Minimalism is a mental and physical strategy used to help individuals reduce the consumption of goods that don’t bring happiness and joy, in order to find peace, balance, and fulfillment. How do fewer possessions impact happiness? Beyond helping individuals reduce clutter, save money, and focus on what really matters, adopting a minimalist lifestyle is a holistic approach to improving yourself and your environment.
Are you still not convinced? Start by imagining all of the clothing in your closet, dresser, or wardrobe; don’t forget neckwear, formalwear, or old sweaters tucked in the back. Keeping this image in mind, ask yourself if you really need all those outfits, accessories, and seasonal items?
For every item you own that doesn’t fit, never gets worn, or still has the tag on, consider the resources used, waste generated, pesticides sprayed, and water consumed to produce them. In fact, conventionally-farmed cotton that is produced into textiles, commonly referred to as fast-fashion, generates 220 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Water consumption in the fast-fashion industry is equally as staggering, considering the production of just one conventional cotton t-shirt requires 713 gallons of fresh water. Multiplied across your entire wardrobe, the amount of water used to produce and care for your clothing is shocking, especially if the style or garment only lasts a season.
We could go on like this for pages, but by now you probably get the picture. The unused, unworn, worn out, and unsentimental items you’ve been thinking about are great examples of the clutter and wasted resources a minimalist tries to avoid.
Two benefits of a minimalist wardrobe
Investing in organically-farmed and sustainably-manufactured
clothing is better for the environment
Purchasing fewer items and investing in a staple of multi-seasonal, transitional, and highly durable garments reduces excess and helps our environment.
For example, globally, the organic textile industry generates 42% less carbon dioxide than conventional textile producers. Organic farming also utilizes collected and recycled water for efficiency. Therefore, producing one organic cotton t-shirt uses 71% less water than conventional, saving 506 gallons of fresh water per shirt. In fact, the durable organic clothing lasts longer, which means you’ll be purchasing fewer items in the long run.
There’s less clutter, more space, and no wasted time
Beyond saving storage space and improving your ability to organize, having just a few highly-transitional items will make selecting outfits faster and easier. Ultimately, giving you more time to focus on the things that make you happy.
How you can get started
Research Certified-Sustainable Alternatives
Organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, and responsibly-harvested wool are very common and, when backed by a certificate of authenticity (the tag), you know you’re getting a product that’s been made responsibly and with the environment in mind. After parting with the excess, purchase less and invest in higher quality items.
Invest in Sustainable Brands
Supporting and shopping with ethical and environmentally-friendly companies ensures continuous investment in sustainable technology. For example, the apparel manufacturer, Pact organic, reinvests profits into their organic farming methods, efficient production technology, labor wages, and sustainability certifications.
Take Care of Your Clothing
The best thing you can do to ensure your clothing will last is to take care of it. Always read your labels and follow the care procedure for your clothes and the washing machine. Avoid washing your textiles too frequently and, if possible, air-dry them instead of using a drying machine.
Rent Suits and Tuxedos
Gentlemen, you all own a suit, maybe even a tuxedo. How often do you use it, or try it on to find it doesn’t fit? We all know you can rent a suit and tuxedo, but if you don’t have time to go in for a fitting, don’t just shrug it off; consider renting formal-wear online instead of buying an entirely new suit.
Recycle Used Clothing
Instead of throwing away your used clothing, try consignment, handing them down to a family in need, locating a collections bin, or donating them to a local charity or national organization such as The Salvation Army or Goodwill.
Find a Local Fibershed
This acts as a global movement to regionally grow, source, and produce manufactured textiles. A fibershed refers to the geographic region from which all the necessary materials have been sourced in order to locally produce an article of clothing. This comes to practice in California where Fibershed, a non-profit organization, promotes regional farming and eventual textile production across the United States. Not only do locally manufactured textiles offer a new way to support the community, but the final products are also grown and sewn with the environment in mind!
Taking a stand and being intentional about your wardrobe enables you to focus on the essentials, purchase items from brands with ethical, sustainable or organic practices (such as Pact), and avoid buying clothes you don’t need in order to impress people who don’t care.