After losing our home and everything in it in a fire the week before Christmas, we had to replace a lot of things. The only thing was, after losing everything, we realized just how much STUFF we had… and we didn’t want to rush out to replace all of it right away, because we were really beginning to question how much of it we really needed.
Living in an apartment that’s about 1/3 the size of our house has made it easy to curb our shopping. We don’t want to buy a whole bunch of stuff and then have to pack it all up and move it to our new house. (We hate moving, and when we bought our house in 2014, we thought we were done moving, at least until #ToddlerGoodwin graduates from high school… So we thought we had 18 years or so before we had to worry about our next move.) Anyway, for right now, we’re trying to keep our replacements to a minimum, because we don’t have a whole lot of space, and we figured it’ll make the moving process super easy once the house is rebuilt.
Tommy and I decided that when it came time to make any purchases, we’d make sure that we bought things that were well-made, practical, and useful. We used to love buying stuff on sale just to grab a deal, and we were good about donating clothes that we no longer wore… but even thinking about all of the clothes that we donated made me think that we had been kind of wasteful.
It’s been easy for us to go slow with replacing our wardrobes. As a stay at home mom, I wear leggings or jeans and t-shirts and that’s about it. So, when it came time to go shopping for clothes, I realized… I don’t need a whole closet full when I wear the same thing all the time. And I’m pretty sure #ToddlerGoodwin doesn’t really care what I’m wearing all day.
Before doing any shopping, I started looking on Pinterest for ideas for minimalist wardrobes, capsule wardrobes, and how to make the most of a small wardrobe… I eventually came across two great sources for inspiration.
First, is the Netflix documentary, The Minimalists. I fell down an Internet rabbit hole of reading and came across a reference to the documentary, which I highly recommend! I immediately started watching and realized that, no, I didn’t need a whole lot of stuff. We’d lost all of our belongings in the fire and had been doing just fine without (most of) them, which made me think… did we really need all of it to begin with?
The second resource that I came across for minimizing your wardrobe/lifestyle was Encircled. When you sign up for their website, they send you their free minimalist wardrobe workbook. The workbook helps you take a look at the items that you already have in your closet before you do any shopping. Then it helps you sort out what you should keep and what you should get rid of. (For me, since I didn’t have a lot to start with, I basically just skipped over that step.) It helps you coordinate/mix and match pieces you already have so you can make multiple outfits that you might not have previously considered. Then it helps you figure out what other pieces of your wardrobe you might need or want, to fill in any holes.
I did a winter version in January, and then recently did a spring/summer version. Here’s what I bought for the winter. (Remember – lost everything, so pretty much starting my wardrobe from scratch… so this is basically EVERYTHING that’s hanging in my closet.)
4 pairs of jeans (2 blue, 1 black, 1 white – I wear jeans all the time.)
1 coatigan (a really heavy cardigan)
1 chambray button down shirt
1 pair of Frye knee-high leather boots
4 pairs of Tieks (lost all of mine and had to replace them; they’re the best!)
I already had 4-6 pairs of black or gray leggings, 4 pairs of pajamas, 4 long-sleeve t-shirt tunics, 2 cardigans, and 5 short-sleeve t-shirts, socks, underwear, and bras.
As the warmer weather rolled around, I bought:
2 “nice”/dressy tank tops
2 lightweight flowy long sleeve tops
3 pairs of linen shorts
2 pairs of flip-flops (1 black, 1 brown)
2 t-shirt dresses
2 tank top dresses
4 lightweight nightshirts
1 Encircled Chrysalis Cardi
I do still need to buy a bathing suit because the pool at our apartment building opens Memorial Day weekend! But that’s it. My whole wardrobe. It’s probably somewhere around 40-50 items all together for fall/winter and spring/summer, plus shoes and underwear… which I still think is a lot, but it’s nowhere near the amount of clothes I had before.
The Chrysalis Cardi is by far my favorite purchase and I can’t wait to get a lot of use out of it. It’s amazing. It’s one piece of material, sewn in a big loop, with secret snaps. You drape it around yourself different ways so that you get several different looks with just one garment. Here I’m wearing it as a scarf, a cardigan, and a dress!
These pictures are awful and don’t do the garment any justice; but I couldn’t help it, I just had to start playing around with it. The dress comes with a booklet to walk you through the different looks step-by-step, (Encircled also has videos on their website to show you how to make each look!) and they’re all fairly simple – fasten the snaps, tie a belt, drape the material to get it to lay just right, and you’re done. The material, by the way, is SOOOOO soft.
I plan on taking my Chrysalis Cardi to Denmark with us. I don’t think it will be warm enough to wear any dresses while we’re there, but I know I’ll probably get a lot of use out of the scarf, I can use it like a blanket to cover #ToddlerGoodwin on the plane, and I’ll try wearing it out cardi or halter-style if the weather allows!
It’s going to be my favorite travel item for a long time! I definitely plan on wearing it this summer and taking it to our next warm-weather destination… wherever (and whenever!) that may be!
And when I do… I’ll take better pictures!