Baby Steps Toward a Minimal Closet

I don’t read many blog posts from guys about their clothes.

But my closet gets crazy…fast……and it bothers me.

I’m not exactly sure how it happens.  I’m not the “Let’s go shopping” type.  But I have 2 guesses… At least part of the cause of the constant stream of clothes into my closet and drawers is that I happen to wear common sizes.  34-36 waist jeans and medium-large t-shirts can be found in every yard sale, consignment shop and hand-me-down bag around.  Then, there’s the “thrifty” in us that causes us to constantly look for good deals so we don’t waste money.  Even though we don’t shop much, we still grab good deals when we see them.

When I think about minimalism, I think about eliminating the unnecessary clutter in my life so I can focus on what I value most.  This plays out in many areas of my life…relationships, tasks, activities, reading material, thoughts, schedule, etc.

For me, eliminating the physical clutter in my office, work areas, and home is very important. When there’s lots of stuff, I can’t focus. I feel the weight of “too many options”.  I don’t like it.  Plus, there’s something enjoyable about seeing things go from “What is all this?” to “That’s all you have?!?

Keeping your clothing options limited helps you avoid mental clutter and helps you spend less time worrying about what to wear.  (Especially when the things you keep all work well together.)

I heard the term “mini-mission” used at, and I loved the idea.  Baby steps toward minimalism.

I took some pictures of my recent “closet-whittling-mini-mission”.  I may get rid of more stuff in coming weeks, but the progress I’ve already made is giving me added “breathing room”.  Don’t expect to be impressed with some incredible philosophy or miraculous difference.  It’s just a tiny bit of progress in my life of constant refocus.  I share this with you to be an encouragement.

The only thing “wow” about this is that I took action.  And so can you.

Here’s what I started with…

On the first day, I pulled out the stuff that was obviously Winter clothing.  We live in Buffalo, NY, so we have to have it.  I put that stuff in the basement in a tote.

Then, I separated everything else in the closet into 3 sections:

1- The things I knew I wanted to keep.

2- The things I knew I was going to get rid of.

and 3- The things I wasn’t sure about (#3 was the biggest section).

I kept section 1 in the closet.

I folded section 2 and put it in a stack to donate. Here’s section 2…

I put the things I wasn’t sure about aside and decided to worry about that a few days later.

So, the whole process up to this point took about 10 minutes.  Day one…done.

Several days later, I decided to work through my “not sure about” stack.  Waiting a few days was a good idea, because I had fresh courage to get rid of even more.  (you can only do so much at one time    It sounds weird even typing that, but it’s amazing how much attachment we have to our stuff.  For me, the struggle is not as much about the love that I have for that specific item.  It’s more about abundance vs. scarcity.  Intellectually, I know that I can always find another t-shirt if something happens to the few I have, but I still catch myself saving things “just in case.”

But, on this particular day, I was feeling good.  I got rid of what wasn’t necessary and ended up with what I actually wear.  Below, you can see my “after” shots.  You may not be terribly impressed.  You may end up with half of what I ended up with.  Great.  That’s the point.  You determine what is enough for you.  You determine what is getting in your way of focusing on what you value.

My end result was a 50% cut in my closet and a 70% cut in my drawer.

Have you done this recently?

Should you?

Do you have some other area that could use a little baby-step-minimizing?

A drawer?  A bookshelf?  A wallet?

Take 10 minutes and do the initial sorting.

You can do it!