The Downsizing Journey: A Smaller Closet

I have been living with a downsized closet for four months – and very happy with it.

I would say that there were two major drivers for the downsizing of my closet. First, I breastfeed. That makes a lot of my clothes less friendly to this full time job of nursing. And then we were moving into our new home, which provided me with an opportunity to really declutter..

When I went through my clothes, I found that more than half of those were:

1. haven’t been worn for quite sometimes because they are special occasion items
2. not nursing-friendly
3. too tight or too short to my liking
4. very, very old.

I told myself I need to get rid of them.

And I did.

I’m glad I made a decision to downsize and simplify.

From having one full three-door wardrobe which my clothes and hijabs couldn’t fit, now my clothes can fit into three-feet long clothing rail, and two 3-feet long drawers.

Here are some changes I made to have a smaller wardrobe (though I notice it is somehow growing, albeit infinitesimally):

Clothes worn outside: I now only don black abayas (I have less than 15 of them). I have saved some blouses and long shirts for occasions that require physical activities, but those are really limited to the high quality ones. I wrote about the decision to wear abayas here. I have also offered my more than 20 pairs of baju kurung (Malay traditional dress which I normally wore to office) to an interested person I knew through Freecycle KL. I wrote briefly about this departing here.I gave most of my officewears – the shirts which are not long enough or not loose enough, to charity, and am very very happy to get rid of them. Many were bought rather impulsively and later I could not bring myself to wear them.

Hijabs: I gave my large collection of hijabs which I didn’t wear anymore (since I have opted bigger and longer ones to ease nursing in public) to others. Even after doing so my hijabs still fill a three-feet long drawer, and I’m thinking of giving those impractical shawls which I bought during the transition period to my sister.

What's left of my hijabs/scarves. Still a lot, I know.

What’s left of my hijabs/scarves. Still a lot, I know.

Clothes worn around the house: I reduced the number of clothes I wear around the house to just one full drawer, which is really a huge feat!

Shoes: I used to love to buy shoes, but now I resolve to buying only one pair that I would wear for work and play.For this one pair (flat ones of course) I go for quality (my choice is always Clarks) and hence a bit pricey. The sneakers I bought 10 years ago still serves me well if I were to go exercising – which is really once in a blue moon.I still have four pairs of leather high-heel shoes (dark green, maroon, black and red), which I need to repair. I’ll keep them for really formal events anyway.

Accessories: I used to have a sizeable collection of bracelets and bangles, and when I was about to leave uni, I chose to give all of them away and now stick to my wedding ring and bracelet. I’m glad there is one less thing to think about when dressing up.I love collecting brooches to wear with my hijabs, but I have stopped doing so because I am now stealing from my mother’s collection. She told me that she doesn’t need them much now that she has retired, so here is one really happy daughter!

The consequence of this simplification?

Less time spent to dress up. And I like that.

I can now pick any hijab with my eyes closed, because all colours match my black abaya.

I’m not saying by choosing to wear a black dress everyday it would be less tempting to shop (abayas are beautiful they have many styles you feel like having to own them all!). I’ve been on an abaya spending spree for a while and by now I don’t see any need for a new one (though I have an appetite to actually try and make one myself!) .I am still tempted to buy new hijabs – but now that I have chosen for something more practical (instant hijab, to ease my performing solat, large chest coverage to facilitate nursing in public), they are pricier and harder to find. And that deters me from shopping effectively!

Now that I have downsized, I could stand even thinking about how much money I have wasted in my previous life!



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