‘Question. How can I be a minimalist with hobbies that require a ton of very specific equipment? Like backpacking and climbing?’ This was a DM I received on Instagram recently and as I used to have the same question, I felt it was worth writing an answer via a blog post so others could read it too.
My own question went something like ‘A capsule wardrobe is all well and good but what about all the stuff I need for horse riding and skiing?’ You see although I wanted to live with less there was no way I was ever going to give up my beloved hobbies – and I didn’t have to.
When I cut my wardrobe to the 32 items it currently stands at, I knew I’d need to tackle all the stuff I have for my hobbies too. It felt unfair to have to include my ski gear and riding breeches in my capsule wardrobe so I created mini capsules for these hobbies and decluttered all the equipment I didn’t use or need. I’m hoping that sharing what I’ve learnt along the way will be helpful for anyone else asking these questions.
You don’t need nearly as much as you think
The thing with hobbies (much the same as with everything else) is that we think we need so much more than we actually do. This is especially relevant when we buy more things/stuff thinking that this will help to make us better at said hobbie, sadly, the new saddle won’t make me a better rider. I ended up with so much stuff I never wore, knew how to use or even liked. Minimalism was the answer to this problem
Only keep the stuff you actually wear and use
On average we only use 20% of our wardrobes and hobby wardrobes are no exception. For a reality check, try putting all your hobby stuff in one place and when you’ve used it put it back in another. You’ll be left with a pile of stuff you don’t use and a pile of stuff you do. This will prove just how little you’re actually using. If you haven’t used it in a year, chances are you never will.
Avoid duplicates where you can
One ski jacket, one pair of riding breeches and one pair of riding boots. Avoiding those tempting duplicates can go a long way when it comes to keeping stuff to a minimum.
Buy less but better quality
Less but better is a fail safe recipe for keeping stuff to a minimum and making sure it lasts as long as possible. It’s a phrase that’s used over and over but there’s a good reason. The aforementioned one pair of riding breeches I own were purchased two years ago and are still going strong despite being worn every day. This is a much more cost effective approach and will take up less space too.
Try the ‘go without’ test
If you’re struggling with not knowing what to keep and what you can go without, try going without on a temporary basis. Put the things you’re unsure about into a box and put that box out of sight. If you need to get something out you can, but if it gets to 12 months and you haven’t needed the item, you know you can manage without. Top tip here; do NOT open the box after all that time. Old just in case feelings will stir and you’ll be left feeling confused. Just get rid!
Think multi-functional items
This is impossible for my horse riding clothes – they generally stink of horses and all the smells that go with them, but you’ll regularly find me wearing my ski base layers at home in the winter under my usual clothes. It’s a great idea to double up where possible and have multifunctional clothes. Wearing yoga pants as lounge pants is fine! It’s also OK to walk the dog wearing my gym trainers – don’t limit the use of your things.
Make sure everything goes together
Looking at your wardrobe as a whole instead of segregating outfits will make it all blend together. When I’m on the hunt for a new item, I’ve always got the rest of my wardrobe in the back of my mind. Will it go with everything? If the answer is no, I step away. The same applies to stuff for hobbies.
Stick to a simple colour palette
This will make my previous point easy peasy. Search minimalist wardrobe and monochrome will flood your screen. It doesn’t have to be monochrome, but sticking to a few complimentary colours will make life easier. It makes outfit curation much easier and those ‘does this go together?’ moments become non existent.
Have you got cupboards overflowing with clothes for your hobbies? Do you find it difficult to pare it all down to the essentials only? If I missed any tips you found useful, let me know in the comments below…
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