I’m excited to share with you all my small, minimalist wardrobe today! The hard work I’ve put into decluttering my closet has paid off. I now own a small, minimalist wardrobe that is filled only with favorites. Plus, I’m sharing how you can create your own minimalist wardrobe!
I love my minimalist wardrobe because:
More time back into my day.
More physical and mental space.
I started Project 333 back in July of 2020. The Project 333 Challenge was started by Courtney Carver in an effort to simplify her routine and eliminate the stress that accompanied having such a massive wardrobe. I had a hard time coming to 33 items, but made it work. Now that the three months is over, this project has brought to light exactly why I love my small, minimalist wardrobe. It also showed what I am missing from my wardrobe and why I mostly failed (more on this below).
My Minimalist Wardrobe Tour
First a quick note on minimalism.
Everyone is different. We all have different lifestyles and our day-to-day needs are all different.
Minimalism is a personal journey.
Just because I have less clothing than you (or more), it shouldn’t be seen as you’re doing something wrong. Comparison is a quick way to sour your mood.
So I hope that you read this to gather inspiration, but don’t try to copy it exactly. What works for me, may not work for you. What works for you, may not work for me!
I was in a place of extreme excess when it came to my clothing. I eliminated almost 80% of my clothing two years ago. Now that I know my personal style better, I’ve culled my wardrobe again (in spring 2020 – thanks quarantine!) by about 50%. I’m left with what I love, what looks good, and feels great. A small list of 3-5 items is what’s left to add to make my wardrobe feel perfect for my life.
Enjoy my minimalist wardrobe tour!
- 4 Tank Tops – Two serve as under shirts if a top is thin or buttons up as well as under cardigans.
- 13 Shirts – mix between t-shirts and shirts with structure
- 9 Long Sleeve Tops – sweaters, flannel, and t-shirts
- 2 pairs of Jeans, 3 pairs of Chinos, 1 pair of Shorts
- 7 Dresses – four casual, three more formal
- 2 Skirts
- 7 Cardigans – two sweatshirt material, one light-weight kimono, three knit cardigans, one heavy knit cashmere
- 2 pairs of flats
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 2 pairs of sandals
- 2 pairs of slip on sneakers
- 1 pair of boots
- 1 pair of heels
- 2 purses
- 1 wallet
- Kavu rope bag
- 3 scarves – 1 light-weight, two winter scarves
- High quality silver necklaces, silver charm bracelets, bronze bracelet, high quality earrings
Quick item count…
If you’re keeping track, this is about 60 items in my minimalist wardrobe. The majority are worn year around with the exception of long sleeve tops, cardigans, boots, and scarves (20 items specifically for fall and winter). The colder seasons are short where I live, so I could potentially get away with having even less in that category!
- Hiking boots
- Keen sandals
- Outdoor pants
- Bathing suits
Lounge Wear, Pajamas, Work Out Gear
I have no “number” on these. As long as they fit in my drawer, I don’t think I have too many. However, I will put a “quality” marker on this. Any PJs, lounge wear, or workout clothing that I wouldn’t run out of the house in (ex. fire, tornado, ice cream from the drive thru, etc.), I don’t need to keep.
I have several pairs of black yoga pants and t-shirts that are too worn to be in my everyday wardrobe that serve as lounge wear and pajamas.
Workout clothing is minimal for me. I have several sports bras that actually fit, 5 athletic tops, and 3 pairs of workout leggings. All of these workout clothes also work for mowing, home maintenance, painting, hiking, and more. I have no need to have grungy clothes for tasks that don’t take more than an hour or two at a time.
How to Create Your Own Minimalist Wardrobe
Now that you’ve seen what completes my minimalist wardrobe, focus on what you wear. Here are a few key actions to take while decluttering your wardrobe and building one that you love.
Haul out all of your clothing and lay it on your bed. Get it all from the closet, the hall closet, your dresser, and anywhere else you keep clothing. It’s also a good idea to get a load of laundry done the night before or early on in your decluttering day so it’s ALL clean.
Once it’s all out, quickly grab your top five pieces. Clothing that you love and love wearing. You’ll notice these five pieces have things in common like pattern, color, shape, or style. This is the foundation of your wardrobe.
Moving on from your favorite five, go through all of your clothing. You’ll need:
- Keep pile
- Maybe pile
- Donation box
- Trash bag
- To-do pile
Keep items should go back into your wardrobe and stored properly.
That donation box should be taped up and given away immediately. I suggest giving these items through your local Buy Nothing Project group or to a women’s shelter. Of course, thrift stores and donation drop-offs are an okay option, too.
Trashed clothing (old underwear, hole-y socks, too-stained or damaged clothing) should be thrown away.
The Maybe Pile
Clothing in the maybe pile is probably items you aren’t sure if they fit, or they might not quite be your style anymore. Perhaps they have some sort of sentimental value. In any of these scenarios, it is best to try it all on.
Have a friend or other trusted person come over and give their honest opinion to your wardrobe as you try it all on. It’s so easy to think “what’s one more college t-shirt going to hurt if I keep it?”. But if you don’t wear it or it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t belong in your wardrobe.
The To-Do Pile
When sorting through clothing you probably saw a few things that needed repairs or altering. Sort through your to-do pile and schedule out time to actually get these things taken care of.
Don’t want to commit time to taking your clothes to the tailor (or pay for it)? Then you probably don’t need to keep those items in any capacity. Offer them up to friends as “project” pieces or to your Buy Nothing Group before tossing.
Also in the to-do pile can be items you would like to sell. Again, schedule in the time to either take photos and list online, or take the clothing to consignment stores.
A super easy way to sell clothing is through ThredUP. I have personally used ThredUP’s consignment services before and can say that it is a VERY easy process. The only downside is that you get less money for the clothing you sell on ThredUP than you would selling through Poshmark or eBay.
When you send in your first Clean Out Kit, you’ll get $10 to shop on ThredUP! Just use my referral link here and they will get a prepaid shipping label to you.
Make a List for your Minimalist Wardrobe Must-Haves
After you’ve decluttered your wardrobe, take a step back and see what might be missing. Do you need a pair of jeans that actually fit and look good? Maybe a tan cardigan could pull all of your fall looks together. Or perhaps you need a pair of high quality loafers or sandals to look and feel put together.
Keep a running list of these items that you need to fill the holes in your wardrobe either on your phone, in your planner, or in a notebook you use regularly.
This list prevents you from buying clothing on impulse and allows you time to check out thrift stores, find sales, and really just find what you really love.
Here’s my list that I’ve kept for several months now:
- Neutral color, no pattern skirt
- Cream/oatmeal color cardigan
Do you see the theme there? Everything on the list is pretty basic because I love to mix and match my solids with stripes that I already own.
However, this year I am committed to not buying any clothing (see our list of 21 things we won’t buy in 2021). When the time comes though, and a favorite piece wears out or I lose weight, I’ll know exactly what I want and need to purchase.
Finding Contentment with Your Minimalist Wardrobe
The minimalist wardrobe is all about loving what you wear, feeling comfortable, and looking great. Once you find what works for you and your life, you have found your style. You can let go of the things you no longer wear or love and find contentment with your current wardrobe.
This has taken a lot of work for me. I love shopping, but have focused my “shopping efforts” into find the perfect few pieces. Trying different wardrobe challenges like 10×30 Capsule Wardrobe or Project 333 (which I failed spectacularly at) will help you understand what you truly love to wear and what fits in with your lifestyle.
Why did I fail at Project 333? I started it in the middle of a pandemic and made myself think that I only needed a few basic pieces, my favorite bags and jewelry and a few pairs of shoes. But I lost myself in that. I was so focused on having 33 items or less, that I didn’t see what I actually liked to wear and what fit with my daily activities.
I was dressing for someone who I wanted to be – that minimalist mom that looks put together and never gets messy or sweaty – but that’s how my life is right now. What did I wear instead of all of this? Workout tanks and leggings. Sometimes I’d wear jean shorts instead, but most of the time it was the athleisure life for me.
Since then, I shopped (secondhand, of course) for the items you see on that list above. My wardrobe is feeling more complete than it ever has. I also have far fewer items for the entire year than I ever have. I might even try Project 333 again for the next three months – who knows!
It’s wonderful to have a small, minimalist wardrobe. I know it won’t always look like this, but in this season of life it’s perfect.