Although shelter magazines often picture sparse modernist bedrooms that sport carefully-edited wardrobes organized by color (which is usually limited to a Spartan selection of black and beige), most of us can’t accomplish such a feat of personal style control. I myself need a wider variety of clothing to accommodate various moods, occasions and outdoor temperatures. A tiny wardrobe is also a higher-stakes wardrobe – if one piece gets ripped or stained, you’re out a seventh of your wardrobe and might not have a clean shirt to wear on Sunday.
Although I am not sold on the idea of ruthlessly minimizing the amount of clothing one owns, I acknowledge the havoc that too much clothing can wreak on a bedroom. Alternatively, I’ve worked out a way of controlling my closet based on the idea that if you circulate your clothing regularly and store it in only one closet, you know what you own. If you know what you own and it is all in one place, you don’t need to organize it. Organizing is what you do with clutter. Here’s the theory and how I practice it:
1. Clothing circulation: I read that most women wear only 20 percent of their clothing 80 percent of the time. That means that most of the time, 80 percent of the clothing in many women’s closets is clutter. Reducing clutter is not necessarily synonymous with minimalism. If you actually circulate your clothing and wear all of it regularly, it ceases to be clutter. If you never ever wear an article of clothing, it’s definitely clutter, and you should banish it.
2. Frequency of laundry: For some people, it is totally efficient to own a small amount of clothing and launder it frequently. Laundry takes time, though. I work 50 hours a week and go to classes both before and after work, so it suits my lifestyle better to do laundry less frequently because some weeks, I literally don’t have time to do a load of laundry. Usually at some point, once every two to three weeks, I take an evening to do several loads of laundry at once. I could never manage with one week’s-worth of clothing. If your lifestyle permits devoting more of your weekly time to folding laundry, then you could try a system like the one described next: