Restricting my wardrobe to only six items for six weeks taught me valuable lessons about my habits!
When preparing for APDOs Spring Clearing Week, I came across the Six Item Challenge. Though it seemed a daunting task to stick to only six core items of clothing for six weeks, I love a good challenge so signed myself up! Now it's all over (yes I do feel a little relieved), I learned a whole lot about my wardrobe habits so I'm here to share my six most valuable lessons from my Six Items Challenge.
1) It's good to have less choice!
It's widely understood that the more decisions you have to make, the harder it becomes and the poorer choices you may make.
This 'decision fatigue' is the reason supermarkets offer a smaller range of products than they used to. They've realised that offering consumers too many brands and types of pasta sauce, for example, makes it more difficult to choose. Consumers may even walk away without making a purchase.
I believe the same is true of our wardrobes. Agonising over outfit choices each morning makes it more difficult to manage all those other important decisions. Why start the day like this?
To reduce the number of decisions they had to make each day, Einstein and Steve Jobs famously reduced their wardrobes so that they only had to choose from a small range of suites and shirts.
I found that only having 6 items to choose from really took the hard work out of deciding what to wear each day. It was so much easier, quicker and less stressful to get ready.
2) I was forced to get creative
At first I was worried. Would people notice that I was wearing the same thing every day? Would I get fed up of wearing the same things over and over again?
if I was going to survive 6 weeks, I had to get creative! I started to wear lipstick most days and explored a range of colours. My jewellery collection became more important, as I rediscovered my jewellery and wore a wider variety of statement earrings and necklaces. I also tried out scarves, coloured tights and even tried a few different hair styles.
I also revisited my perfumes. I know this doesn't change how you look but it did make a difference to how I felt. Even if I was working at home on my own, I made the effort to wear lipstick and perfume and it made me feel great!
I've read that you should dress for yourself, even if you're not going to see anyone, because it has a significant impact on your mindset, well-being and confidence. Until now, I never fully understood the impact but this is definitely a habit I intend to continue!
3) Less is more
I really found the reduced options quite liberating and having a reduced selection made me appreciate what I had.
At the start, I gave a lot of thought to the 6 items because I needed them to compliment each other to give the maximum number of outfit options. It was a real eye opener because I learned that I didn't need too many items to create lots of different looks. The Wardrobe Fairy created a great video on this and you can watch her here.
One of my biggest learnings however is that my wardrobe is not 'designed' but rather thrown together! I haven't shopped with any intention but bought individual items when I saw something I liked- not the best strategy!
Going forward, I intend to choose fewer items that compliment each other better so that I can create a versatile capsule-style wardrobe.
4) Rediscover treasures
Before the challenge, I'd gotten into a jewellery rut, wearing the same things or no jewellery at all.
This was a great opportunity to take a good look at my accessories and happily I rediscovered lots of jewellery that I'd forgotten. I kept the pieces I love or wanted to try out again and donated a large selection of things that I won't be revisiting!
Being early Spring, it has been rather cold so I was also pleased to dig out scarves that had been long forgotten.
5) Intentional purchasing
As I've mentioned, this challenge made me take a good look at my wardrobe and I realise that I need to have a more intentional approach to purchases.
I have no idea where my clothes come from, what conditions the workers who make them work in or their impact on the environment.
This challenge has made me think about these aspects of my shopping behaviour and shift my mindset. I've proven that I can dress for a range of occasions and feel great with less. Which means I can buy pieces that are better made, produced sustainable, produced ethically even though they may cost a little more.
6) Really look at what you have
Having lived with less, I will definitely be revisiting my wardrobe to see what I can release. There is nothing worse that opening your wardrobe to find a sea of items that make you feel guilty because you spent good money but haven't worn them. If I pass on the things I no longer love or wear, I'll benefit someone else and give myself the gift of a happy wardrobe.
You don't have to do the Six Item Challenge to really see what you have (though it's not as scary as it sounds!). Instead, look through your wardrobe and ask yourself Do I love it? Do I wear it? Does it go with anything else I own?
If the answer is No, you know what to do...
Sell, donate or recycle!