How To ACTUALLY Become A Minimalist, Based On Your Personality Type

Photo: Jesse Morrow

Do you ever stare at a closet full of clothes and still somehow feel like you have nothing to wear? We've all been there. Thankfully, crafting a curated, minimalist wardrobe of only the clothes you use and love is a surefire way to make getting dressed easier.

If you've always found minimalist living impossible, you may just be approaching it from the wrong angle. Here, I'll outline a few strategies geared toward specific personality types—whether you hate parting with your clothes or feel like you never have time to get organized—that will turn even the most disorganized closet into a carefully edited masterpiece.

Step 1: Start with a clean closet.

No matter what your personality type, this should be your starting point. Whether your closet needs a total purge or simply a clean out, start with the no-brainers and get rid of clothes you know off the bat that you won’t wear. Identify pieces that you haven’t worn in over a year and place them in a box for donation. Or, if they’re in good condition, sell them to a consignment shop or online retailer for some extra cash.

Anything that’s stained, ripped, or otherwise unwearable should be recycled or repurposed. Bring them to a recycling center or clothing drop box where they can be turned into textiles. These days, programs like Planet Aid receptacles and in-store clothing donation program make it a lot easier to recycle clothes than you might think.

Step 2: Narrow down which strategy works best with your personality.

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For the one who loves a challenge: Project 333 or 10x10.

This minimalist fashion trend challenges you to choose 33 pieces from your closet and wear them—only them!—for three months. This helps you learn to build your wardrobe around versatile pieces like simple tees, blouses, and denim, with a few fun pieces sprinkled in to complement your basics. I've tried this one myself and approached it as a sort of game I need to conquer. That mentality helped tremendously when I went to get dressed each day.

If you’re not sure whether you’re up for the task, start with an abridged version. The 10x10 challenge, for instance, limits you to 10 items over the course of only 10 days.

For the busy bee: The Cladwell app.

For those of you who have serious trouble getting out the door in the morning, I recommend the Cladwell app, which creates outfits for you every day based on your existing closet. And no, you do not have to take a photo of each item in your closet to use it! Instead, you simply go through the app’s catalog of pieces and select items that are similar to those you have.

From there, you can either create a look from your whole closet or select an occasion or season and narrow down the capsule. You will receive three outfit possibilities (they even take your local weather into account!), and voilà! You'll go from what seems like infinite outfit options to a narrowed-down collection of looks in no time.

Plus, recording each outfit makes it easier to start noticing patterns in your wardrobe. You’ll be able to identify the items you wear most frequently and get rid of the ones you thought you would wear but never did.

For the sentimental shopper: The Reverse hanger or Last 14 methods.

Got a closet piling up with clothes you never wear but really, really can’t part with? The reverse hanger method could be your savior. To get started, simply turn all of your hangers so they face the same direction in your closet. Every time you wear something and hang it back up, turn the hanger backward. After a month, you can see which items you haven’t worn. Sure, there are exceptions like formalwear, but I have found this method extremely helpful. It might surprise you how little you actually need those extra pieces!

And if you want to give a minimalist wardrobe a go but aren’t ready to commit to paring down your closet for good, box up any items you haven’t worn in the last two weeks, then stash them away in an attic, basement, or under the bed. After a month, open up the box. Put back any clothes that you genuinely missed, and donate the ones you didn’t. If you forgot the box existed entirely, consider donating everything in it.

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Step 3: Look for patterns in your wardrobe.

Once you’ve found a good base of clothes that work for you, take note of the styles you’re drawn toward. Do you tend to build your wardrobe around your work clothes? Do you follow a particular personal style—whether it's boho, preppy, masculine, or girly? Look for patterns or similarities in your favorite styles and write them down so you can reference them the next time you go shopping.

Inspo alert: Here's how one shopaholic's foray into minimalism totally changed her life around.

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