Scarcity vs. Sacrifice & (The One Week Closet Experiment) ~ Guest Post by Mohamed Tohami

We live in a world ruled by excessive consumerism.

Everyday we receive hundreds of messages that try to make us feel incomplete. They try to sell us the idea that we don’t have enough stuff, so that we go buy more stuff to fill the void and be happy.

These messages use the influence of scarcity to trigger your pains and fears.

The question is: how can you protect yourself from the negative influence of the scarcity mentality.

The answer lies in your ability to sacrifice.

When you make a small sacrifice by getting rid of everything that doesn’t matter, by eliminating the unnecessary and by decluttering your environment, only then simplicity will take over and you’ll experience a major difference in your life.

When you let go of the clutter, you realize that you already have enough and that your soul enjoys more and breathes freely in the new open space you’ve created.

The belief that you already have enough is the essence of minimalism.

“Minimalism is realizing that what I already have is enough, and that adding clutter to the pile won’t make it any better. And chasing a dream of more minimalism is, ironically, not what I’m after either.” – Sarah Peck

When you sacrifice the things you think you need, but never actually use, you will discover and connect with what you truly need, use and like.

There is a very interesting experiment that I’m currently doing and would like to invite you to do it with me. I call it The One Week Closet Experiment. I learned about the idea from Dave Bruno’s book The 100 Thing Challenge.

Here’s how to do this experiment:

  1. Open your closet and pick up enough clothes for one week.
  2. Store these one week clothes in a separate section in your closet.
  3. Over the next week or two, only wear from the items in this section.
  4. Share your conclusions in the comments below.

I promise you’ll be hugely surprised by what you’re going to do with the rest of your clothes!

If you’re joining this experiment, please leave a comment now to let me know you’re in.

“I think we have to be not so afraid of scarcity. We have to be willing to give away all things.” – Sharon Stone

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Bio: In his blog,  Midway Simplicity, Mohamed Tohami shares mainstream simple living ideas that are not too harsh for your lifestyle.Visit his blog now to grab your free copy of “The 30-Day Simplicity Challenge” ebook.

Today’s Mini Mission

There is usually at least one make-up item among the others that we once thought suited our pearticular kind of beauty but now wonder where we got that idea. If you have such an item but haven’t had the sense to throw it away yet, today is the day.

Today’s Declutter Item

One more kitchen item that wasn’t much loved or much used.

Cane Basket

Eco Tip Of The Day

If you have take-away coffee on a daily or regular basis take your own reusable cup.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast


Continue reading with these posts:

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  • Kids and clutter ~ A guest post by Andréia I am a mother. I have two small children and, as all mothers will agree, I have been constantly aware how much our kids are brainwashed to want stuff. It is hard that even in school they […]
  • Day 111 Single function gadgets The word gadget alone conjures up images of items with more of a novelty factor than any real practical use and for the purpose of this post it is meant to do so. How many things on your […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. Not in on the clothing thing. I do laundry once every two weeks, and during the summer literally sweat through anything I wear (no ac in the home or office, and I have a REALLY fast metabolism-I’m warm in the winter). I do wear nearly everything I own on a regular basis, and have worn everything hanging in my closet in the last year (except for my funeral dress, thank goodness).

    Makeup on the other hand I don’t have too much of, but I am using up shampoo bottles from past vacations, so it’s close enough in my book. Next will be lotions.

    Actually, thinking more about clothing, I can name literally every article of clothing I have (it’s a long list) without looking in my closet. I also know which ones are getting close to wearing out and going away, and I don’t plan on replacing them until the next free clothing swap hits my area, and even then there is only one thing I really want to replace (A really comfortable skirt that can be thrown into my daily wear stuff – I own a few for work, but only one casual one and it’s wearing out).

    • You’re OK then. This is the indication “I do wear nearly everything I own on a regular basis”. May be you can apply the same concept to declutter other stuff.

  2. This blog is such an inspiration to me. I don’t follow all the mini-missions exactly but they inspire me toward my own. Each person and family are different so the application of principles taught here would be different. I have lived through scarcity when our expenses and debt were high and my husband lost his job. Having extra “clutter” was a huge blessing to us. As things wore out I could replace them from the extra, especially clothing for growing children. Having a huge stash of fabric has been a blessing to me as I can make clothing, costumes, gifts, home decor, curtains and quilts with my bounty, most of which came into my life free or at very low cost. For some this would be clutter, but for me it has been a lifesaver. I know the benefits of decluttering and put it into practice daily. I appreciate all the different viewpoints here and learn something new each week. I’m grateful for all the sharing and encouragement. Keep up the good work.

    • Rozann,
      Remember that the definition of clutter is very personal. For me, it has always been things that I don’t find useful or beautiful in some way…and, as the years go by, those things will change ie; when my daughter was younger, I used to make chocolate truffles, candy and suckers for every holiday. She is 30 now. Other, than two traditional truffle molds which I still use, the rest went to the thrift store years ago for someone else to enjoy. Out with the old if it is not being used any longer. I would not consider recycling the fabric or buttons etc. from clothing you don’t wear into other projects, clutter, unless you have a storage unit filled to the brim with them.

    • Thanks for the kind words Rozann. Midway Simplicity means that you apply what is suitable for your ideal lifestyle. You’re not obliged to declutter any item that you believe is useful for you.

  3. Mohamed, this is a good post. Funny you should mention your closet challenge. I did this a while back. I now have 13 items of clothing in my summer collection. I am on disability so I do not work so that keeps my amount a little lower than it could be. I have a very simple wardrobe that covers everything I need.

  4. Great post – I’m feeling quite pleased with myself for managing to get my clothes in hand at the moment but I have done this sort of thing before. It’s like when you go on a 3 week trip and come home and feel totally overwhelmed by all the stuff you didn’t miss (ie just about all of it- perhaps my bed and I’m probably very glad to see my shower and washing machine, lol). Or when you pack up your life and head off for 3 months or longer and come home and unpack your life out of the cupboard and find so much you had forgotten about. It’s a good reality check.
    It’s always good to have a reminder to ignore the messages of incompleteness and give ourselves permission to realise we have plenty.

  5. I had to start my wardrobe (and my daughter’s and my husband’s) literally from zero. The first week I wore my dad’s fleece pants exclusively. LOL!
    I have been wearing
    2 pairs of clam diggers
    1 pair of cropped sweatpants
    1 pair of leggings (found here, they were my mom’s and they are quite worn)
    3 short sleeve tops
    4 tank tops
    1 pair of ballet flats
    1 pair of wellingtons
    1 hooded sweat
    1 tunic dress

    for months now. Oh, and there is one long dress that I wore to go to two weddings.

    For colder weather I have

    1 pair of jeans
    1 pair of black stretchy wool pants
    1 pair of sweat pants
    5 long sleeve jersey tops
    2 cardigans (found in the closet here in my childhood home, I think one used to be my brother’s and one mom’s)
    1 jacket
    1 pair of sneakers (free)

    Plus two pajamas.

    Oh and two bras, 5 pairs of panties and 4 pairs of socks 🙂
    I think that’s all. 33 items if you bunch up the undies as one and socks as one.

    I will need winter boots and a jacket and long undies fore the winter.

    I always loved the idea of a capsule wardrobe, and it really is great!

    • I also love the idea of one, but I can’t manage it because I go through clothes like none other (sweat, not wearing out). So while I own 8 different short sleeve shirts that are nearly identical fit, but different designs, I treat them all the same. Same with the pairs of shorts (Black, dark brown, three different tan, two denim, two lightweight camping ones, and olive). They all go with everything else (except one denim shirt that I don’t wear with denim shorts). I do love the variety, as I go through all I own, but I wish it wasn’t so much. Since I did laundry two days ago, I’ve sweated through five pairs of undies, a bra, three shirts, and two pairs of shorts. I’d be doing laundry twice a week or more if I only owned what you did 😛

      Fortunately, I stick with lightweight stuff, so laundry every two weeks is still only a load or two (very full), but contains almost everything I own (except jeans and leggings in summer, and shorts in winter).

    • You definitely have a capsule wardrobe. That’s an interesting term. Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience in details. This is inspiring!

    • I was hoping to find this list- I read your blog and was so worried for you and Indiana ( I didn’t think your husband was showing symptoms). I’ve tried to comment on your blog but couldn’t- I love your pictures and writing- some of your most profound writing has come after your new life direction and has featured heavily in my new daily routines.

  6. This is interesting only because after meeting colleen on Tuesday, and having to entertain myself whilst the plumber was at home (and I’d run out of DVDs!), i listed everything hanging and folded in my wardrobe (except PJs and gym gear for some reason). I felt so good doing this, because it helped confirm what I know I have, and remind me when I’d worn things. There’s far more than Cat’s Meow’s list, or 33 items. But from the start of the next month, I’m considering a ‘tally’ system, to see how often things are being worn. Some items, like singlets/tank tops get a daily beating, going under the work shirt or any shirt I wear, to keep me warm… So I’m not in, not in the why prescribed, but interested to see how people go!

    • It’s very relieving when we know what we have. It’s joyful. It is better if you pick up what you think is enough for one week, isolate it, wear it and then monitor. This is easier than monitoring the whole closet.

  7. I believe I could get by in winter for a week with:
    1 pair of jeans
    1 pair of other pants
    3 singlet tops
    1 jumper
    3 pairs of undies
    2 bras
    2 pairs socks
    sneakers
    slippers

    so 15 things all up. This is because I wash every day with 5 people in the house, I am a SAHM so don’t need a work wardrobe and we have a reasonable mild winter here. Hmmmm food for thought there.

    I remember posting at the end of last winter that I hadn’t worn a 3/4 sleeve shirt at all that I normally love and would see if I wore it this winter, well I think I wore it once so obviously my tastes have changed and it is going into the Op shop bag.

  8. Oh the irony – I bought 3 tops on the way to work this morning. BUT I started Project 333 back in April and just kept it going. I actually eliminated/sold clothes from the 33 at the halfway point because I realised I still wasn’t going to wear them, so I’m well under my 33 items.

    We’re starting to get some warmer weather (I might be being a little bit hopeful) and I need some items that can be worn over long sleeve tees and then later as tops by themselves, I’d had my eye on these tops for about a month and today was 25% off day. I’ve had similar-ish tops before and I wore those to death so I have high hopes for these.

    • Great! I am a big fan of Courtney Carver. Do you recommend that I join her next Project333 challenge?

      • Hi Mohamed – up to you whether you sign up for Project 333 as you probably already live by the principles. I’d already gotten my wardrobe down to a significant reduction from previous when it was suggested to me and I just couldn’t see how one could live within such a reduced amount, but thought what the heck, I can always go and get clothes back out if I need to. I even gave myself out clauses such as ‘I’ll review at the end of month one’ etc etc. But it was easy and didn’t look back, and in the end was getting rid of items from my 33 because I still wasn’t wearing them even when I had such a reduced number of clothes.

  9. Colleens post always call me to action.

    Mohamed’s posts call me to ponder.

    Between the two of you it’s a wonder a girl can get anything else done!
    Sheesh!;)

    • It’s amazing how you see the difference between my style and Colleen’s. You’re right, I write more to make people ponder and reflect. I hope you get the most out of the two styles 🙂

  10. Oh well, I’m not in either. It’s one of the estimatedly 4-5 weeks in a year when it’s actually warm enough to wear shorts and sleeveless shirts or summerdresses. I’ll go back to wardrobe planning when it’s cool and rainy again.

    • Yes! Finally some good weather over here!
      So definitely no wardrobe challenge at this unusual time of the year for me either. However it’s a good time to reassess the clothes only worn in summer (it’s not that much, shirts, tanks and cardigans have to do their duty year round). Some things are comfortable/look good if you try them on during a decluttering session – but not anymore when actually worn in the weather they are intended for. So it’s time for some fine tuning.

    • You can plan for both seasons. You can have a shelf for warm weather and another one for cold weather.

  11. This is interesting. My husband and I have been away for nearly two months, summer and winter. I took 7 light tops, 4 pairs pants, 1 cardigan, 1 fleece jacket, 3 pairs of shoes and a little underwear. While we were in Hawaii I bought a cotton Aloha sundress which I had planned. Perfectly happy and in fact only wore the one t shirt I had twice (not very flattering). Was once VERY cold and was given a lovely scarf!

    What freedom, I don’t miss anything! More decluttering to do when we get home in 6 days!

  12. Mohamed, this idea scares me (in a good way…because it’s a challenge). I am glad you didn’t specify a certain amount of clothes—I have a full time job where I must wear “business casual” but definitely prefer jeans/shorts/yoga pants for non-work.

    I’m in.
    You didn’t ask us to do this permanently, just for one week. It’ll be interesting to see after that one week what I decide I can do without.

  13. While I was away for the weekend and continuing to think about this post, I made a list of all my footwear – eeek – 34 pairs. (and that’s after I’ve been removing the odd pair every now and then as well as following the one in/one out rule). I do a lot of different activities which ‘requires’ lots of different specialist kit but I’m still disgusted at the number – my middle name must be Imelda. I’m still at the stage of being able to justify each pair (on its own – kind of – the posh wedding shoes (2 pairs) really should go – i just haven’t managed it yet cos i’ve still got the dresses they go with too – oh no – what a confession – I’m cringing just typing this – they are both sentimental and aspirational clutter) so I think I will stick with the natural progression decluttering process – there are a few pairs on their way out which will not be replaced. (I’m such a cop out, lol)..

    • I’m right there with you on shoes. However, at my size of foot (let’s just call it huge) it’s hard to get rid of any, lest I need it again. I have 26 pairs I’ve accumulated, most for free or cheap. I should really get rid of some of the sandals that hurt my feet… thanks for the inspiration! I’m letting most of mine naturally declutter, as I tend to pick one pair and wear it for months at a time with scarcely a glance at other pairs. The heels are aspirational to some extent, but when I need to look nice, I like having a variety (and I do pick a variety). Hmmm… food for thought.