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Minimal / capsule wardrobe / Kondo-ing clothes - advice, especially on multiples?

(30 Posts)
MarwoodsTrenchcoat Wed 14-Sep-16 11:48:37

Long post. I'm clearing clothes out and a bit stuck over some things.

1) Things I really like but don't actually wear, principally because they need to be washed separately or are delicate.
I keep harking back to an old Trinny and Susannah episode in which a woman who dressed quite like me, but better, was told that she "dressed depressed" because everything was dark colours. (Unfortunately can't find pics, but she was what most people would think of as well / smartly dressed and not the obvious T&S candidate looking a fright. In case anyone remembers, I think her name was Jane and she was tall and slim with shortish dark hair.)
That makes me feel like I should try more. But. I'd wear more other colours if I had the time and energy for the washing, or if someone else was bloody well going to do the washing, but as it is, it's impractical and it's not going to happen. Feel sad to let go of things I actually really like, which "spark joy" more actively than,useful items I wear all the time (which I merely "like") - but if I never actually wear them and can't see myself getting into the habit after owning them for years...

2) I have a lot of multiples of items, or similar items, or the same thing in different colours. Some of these all get used (mostly the jersey tops). But others might be more of a "just in case" thing. Like having 3 of the same jeans / skirt or whatever but hardly ever needing the third. Do I concentrate too much on the what ifs?
Is there anyone who has got past this?

Some of it is about difficulty making decisions, and habits like keeping both of something I ordered rather than sending one back. But I must also have learned it from my mother, who also used to buy the same item in multiple colours and so on, and she had a lot more space and money available. Although not unlimited - she used to store some of her clothes in my bedroom when I was a kid as well, because she no longer had space in her own wardrobe, and I didn't question this until I was an adult.
I don't think I even have a quarter of the amount of clothes she had, but I still feel there are too many and that they are burdensome.
A very organised and well-turned out friend once remarked that I have a lot of clothes, which surprised me as I didn't think I had that many (by middle class standards anyway). But perhaps I do.

3) A friend who travels a lot suggested the idea of what if I was going away for six months, what would I take? And using that as a basis for sorting, and ditching nearly all of what remained. I click a lot more with this than with the Marie Kondo joy thing. I can imagine what I'd chuck in suitcases and what is actually useful and what would be excessive.
But then I get more what ifs - like if I was using those same clothes all the time would they get worn out more quickly, making it a false economy to have got rid of multiples? That seems like a valid question. I could really do with making the space, but don't have the money to waste on re-buying things.

Toffeelatteplease Wed 14-Sep-16 11:57:18

start by keeping everything you really love. then make sure what you have fits what you need (eg welly boots for muddy walking if you do this, long dress for awards ceremonies etc)

Stop buying anything that doesn't fit into either of these two categories. if you buy multiples that's fine but stop buying more until you wear out what you have.

MrsSeanBean Wed 14-Sep-16 12:10:16

I can't help with T&S as I Kondo-d all my books by them.

Actually I can't help much generally: I am so impulsive, one day I love something, next week I don't and vice versa.
I spent hours looking for a jumper I wanted to wear last week. I can only conclude I threw it out during a moment of apparently 'not loving' it. sad

NiteFlights Wed 14-Sep-16 12:29:36

I think 'just in case' clothes tend to be a mistake. But anything that actually sparks joy you should be enjoying. So is there any way in which you can figure out a routine that allows you to care for them so you can wear them?

I'm a multiple buyer. It works well for me. I don't have a lot of clothes though, and I've recently started ebaying the odd thing that I'm not crazy about, which is going well.

I actually think the sparking of joy is the best test - I haven't formally Kondoed yet, as I'm quite good at clearing stuff it anyway, but I'm trying to use the spark as a rule of thumb and I think I'm getting more enjoyment out of my clothes, which from your OP is what I think you're aiming for.

botemp Wed 14-Sep-16 12:31:36

I swap out my wardrobe with the change of seasons at which point I reevaluate whether I actually wore things and whether I should keep them. If it's a 'maybe/undecided' I put these away separately and then when they return to my wardrobe the next year they all hang at the front (the rest is color co-ordinated) as I'm more likely to wear it then. If they're still hanging there by the time I change over my closet again they go off to charity. If I haven't worn something for two years in a row it's unlikely I will ever again.

Unless they are identical items which you keep for when one wears out knowing you can't ever replace it again, try them all on and pick the one that flatters you the most. The others will always feel like second choice while wearing them, you like them less for a reason. Basics are easy to replace, shops aren't going to suddenly stop selling your size en masse. 'Saving something for later' rarely comes to fruition ime and when it does it hardly ever fits the brief. Having a lot of things you don't need and never get worn is more of a waste of money than buying things driven by genuine need as opposed to want, iyswim.

Ime people who worry a lot about not having 'enough' often need that buffer of things to ease their mind, making parting with things that much more difficult even though objectively it all makes sense to them. It doesn't feel right to live on this edge of just enough - too little (and often have experience of what it was like not having enough, or a parent who lived that hardship) and it feels threatening. I'd consider creating a buffer of savings (which you contribute a set amount to monthly) to put your mind at ease so that there's always a contingency available that covers any sudden need that comes up in your wardrobe rather than it being actual physical stuff for hypothetical situations.

botemp Wed 14-Sep-16 12:33:41

Oh also, I tend to wash colours with darks. Never had issues.

PNGirl Wed 14-Sep-16 12:34:08

It depends what the multiples are. I have 2 of the same black roll-sleeve t-shirt, because I wear them all the time and at any time 1 can be in the wash. I have the same jeans in black and blue, because I like the fit. But I don't understand having multiples of something that isn't a basic such as a skirt. Skirts don't generally wear out in my experience; they don't get holes or bobble or go shapeless. I also don't think 3 of anything is necessary (unless it's 3 of something like a white tank top for layering and even then it's good to have different shapes/materials within that).

With regards washing, I have to say the only whites I have are cheap so that I can throw them in on a cold wash with other things (not denim obvs but things like grey, cream, pale pink).

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Wed 14-Sep-16 12:35:11

I've just 'capsuled' my wardrobe and it has been so liberating.

I have a quarter of the clothes but everything fits me, everything goes together, and I LIKE everything!

I also buy multiples of things I like - for e.g. I have three t-shirts from H&M, one blue and white striped, one with horses on, and one plain. They all fit, they all mix and match with my work trousers or jeans. However, dresses/trousers/jeans, I don't have multiples of. I have black jeans, blue jeans and white jeans. I have two pairs of black work trousers, I suppose they're multiples but I work FT so do need to change in the week.

I have a chest of drawers that I put everything into I wasn't sure about. Two years later blush when I realised I didn't even know what was in there it had been so long since I looked, I dumped about 3/4 of it. There was a whole drawer dedicated to knickers. I mean, WTF?! No one needs a spare 40 pairs of holey knickers!

Up side was, I found some jeans I haven't been able to fit into since I put them away, but since losing some weight I now can!

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Wed 14-Sep-16 12:39:43

Also, I've given myself permission to buy more expensive clothes in larger sizes. I think a lot of the masses and masses of clothes I had was due to only feeling that because I was fat and perpetually trying to drop a few dress sizes that I wasn't worth spending money on. So I'd buy 5 Primark tees instead of one e.g. Superdry one. Or one Superdry one but a size too small which I would plan to slim into but of course wouldn't.

So, stop doing that if that's got anything to do with your multiple items.

acurtis1234 Wed 14-Sep-16 12:49:08

I understand the delicates/handwashing thing (I've just tackled a pile of my own), but why does that stop you wearing colours? Not all coloured (I assume you mean anything not a neutral) clothes are handwash? I only separate out whites and maybe beiges, everything else goes in the machine together with powder made for colours so they don't fade.

If your current wardrobe is all dark meaning black/navy/brown/grey, why don't you introduce one new contrasting colour first. It's autumn/winter, so they're not going to be too bright and scary anyway. Burgundy or green are huge this season, find something at the brighter end of these or to suit your skin tone and go from there. Or maybe a bag or jewellery if you're really scared (won't need washing either!)

Items in multiple colours I also get, especially if the cut and fit really suit and you usually struggle to find this. But, if it's just boring basics, there is no need. You will always be able to find a replacement when you need it.

Multiples of exactly the same thing though...unless you really don't care about style, or you are really hard on your clothes, do you really need to replace something in a time frame where you still like it/it's still in fashion/you haven't been tempted by a new alternative?

I agree with a pp you also need to dress for your lifestyle. Something I've struggled with majorly. There are five weekdays and two weekend days, and a weather season lasts approximately 3-4months. How many clothes options do you really need for this period, and what do you ACTUALLY do on a daily basis?

Finally, and this has become my mantra of late; There will always, ALWAYS be new clothes coming out you will want or to replace something you get rid of. Forget about "completing" your wardrobe, making a mistake, getting rid of something in error, running out of clothes. It's not going to happen. Clothes change and you change over time, be mindful about what you do buy, don't buy everything just because you love it. Look at your current wardrobe with this in mind and I bet you'll get rid of some more.

acurtis1234 Wed 14-Sep-16 12:50:33

Ha, took me so long to type, it's already been said!

ChipmunkSundays Wed 14-Sep-16 15:58:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChipmunkSundays Wed 14-Sep-16 15:59:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChipmunkSundays Wed 14-Sep-16 15:59:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hopefully Wed 14-Sep-16 16:36:16

Everything botemp and chipmunk said.

FWIW I do buy duplicates, but my wardrobe is <100 garments in total, with perhaps 50 available (rather than packed away until the appropriate season/I decide whether to kick them or not) at any one time.

Hopefully Wed 14-Sep-16 16:36:37

CHUCK them, not kick them!

Laquila Wed 14-Sep-16 16:40:46

I've never been sure about the whole joy-giving thing. I tend to ask myself: will this make my life easier/make it easier to get dressed quicker in the morning? My wardrobe is currently like a musty old branch of Age Concern though so don't listen to me - I REALLY need to be brutal.

keeponkeepinon Wed 14-Sep-16 18:10:09

felicia I think I am having this problem. Over buying clothes that aren't particularly good or dont fit hoping I'll slim into them. And just getting more and more frustrated with the wardrobe of clothes which are mostly a bit too small. I want to take a full break from buying anything to try and reset things. And follow some of the kondo tips to lighten the load of what i already have. Great thread.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Wed 14-Sep-16 19:13:51

Honestly keepon once I realised I was doing it it was a revelation.

leedy Wed 14-Sep-16 19:37:28

"Multiples of exactly the same thing though...unless you really don't care about style, or you are really hard on your clothes, do you really need to replace something in a time frame where you still like it/it's still in fashion/you haven't been tempted by a new alternative? "

hangs head in shame

I do have a couple of multiples that I actually wear (identical trousers) but yes, a lot of my multiple-buying is more based on a fear that OMG WHAT IF MY FAVOURITE DRESS SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTS AND I CAN NEVER WEAR IT AGAIN.

MarwoodsTrenchcoat Wed 14-Sep-16 22:39:37

Thanks. Quite a bit to think about here.

I care a great deal about good fit, and other specific attributes of clothes (an example of the latter would be rejecting casual dresses that don't have pockets in the skirts, now that there are a reasonable number of dresses with pockets available). Because I'm not willing to settle - and also sometimes look for something I've basically designed in my head, it means that when I do shop, it's time consuming. Both in looking at listings and trying and returning unsuitable stuff. I am old enough that a year of hardly buying any clothes does not feel like a big deal the way it would have at 25. Whilst I don't think completing a wardrobe permanently is realistic, it would be nice not to have to do all that for a year or two. And I have gone for over a year without buying clothes once before.

There have been whole years I've hated where I haven't been able to get styles I like and which suit me, when I need something which has contributed to buying multiple items when things I like are around. (Some of which I'm glad of, a few which it's turned out I almost never wear.) Some things which I feel ought to exist as perennially available basics, don't.

I am not much good at sewing, unfortunately - the obvious answer to the above would seem to be "sew your own, then".

Due to budget I don't buy stuff that's extremely season-specific any more.

Am pretty certain due to compliments that I am not frumpy. The obsession with good fit probably goes a good way to preventing that.

Really like green (and burgundy though my skin has too much red tone to look good in it, so rarely wear it since realising this). But I have enough of most things at the moment, really just looking at winter coats. Some of which have been green. : D

It may seem like I'm disagreeing, but it's helpful because it's made me clearer about my own opinions and what to do.

A problem that one of your posts helped point out is that I have too many items for certain occasions that don't happen very often. Perhaps I need some choice, but some of these things could get sold, as I am not an appearer at award ceremonies who's going to be scrutinised for wearing the same outfit I had on a few months ago : D
(I also have 3 pairs of wellies. The ones in the colour I like most are unworn and in their box. It's that sort of nonsense that leads to keeping too much.)

MarwoodsTrenchcoat Wed 14-Sep-16 22:42:35

"I've never been sure about the whole joy-giving thing. I tend to ask myself: will this make my life easier/make it easier to get dressed quicker in the morning?"

Yes. Do I like it, is it useful, does it suit me? these make sense.
"joy" seems appropriate for party clothes. Contentment / satisfaction for every day stuff.

PNGirl Thu 15-Sep-16 11:47:07

The point of the Kondo method isn't to keep things where your only feeling towards them is that they're useful, though. You're meant to pick them up and think "I like this and feel positive towards it because it's useful". Maybe joy is a bit strong, but if you keep things that you wear just because they are there and easy to throw, on you end up with a shelf of "meh" tops that could be replaced with something you love.

keeponkeepinon Thu 15-Sep-16 12:11:00

See, this is where my issue with kondoing is really. I appreciate the idea of having a wardrobe full of clothes that you love but in reality how possible is that? And is it a great idea to chuck it all out because it isn't everything you dreamed of in a top/skirt/jeans whatever? I hate to waste stuff too. I definitely need to get rid of some stuff that I never wear, but if I only kept the things I love it would pretty much be my cosiest pyjamas and a bunch of shoes left over!

PNGirl Thu 15-Sep-16 12:36:37

Well, the theory is that if you've bought something and you don't really like it or don't wear it that money's already wasted and it's now costing you wardrobe space. I don't know whether I agree with it all fully either tbh, but yes, a lot of people do end up with about a quarter of their original wardrobe left.

For me it made me realise that I was wearing tops that I didn't really like or were old out of habit.

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