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I Still Keep a List of All the Clothes I Own

From Shopaholic to Minimalist: How I Transformed My Closet and Saved Thousands

A few years ago, my closet was full of “nothing to wear.”

I used to be quite the shopaholic, always on the lookout for the next trendy piece. But it wasn’t just that — I also had a bad habit of hoarding everything, even if it was too small, too big, worn-out, hideous, or downright uncomfortable.

Well, let me tell you, things have changed now. I’ve got a handle on what I own. And it started with a video & a simple note.

The video

I watched this neat little video I stumbled upon about minimalism by Matt D’Avella.

Until then, I had unknowingly incorporated some minimalist principles into certain aspects of my life.

My digital space was clutter-free, simple, and minimal. And let’s not forget my love for clean, basic, Scandinavian interior designs — that’s pretty minimalist too. However, there was one area where I hadn’t quite mastered minimalism yet: my wardrobe.

Looking back, I think it was my lack of confidence that fueled my shopping over the years. I held onto this false hope that new clothes would magically boost my self-esteem, impress others, and bring happiness. Well, guess what? They didn’t live up to those expectations, not even close.

My wardrobe was bursting at the seams with items I hardly liked or wore. And let me tell you, it wasn’t just my fashion choices that suffered — it also took a toll on my wallet.

Then I came across that video of Matt D’Avella showcasing his extremely minimalist wardrobe, and my initial reaction was, “That guy must be nuts.” But as I pondered over it, my perspective started to shift.

The experiment

I decided to conduct a little experiment. Mind you, I still wouldn’t call myself a minimalist at that point.

On that fateful day, I challenged myself to recall how many pieces I could name from my overflowing closet. It sounded easy enough, but boy, was I wrong. I couldn’t even remember a third of what lurked behind those closet doors.

That got me thinking: if I couldn’t even remember what I had, did I really need it all? Most likely not.

The decluttering

The next day, still a bit bewildered, I took the plunge and began decluttering.

Without a solid plan in place, I embarked on a journey through every drawer, every rack, and every nook and cranny of my home. To be honest, it was a petrifying experience. How on earth had I amassed such a colossal collection of clothes?

To be fair, it might not have been as much as some other people’s wardrobes, but to me, it was outrageous. Not because I didn’t appreciate nice clothing, but because one thought instantly struck me: just how much money had I squandered?

As I sifted through my garments, I realized how many no longer fit, how many were damaged, and how many were simply hideous. I did manage to salvage a few pieces.

Over the course of a few days, I sold numerous items, delighted my brother and cousins with some hand-me-downs, and donated or discarded the rest.

The next step

So, what was the next step? I found myself facing an empty closet, with no clothes scattered on the floor or piled up in front of the washing machine. It felt liberating, I must admit. But the one thing I wasn’t keen on doing was rushing out to buy new clothes.

I decided to take a different approach. I didn’t buy much.

No, I wasn’t broke. I wanted to see how far I could go with the remaining pieces.

Sure, I didn’t have everything I needed, but then I remembered how Matt managed to rock the same outfit for years.

To this day, many of the clothes that survived my decluttering spree still hang in my closet, becoming my reliable go-to pieces.

Here’s how I saw it: it wasn’t that I couldn’t afford new clothes. I wanted to re-establish a genuine value for the clothes I owned. I had completely lost touch with my possessions.

A line from a German movie kept echoing in my mind:

“My great-grandparents had 47 things. My grandparents had 200 things. My parents had 650 things. Now, we have on average 10,000 things. 10,000!”

It’s hard to appreciate anything when you’re surrounded by 9,999 other things.

The list

That’s when I started keeping a list. A list of all the clothes I still had in my possession.

It started as a simple note in Apple Notes with bullet points. Now, it’s morphed into an entire database of items I maintain to this day.

It’s not an Apple Note anymore, it’s a Notion database. If you’re curious, I’ll give it to all my readers for free here!

The database is neatly organized by category: pants, shirts, sweaters, you name it, with a section for seasons, and a shopping list.

The why

Why do I do it?

Well, for one, I have a fondness for notes. But more importantly, it helps me keep track of my purchases and control my spending.

Plus, I love seeing which pieces stick around for the long haul. It helps me remember my favorites and where I got them, making it easier to replace them when they eventually wear out.

And you know what? It also provides me with a clear overview of my entire collection, including clothes, shoes, and accessories like hats, bags, and sunglasses. In case you’re curious, the grand total currently sits at 114 pieces.

Might sound like a lot, but trust me, it’s relatively low when you count everything — even underwear and socks.

The bottom line

So here’s the bottom line: this Notion database has become my treasure.

Since I started keeping it, my shopping habits have drastically changed. I jot down every single item I acquire. I relish the opportunity to replace a worn-out piece.

Shopping has become a joy, although it takes a bit more time to find that perfect addition. I no longer succumb to impulse buying; those enticing sale racks hold no power over me.

Most importantly, I now genuinely appreciate and value every single piece I own. Finally.

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