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In which I come round to less is more

Elle est pas belle, la France??

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know I have a fascination with capsule wardrobes (one of the posts even made it into the wikipedia entry for capsule wardrobe), but I have also said many times that I could never live with one – I’m not a minimalist and I love all my clothes and other things too much, even if I only wear them once a year.

But I’m sort of coming round to it after having minimalism more or less imposed on me. First i was in Brussels with a minimal wardrobe and now we’ve got loads of stuff in storage because of trying to sell the flat, and that includes about 70% of my clothes. And the stuff I kept out is ever shrinking as I get bigger and non-maternity clothes don’t fit me any more. This is what I currently have:

  • Two trousers
  • One pair of leggings
  • Three skirts
  • Four long sleeve tshirt tops
  • Four shirts
  • One vest top
  • Four cardigans
  • Nine dresses/tunics

I realise that’s not actually not much less than what most people will have in their wardrobes anyway, especially with the dresses, and I should point out that I do also have more non-mama vest tops and long sleeve tshirts that I wear under things, though I couldn’t wear them by themselves without freezing my bump off. But for me this is little indeed.

Probably because my mind is on other things, I haven’t got bored with my options yet and I think I’ll be able to keep going til the birth without getting too annoyed at wearing the same things. I think I can tolerate it better because I know it’s temporary.

The other thing that I thought would annoy me is the washing. When you’ve got loads of clothes, it’s perfectly fine to just let the laundry pile up, but when you only have two pairs of trousers and they are both dirty, then you can’t wear trousers. And we do have to do washing all the time, but we kind of need to do that anyway to keep things tidy for the flat viewings. Plus Dave and I have finally decided to fully merge our laundry, so we always have full loads. It’s taken us 11 years of cohabitation to get to this point because Dave always wanted to wash everything on the cotton setting and I preferred the synthetic one even for cotton. But we got there (compromise: my way. 😉 It’s cheaper and better for the environment).

I’m still not sold at all on having such a small wardrobe forever and ever, but I could actually see myself doing a version of this where I only have a small part of my wardrobe out at any one time and the rest in storage. And then swap them round every three months This would mean that the clothes get used more intensively and might get worn out, in which case they can be retired. This is another thing I’m quite into at the moment: using things up. All those noodles and tins of beans in our kitchen cupboard: they’re getting eaten!

Now what happens after the baby appears is a different story. Because I really don’t have many nursing appropriate clothes! But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!

photo source: I looked for ages for pictures of organised wardrobes but nothing really worked, so you get this instead.

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  • Miriana 17 October 2012, 8:32 am

    In my last month of pregnancy I was down to one skirt, two tops and a dress that were suitable for the baking hot weather. The washing was a royal pain. Once I’d had my daughter I was somewhat minded to take the items into the garden and set fire to them.

    I didn’t have a problem with nursing clothes as I don’t really wear dreses and I’m brazen so would just hoik up my top.

  • madam0wl 17 October 2012, 2:11 pm

    I’ve really been wanting to pare my wardrobe down, but I’m procrastinating. Instead I’m just hanging stuff up at the end of the rack and only pulling from that section unless I get bored/inspired. What is holding me back is that, probably mostly for sentimental but also “what if I need it?” reasons, I don’t want to just plain get rid of it all (although I probably should just take the whole lot of it back to the thrifts and start over)- so your mention of having a large percentage of your wardrobe in storage and just swapping out a capsule every few months strikes a chord with me. I’ve been thinking maybe I should just box up the things I don’t want to get rid of and put them up in the attic for now. Which is probably what a lot of people do, but is a new idea to me because I’ve never had an attic before and I’ve always preferred to have everything out where I can see it. Except now having it all out like that is just too many choices for me and looks cluttered, etc.

    Also I agree with you saying the repeated wears of capsule-ing does make things wear out faster. I’ve recently had to retire two short sleeve hoodies that just got too busted/nappy/stained to even repair or reuse. But then I’m stuck with how to ethically “retire” these previously thrifted items… since they’ve had so much use, is now “ok” to actually throw them away? Or better to save as cleaning rags for one last use before throwing away? Or send them to the thrifts anyway, where maybe they redirect the nasty stuff to be further recycled? It makes me want to research local textile recycling centers…
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  • Sara 17 October 2012, 3:21 pm

    Oh I totally feel you on this. It can be so hard to part with clothes (and other items!) But it feels so much better to have less clutter around. I finally dwindled my closet down to my favorite items, and so that everything fits correctly. Now if I buy a sweater or something, I will donate one that I already had.
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  • Ceri 18 October 2012, 8:05 pm

    I completely see what you are saying, but I am not sure if I could ever come round to less being more! I did find with the six items challenge that I don’t need half as much I thought I did. But I do like variety and I get so behind with washing and ironing!
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