On Wooden Hangers & Deciding To Get Out Of The Weeds

Before we moved, I considered myself a minimalist.

Perhaps "aspiring minimalist" is more accurate, because I recently read a story about a woman who accumulated exactly one mason jar worth of garbage in an entire year and that will never ever be me.

In all seriousness: it’s easy to assume you don’t have that much stuff when your stuff is neatly organized in drawers and cabinets. But take away the drawers and cabinets and you’re left with ... a lot of things you didn’t realize you had. Nothing makes you face your literal stuff quite like moving into a home with half the storage  of your previous one.

My friend Sarah recently gave me 40 wooden hangers. She listed them on a Facebook resale site (for free!) and I greedily claimed every last one, ecstatic to replace the white plastic in my closet. I’ve wanted wooden hangers for as long as I can remember, but could never justify the expense (if I’m going to spend money on my closet, I’d rather have a new dress, you know?).


The first time I did a capsule wardrobe, I focused on the number: 36 items of clothing, and 9 pairs of shoes. That was 8 items more than the recommended 37, but it was the best I could do at the time (or so I believed). In my defense, I was also breastfeeding and regularly covered in spit-up, so it seemed fair that I’d receive a few extras to save on laundry.

That was three years ago, and I've kept a capsule wardrobe ever since.

As time progressed, I fell more and more in love with the overall concept and practice of maintaining a capsule wardrobe but less in love with the idea of keeping to a rigid number. Math aside, I know when my closet feels too full, and I know when it feels too scarce. However—having exactly 40 wooden hangers makes it easy to re-commit to an exact number, which is where I find myself this summer. 

A couple months ago I was lamenting to a friend how full life has felt lately. Full of good things, I should mention, but full nonetheless. I've been trying to find a better work-life balance, or perhaps just a work-life balance, and she offered a kind word of encouragement: 

"Sometimes getting out of the weeds is as simple as deciding to get out of the weeds."

Right there on the spot I promised myself that this summer, I would decide to get out of the weeds.

For me, my closet is a good place to start. Keeping a tightly edited wardrobe is less about the clothing and more about the gift of limited options. It's about less decisions, and more brain space. Less chaos, more beauty. Less clutter, more room. 

Here's to the right kind of less.
Here's to the right kind of more. 


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Ashlee Gadd

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother, writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. When she’s not dancing in the kitchen with her two boys, Ashlee loves curling up with a good book, lounging in the sunshine, and making friends on the Internet. She loves writing about everything from motherhood and marriage to friendship and faith.