or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Organize & Declutter › Wanting to start over ....
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Wanting to start over ....

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 


I have just completed a 5,000+ mile, 2 month trip in a small travel trailer with 3 kids, hubby, and a bunny.  We drove through 9 states and one province, going from Texas to Calgary and back.  Our home is for sale (didn't sell while we were gone), and we are ultimately planning to live full-time on the road - eventually in a bigger trailer, though - with 3 rabbits and a cat and whatever other furry critters decide to take up residence with us.


Anyway ...


We have returned to a 2400 sf house with all the amenities, and I am totally lost.  I opened my closet yesterday to look for something to wear, after having less than 20 pieces in my wardrobe and wearing 2 pair of shoes for the past few weeks.  Guess what?  nothing to wear!


I have been decluttering for about 3 years now, attempting to get to this point in my life, but I still have too much.  I have downsized my wardrobe significantly during the summer (donated to the victims of the Bastrop fire was my most successful venture). 


I've been doing a lot of thinking about it, and I really like the 36-item-wardrobe idea.  I'm not sure how that will work, in reality, though - because I'm not really a one-color-palette type of person.  But, my other problem is that I have sentimental attachments to the rest of my clothes!  In addition, I am 45 and suffering a bit of mid-life anxiety about frumpiness.  Time for a change.


So, I have an idea:  I'm going to get rid of EVERYTHING and start over, only buying quality basics that will work for mixing and layering.  I will set a budget for shopping and start at thrift stores.  If I truly can't find something I need, I'll look further, but I just don't think I'll need to.  Houston has a plethora of resale shops.


Is this the antithesis of minimalism?  Am I crazy?


And then ... I want to do this for my kids, too!  I figure I'll start with myself and the toddler, then show the older girls that this could be rewarding, and hope they will join me.  


thanks for awesome ideas!





post #2 of 15

High quality and thrift stores typically don't go together. Depending on the era you're going to have seams that are half worn out, fabrics that are closer to threadbare, not to mention lots of synthetics. I sew, and I love clothing, and my longterm goal is to be able to sew all my own clothing with high quality fabrics. I want a more minimalistic wardrobe of things that fit nice, look great, look great together and are high quality. That won't happen while I have young children, but I'm working on that now.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

ah.  I understand that point.  But, I despise shopping - probably hate shopping for clothing more than anything else.  I find the abundance of "things" to be very depressing for me, but I feel much better when thrift shopping.  I have always been able to find pretty good quality items while thrifting.  I've been doing it for a dozen years, and I can recognize brands by the quality of the fabric, so I don't waste a lot of time on things that are too cheap.


(which is possibly why I also don't mind getting rid of Everything.  I bought most of my clothes at thrift shops, and they have served me well enough to not worry about wasting any investment.)

post #4 of 15

I do not do thrift store clothes simply because I never had any luck. I would make a list of what you need, to fit your lifestyle, and look for sales on quality items. I limit myself to only certain stores or brands, which keeps me from randomly shopping and buying useless items. For instance, I live were it rains a lot, no snow. I have gone through 4 pairs of cheaper rainboots in the past 5 years. I finally saved up and purchased a pair of Hunter boots..I have had them for 3 years now and they are still going strong. I can garden, walk the dog, even go to the store in them and they have lasted.  I work full time in a corporate position, so my wardrobe has to be quality and I have to keep a little bit more than most. I do avoid most prints, sticking with red, navy blue, some black, hot pink, khacki and white. I can mix and match all I want. I do look for texture in my tops, jackets and accessories, to keep it from being boring.  


As for my son, he wears a uniform of sorts- khacki, jeans or camo pants/shorts for bottoms, blue, burnt orange, red or white tops. Even his t-shirts are in this color palette, which makes it easy for him to get dressed and he doesn't need thousands of clothes. I buy quality over quantity, because he is truly a  boy that wears out his clothes. He has 2 pairs of sneakers (the older one gets worn around the house and outside at home), 2 pairs of sandals and 1 pair of "dress" shoes. Along with 3 baseball caps, 2 jackets and misc. items like a bathing suit, 2 ties and his sports gear, it's pretty simple. Every 4 months, I take everything out and lay it on the bed and see what we have and what fits, then I fill in gaps, if there are any. With quality kids clothing, I have never had a problem reselling them to recoup and use the money for what he needs next.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

thanks for your perspective.  Very different lifestyle than my own.  We are homeschooling hippies.  No corporate or uniforms to worry about.  I am happy in 2 or 3 flowing skirts and tshirts to match.  


I think the concept of looking for sales is a great one - just one that is unlikely to work for me.  I honestly wouldn't have a clue where to shop!  Only sales I ever see are at Old Navy, which is NOT quality.  I know I can get quality basics at Buffalo Exchange as long as I have the patience to try on 30 skirts or jeans.  At least I will get to try on 30 different brands and styles, as opposed to 10 that are similar if I went to a brand store.


thanks again


post #6 of 15

J Jill has some quality kinda hippie flowy but last a long time items. I just picked up a wool dress for $75 off the original price. : )



post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

thanks for thinking of me, but I don't even know what J Jill is or where it is.  I would most likely suffer serious sticker shock if I went shopping in a mall or panic attacks if I tried someplace like Marshalls or Ross.  For some reason thrift shopping doesn't stress me out the same way.


I would need someone to TAKE me shopping - can't possibly do it alone or with kids.

post #8 of 15

In the UK, alot of the mums have a 'uniform' so to speak that could work really well for you. A shop called 'Whitestuff' over here is very popular for buying pure cotton (fine delicate shirting fabric) shortsleeved tops in very pretty colours with small patterns on them. These are availble to buy January or Febuary onwards. They are about £30 or £40, but you can wait until they are discounted mid-season. You layer a white vest underneath, and then pop the Whitestuff top over that, then layer something like a merino wool (if you care for it they last looking great for years) fine knit cardigan over the top. You wear all this with jeans (so have a couple of pairs in your wardrobe) and you will look great! That is what mums do in the UK anyway...So you could get your day to day wardrobe down to two pairs of jeans, 7 pretty tops, white vests, and a couple of fine knit cardigans and you will look great! Then a pair of ballet style leather pumps, boots, flip flops and you're good to go!

post #9 of 15


Here's the link to give you an idea, but it is their winter, mostly jersey (Tshirt material) range at the moment!

post #10 of 15

Go for it Mama! I'd rather start over with a few workhorse things I love than live with a closetful that I don't.  


I don't care about fashion at all, so I just stick with things that make me smile.   I have a bunch of drawstring hemp patchwork and applique skirts I made myself or bought on etsy that work year round (with leggings in winter) and fit fine during pregnancy/nursing/etc.  I wear them with tank tops in summer, long sleeve t's and homemade cardigan hoodies in winter and I'm set.


If you can find things that work for your plan in thrift stores, that's great! Sounds like fun, enjoy creating your new look!

post #11 of 15

Were you happy with the wardrobe you used while traveling? If so, why not keep that, a key piece or two from the rest and donate the remainder? Sometimes it's the abundance of choice that makes us feel like we have nothing.

post #12 of 15

I have to weigh in here about  thrift shopping -- I think it makes a HUGE difference what kind of stores are available in your area.  In some regions, thrift shops really don't have much but the REALLY worn-out stuff.  But in our area, especially in our more upscale suburbs, thrift stores have incredibly high-quality stuff, frequently brand-name, often with tags still on it.  DH and I both suffer panic attacks whenever we have to buy "new" clothes -- the pressure is more than we can handle.  Buying secondhand releases a bit of the pressure: we can say, "oh, it's ok if it doesn't fit perfectly, because it's only $2."  Of course, that means we have a lot of clothes that don't fit perfectly.  But honestly, that doesn't matter much to us.  As long as they fit more or less well, and the stains or holes in them are minimal (or fixable), we don't worry too much about it.  


do think that re-buying a whole wardrobe is "the opposite of minimalism."  But you could sort of plan in that direction now.  Get rid of everything you don't wear, don't like, and don't feel fabulous wearing.  Then, buy a few choice pieces to match what's left.  It's not as "planned" as a whole wardrobe, but if you're thrift shopping, you can't really "plan" your wardrobe well anyway.  


I've found that sticking with a handful of color palettes and only a few styles seems to help me when I'm shopping in thrift stores.  Also, I like buying a whole outfit at a time, from shoes up to a hat or scarf, which means that even if I get that skirt home and find that I have nothing that matches it, I still have the matching shirt I bought in the store.  I've also been known to go to a thrift store wearing an article of clothing that is particularly hard to match, so I can be sure of getting something that will match it.  


Oh!  And one more thing that works for me.  As I'm trying to get dressed, if I find myself saying, "oh, if I only had a short-sleeved blue t-shirt to match this skirt!" (for example) or "I wish I had a cream tank to layer with this sweater!" I always write those things down, then I take the list so I can keep an eye open for those things next time I'm at the thrift store.  That way, I know I'm buying basics I can use, rather than getting distracted by all the pretty patterns and fabrics on the "fancy stuff" at the store.  

post #13 of 15

I am a big thrift shopper as well as shopping the sales.


I am a big focuser of quality on clothes, and I have clothes in my wardrobe that are over 5 years old and still look great becuase they were high quality items. 


I give myself some rules to follow.  I will pay no more than 10 dollars for a shirt/skirt for myself 20 dollars for pants or a dress and 10 dollars for jeans.  For my kids I give myself a $5 peice $10 outfit perameter as well.  This allows me to go to any store and not feel overwhelmed.  It also means I normally do not even look at the new store except for their clearance rack .  Then, it does not become as overwhelming. It becomes a game.


With thrift, I focus only on items that fit well and are of good quality.   I just bagged some almost new Coldwater Creek sweaters at Savers for 6 dollars each.  It was a great day : )


Wish you bargain finding luck.  It is so much more enjoyable shopping for a deal than paying full price . 



post #14 of 15
Originally Posted by jrabbit View Post



So, I have an idea:  I'm going to get rid of EVERYTHING and start over, only buying quality basics that will work for mixing and layering.  I will set a budget for shopping and start at thrift stores.  If I truly can't find something I need, I'll look further, but I just don't think I'll need to.  Houston has a plethora of resale shops.


Is this the antithesis of minimalism?  Am I crazy?


And then ... I want to do this for my kids, too!  I figure I'll start with myself and the toddler, then show the older girls that this could be rewarding, and hope they will join me.  


thanks for awesome ideas!





I was forced to do this when pregnant.  I never felt better dressed in my life.  I had probably had less than 36 items of clothing and I always had something to wear.  Everything was black, tan, white, navy blue or a black and white print.  The tops mixed and matched and the dresses were either black or navy and I jazzed them up with scarves and jewelry. 


My minimalist pregnancy wardrobe worked because I allowed myself to buy multiple things at one time, a complete 180 from prior shopping habits.  Also, I spent more on less, which was very hard for me.  Instead of two $20 skirts, I bought one $40 dress but got 100x the use out of the dress.  When I saw great pants that I knew would carry me through my pregnancy, I bought two pairs AND two tops to go with the pants, all from the same line of clothing - one trip resulted in eight outfits that worked together and looked polished.  I think the key was I bought things in sets.  Not that one can't buy a pair of pants one day and find three tops next month but there is something about buying pieces in the same fabric, from the same manufacturer that pulls outfits together. 


I will be the first to admit, I don't really care about my clothing.  My goal is to look decent, be comfortable, have a clutter-free closet and not have to invest any time into thinking "what will I wear today."  I could see how a more creative/expressive person would not like a "uniform."

post #15 of 15

I totally understand having tons of clothes and nothing to wear.  That being said I also have too much.  just posted that...heheheh.  I say go through what you have, pick out what you will wear and just go from there.  I am very lucky that we have really awesome thrift stores around here.  Good luck with the BIG change, keep us updated on how it works out for you thumb.gif

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Organize & Declutter
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Organize & Declutter › Wanting to start over ....