Minimalism, OA and me

I’m a minimalist, which I love.

Minimalism looks different for different people. Some focus on a particular style of minimalism (e.g. Marie Kondo) while others do their own thing.

I’ve been doing a capsule wardrobe for about ten years now, and haven’t looked back.

I also minimalised my makeup and skin care routine, as well as the items I own.

I find owning less – and buying less – helps me manage my budget and my free time. I have less to clean and maintain, and when I do but things, they’re good quality and will last.

Minimalism ties in quite well with OA, because both are about restraint. They’re about learning to use (or eat) what we need and nothing more. They’re about finding a sensible life, where we don’t depend on buying or eating to be happy and fulfilled.

I think restraint is vastly undervalued and underutilized in our society. We’re all about more, bigger, flashier than we are about moderation. Minimalism and OA are both teaching me about finding balance in my life. I’m thankful for that.


Am I still a minimalist? 6 years on…

Short answer? Yes!

I own very little. Definitely more than that guy who travels the world with 43 things. And definitely much, much less than the average Kiwi.

I’m still refining everything. So from time to time I’ll audit my possessions and sell or give away stuff I don’t need or use.

Minimalism has taught me there’s no point in hanging onto our mistakes. We need to learn from them instead.

I don’t know how many items I own (but I’m tempted to count!).

I also still have “problem areas”. For example, I think my overeating is related to my desire to own and consume. Stationery is also a problem – I struggle getting rid of pens and pencils and notebooks, even if I’ve never used them and am unlikely to use them. Cosmetics are “another problem” area, but one that I’m rapidly getting under control.

Things I have learned from minimalism:

  • If I haven’t used something in a year, I’m unlikely to use it. Ever. It can be thought accepting I made a mistake on a purchase, but honestly, if I were going to use it, I would. Believing anything else is just delusional.
  • There’s no point in keeping cosmetics you don’t like. That lipstick that looks a bit off? That body wash you just don’t like the feel of? If I realize something doesn’t work, I let it go.
  • I look awful in black. All those black and white capsule wardrobes you see online? They don’t work for me. My colours are khaki, navy, brown, maroon. I don’t try for someone else’s perfection. I just try being me.
  • Flat surfaces will always be clutter-catchers. So I attend to flat surfaces in my home first. If they’re clear, my home feels good.
  • If it doesn’t have a place, it goes. Over time I’ve learned to put things in their own particular spot. It’s the things that don’t have a home that cause mess. If it doesn’t have a home, I probably don’t need it.
  • Making my bed every day helps keep me on track. If the bed is made, the bedroom always looks presentable.
  • Life isn’t perfect. Neither am I. I have three teenagers at home, as well as my husband. I have better things to do than expect perfection from them. Especially when I’m far from perfect myself. Compromise is just fine.

Do I still use a capsule wardrobe? Six years on…

I started down the path to minimalism about 6-7 years ago. I was going through a divorce, selling a home, and – to be frank – it felt great to clear the clutter and start fresh.

I was doing #project333 which is a 33 item capsule wardrobe.

Now it’s a few years on, and yes, I still keep a capsule wardrobe several years on, although I’m not as strict about it as I used to be. My guess is I probably own about 50 items of clothing now. I wear pretty much everything I own regularly.

The benefits of a capsule wardrobe?

  • I spend much less on clothing. I spend about $400 a year. Which sounds a lot but isn’t. Most of my spending goes on replacing items that have worn out or are not in good condition any more.
  • I wear better quality clothing. Everything I wear fits me well and is good quality. Most of my tops are merino, and my shoes are leather. I don’t wear fake anything. And I feel more genuine as a result.
  • Getting dressed in the morning is quick and easy. I wear one of the 10 or so tops I own, pair it with jeans, and sling on a jacket if I need to. I own one belt and two handbags, so that part is easy as well.

Running a capsule wardrobe has helped me with every aspect of my clothing.

There are some areas I break the “rules”:

  • I don’t rotate my wardrobe seasonally. I find mostly wearing the same clothes year round – with the addition of extra base layers and jackets in winter – gives me more flexibility. The office I work in is very well heated, so my clothing tends to lightweight items, and big thick jackets for outdoors.
  • I wear “lounge wear” outside my house. But it’s good quality, well-fitting lounge wear.
  • I don’t count my glasses and jewelry as items. I found this aspect of capsuling too hard. So I don’t do it.
  • I don’t actively count how many items I wear. I gave up doing this, and now just eyeball my clothes rack instead. It’s just easier.

I’m going to stick with capsuling. It works, it makes me happy, and it keeps my wardrobe and spending sane.