First published on Mouthy Money.
There just aren’t enough hours in the day – we say it all the time. I’ve started looking at areas of my life where I waste time and have searched for ways to claw back some of those all important hours, minutes, seconds. Wearing similar clothes every day eliminates a choice. I don’t have to search through my drawer unit for a particular t-shirt, or pick between two or three pairs of trousers. I know what I like. I know what’s comfortable, what my size is in certain shops and what lets me easily live my day. It doesn’t just save a few minutes in the morning, there are other benefits to a ‘capsule wardrobe’.
We make so many decisions every day and, because of that, sometimes decision fatigue comes into play. Decision fatigue is the idea that the more decisions you make, the more they deteriorate in quality – which is far from ideal. Removing just one decision from our morning routine (like choosing clothing) frees up our mental capacity to deal with others more effectively. Barrack Obama says ‘I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.’ Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a similar outlook on clothing, instead keeping his decision making fresh for what actually matters.
Life becomes less stressful if you know what you’re going to wear – you don’t question your attire ‘Is this too informal?’, ‘Is this colour too bright?’ Eliminate some of that morning stress.
I also get stressed when I go clothes shopping – It’s an in-joke between my wife and me that when I need jeans I go by myself as I’m a real pain. I hate it. Not only is it stressful, but it takes so much time. So, I have figured out what jeans I like and what size I need, so that I can buy them either online or easily when I’m at the shops. Often I buy a couple of pairs at a time and pop one away for when I need a new pair. Less stress, less time taken. Done.
Then there is the money aspect. Why do we buy into trends? Ones that are dreamt up by the people who are ultimately going to benefit from us spending our money on said trends? As a nation, most of our clothes purchases aren’t based on need at all, they’re based on want, and I don’t want overflowing drawers in my house. We’re a society with too many possessions in the first place. Think about the cost of having ‘up to date’ wardrobes and the time taken returning unwanted goods (if we return them at all!). If we know what we like, what works for us and what combinations pair together, we can buy in bulk. I have started buying trainers in bulk. They were cheaper online, but I refused to pay money for delivery so, to get free delivery, I bought four pairs. They were the same make of shoes – ones I liked and knew would fit me. Sure, you may need to pay out more in the first place, but you can then keep an eye out for what you want in the sale. Buy once a year, or when you need to replace items, and then enjoy living.
I haven’t gone the whole way of having a wardrobe full of the same pairs of trousers or a drawer with 10 identical t-shirts – that’s probably a bit too ‘clean’ for me. I like a little bit of variation in my style, but do enjoy not having to really decide what to wear every day. I grab the jeans, the t-shirt at the top of the pile and pop a hoodie on to keep warm. It gives me time to dedicate to other areas of my life. Some folk take hours to get ready every morning. Whilst there are people, some extremely successful people, who wear the same outfit everyday. Good on them. It’s a way to stop stress, save money and increase productivity. I think we could all probably learn something from that.