In a previous article I shared my opinion about Minimalism and how it helped me to declutter my life with regard to my upcoming trip this year.

This series of articles is a deep dive into the different areas and I will share some tools I used to make my life less noisy.

Whether you want to optimize for light traveling or just free up space in your wardrobe.

In my particular case, traveling light was the priority and the trigger to start all this.

The whole thing is really no rocket science and I don’t want to blow it up unnecessarily.

There are basically just 3 Steps that I went through:

  • Taking Inventory
  • Deciding what to keep
  • Optimizing space

 

So let’s get started:

Step 1 - Taking Inventory


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The first step is to create an overview of what you actually own.

I would recommend that you reserve a full day for this.

I scheduled my session for a Sunday, made some delicious coffee and turned on a rocking playlist to get the flow going.

 

Why a full day?

I think you should take your time for this especially if you own a lot of stuff. It doesn’t make sense to rush through the process. If you finish early, you are rewarded with a beautiful Sunday evening.

 

Why Sunday?

Because everything is closed (at least in Germany) and a sunday is usually less busy so you don’t get distracted by other things, like running errands or grocery shopping.

Step 2 - Deciding what to keep


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After laying out everything on the floor and my sofa, I created two buckets:
The clothes I wanted to keep and the ones to get rid off.

This is more difficult than it sounds, because we tend to always think that we MIGHT need some clothes SOMEDAY.

Therefore it is important to stay objective and ask yourself following questions to make your decision.

 

  1. Have I worn this garment in the last 90 days?
  2. Does this garment really excite me?

 

If your answer to any of the question is “No” then put it on the stack of clothes to get rid off, because …

… if you haven’t worn it in the last 90 days, you are unlikely to wear it in the next few days (except it’s summer and you are looking at a winter jacket).

… if some of your clothes don’t get you excited, you probably don’t feel comfortable wearing it anyway so why keeping it?

 

There is no magic number of items you should keep. Just be honest with yourself and don’t keep clothes you don’t wear and don’t feel comfortable in.

When I sorted out my wardrobe, I had a lot of hesitation at the beginning. Especially with some garment that I spent quite some money on.

But then I realized that I haven’t worn them in a long time and just having them in my cupboard will not solve any of my money issues.

And when I thought about light traveling, I won’t be able to carry 4 jackets with me which made the decision much easier.

As a reference for light traveling, having more than…

  • 10 Shirts
  • 2 Pants
  • 2 Shorts
  • 2 pair of shoes
  • 10 pieces of underwear

… is overkill anyway because most of the time we tend to overpack 30% – 50%, which results in unncessary weight.

Step 3 - Optimizing Space


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After deciding which clothes to keep, I want to share with you a technique to fold clothes that got me really excited lately: The Ranger Roll.

The ladies out there might be turned off by the name, but bear with me, it’s not that bad.

Although the Ranger Roll originated from the army, hence the name, it is a popular technique that everyone can take advantage of, especially travelers.

I found that it works best with T-Shirts, Shorts and socks. Not so much jeans or in general pants because of the thick material around the waist.

 

What advantage does the ranger roll bring?

  • it saves a ton of space because of tight rolling (great for the wardrobe as well as travelbag)
  • less wrinkles if done carefully
  • the wrapping in the end keeps clothes tight and prevents from getting messy

 

How the “Ranger Roll” works

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Step1: Put the Shirt on a flat surface
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Step 2: Wrap the Shirt from the bottom up. Don't only fold it! The height should be around 5-10 cm.
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Step 3: Start to fold the Shirt from one side to the center.
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Step 4: Now tackle the other side. In the end, the width should be somewhere around 15cm. If it's to wide, the roll will be too long and soft.
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Step 5: Start from the top to roll the Shirt towards the bottom. What I like to do, is to wrap a bit at the top first and then start rolling to have more grip.
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Step 7: Roll, Roll, Roll. Make sure to roll tight.
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Step 8: And roll...
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Step 9: Now grab the flap and pull it over the end of the roll.
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Step 10: Done! You should now have a wonderful tight roll.
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This is perfect for traveling because your Shirts will not fly around in your bag.

The biggest disadvantage that this technique brings with it, that you will not immediately recognize your items. Let’s say you have two white T-Shirts: one is printed and the other one plain basic. In this case, you might have to unwrap both if you want to see which one is which.

Some of you might have come across the KonMarie method.

However, I found the ranger roll more practical because it keeps everything very tight together.

The KonMarie method is basically just a nice way of folding clothes. It looks neat in the drawer but crumbles as soon as there is no tension that keeps the clothes together.

Because it’s also a folding technique, it will not prevent from having wrinkles.

Nevertheless, you can try both to see which one fits your style.

It's about sustainability


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Before closing up this article I want to quickly share my opinion why it is important that you optimize your wardrobe. Whether for traveling or for your daily usage.

We are living in a very fast moving and evermore connected world where big companies compete for customers every day and every minute. On a daily basis, we are unconciously
exposed to an average of 5000 ads. This is an insane number!

As a result, our expections are rising and we are getting more demanding. Big companies therefore compete in low prices to stay competitive.

This, however, creates more suffering for those who produce the goods that we buy because they also have to produce for lower prices in order to keep the business.

Many people are working under horrible conditions and are exposed to violence every day because of the fact that WE want to save money.

Additionally, we also produce more waste due to the bad habits that we develop over time. Buying cheap clothes for one time events that end up in the storage later is such a mundane behavior in todays society.

We do believe that giving these clothes to charity is a good thing, but truth is, the amount of clothes we give away cannot even be absorbed by charity.

The result? These clothes are shipped and stacked as mountains in some 3rd world country.

Therefore, with this article I would like to encourage you to be aware next time you go shopping.

I also have acknowledge, that I never paid attention to this problem, but hey, it’s never to late to learn.

If you want to dive deeper into this, here are some things you can do:

  1. Educate yourself about the terms “fast fashion” and “52 seasons”
  2. Watch the documentary : “The True Costs”
The True Costs Documentary Trailer
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