I’ve often heard the phrase ‘less is more.’ In fact, it was regularly said to me by my mum in my early teenage years, as I sauntered into the kitchen with a thick layer of orange make-up on my face. Thankfully, my foundation application eased as ‘less is more’ expanded to cover many aspects of every-day life.
Today, people are anti-clutter and anti-options. Time spent on meticulously pairing colours and patterns in the hope that they don’t clash, is time very much wasted. The black jumper that you can wear with anything and for the rest of your life has taken the place of this season’s must-haves. For those looking to jump on the minimalistic bandwagon, there’s no time like the present. In fact, searches for a ‘tidy wardrobe’ increased by 5800% since January, and over 400 people a month are searching for ‘how to organise your wardrobe’ whilst they are stuck inside in lock-down. However, as we may all know at this point, it is easier said than done.
Thankfully, we sought out the invaluable advice of Gill Hasson, esteemed tutor and author of Declutter Your Life: How Outer Order Leads to Inner Calm. Her first step to minimalism is to “start with the easy stuff.” That’s what I like to hear, Gill! If the task seems too big to conquer, tell yourself you will do it for just 10 minutes.
You may well find that once you get into it, you continue well past the ten-minute mark you originally set.
It’s safe to say that within our jam-packed wardrobes hangs about 20% of clothes we regularly reach for. According to Gill, in order to proactively get rid of the unused 80% we must ask ourselves these two important questions: Do I love it? and Do I need it?
Gill’s top tip is to start by getting 10 items you are sure to keep, then make all other decisions against the rest by considering the clothing’s comfort, style, suitability, sentimentality, and readiness to be worn (does it need cleaning/alterations). This means that although in the back of your mind something tells you that the feathered, shimmery bodycon dress will one day come back into fashion, it is still only nightclub-appropriate, a place you haven’t been since you left college. Bin it.
Next, she shares her wisdom on how to make the process less overwhelming. To do this, you should throw out, re-organise, and compartmentalise.
Start with all the pairs of trousers you own first, followed by skirts and t-shirts and so on. This will help you to track the progress you’re making.
Then, re-organising what remains by colour will not only make your wardrobe visually appealing, but will leave you with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Plus, this will make it easier to create outfits!
Next, she recommends to “break it down by season and genre”. Creating work, casual, and formal outfits will help to identify what you do and don’t need. She goes on to advise that at the end of one season and start of another, “identify any pieces that didn’t come out of the closet over the past three months and sell/donate them”. These pieces can be easily identified by hanging all your clothes facing one direction. As you wear and wash them, flip the hangers. Anything hanging the wrong way can be thrown. While you’re at it, for prime minimalism, use the same style of hanger. It will make everything look tidier and more spacious.
Lastly, she encourages enlisting a friend. “Challenges done with friends often don’t feel like challenges.” Perhaps not the case when it comes to exercising, but setting-up a video call and receiving some much needed support can help. It could be a friend who is brutally honest, will say what you’re thinking deep down, and question why on earth you’re still in possession of that skirt. On the other hand, it could be one on the kinder side, who encourages you to let go of sentimental things. Either way, no matter how mundane the task, there’s nothing that some company and a glass of wine can’t make more enjoyable!