The Power of Ten for Your Minimal Wardrobe

How the Number Ten is my Go To Number for the Clothes in my Closet

In a previous post, I talked about the minimalist wardrobe strategy created by Courtney Carver called Project 333. She has a stellar book, of the same name, to go with it. I loved the book and it helped me focus on keeping what I wore (and eliminating what I wasn't) and getting rid of the excess.

A Painting Number 10

Project 333 is an incredible concept that allows (maybe forces) us to get to the root of what we love and hone in on just that: eradicating the excess to live a simple and joyful life.

Having a minimalist closet is enjoyable, beautiful, and effortlessly simple but mostly, it's a way to take stress off our shoulders that was never intended to be there. 

The truth is, we don't need as many choices as we think we do.

But this Herculean effort at a Spartan closet isn't for me. While I am a minimalist,  I can't do Project 333 because I need more than what it offers as a limit.

33 items for every three months sounds like torture. This isn't to say the concept isn't beautiful. I understand the creation and why it has tremendous appeal. Downsizing to bare bones is overwhelmingly freeing.

But, for me as a clothes lover, 33 items sounds horrendous.

And minimalism isn't intended to be torturous. It's supposed to be helpful! 

Since we all do minimalism at varying degrees, which is how it should be - we're all different -  I've found that to have a minimal but happy closet I need a little bit more. And it turns out that "a little bit more" comes in tens.

My closet is separated into sections of tens. Meaning, I have ten pairs of jeans, ten heavy long-sleeve tops, ten lightweight long-sleeve tops, ten short sleeves, ten dresses, ten jackets, etc.

Here's why ten works for me and why it may be just what you need for your closet too.

Ten Gives Me Freedom

Sometimes, I only wear one pair of jeans (out of the ten) once a week. And I wear the rest way more often. But being able to keep that lesser-worn pair allows me to feel like I'm not giving up something I love. I don't have to sacrifice those jeans because they get worn the least. Clothing is necessary, but it should also make us feel amazing. I love and wear all ten pairs of my jeans even if some get a little more worn than others. 

Ten Gives Me Options

While I could easily only wear seven short sleeves this summer - one for every day of the week - what if I could have a few more? What if I could add a few more options ("toptions," if you will) to add to my repertoire? That's what ten short-sleeved tops are for. I have an extra one for more formal days, and I have a couple more for variety. Variety is the spice of life, after all. Why not have fun with your options? Ten allows me to keep things pared down but also have a little fun.

Ten Gives Me Flexibility 

While the goal of minimalism is to get rid of the things that never get worn, sometimes, I feel like owning an item or two allows me the flexibility that a spartan closet doesn't offer. I have a few sweaters that are for winter and I have a few sweaters that are lighter weight and great for spring and fall. Even though I tend to not wear the latter as often as the former, I like the flexibility I have with its availability. 

If it's cold in the morning, but I know it will warm up later, I don't want to bring the heavy-duty wool sweater that I'd only wear in winter. I'd rather bring the lightweight cardigan I can shed when it gets warm, and then put it back on when the cold returns. That's the flexibility I wouldn't have available if I'd gotten rid of them because I don't wear them much.

While I tout ten items for each category of clothing, there are a few outliers to this plan. I only have five skirts. I don't need ten, and probably won't, so it's going to stay at five.

I have five pairs of (non-denim) pants or trousers. It will probably stay in that range, as well. Denim is my daily wear, so that's where the bulk of my pants lie.

My shoes are in the sky-high 25-27 range. I love shoes like I love coffee and I can tell you with certainty that I will always own that many. I used to have over 60 pairs of shoes (yeah, I love shoes), so paring down to 25 has been a challenge, but a great challenge.

No, the 25 pairs don't fit into the Power of 10 section, but I don't care. This is what works for me, I've minimized my shoes, and I'm calling it good. As for accessories, keep what you love and wear, and donate the rest. I love belts and most of them are vintage. I own about 20 belts, but I wear them all, so I don't feel bad holding onto them. Plus, I love wearing them. 

So the main theme of my closet is the Power of Ten, but outliers happen.

Maybe your closet is the power of seven? I actually thought that's where I was headed. The number seven is a perfect number after all. But, as I pared down to what I love over the years, I'm finding ten is my magic number and one that gives me flexibility, freedom, and options.

It also keeps my love for clothing both attainable and in check. 

Minimalism is an individual endeavor. What works for one, may not work for another. And it's alright! The goal is to minimize what you don't use or wear, get rid of the excess, and only keep what you love.

For my closet, ten items per clothing category is a perfect ten.

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