I bet you’re wondering where the heck tiny house people put their clothes?!
That’s easy. They don’t have a lot.
Before you toss in the towel as you have no idea how you’re going to pick a complete wardrobe from an entire closet and dresser(s) of clothes, relax.
Other people have done it. I’ve done it. You can do it.
I used to have two dressers, a full closet, and several boxes in the attic. And I don’t even like fashion!
Now, with the exception of some boots and coats, all my clothes can be packed into a couple of gym bags.
My goal is to get everything in one bag. Your goal might be similar. Or maybe you just want to get rid of the dresser.
The fun part about clothes is that no one has the exact same wardrobe. We all have different lives that require different types of apparel. For example, I have four pairs of boots: cowboy boots for line dancing (don’t judge), waterproof winter boots, everyday sweater boots, and a classy pair of boots with heels for dress-up occasions. To some people, that’s a lot. To me, it’s just right for where I am in my life.
Downsizing your wardrobe is a matter of asking yourself the right questions about your clothes and taking small actions.
Ready to declutter your wardrobe? Let’s go!
How to Declutter Your Wardrobe
Questions To Ask Yourself:
“What do I wear on a day to day basis?” Jeans? Leggings? Suits? Dresses? Pajamas? If you work in a garden every day, you probably won’t need many dressy clothes. If you work in a corporate office five days a week, you may need more business casual attire than other people, but less clothes for lounging around.
“What is the weather like year-round?” Is there a cold winter? Do you have one great, thick winter coat and one coat that you can wear for spring and fall? Or do you have five winter coats? Do you really need five winter coats? Boots? Or do you live in the desert year-round?
“Do I work out?” You might need a couple workout clothes on hand. Do you play sports? Can you get away with having the same two or three outfits for workouts?
“Do I really need four pairs of gloves?” You probably don’t. And you probably don’t need four black t-shirts either. This concept can apply to every type of item you own (gym shoes, scarves, coats, jeans, sweatshirts, etc.).
“How often do I have to do laundry?” This is huge. Laundry habits affect how often clothes need to be worn. How often can you wear clothes before they’re considered ‘dirty’? (Hint: Jeans are pretty much never dirty until they get something actually spilled on them. I wear mine two weeks straight before tossing in the wash.)
Since my husband and I have been apartment dwellers for the past few years, we have to use quarters for our laundry. It’s not cheap. So we invested in a WonderWash. I can wash my clothes in my bathroom if I need to. Can you do something similar? Can you have smaller loads by wearing clothes a few times before tossing them in the pile?
Actions for Simplifying your Clothes
Anything else you need to ask yourself that is unique to your clothes?
Actions To Take:
1. Take everything out of your closet.
2. Make space on the floor for three different piles: keep, donate, toss. Sometimes I break up my ‘keep’ pile into ‘yes’ and ‘maybe’ if there are a few clothing items I’m not sure about yet.
3. Find your favorite signature items and accessories (if any). Keep those. Build flexible outfits around items you wear often.
4. Decide what to get rid of:
- If you haven’t worn it in the past six months (with the exceptions of seasonal items), get rid of it. If it’s a seasonal item you haven’t worn in the last year, get rid of it. Items in good shape should be donated. Items that are falling apart can be tossed or re-purposed as rags, quilts, etc.
- Not sure how you feel about certain items? Pack them up, put them out of sight, and go back to it in three months. If you find yourself digging through the box for particular items within those three months, keep it. If you never open the box, donate them. (I need to get around to finding those boxes in my parents’ attic and donating what’s inside.)
- If it does not fit you anymore, get rid of it. Don’t wait until you ‘will fit in it again.’ Make your wardrobe fit your current body.
- Are your clothes comfortable? Do they flatter you? Do you love them? If the answer is no, get rid of it.
- Keep track of what you wear and don’t wear. Put all the clothes that you’ve worn back in the front of the closet. As time passes, notice if any clothes consistently stay in the back. If you’re not wearing them, get rid of them.
5. Don’t forget your accessories. How many belts do you really need? Earrings? Necklaces? Depending on how much you like to wear, some people find that one or two of each or enough. Or maybe just owning ten pieces is extreme for you. It’s up to you. (Accessories are easier to keep, though, since they can be stored in smaller boxes/space.)
6. Keep your clothes in view. This is a tip my husband actually gave me a couple weeks ago. When you can see your clothes, you get a better sense of what you wear and don’t wear. So, hang them up. Put them on visible shelves. Whatever. Organize your closet space so that everything stays in view. This also discourages you from hoarding items in bags or shoving them into drawers.
And you’re done! It’s OK if you’ve only removed five articles of clothing the first time around. You can do this again. And again. I do it constantly. I’m about to do it again after finishing this post as I’m feeling inspired again!
It’s OK to buy new clothes. Don’t fret if you’ve gotten rid of too many clothes and your closet is too bare, or if you’re afraid to get rid of clothes in case you may need it in the future. You definitely have permission to buy something in the future. (I mean, come on, you’re not going to wear the same underwear the rest of your life.) The best way to bring new clothes into a wardrobe is by using the one-in, one-out rule. For every item you’re bringing into your closet/home, donate one or two other items.
My favorite part of going through my wardrobe is being creative with my outfits. (For example: what things could I pair together that I didn’t think of doing before? What about layers?) I’m also more willing to shell out some money on a high-quality clothing item that will outlast some cheap shirts from Target that I’ll have to buy again next year. With that in mind, I can have more favorite pieces that last instead of a full closet that ironically screams, “You have nothing to wear!”
The more you do this, the quicker you’ll see how easy it is to have a small closet in a tiny home or any other small space.
Still not sure if you can do this? Interested in cutting back on your wardrobe but are afraid to do it alone or need some community encouragement? Courtney Carver’s Project333 is a great place to start. She outlines guidelines and ways to connect with other like-minded closet declutterers.
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