without a second thought. The statistics in the textile industry are shocking:
- In 2013, German households spent a combined total of $US69 billion ($AU91 billion) on clothing
- The average American woman owns 30 outfits
- In the UK, the average woman owns 22 unworn pieces of clothing
- In Australia, 30 kilos of textiles are thrown out per person
The problems are worldwide. And the excuses people come up with to explain this? Clothes are left forgotten in the wardrobe. They don’t fit properly- either the size of the style. They look different on at home as they did in the shop. Friends and family don’t like them. All of these excuses are pretty pathetic and disappointing.
Unfortunately, we live in a time of excessive consumption. The ‘fast fashion’ business model convinces us that we need more and that we have to keep up with the fast-paced trends. This model does horrible things to the environment, through its production systems and waste. Clothes have now become invaluable, disposable items. Where have the days gone, that people wanted to spend their precious money on clothes that were designed to last?
With minimalism, people make their purchase decisions based on quality instead of quantity. They consider their needs, before they buy something, not just buying on a whim because it’s cheap.
Here are some tips to help you develop your own minimalist wardrobe:
- Find the style which suits you well- don’t follow trends
- Clean out your wardrobe, keeping only what is important- sell or give away the rest
- Give it careful thought, before you buy a new piece of clothing- ask yourself, ‘Do I really need it? How many jumpers/dresses or whatever do I already have?
- Invest in quality pieces that will last through time- both in terms of style and design.
So there you have it! It is not difficult to incorporate the idea of minimalism into your life. And the benefits are endless! You will spend less money. You won’t waste more time on deciding what to wear. There will be less washing to do. Your wardrobe will be more organised. There will be less textile waste, contributing to a better environment.
Oh the freedom and wonderfulness that owning less clothing enables!