Vegan Sikh Geek

My Month Without Clothing Choice

October 02, 2013

Interested in my next experiment but don’t want to read about the last one? Skip ahead.

At the end of August, I took most of my clothes out of the closet and put them in a suitcase. I left the plain clothes and made a list of what kinds of clothes I would wear to different kinds of events. Gone were the never-worn, hardly-worn and well-worn clothes without discrimination and left were jeans, white t-shirts and black t-shirts to constitute my daily wear along with a couple of hoodies to keep me warm on chilly days. I threw in a sweater or two for wearing to dinners and lunches and I had myself a complete wardrobe for daily life. I kept a suit and a white button-up shirt in case I was invited to a western wedding (no such luck) and traditional Punjabi and Sikh clothing for relevant occasions.

I have to say that the month was fantastic. I loved having next to no options for what to wear and a closet that had space to breathe. I can now literally cheer myself up by looking at my closet and seeing the empty space. I’m blessed to have the option to have lots of clothing, but the freedom from the clutter is a breath of fresh air. Needless to say, I plan to continue the habit. Out of the suitcase, I did pull out two long-sleeve shirts for the winter months. I also felt obligated to pull one hardly-worn half-sleeve button shirt my wife, Arshdeep Kaur, bought me not long before I started the experiment so she wouldn’t have a breakdown.

For those wondering, here is a list of what’s going to charity:

Full-sleeve button shirts - 8
T-shirts - 26
Polo shirts - 3
Full-sleeve shirts - 5
Jackets/sweaters - 3
Sweater vest - 1
Half sleeve button shirts - 4
Khaki pants - 2

This excludes the following clothing, which was simply in bad shape and needed to be gotten rid of:

T-shirts - 6
Sweaters - 1
Jeans - 1
Sweatpants - 1

Looking at October, I’m continuing on the track of minimalism where I’m cutting out clutter. I have a habit of taking things out of place for use and not putting them back. I convince myself that I’ll get to it later, only to find the items becoming part of the new space they occupy, taking on new roles as shelves or decor. There are also things in the house that don’t get used. They take up space and get in the way of cleaning and/or when trying to access something else. For October, the rule is that anything that comes in the hand must find its way back to its home either right away or by the end of the day if time does not allow. Things which aren’t used that are touched by the hand must be recycled, thrown out, sold or given away. Existing clutter will also receive attention: every day, at least one piece of clutter must be cleared. The idea is that it’s easy to make the excuse that there’s not enough time to clean the entire house, but a single item can be picked up any time.

While last month was painful for Arshdeep Kaur, I have a feeling she’s going to enjoy this month quite a lot.

Navdeep Singh

Written by Navdeep Singh. His work is on GitHub. He's also on LinkedIn.