You only have one neck — How to declutter your scarf collection

How many scarves do you own? Go ahead, count them. Wait, can you find them all first? I know some are in this closet, some in that closet… some in that storage bin…

I grew up in California. I maybe owned one scarf. Then we moved to Iowa, and I suddenly needed new apparel for 6 months out of the year.

I bought a couple scarves, and few mittens, a few hats, and a warm winter coat.

I also learned how to knit. So I knitted myself another scarf, a pair of hand warmers, and a hat. My mother also took up crocheting, and made me a hat and a scarf. The friend who got me into knitting gave me a scarf that year for Christmas.

Within my first few months as a Midwesterner, my scarf collection sextupled.

Some of them were itchy. Some weren’t my color. Some unraveled a bit. But I was 16 and you better believe I kept them all anyway!

As the years went by, more scarves were given. As my knitting improved, more scarves were knitted. And the closet shrank and shrank.

Now allow me to really blow your mind: I only have one neck.

How did I ever manage to wear all those scarves? Well, some only got a couple wears before the season was over. Which is the very definition of excess. Especially considering I would typically just throw on the same one I wore the day before.

When you pair having too many choices with also being lazy, you usually end up with the same choice, over and over again. (tweet that)

I’m glad to say that since then I have narrowed my scarf collection down considerably. I have two uber-warm winter scarves, one light-weight trendy scarf, and one mid-weight scarf.

Here’s how I narrowed it down:

1. Divide your collection into cold-weather scarves and mid-temp scarves

There’s no use decluttering your scarves only to discover that you’re left with all spring/autumn scarves and have nothing left for really cold weather. So make sure you divide them into these two categories before narrowing the, down so you’re sure to have at least one left for each temperature range. Note, I also had a few scarves that I would consider “summer-weight”, but as I currently live in a place that’s super hot and humid during the summers, that just seemed impractical for me, so I didn’t keep any from that category. Depending on where you live, that third category might be appropriate.

2. Pair them with the outfits you wear during those seasons

If your thickest scarf only matches your favorite spring outfit, get rid of it. When the weather is appropriate to finally wear it but it doesn’t match with any of your winter items, then it will sit in your closet unworn all season. Items have to coordinate (to your personal standards) or you wont feel right wearing it. Of course if matching doesn’t matter to you or you have a mostly capsule wardrobe already, then you can skip this one.

3. Try it on

Is it itchy? Does it stay in place or slip around and get in your way? Is it too bulky under your current coat? Does it actually keep you warm? Does it make you too warm?

4. Rank them by favorite

If at this point you still have too many perfect scarves that haven’t fallen short in any area mentioned above, lay them out in order from your absolute favorite to your least favorite. Tell yourself you have to get rid of one more. You’ll probably know right away which one you just can’t part with. Any others can probably go.

5. Make sure they’re in your color season

Remember that since scarves are worn right up by your face, they are a key item to make sure is within your color season. A scarf outside your color season can make you look washed out — which is especially unflattering since we lose our summer glow during the cold months as it is. A beautiful scarf that brings out your features and makes your skin look radiant can effortlessly brighten your whole appearance.

With these checkpoints, you can narrow down your scarves to only those which are comfortable, practical, and look great on you. You deserve to be warm while looking your best!

As a final tip, here’s some ideas of what to do with the scarves you don’t keep.

1. Donate them to your local women’s shelter. Women’s shelters take all sorts of items from clothes, to hygiene items (shampoo, etc), to clothes and toys for the children who often accompany the women in need. Check with your local shelter to see what they take. That scarf that was perfect but just not your favorite could be someone else’s new favorite!

2. And for the knitters who keep a constant supply of scarves coming in, create your new pieces with those women in mind. Or, knit them for hospital residents. They will take blankets, too, if you’re looking to go beyond scarves. Keep in mind that some hospitals only take new items, so donating your used pieces is best for shelters.

Good luck, stay warm, and happy knitting!

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

I wore the same pants for 3 months and no one noticed

As you may know from some of my other posts, I work as a barista in a coffee shop. For as long as I’ve worked there (about two years now), I’ve kept a separate wardrobe just for barista days. This is because the clothes I wear there always end up 1. smelling like coffee, and 2. getting espresso, chocolate powder, or milk splattered on them (I’m not clumsy, I swear).

I have the perfect pair of pants for this job. They are comfy, strechy skinny jeans, and they are a mix of dark purple and black, in an almost watercolor design. I’m telling you, I can get all the espresso on them I want and you can hardly tell.

I used to also wear another pair or two of pants, usually black or brown skinny jeans, but because of their solid color, stains were still pretty noticeable.

So when it came time to do another quarterly wardrobe clearout, I asked myself if I really needed more than one pair of pants for my then once-a-week barista job. And the answer was no.

A few months ago though, I picked up two additional shifts there, so now I work and wear the same purple-black pants three days a week.

And so far, no one has noticed.

Now, I’ve wondered if maybe it’s just that I stand behind the counter a lot, so most people don’t even see my pants. But, the thing about being a barista is that you’re watched a lot. People are interested in how their drink is made, and I catch people watching me quite often. They see me steam the milk and ring them up while my lower half is hidden behind the counter; but they also watch me walk to the fridge to get a new jug of milk, or walk across the room to refill the cream and sugar. They see me try and carry one-too-many stacks of cups up from the storage room.

And I know people have seen these pants because I have gotten a number of comments on their unique color pattern.

Now you’d think that one of our regular customers would have noticed my “uniform” by now and said something. Especially because I do get comments on my appearance a lot. People ask how long it took me to get my hair into dreads. They comment on my “never-ending collection of cool tshirts” (which is also hilarious because I literally wear the same 4 shirts over and over. And if it’s cold, I wear the same green hoodie overtop — open, so you can see my tshirt underneath — and sometimes the same scarf.)

When I got the “never-ending collection of cool tshirts” comment, I actually said to him, “Really? Cause I feel like I have like three and just wear them over and over again!” To which he said, “Oh! I guess I never noticed!”

I couldn’t believe it.

But it just goes to show that people don’t noticed things nearly as much as we think they will. And, when they do notice something about you, it’s usually something positive.

What items in your wardrobe can you declutter? What are you hanging on to out of some idea that we need to “mix things up” or “keep things interesting” for other people? If you knew they wouldn’t notice, is there a favorite outfit you would wear more often? Why not every day?

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

I need to get my husband on board with minimalism | Ask LFB

“This morning my husband hung his shirts outside his closet — because he couldn’t find a place to squeeze them in. He has a very, very small closet. I went in and pulled out all the sweatshirts I could find, and he has more or as many as I do! (Not a very good use of space.) This then led me to look in the drawers which seem to hold things like old swimsuits and sweaters he’s never worn, and all kinds of things I didn’t know he owns!!

I’ve been asking him to go through his closet and get rid of things, which he’s done a bit but boy do we have a long way to go! I don’t know that he’s inspired or cares. There’s got to be a better way that I can sell him to get him on board getting rid of things he doesn’t need.”

—Nicole

Hi, Nicole! Welcome to the LFB fam!

I think you mentioned a couple key points:

1. He has a very small closet. Depending on your outlook, this is an advantage or a disadvantage. For those with a ton of stuff, it’s an obvious disadvantage. But I’d encourage you both to try and frame this as a positive thing. Embrace the small size and what it offers. A smaller space lends itself more easily to maintaining tidiness. And fewer clothes in a closet means less time standing in front of it deciding. So once he does get rid of some more things, his closet will be a quick stop along the way and not the burden it currently is.

2. Sweatshirts in a closet are not a good use of space. Everyone differs on how they like to organize things but it sounds like for you it is clear his current system isn’t working. Ask him if he feels the same. He might have more space than he thinks if only it was better used.

3. He’s holding on to things he doesn’t need. Maybe the best place to focus for now is on the more obviously unnecessary items. Rather than go for the abundance of sweatshirts in the closet that he sees every day, have him look through those drawers and get rid of the items that aren’t in his every day radar. He might not know he has some of those things either! This exercise will more quickly free up some great drawer space, which you can then use for sweatshirts.

4. You both have a lot of sweatshirts. I’d suggest you take a half hour together to each go through your sweatshirts at the same time. This is an area where you have common ground, and something you can do together so the hard work doesn’t all fall on him. Show him that you are ruthless with getting rid of the ones you know aren’t your favorites, and set an example for him to do the same.

5. He might not be inspired, but that’s okay. As frustrating as it is when someone we are close to isn’t happily aboard the minimalism train, it’s ultimately each person’s choice. You can encourage him and set an example, but it’s up to him to follow it or not. If he doesn’t, or not up to your standard anyway, don’t lose hope, but don’t put too much pressure on him either. Keep chipping away at the small, easy things to get rid of, which will set into motion a flow of decluttering and decreasing that overtime can make a big difference. I always like to get rid of the easiest things first, because it gives momentum and also makes the other non-essentials that much more apparent — now that you can see them!

I hope this helps, Nicole. Check back in with me on how it turns out!

Brianna

 

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

Fast fashion is quickly destroying your life

Fast fashion – a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to express that designs move from catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends. Emphasis is on optimizing certain aspects of the supply chain for these trends to be designed and manufactured quickly and inexpensively to allow the mainstream consumer to buy current clothing styles at a lower price. (Wikipedia)

I only recently learned the term fast fashion, but now I have a term for the clothing in stores like Forever21 and its competitors. It’s ultra-trendy and current, and chances are you’ll love it for the first 3 months but then feel so outdated wearing it after that. But, at such a low price, you can (almost) afford to cycle through your clothes at a seasonal rate.

But just because these clothes don’t add up to much on your credit card statement, doesn’t mean they don’t add up in other areas.

Your closet, for one. You keep the “BAE” sweatshirt in your closet because you only just bought it. Yet you feel like you can now only wear it ironically. It gets shoved further and further into the depths of your closet.

Meanwhile, your closet gets fuller. It becomes more difficult to fit new things in there. You’re running out of space. It doesn’t look nearly as tidy as it did after your last round of KonMari-ing.

The messier your closet gets, the more clothes start creeping down onto the floor. And now you feel just a little stressed out every time you enter your bedroom.

Let’s look at a different approach to buying clothes:

Instead of buying the mega-popular fast fashion, you opt for more classic pieces. You keep a strict standard to only buy what is flattering on your figure and your skin tone. Now everything in your closet looks amazing on you, and you can wear it for years to come. You have a minimal, capsule wardrobe that is easy to maintain in a tidy space. You enter your room feeling light and you always find something to wear.

This is how I’ve been doing things for the last year or so. Before that, I was all about fast fashion. The two things that finally got through to me were 1) reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and 2) watching this video by Mimi Ikonn, where she explains that everyone has a set of hues they are best suited to wear, and she basically gives you a sure-fire method to always look radiant. Both of these resources were absolutely life-changing (not to mention style-changing) and now I can never go back.

There’s another way fast fashion adds up, and that’s on the impact on the environment. Fast fashion is mass produced and poorly done, using cheap materials and cheap labor. The quality is terrible, which almost doesn’t matter because you throw it out before it has a chance to really fall apart. This leads to an excess of materials and, ultimately, waste.

Whether your desire to drop fast fashion is due to ethics, minimalism, or simply wanting to look and feel your best, it’s something I’m really glad I’ve done, and I hope it brings you as much peace as it’s brought me.

 

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.