My husband has only a few objects of clothes and believes in minimalism. I don’t imagine in that, and I wish to have a wide selection of clothes. We will’t agree on the problem. Is there a compromise? What number of items of clothes do I really need? — Justina, Kajaani, Finland
That’s like Thomas Aquinas asking what number of angels can dance on the pinnacle of a pin: unattainable to reply in a quantifiable, sensible sense (and anybody who tells you there’s a single reply is mendacity), however fascinating to think about in principle. A number of years in the past, a survey by ClosetMaid, the closet firm, discovered that the typical American girl owned about 103 items of clothes.
That seems like a big quantity till you think about that, as a part of her memoir, “Garments … And Different Issues That Matter,” Alexandra Shulman, the previous editor of British Vogue, counted the objects she owned and got here up with 22 coats, 35 clothes, 34 jackets, 37 skirts, 17 pairs of pants, 16 shirts, 18 sweaters, 12 cardigans and 35 T-shirts. There was extra, however that’s already 226. Even given her job, it’s rather a lot.
Particularly as a result of what is called the 20-80 rule, or the Pareto precept, applies to what we put on simply in addition to it does to many issues in life. First described by Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, in 1896, it states that 80 p.c of penalties come from 20 p.c of causes. Or, within the case of clothes, 20 p.c of what’s in your wardrobe is worn 80 p.c of the time.
Which is to say, 80 p.c of what’s in your wardrobe is not worn more often than not.
That in flip means that your husband is right in believing you don’t want a whole lot of garments. Certainly, an unavoidable half of the present dialogue round sustainability is that buyers want to scale back their consumption and thus waste, which suggests shopping for fewer garments that last more.
But I don’t assume the reply is to go all Jack Reacher in your wardrobe, imitating the Lee Baby hero who wears one outfit at a time till it provides out, then disposes of it and will get one other in order that he by no means has any clothes baggage.
There’s additionally an emotional part to clothes that’s vital to keep in mind. We maintain on to clothes as a result of we’re satisfied that sooner or later they will be the reply to an issue, or as a result of they signify moments in time we cherish, or as a result of they cheer us up or make us really feel highly effective or comfortable. Garments feed our feelings and our creativeness, and that may assist get us via the day as a lot as garments that perform.
To attempt to resolve the problem, I requested Marie Kondo, the queen of decluttering and creator of the soon-to-be-published ebook “Marie Kondo’s Kurashi at Dwelling: How you can Manage Your Area and Obtain Your Perfect Life,” what she would advise. Right here’s what she mentioned:
“Taking the time to evaluate and ensure every garment serves a function and sparks pleasure in your life is extra vital than specializing in the quantity of what you may have. Some would possibly discover that a number of pairs of denims would possibly make them really feel comfy, as a result of they respect choices, whereas others could discover that just a few is all they want. I prefer to have just a few of the whole lot with my clothes in order that I’ve a backup merchandise accessible in case one thing is being washed.”
In different phrases, there’s no magic quantity. However going via your closet and actually excited about why you retain every bit could lead to all of the compromise you want.