DOWNSIZING YOUR CLOSET
With the rise in fast fashion over the last couple of decades, in combination with the integrated notion of American consumerism, many of us have racked up an extensive collection of clothing (& shoes, hats, accessories, etc.). For some of us, this excess is soothing and provides comfort to our lives. While others are now realizing that this excess could be considered unnatural, unnecessary, and stressful to maintain. Luckily, B&B Micro Manufacturing is here to help! We have outlined not only how to downsize your closet, but why you should consider doing so, as well as, how to maintain a minimal closet in the long run.
I. You are simply downsizing your home
Today’s real estate market is an ever-evolving and fast-paced environment that leaves many prospective home buyers stressed and dreading the experience. Houses today have grown to an unprecedented size, and with it an equally large purchase price. For those who are environmentally conscious (as everyone should be nowadays), these larger homes tend to consume more fossil fuels resulting in both a higher bill each month as well as a larger carbon footprint. (Of course, the dependence on fossil fuels relies more upon the efficiency of the design of the home and less on the size, however in a more general consensus, larger homes do tend to consume more energy.) Each of these attributes to the latest development in America’s real estate market has led many individuals to consider downsizing to both small and tiny homes.
Downsizing from a house that is 2,000+ square feet to one that is 1,000 or less is an adjustment for anyone, (no matter how much of a minimalist you may be!). Making a financially and sustainably responsible choice, like tiny living, can lead to a much happier and healthier lifestyle.
II. You want to adopt a minimalist lifestyle
Minimalism, like tiny living, has become an ever-growing and popularized lifestyle. Appealing to young professionals who are graduating college with crippling debt, retirees who, due to unforeseen life circumstances, weren’t able to acquire such a hefty retirement, to young families trying to juggle the new time and financial restraints that have been placed upon their lives. Minimalism offers a chance for many to take the time and reevaluate what it is that is of importance within their lives. This same concept can also be applied to one’s closet/wardrobe. As fashion is in many cases an expression of one’s self, being able to pair down can be both liberating and rejuvenating.
III. You want to refresh & update your wardrobe
Think spring cleaning … but more permanent!!
Fashion allows people to speak without having to use words. Creativity and perspectives evolve as time goes on, so why should our wardrobe not evolve with us?
IV. You want to give yourself a challenge
Some of us are inherently competitive perfectionists, some of us tend to create challenges for ourselves just to see if we can persevere out the other side. For those of you who may fit either of those descriptions, (welcome to the club), downsizing your wardrobe may just be your next venture!
V. You want to lower your carbon footprint
Fast Fashion …. an incredible blessing to our wallets but a detrimental and a deadly curse to our ecosystem.
Just like anything in life, where and what we spend our money on, directly reflects our values. “The apparel and footwear industries together account for more than 8 percent of global climate impact, greater than all international airline flights and maritime shipping trips combined.” (Cerullo, 2019). Using massive amounts of water and unsustainable materials, with questionable working conditions and wages, as well as the emissions used to ship these products across the globe, results in a sickening fashion cycle.
Fashion companies like The RealReal (an online thrift store), Stella McCartney, Dai, Eileen Fischer, Theory, and Patagonia (among many others) are creating more sustainable ways to both look good while also doing good. Avoiding companies like Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Shin, Missguided, Victoria’s Secret, and many more will significantly decrease the impact fashion has on our carbon footprint.
I. Project 333
33 Items for 3 Months
Project 333 was designed and created by Courtney Carver in 2010. As a way to declutter both her life and closet. The overall goal of this project is to provide a capsule wardrobe for each of the four seasons, resulting in four, 3 month long capsules. The ‘rules’ state that the 33 items pertain to clothing, shoes & accessories/jewelry, however, workout, lounge, pajamas, and underwear does not count within those 33 items (thank goodness!). Some have altered the challenge to only use daily clothing as the challenge, not including shoes or accessories. The benefit of Project 333 is that it is flexible but still challenges you to significantly reduce your wardrobe. Creating a fun challenge people can look forward to participating in, rather than it being a chore that you dread.
AKA. the LEGENDARY Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo has become a worldwide phenomenon as well as the face of minimalism and ‘tidiness’. Famous for her impressive transformations of home organizational strategies, as seen on her Netflix show ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ and within her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”. Kondo has created what is known as the KonMari Method, consisting of the following 4 steps:
- Make a Pile
- Find the Joy
- Find a Home for Everything
- The Right Order to Decluttering
Make A Pile:
Pretty self-explanatory, take everything out (in coordinating categories, like all your clothing for example) so that you can visually see what you have. You will immediately see at least a few objects that you can automatically get rid of (aka. donate).
Find the Joy:
Within these categories you have created from step 1, you must now make the hard decisions. You must ask yourself, ‘does this object bring me joy?’, if that answer is yes, you keep it, if it is no, you donate. (This is obviously easier said than done, but an incredibly important step when trying to declutter both your life and closet).
Find a Home for Everything:
Now that you have all the items that bring you joy (let’s say it’s your 33 articles of clothing, as you will have likely participated in project 333 in conjunction with the KonMari method) you must simply find a home for them. What is the best place for you to access your favorite graphic t-shirts or comfiest sweatshirt? Where do you put your socks on in the morning? You may think these weird questions have nothing to do with downsizing your closet, who cares where things go, as long as I have cut down on the amount of articles, right? While this perspective makes plenty of sense, where you place things is just as (if not more) important as the actual act of downsizing. Creating organization in all aspects of your life can alleviate a surmountable amount of stress from your day to day actions.
+ The KonMari Fold
Not only is it important as to where you place things, but HOW. Marie Kondo has created a specific way in which to fold your clothes so that you may optimize space and efficiency within your closet. See the video below to learn the KonMari folding method!
The Right Order to Decluttering:
Based on the KonMari method, one should begin their decluttering with the day to day items and work their way down to the more sentimental pieces. IE.
- Mail / General Informational Paper
- Toys / Kitchen Supplies / Electronics / Tools / Etc.
- Photos / Memorabilia / Diaries / Etc.
Now that you’ve downsized your closet to their respective categories, let’s talk about what to do when you want to add new pieces. It is a natural progression as a human being to add pieces to one’s wardrobe. Whether it is due to the typical wear and tear or keeping up with modern-day fashion trends. How do you maintain a sustainable, responsible, and minimal closet?
I. QUALITY over quantity
You hear it all the time, and you will hear it again … Quality over Quantity, every time. Spend a little more money upfront on a piece that uses sustainable materials and production methods. This singular piece will last you years and will hold its value should you want to donate or sell it later.
II. Fewer articles of clothing = less maintenance/time
We all hate coming home from a long day and having to put away piles of clothing. Remember that feeling when you’re shopping online at Forever 21 with 20 pieces in your cart for the price of one item from Madewell.
III. Organizational strategies
The KonMari fold, bins, labels, and a home for every item are important tools when practicing home and wardrobe organization. You don’t have to perfect each component right away, these tools and strategies take time, allow yourself this time to learn and adjust. Maintaining a minimal wardrobe is one that pays off in the long run, so remember, practice makes perfect.
I. Shop SECOND HAND First!!
II. SHARE with family & friends
III. Shop in BOTH the Men’s & Women’s section
IV. LEARN to sew
V. Shop LOCALLY
Carver, Courtney. Project 333. BeMoreWithLess. https://bemorewithless.com/project-333/
Cerullo, Megan. Fashion Industry’s Carbon Impact Bigger Than Airline Industry’s. CBS News. April 19, 2019. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/earth-day-2019-fashion-industrys-carbon-impact-is-bigger-than-airline-industrys/
Fredgaard, Maria. Capsule Wardrobe: 7 Easy-Steps to Downsize Your Wardrobe. Go Downsize. https://www.godownsize.com/tips-to-downsize-your-wardrobe/
Green, Penelope. Marie Kondo Talks About Tidying Up in 2021 and Her New Product Launch. The New York Times. January 11, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/realestate/marie-kondo-container-store.html
His and Hers KonMari Closet Makeover Before and After. The Fun Sized Life. https://www.thefunsizedlife.com/konmari-closet-makeover-before-and-after/
How To Use The Marie Kondo Method For Decluttering. Meraki Mother. June 25, 2019. https://merakimother.com/marie-kondo-method-konmari/
Project 333. The Vivienne Files. https://www.theviviennefiles.com/project-333/
The Worst Fast Fashion Brands You Need To Avoid. ELUXE Maganize. Nov 10, 2020. https://eluxemagazine.com/fashion/nastier-fast-fashion-brands/