For me ‘downsizing’ is a good thing. It can be an opportunity to get more clarity about what fits the time and place you are in life because, “the only thing that Is constant Is change” (Heraclitus). What suits you changes over time, and there is no need to drag the past with you.
In the boomer circle, some of the main reasons women downsize their closet are as follows.
1. Moving House
My experience with a living space downsize has been that the smaller the digs, the higher the incentive to get current with what is needed and used.
I lived in a large house and my possessions ‘crept’ to fill all available space.
Moving to a smaller home or apartment makes it more challenging to find places to store ‘extras’, when there is only one bedroom, no attic, garage or basement as a convenient storage space. (Out of sight = out of mind – can you relate to this?)
2. Changing your Occupation
Personally I don’t like the word ‘retirement’ but it is true that changing what you do everyday will happen at some point. If the ‘downsizing’ is a big enough change, chances are good that you’ll need different clothes.
Decades of being self-employed and then going back into a corporate environment was challenging. It took me a while to figure out what to wear and still feel like me. I now have a more polished and grown up wardrobe that is in keeping with my values – mainly that I can move freely.
Whether you are leaving a job, changing a job or stepping down from going to a work place everyday, you may find that what you’ve worn for many years no longer suits you.
3. Having a Smaller Footprint
This is more about a desire to live deliberately with less (perhaps less of everything and not just clothing.) People of all ages can express a desire to life with less, and, rather than label it, I believe it comes from a desire to closely examine your values and find a way of expressing them.
The Gains of Downsizing
What I have gained from downsizing my closet is time, peace of mind, freedom and clarity.
With fewer clothing choices, I don’t have to think more than a few seconds about what to wear. With carefully chosen items, things go together with also reduces decision fatigue.
Peace of Mind and Freedom
There is peace of mind and freedom from rejecting the overt and subliminal messages about who we could, and should, be. I want to get off the advertising treadmill and do something else with my time than obsess over being fashionable.
Potentially there is financial freedom in downsizing your closet. It is only a potential though, because you could spend the same amount of money on fewer high quality items. A small, carefully selected collection of clothing can give you excellent value for your money.
A lot of women I talk to have done ‘shopping therapy’ for most of their adult lives and are questioning
the idea of shopping as recreation. The pleasure is short lived and the results have to be lived with for, potentially, a long time. It is often an outing with friends, about the thrill of the hunt and finding that great bargain, and about treating ourselves because we are ‘worth it’. There is freedom in saying no to shopping as a fun activity.
Although my closet is small, what I have gives me a lot of options. It makes me extremely aware of how little I really need. Every three months I pull together a Project 333. This is where you create seasonal capsule wardrobes. The number of combinations that can be created with a small number of clothing is impressive. To see how many combinations I created with summer with 10 items of clothing read my article Tiny Wardrobe Magic: 40 Outfits from 10 Pieces.
At the end of the season, seeing what was worn frequently and what got little wear is apparent. Sometimes there is a good reason (that sweater for spring and a few cooler summer days didn’t see much wear.) Sometimes though, the reason I didn’t wear something s because I only thought I needed it.
And you know, that’s okay. There isn’t a test at the end and the person who stuck to their capsule wardrobe the best doesn’t win. It is about living living more consciously. We can reject the marketing messages were are surrounded with. Did you know that fashion marketing began in the Flapper era of the1920s?
Project 333 Helps you get a Minimalist Wardrobe