As I said after moving to a new house last year, there is nothing like moving to motivate minimalism. And since I have moved every year that I’ve been in Massachusetts (and again in 2 weeks!), I have pared down a lot. But I still feel that I have too much stuff for a tiny house! Especially summer clothes.
It seems that summer in Western Mass happens in the blink of any eye, lasting only from June to early September. Fall is also fairly brief, with winter following on the heels of Halloween. Winter, unfortunately, is not brief. Because after winter we don’t have spring but rather a Season of Mud (more winter but without the pretty snow or good holidays). Even up until May it’s a good idea to keep the winter apparel around (for the times it snows on Easter…true story).
So winter is about 40% of the year, fall/spring temperatures reign for a third of the year, and summer comprises the remaining 25%. By this logic, the items in my wardrobe should reflect these proportions.
When a Southern Belle Goes North
When I first moved from North Carolina to Massachusetts, I had few winter clothes and an overabundance of warm weather clothes. It took 3 years but my wardrobe has almost shifted to the correct proportions of clothes for my new environment. I say “almost” because I still have too many summer clothes that I’m not wearing.
Goal: My summer wardrobe — 3 months worth of clothes — should fit in this bin, with the top closed 🙂 The summer wardrobe does not count undergarments, shoes, socks, or gym clothes.
Steps to Reach My Goal
In my initial pre-move cleaning, I donated or threw away clothes that were in bad condition or outdated. I even found things from high school (eek!) that had worn out their welcome in my closet. Other items were in perfectly good shape and just didn’t fit well anymore or were inappropriate for my current lifestyle. Now comes the hard part: because I still need to reduce the volume of my clothes, it means doing yet another ruthless pass and parting with some pieces that I like reasonably enough.
To help with this stage of simplifying, I challenged myself to get rid of anything that…
- Goes with only one other thing I own
- Has in my mind a purpose that is too specific (adios, “Fourth of July dress”)
- The least favorite version of similar items
- Needs to be continually adjusted or micromanaged when I’m wearing it.
Becoming intentional with your material possessions is an evolving process that doesn’t happen overnight. Challenge yourself to consider what you need and don’t need, one shelf or drawer at a time!
It also helped to reflect on my prior success with life simplification. Within the last year, I had donated 4 large boxes of clothes — over half my wardrobe — plus a ton of unneeded toiletries, decorations, and kitchen items. It has became much easier to find and store clothes, and it feels good that the stuff I do have adds value and utility to my life. I’m confident that when the time comes to live in our tiny house we will be well prepared!
I took all my summer clothes out and sorted them into 3 categories: love it, like it, maybe, and definitely donate. I sorted everything as quickly as possible based on my initial reactions. It really helped to see everything laid out together and realize what I actually liked and wore. I’d been avoiding a few of white items that had turned a bit dingy but a hot wash cleaned them up. I will try to do the same exercise with my winter clothes in a few months, because only the best and most favorite clothes will win a spot in the tiny house closet!