For me Minimalism means more freedom. Financially and with my time. It also means less noise, less stress and less decision making. More time to think of loved ones and more time to spend on what truly matters to me.
You could say that I was a shopaholic. My biggest weakness being clothes, shoes and the latest beauty trends. I shopped for fun and I shopped to cheer myself up if I was having a bad day. I frequented fashion and beauty blogs and I was always clicking onto Amazon to buy the latest beauty products and on to Asos for a new outfit. I thought I deserved it all and that life would be better once I had it.
Now I have financial goals for what I really want in life and none of it is stuff to fill my wardrobe. I want to buy a house by the end of 2017 and I want an emergency fund so if the need arises I can leave my job and pursue a different career path or just have a break. That’s what freedom is to me.
It’s not the same for everyone – some people want to spend their hard earned cash on travel and not be tied down to a property. Some people want huge wardrobes and that’s what makes them genuinely happy. And that’s okay.
I was in to fashion and beauty from a young age. My mum had a wardrobe just dedicated to coats she loved them so much and my Nan never left the house without a coat of red lipstick. In the winter Saturdays were spent walking round the shops seeing what we could all spend money on. I grew up seeing shopping as a hobby, as something to pass the time. Not a necessity.
Fast forward to my mid to late twenties and most of my spending money (i.e. what was left over after bills and commitments) was spent on clothes, jewellery, shoes and beauty products. Don’t get me wrong I’ve still been putting money into savings but not as much as I could have.
When I decided to downsize my wardrobe what became apparent is that I only wore a maximum of about 20% of it. I had dresses I’d owned for over a year and never worn. A whole outfit I had seen and bought but never had the guts to wear – because it really wasn’t me. Why had I bought these items? I think largely because I could, but also because I thought they would enhance my life somehow. I saw clothes shopping and following the latest trends as a hobby. Maybe I thought people would admire me in them and they’d boost my self esteem or they’d just make me a better person.
As I began to sort clothes into piles of toss, donate and keep a pattern emerged and I began to figure out what I actually need in my everyday life. Because really clothes are a necessity and more importantly they need to fit into your lifestyle otherwise they’ll hang in your wardrobe never to be worn.
I work a 9-5 job as an Accountant in the private education sector and the dress code for work is quite casual. No trainers or sportswear but most people wear jeans on a daily basis. This means I don’t necessarily need a ‘work wardrobe’ of smart office attire as I can wear what I want. Most people would think this is great but for me it left me every morning looking through all my clothes not knowing what to wear every day.
To save me time & stress in the mornings before work I’ve created a work wardrobe which simply consists of 5 work dresses. I wear one a day and then they are washed at the weekends ready to be worn again the following week.
- X 1 Smart green empire line dress (mostly worn on days I have meetings)
- X1 Black checked peter pan collar shift dress
- X1 Navy & white ditsy skater style dress
- X1 Casual plain black smock dress
- X1 Smart sleeveless black smock dress
In the winter I’ll wear them with tights and in the summer they can be worn without. Some might think 5 dresses is excessive but for me dresses are a complete outfit and I don’t need extra items to mix and match on a daily basis. A dress for each day – 5 days a week seems simple and fuss free.
Outside of work I mostly live in jeans and now only own a dark blue denim pair and a black pair. After de-cluttering about 8 black sacks of clothes I still feel like I have too many tops and jumpers but have struggled to decide what to keep and what to donate. I read somewhere about the reverse hanger idea (mentioned in my previous post) so that’s what I’m currently doing.
I now own the following for when an occasion calls for something a bit fancier:
- X 1 Navy dress suitable for weddings/special occasions
- X 1 Satin black floral empire dress for weddings/special occasions/work events
That’s it. I used to have a whole wardrobe dedicated to occasion wear and to be honest hardly any of it ever got worn.
- X 1 Brown ankle boots
- X1 Black ankle boots
- X 1 Knee High Black boots
- X 1 Black patent loafers for work
- X 1Black ballet flats for work
- X 1 Leopard print pumps
- X 2 Pairs of plimsolls for the weekends
- X 2 Pairs of black high heels for occasions
That still seems quite excessive to me and I’m sure I could live with less. I know there isn’t a set number you should own of anything but I’m pretty sure I don’t make use of it all. Over the next few months I’ll be keeping note of what I reach for each day and what I feel best in.
I’m feeling confident that I can do this at the moment as I seem to have lost the desire to spend money on stuff I don’t actually need right now but my resolve might be tested if I have a bad day or see something I really want.
What are your weaknesses when it comes to spending money? Are you a closet shopaholic? Do you feel the need to have the latest gadgets/books/electronics?