|Image via ArchitectLines.com|
I am such a dreamer. My ideal self is a minimalist, and I savor photos of homes, closets, and shelves that are nearly-bare. I am so drawn to websites like Zen Habits, and The 100 Thing Challenge. I love to explore Apartment Therapy and see how couples live comfortably in 400 square-foot homes, untethered to mounds of possessions. And don’t get me started on the opposite: I can barely look at the television show Hoarders without leaping up to clear out a dresser.
As far as home decor, I am fairly minimalistic. We don’t own a lot of furniture, our home is small by modern American standards (two bedrooms, one bath), and we don’t collect or accumulate much. We like to think of ourselves as on the lower end of consumerism (though I do love my iPad and my digital camera). Living through the Year of the Hurricanes taught us that it isn’t wise to become too attached to our stuff; it could all be gone in a strong gust or tidal surge.
Wardrobe minimalism, however, has always intrigued and eluded me. I have followed with great interest the various wardrobe challenges across the blogoverse. I contemplated, but quickly rejected as impossible, the Six Pieces or Less concept. That’s just too spartan for me (except as a travel capsule). I have tried some varieties of the 30-for-30, and it’s fun to try to live on a limited wardrobe, but here’s the truth — I get bored! I like change.
So I try to balance my love of simplicity with my drive for novelty. Here are some of the techniques I am using now:
- I am pretty strict about one wardrobe item in, one out. Having small closets and small rooms is very helpful in keeping me honest in this regard. It also makes me a better shopper, as I must contemplate the exit of an existing piece . . . who’s it going to be?
- I shop at and donate to a couple of local charity thrift stores. I often see my wardrobe coming and going! This makes me feel good, as I get to experience novelty and trends, while keeping my total possessions at a manageable level.
- I focus on good quality for certain categories of wardrobe items: shoes, bags, jackets, sweaters. I find I am quite content with three or four “good” purses in my inventory, and that keeps the closet looking neat. I have about 15 total pairs of shoes and boots, and I really, really love them and wear them to nubs.
- I am less concerned with longevity for tees, casual skirts, jeans and accessories. I indulge in this category, and rotate through these more quickly. I don’t need a big stash — there are always more, lots more, out there to be had for a low price.
- I have a staunch vow to not pay for extra storage space for clothing! Even if Sandy and I move onto a boat, I am determined to live with whatever clothing fits in my living space. My clothing is not going to have its own apartment.
- I have also determined to love what I keep and keep only what I love. Life is too short for just-okay!
Where are you on the minimal – maximum scale? I don’t think there are “better” or “worse” ways to live (save for the Hoarders!), just lifestyle preferences and comfort zones, and budgetary constraints. Do you crave the simpler closet, or the more-is-more?