Out of the Closet: Moving and Intentional Wardrobes
A while back, I wrote a post on general tips for making your wardrobe more representative of yourself. That can be read here. As I recently moved across Canada, this post will focus mostly on the items that made my moving cut-off, but it will also touch on a general philosophy of implementing minimalism while moving.
Disclaimer: Know Thyself
From previous experience, I know that I over-pack and then immediately resent the amount of stuff I’m toting around.
Case in point: my cheap flight involved a 4-hour layover and required a second bag check during that time. When I arrived, I realized that I couldn’t check my bags until 3 hours in to that time. I won’t lie, I still had a minor freak out, but it would’ve been 10 times worse if I hadn’t limited myself to a medium bag, a carry on, and a purse. It was a pain, but at least I could drag that number of bags around for a few hours.
My point is, if you know how Future You will feel, let Current You have the reins. This is true even if you are the exact opposite, and you under-pack only to spend the first week in your new place feeling lost and stressed. At the end of the day, my tips are for people who want to have less, but are maybe a little unsure of how to still have enough.
My Intentional Wardrobe: Winter 2017
1 winter coat, dark green, vest under-layer (Penningtons)
1 fall jacket, navy blue, canvas (GT)
1 scarf, hat, pair of gloves (Zara, Zellers)
2 pairs of winter boots (one tan, one black) (Timberland, Penningtons)
2 pairs of dress shoes (one brown, laced, one black, slip on) (Payless, Frenchy's)
1 navy/red plaid shirt (Old Navy)
2 fitted high/low sweaters with faux leather detail (one striped, one plain) (Winners)
1 dark green v-neck sweater (Old Navy)
1 blue two-toned ¾ sleeve sweater (Penningtons)
1 black and white wool sweater (Urban Outfitters)
2 long striped tunics ¾ sleeve (one burgundy, one mustard) (Old Navy)
1 short sleeved black tunic (Boohoo)
1 dark red loose top (layer tank underneath) (Old Navy)
1 light blue draped top (Ava + Viv via Value Village)
1 long grey structured vest (Penningtons)
1 cropped black and white jacket (Penningtons)
1 black cardigan with tan elbow patches (ASOS)
3 skinny strap tanks, forest green, emerald, burgundy (Penningtons)
1 black wide-strap tank (Penningtons)
1 grey workout tank “Sleeves are Bull****” (Value Village)
1 David Bowie cat shirt (Flock Boutique, Ottawa)
1 Lightning Fast VCR Repair shirt (RedLetterMedia)
1 Hillary Clinton campaign shirt (Candidate website)
2 dress pants (both black; one straight leg, one skinny) (Eloquii, Winners)
2 jeans (one dark wash, one blue) (GT, Winners)
1 cozy sweater “Best Dressed” (Forever 21)
1 pair black sleep shorts (Wal-Mart)
2 pairs black leggings (one more loose, one more fitted) (GT, Penningtons)
30 clothing items (not counting undergarments), 2 coats, 4 pairs of shoes
Note: I left a few more pairs of pants, a jumpsuit, two pairs of sneakers, another plaid shirt, a denim jacket, and a cropped leather jacket with my parents. These items will be shipped when it’s no longer the dead of winter.
Why It Works
It's complementary. Every piece goes with the others. The consistent colour palette makes layering fool-proof.
It's versatile. Changing pants/shoes or accessories can take most of it from casual to work. There's no need to have totally separate work/life wardrobes if it's properly planned.
It's quality. Everything fits well and is in good condition. I have opted to spend more money on pieces that require fit/endurance (pants, outerwear) and use thrift store finds to add character.
It's focused. There are exactly enough pieces from each category. Would I like more in some cases? Sure. But for now this is sufficient to meet my needs and simplify my dressing.
It's me. By narrowing my focus, I've arrived at a wardrobe that completely reflects my style and my lifestyle. I prefer looser silhouettes with dapper touches like nice shoes and accessories. I like to be comfortable but well-put together and interesting. This wardrobe accomplishes all those things.
A Few Additional Moving Tips
Consider the climate and/or time of year you’re moving. If some items can wait to be sent, you’ll have a chance to live with what you brought. You may not need some things at all – for instance, I did not bring my raincoat to the prairies. ;)
Think about interim storage solutions. For packing, I absolutely love Eagle Creek packing cubes and folders. They allow you to organize what you're bringing, and then act as nice zippered storage cases once you've arrived. I'm currently keeping my undergarments in one and my makeup/toiletries in another.
Because I knew I'd be crashing at my brother's place for the first few weeks and that I'd have limited closet space, I brought a popup hamper and Velcro hanging shelf. Both folded down completely flat for travel. Now I have a laundry basket (great for toting clothes down the hall to the laundry) and 6 shelves to make my 2 feet of closet space function. And I don't need to keep my things in cases until we move into the new place.
Respect what makes you feel at home. I think we all have certain things that make us feel comfortable wherever we are. For me, that includes my makeup/hygiene products, DVDs to put on while cleaning/packing, and a couple of books. Even if your mission is to be as minimalist as possible, don't sacrifice too much in these areas. Trust me, you'll only end up feeling a little lost and less like yourself.
Keep a record of your process. Because there's always a certain level of trial and error involved in condensing your life, it helps to keep some kind of log. Then next time you'll have something on which to look back.
If you've made it this far, let me know some of your favourite packing or minimalism tips. Thanks for reading!