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How - and why - do you create a minimalist wardrobe?

White t-shirts. Pretty minimal.

Should we be following rules like "30 items or less" or "only wear blue suits" when it comes to building a minimalist wardrobe? Also, why would you want to have a minimalist wardrobe in the first place?

I like clothes, but I don't like clutter. I like buying quality clothes, but I also like not starving. I once decided to only buy and wear white shirts, but found they're crap for running and cycling in.

That's to say, I haven't fully sorted out my minimalist wardrobe. Yet I still want one, and I'm still heading in the right direction.


The rules


If you do a search for building a minimalist wardrobe, you'll find opinions that range from living like a monk to being only slightly less minimalist than Imelda Marcos. So I reckon you can, and should, set your own rules.

If you only want thirty items to choose from, go for it. If you only want items in white and grey, absolutely fine. Perhaps the only rule is that you shouldn't be going out shopping every week. The aim is to do more with less, not have more new clothes than Paris Fashion Week.

That being said, my personal rules are:

If something hasn't been worn for two years, get rid of it.

Don't buy anything unless it's replacing something that's worn out.

Try to find things that work in different situations.

Think about any new purchases for at least a week.

Have a periodic sort out (I do it once a year on average).

Go for classic cuts and colours rather than fads.

These rules have helped me not only get rid of a lot of clutter, but also save money.

I've also found myself edging more towards white shirts and blue or grey trousers, as they pretty much go with anything, and have stuck to decent quality basics which can be changed around when needed.


Why do it?


For me, it started because I've always been attracted to minimalism, and I've always hated clutter.

As I live in Tokyo, which isn't exactly the cheapest or most spacious city on earth, with my wife and two young kids, space and money are genuine concerns. That means going minimalist helps my limited resources go that little bit farther.

It's also nice for peace of mind. Studies have shown that having too many choices can add stress to your life, so it stands to reason that having fewer choices can reduce stress, and I've found this to be true.

It generally takes me less than 5 minutes to choose and arrange my outfit for any given day, which I usually do the night before so I can just get up and get dressed.

So, if you fancy freeing up some space in your wardrobe, saving some cash, and maybe reducing your stress levels, a minimalist wardrobe could be right up your alley.

Just don't worry about the rules too much.

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