I guess I would call myself a ‘consumer’ - in the broader sense of the word (we all are) but I’ve never considered myself a ‘materialistic’ individual. I don’t mind owning stuff, but at the same time I don’t really care about material ownership. So, a couple weeks ago I donated all but a select set of my clothes.
(my list of remaining clothes will be given further below for reference)
I should preface this by saying I’m not a hippie. I don’t think I’m better than anyone else for tossing away 90% of my clothing items. I don’t care if others have closets overflowing with shirts, pants, accessories, etc. I’m not looking for a “good for you, Brad!” response from the people around me. Some people enjoy fashion and are passionate about the industry - I think that’s awesome. I did this just for my own piece of mind.
So, let me explain this sudden impulse.
This idea had been floating around in my head for a couple years now. I read Living Lightly with the One-Bag Lifestyle by Leo Babuta a couple years ago and was hooked on the concept ever since. The idea of taking the ‘one-bag’ traveling concept and applying it to everyday living sounded refreshing. Cutting down on excess, appreciating more of what you have and the freedom that comes with that.
The problem was, I was never focused enough to act on that burning desire to ditch most of my stuff and live so lightweight. Something like that always seemed more practical if you were living on your own or doing an insane amount of traveling - both of which did not apply to me. I always assumed that this change would impact my wife, so I just avoided it to save the hassle.
After a bit of reflection, I realized those constraints were more like weak excuses. I didn’t need to be traveling to thin out my closet and my wife didn’t care one way or the other (it’s not like I was forcing her to do the same) - as long as it made me happy. So I pulled the trigger.
I donated all my current clothing to a local community centre and purchased myself a entirely new wardrobe for under $180. I plan to keep this set of clothes going until they lose their quality (which will hopefully not happen for some time).
Sidenote: All my new items are just plain black. This is my personal preference and isn’t the law when it comes to minimal lightweight living 😉
My revamped wardrobe now only consists of the following:
This list obviously doesn’t take into account some extras that are needed for Ottawa’s harsh winters: winter coat, hats, gloves, boots etc. But there isn’t much I can do to reduce those items.
If any of you reading this are worried about cleanliness - have no fear. I have a little bit of OCD when it comes to staying clean, and this set doesn’t impact that. I have enough socks and underwear (most important really) to last me a full week, the jeans are pretty heavy duty only needing a wash once a week, and I have enough top item variety to keep me going. This wardrobe is also ridiculously easy to wash: one load on the weekend and I’m done.
So overall the past two weeks have been pretty great. I wake up and perform my regular morning routine with one less thing to think about: what to wear. My side of the walk-in closet may look a little bare bones, but I love it that way. This one-bag or lightweight lifestyle certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you have a chance to reflect on your wardrobe you might just be surprised how much of it is wasted space.
Keep it simple.
Published on May 7, 2017.
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