Post-holiday purge & striving for minimalism

post-holiday purge & striving for minimalism

Every January, when the dust has settled from the holidays and the New Year has set in, I find myself itching to get rid of stuff.

Christmas tends to have that effect. New books! New clothes! And a few other things I don’t know what to do with that sit in little piles for weeks!

No more. The other day, still on a fresh-new-start high, I tackled the most overwhelming and neglected part of my home: my closet, where previously it looked like a bomb had gone off. I wish I had a before photo, but imagine shelves of wrinkled clothes arranged to resemble the long-forgotten bottom of a hamper and you’ve got the idea. But yesterday, I hauled off an impressive pile of clothes for donation and reorganized the rest. Now, there’s room to spare.

My closet was a big point of contention for me over the past few months. I literally dreaded opening up the closet in the mornings to see mostly old clothes showing their wear or the few newer items not on hangers and being stored poorly. I can’t tell you how many times I ended up rushing to work or school because I spent way too long searching for a decent outfit to wear.

In 2015, inspired by the concept of a capsule wardrobe, I won’t do a whole lot of clothes shopping. (I hardly did much in 2014, either.) But when I do, I plan to be much more selective with how I spend my money.

For me, that means higher-quality basics in neutral solids that are easy to pair and accessorize and that I know I’ll wear often. I won’t buy any piece of clothing that makes me think, “Yes, but what can I wear this with?” (I blame skirts for that predicament. I’ve never been good at skirts.)

Surprisingly, I’ve found the limitations of a small space and budget to be a good thing when it comes to stuff.

One of the benefits of living in a one-bedroom apartment is that you can’t amass too many things—it gets uncomfortable real fast. (And being on a grad student budget means I don’t ever shop out of boredom.) Sure, I’d love a big closet filled with beautiful things and rows and rows of built-in bookshelves that make it so I never have to part with a book, but I also want to be able to pick up and move on to the next big adventure without feeling overwhelmed if such an opportunity arrives. I’d rather treasure a handful of pieces I truly love than keep more things than I know what to do with. 

That’s why in my post-holiday purge, I won’t feel guilty casting a critical eye on the things I’ve held onto but hardly used for ages—or things I’ve recently acquired as gifts—that don’t serve a purpose or bring me joy. After all, it’s just stuff.

Next, I’d like to cull my book collection (just a little) and see what’s been shoved into the hall closet that can go to the curb.

Are you feeling a little crowded by your things? How do you decide what to get rid of or keep?

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  1. I thought about this concept of a capsule wardrobe too when I first read about it on Un-Fancy. I thought it was interesting, but wasn’t sure if it would work for me. I’ve been dabbling in the thought of minimalism just trying to figure out which stuff I have is unnecessary. It’s hard. Sometimes I feel minimalism is a form of art.

    • Cassie Paton says:

      It really is a form of art – and one I could never master (I love pretty things too much!), but definitely a way of life I draw inspiration from. I don’t think I’d go all-out with a capsule wardrobe, but I’ll be thinking of it any time I shop!

  2. I’m trying to declutter this year, as well. When I moved to Scotland I couldn’t bring everything with me, and it’s been surprisingly easy (and freeing) to live with way fewer clothes! I want to streamline clothes and makeup for sure, and then move on to other stuff. I’ve moved around so much in the past 3 years that my packrat tendencies have definitely been tempered out of necessity!

    • Cassie Paton says:

      Isn’t it amazing how fewer options actually makes it easier to make a decision!? It’s just what an indecisive Libra like me needs.

  3. I definitely had to do lots of purging right after the holidays because I’m currently living in two places: out in Minnesota at school and also at home in Michigan. I’ve been consolidating, reducing, donating, and pitching like crazy! It feels amazing and I feel my stress level has even gone down 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
    ~ Samantha

  4. I have been feeling very crowded with my stuff and am planning on just spending money on neutral basics as well. I am actually also hoping to get rid of things in my room and making it more inspirational.

  5. What a concept! I don’t know if I’ve reached a stage where I was overwhelmed by excessive clothes, but I have made conscious efforts to downsize my wardrobe in two following ways.

    The first is using them as cleaning clothes. Most of the tops I wear are naturals, meaning they’re made of mostly cotton and wool. They function well as cleaning towels, which means I don’t have to spend an additional amount on disposable towels.

    The other option is designating my old clothes as gym shirts. Remember, these cotton shirts are pretty comfy. And we all know to wear comfortable clothing when working out. I don’t like going out of my way to buy gym attires, and would rather not wear such sweat receptacle the same way I treat my regular clothes, even though they are essentially the same in my book. 😛

    These strategies are mostly inspired by my desire to spend less money. Some may consider them cheap; I’d rather say efficient. 😉

    • Cassie Paton says:

      Yes, I love these ideas! I did transition a couple of old tank tops into night clothes or workout gear. I think I was holding onto them because they still fit just fine, but I realized I’d wear them a lot more if they went in the pajama drawer instead of hanging with my everyday clothes.

  6. Coming from someone who is about to let her significant other move into her studio apartment – I hear you. I’m about to embark on the journey of my apartment lifetime by stripping my closet down to the bare essentials and exploring creative storage options because now the closet has to fit BOTH of our wardrobes.

    The capsule wardrobe is an awesome idea.

    Preach, sister. Preach.

  7. Hah! I totally agree with skirts being the hardest. I’ve given up on them. I’m working on further minimizing the goods in my apartment this year, too.

    • Cassie Paton says:

      Right?! Save for a couple maxi skirts that I adore, I just don’t know how to wear ’em. Give me a dress any (or every) day, but no more buying skirts for me.

  8. The capsule wardrobe thing made me laugh because I don’t even know if I have 37 items total! I used to be a hoarder but now I’m CONSTANTLY getting rid of stuff… like, at least once a month. It’s refreshing.

  9. I need to explore this capsule wardrobe thing a bit more – I tend to wear the same stuff over and over again (or pajamas – hazard of working from home 95% of the time). Books are easy – read ’em and pass ’em on. If I must own it, I buy a Kindle copy. I’ll keep some books, of course, but only my true favorites, ones that bring me joy to see on the shelf.

    • Cassie Paton says:

      I’m right there with you on books. I’ll keep my absolute favorites but am happy to give the rest away. I’ve got the Kindle and library to keep my reading habit satiated and my bookshelf clean. 🙂

  10. Good for you! I try to clean out my closet every season, because I have to switch stuff from higher to lower shelves eventually either way 🙂 I used that as an opportunity to get rid of stuff I don’t feel comfortable wearing – that is my criterion: feeling good about myself.

  11. I feel the same way – I started flipping my hangers last year and it’s time to clean out but I haven’t dedicated the time. I have an s-ton of stuff that I need to donate but still it sits in my home clogging space because i’m lazy. lol. One of these weekends, latest of February it’ll be gone! The acquisition of stuff is overwhelming, especially as you get older and are responsible for the maintenance of your home. It’s just in the way! Have fun purging! Take Care Cassie -Iva

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