As this is something I wanted to do I start minimising my wardrobe first. Unfortunately my wardrobe was not just confined to my bedroom. Don’t judge, I am sure many of you can relate! I did not have a plan before I launched the attack on minimising my wardrobe but in hind sight these are things I considered while going through the process:
I live in East London, South Africa which has a lovely sunny climate and next to no winter at all. However as a family we love hiking which takes us to colder climates where we need those winter boots and jackets. Ensure that you make a realistic percentage contribution to your wardrobe per season.
I work in the corporate world which requires a smart wardrobe, these are not the same clothes I enjoy wearing on my time off. In essence I have two wardrobes in one, one for work and the other casual.
As I work full time and to make life simple, I selected two days in a week in which to do washing. In this case you need to ensure you have enough clothes to wear between washes. Minimising your wardrobe should not result increased household work.
When we go on holiday the last thing I want to do is washing, therefore I made sure I would have 7 sets of clothing for a holiday trip. Things like denims, jumpers and jackets can we worn 2 or 3 times before being washed so this brings your overall need of clothing down.
Everyone’s wardrobe will be different and there is no one size fits all. It’s important to find what works for you. When I finished clearing my wardrobe I had 4 large boxes to send to charity. This was too daunting for me, I opted to keep the boxes in my garage for 4 weeks. If I did not need anything from them in 4 weeks, chances are I would not need it in the future. If you live in an area where your seasons are more defined, pack your boxes into seasons and donate once you have been through 4 weeks of that particular season.
As you adjust to your new norm you will notice clothes that are still not in use even though you have minimised. This is normal, we all have our favourites as we naturally wear what is comfortable and feels good. When you ready you can go back and re-evaluate your wardrobe again. In the meantime, sit back with a cup of coffee and admire the work that you have achieved.
The Wardrobe – impact on ourselves and the world
Over generations clothing has moved from necessity to something that we do that bring us happiness. It’s not just about the purchase but the event of shopping itself. Some of us do it with friends, while others do it for some quality alone time. Every purchase brings with it happiness which is good or we would never purchase anything. The question is how long did that happiness last for? Was it for the right reasons? In the long run will it have a positive or negative effect on my life?
There is a big difference in the long term satisfaction of a purchase that was a need and will be used for years versus the purchase to fill a void. A void filling purchase yields instant gratification but is usually followed by a feeling of guilt.
Before you make your next purchase take some time to consider how it is going to impact you.
Interesting stats on clothing
- Every year the world produces more than 80 billion items of clothing.
- We produce more than 13 million tons of textile waste a year globally, 95% of this is recyclable or reusable yet ends up in landfills.
- The fashion industry makes up 20% of the worlds water waste.
- 10% of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions come from the fashion industry.
- South African personal credit card debt was sitting at R116 billion at the beginning of 2019, that’s an average of R16k per person.
- The fashion industry exploits people in developing countries. These are female workers in places like Bangladesh and Vietnam earning less than R5 an hour. R5 is not enough to sustain the basics needs in life.
Everyone wants to look beautiful and feel exceptional in great clothing, but how many garments does that take? Do we really need a new outfit for every party or event? Are we not more beautiful from the inside as who we are and how we contribute to the people and world around us?
We all need clothes, they are a necessity and serve a purpose. The balance is only tipped when we over consume at the expense of others and the world around us.