In June 2017, I dumped all the items from my closet on to my bed, held each piece in my hands one by one (as instructed by Marie Kondo in the book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up), and housed only those that I loved back into my closet. After this exercise, I counted what I ended up with and compiled the following list:
Tops - 43
Pants, shorts, and skirts - 33
Sweaters, sweatshirts, and cardigans - 23
Dresses - 40
Coats and jackets - 13
I had a total of 152 items, not including nightwear, bras and underwear, socks, and athletic items.
It is now April 2018. Here are a few notable things that happened in the last ten months: I was unsuccessful at my shopping ban, I am at a different job now, Christmas shopping was a nightmare, family emergencies put things into perspective, and I am moving to a new apartment in less than two weeks. With a heart full of feelings yet to be processed, I said to myself, clean house, clear mind, and headed for my closet once again.
Tops - 25
Pants, shorts, and skirts - 21
Sweaters, sweatshirts, and cardigans - 11
Dresses - 30
Coats and jackets - 8
A total of 95 items. I was starstruck by how much I had minimized.
I don't believe numbers define minimalism. With that said, quantifying my progress opened my eyes in two ways:
1) fluctuations are natural during any progress; and,
2) you can live with less without even realizing it.
When I was on my shopping ban, I equated a successful minimalism journey with cutting the supply of incoming goods and decreasing my existing possessions. This is probably still true in theory, but I was so adamant about making a transition into minimalism that I didn't allow myself to increase my possessions at all. I quickly realized this was suffocating and unattainable. So instead, I began to focus on how to distinguish my wants and needs, and more significantly, how to become comfortable with my wants and needs in a society that overwhelms us with indefinite choices.
I began purchasing and replacing items according to my current needs. For instance, I had items I wanted and wished I could pull off (i.e. patterned pants, colourful cardigans) but knew weren't the items I was reaching for when I got dressed, so I got rid of them. On the flip side, I didn't hesitate to get items that were versatile and wearable throughout the year. When I stopped insisting that I couldn't buy more, I was able to curate my closet in a way so that eventually I wouldn't need to buy more. Some months I got rid of two items and gained five, but these were short-term fluctuations. As you saw above, my total count decreased by over 50 items in the long run, and I didn't even realize it until I saw the numbers earlier this week. I never felt like I was living with less. Instead, I felt an abundance of ease in the decisions I had to make in the mornings.
I know some of you came along this journey with me and counted the items in your closet. Will you join me again at this 10-month mark?