What is a Minimalist Closet and How Do I Get One?
Updated: Apr 16
A minimalist closet is whatever you need it to be. You dictate what you own, what you keep, what you wear and what you “need”. It’s easy to imagine a minimalist wardrobe is just a beautiful monochrome hanging rail with 15 items in the most pristine condition that all work interchangeably together seamlessly. Instagram and social media in general make it really easy for us to imagine the ideal, fantasy minimalist closet.
It doesn’t have to be that.
Your closet is minimalist if you’re approaching it with that intention. If you’re in the mindset that you want a minimal amount of clothing for your lifestyle, you want your items to be versatile and you’d like to declutter what you don’t use, or need, or wear - your closet is minimal.
Congratulations! You did it! See it wasn’t that hard!
Sure, there are plenty more things that you consider when approaching your minimalist closet. Here are a few that I definitely thought of as I was changing my wardrobe and my mindset:
1. Is this me?
Honestly, is it? I had so many items of clothing that were a product of my imagination: fancy dresses that I had no reason or need to wear and tops and skirts that were too tight or revealing that I didn’t feel comfortable in. As you look through your things, as yourself if they really are for you, if you feel like yourself when you wear them, if you love the way you look in that style! This is the realism part of it all: I don’t wear only linen and all white clothes like the “traditional”, social media style minimalist closet. You don’t have to either! Wear what you love and what feels like you!
2. Can I and Do I Wear This?
The “can I wear this” part is simple - is the garment in good condition, does it fit (and fit comfortably), does it make sense for my lifestyle (I’m not planning on wearing a tutu to my next meeting)?
The second part of this is “do I wear this”? Do you? Is it constantly in the wash because it’s always in your weekly rotation? Or is it a special something that you love to bust out once a month? Definitely keep what you love, what you wear and those special items that make you feel like a million bucks (and bring you oh so much joy!) when you wear them every once in a while.
You don’t need to wear something X number of days a month in order for it to qualify in your minimalist wardrobe. It just needs to make you happy and make you feel fabulous. Even if it’s only once a year!
3. Is there a “but…”?
There are always items of clothing that are “awesome….but…” followed by something that doesn’t quite work for you or that deters you from wearing it. In my opinion, minimalist closets don’t keep the “but…” pieces because they add mental clutter. You don’t want to throw open your wardrobe doors only to discover a bunch of “but…” clothes. Keep things that are undeniably 100% awesome and that work for you. No if, ands or buts…
(That being said friends, I understand that it is not always possible to declutter everything that isn’t a 100% love all at once. Take is slow. Declutter 1 or 2 “but…” items during your first closet declutter. You don’t need to revamp and change everything in 1 week. It’s a journey. Take it slow, enjoy the ride and as time goes on, you’ll be shopping more consciously and adding awesome items that can replace your “but…:”items.
4. Is the number realistic?
There’s no set number of clothing items that qualifies you to having or not having a minimalist closet. That number is set by you, and is determined by what works for you.
Let me give you an example. You might be thinking that it’s silly having X number (X is whatever number you choose) of T-shirts because there are only 7 days in a week. I think it’s not silly to have X number of T-shirts because I’m a sweaty person and I need to wash my T-shirts (or anything that touches the pits) after every wear and I personally, love wearing black Ts around 3 times a week. I also don’t always get to do laundry every week, so sometimes I go 14 days without having done a load. Therefore, for me, it makes sense to have at least 5 black T-shirts and then a few other top options for the other days.
So while it may not seem minimal to have a plethora of black t-shirts, it makes sense for my own minimalist wardrobe, because those items are in constant rotation, are constantly getting thrown into the wash and I really love wearing black t-shirts.
Case closed. Apply this thought process to your own life, style, wardrobe. If a category works for you and the number of items you have makes sense for you - keep them! And keep the duplicates too if you use them!