When it comes to shopping for clothing, it can be easy to go a bit overboard! But self-described “friendly neighborhood minimalist,” Abigail (@downsizeupgrade), proves it’s still possible to be happy and stylish with just a small amount of select, versatile clothing. In this episode of In The Know: Extreme Minimalists, Abigail shows how she uses a capsule wardrobe to maintain her minimalist lifestyle, while never sacrificing style.
“There’s not a set definition for minimalism as a lifestyle,” Abigail tells In The Know. “I would define it as ‘keeping as little as possible while still maintaining productivity and happiness.’”
One major way that Abigail practices minimalism is by living with a capsule wardrobe. “A capsule wardrobe is a very small amount of items, and typically all of the items are going to mix and match and be very versatile,” explains Abigail. Whether she’s going to work, church, or out to dinner, Abigail can choose from her capsule wardrobe. “This is what I have, and this is what I choose from,” says Abigail.
Abigail explains that within the past couple of years, her capsule wardrobe has fluctuated from having as little as 10 items to as many as 18. “Prior to living minimalistically, I would have had clothes everywhere in this closet,” says Abigail. “Like 50 t-shirts and a million fancy dresses that I really wasn’t wearing.”
The nature of living with a capsule wardrobe means having to be strategic and selective when it comes to the clothes you choose to own, and Abigail has it down to a science.
“The saying is 80% of the time you wear 20% of your items. A capsule wardrobe is those 20% of items,” Abigail explains. To help maintain her capsule wardrobe, Abigail came up with the acronym “FIVE”, which stands for Fits My Body Correctly, In-Tact, Versatile, and Expresses My Sense of Style.
By implementing these strategies, Abigail has been able to build a perfectly curated collection of clothes, which helps save her both time and stress.
“I love living with a capsule wardrobe. It makes my decisions in the morning a lot easier,” she says. Abigail explains that she never has to stress if a certain shirt is in the laundry, because all of her clothes are designed to match with each other. “There’s always an outfit that I can create,” she says.
Abigail has learned to maximize her capsule wardrobe, but—also being a teacher—she understands better than anyone that adapting to a minimalist lifestyle requires a significant learning curve. To make the transition easier, Abigail recommends finding your ‘why’ and using that spark to persevere through the hardships.
“We live in a society that’s going to tell you ‘more more more, new new new,’ and it can be really hard to continue your decluttering and continue your minimalism path,” says Abigail. “I think if you figure out your reason for seeking minimalism, it’s gonna be a lot easier when you face those hurdles and those roadblocks, because it is hard, but it’s worth it in the end, at least it has been for me.”
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