--I loved the experience of traveling with only what fit in my modest backpack. It helped that our destination was warm + lightweight fabrics packed small...but I loved the few things I had to wear + the lack of decision making involved in getting ready each day. I took only my favorite things + wore them instead of trying to keep them from harm. Both of my girls came home surprised that they hadn't worn lots of what they brought. They chose to wear the same few, favorite things over + over. I did too. I repeatedly wore the same short jumpsuit I'd worn most days at home, but layered it in different ways. A trip can be a great time to see how just a few pieces can be enough.
--My journey towards "enough" started in earnest with my monthly wardrobes. I was able to see how 15 pieces or so could be enough...how to choose well...what I liked to wear...and what I was happy to wear over + over. The monthly format allowed me to switch out one or two pieces at a time for variety + climate. These modest, yet adequate, stacks helped me know that I would be ok (+ could be happy) with less. I realized what pieces I only wore a couple of times per year. I learned what only worked during certain weather that almost never showed up...and that when it did, I'd probably rather wear something else. The practice let me see what pieces were most + least versatile for my preferences, circumstances + climate.
--At the end of each season, and before I move on to the next...I take notes on what was worn the most, favorite outfit formulas, what I like to wear at home, at work/school, special occasions (+ what ones happened). I make a list of all of the pieces in that seasonal wardrobe...let the pieces that did not earn their places go (responsibly)...and make a maybe-for-next-year list (with reasons). This process of reflection helps me get to know what I really need + wear. I find these notes very helpful in providing direction for my shopping + helping me not to overconsume the following year. I've realized that otherwise I overestimate how many items I will need...still.
--A list of clothing categories (sweaters, tees, pants...) along with each + every one of my pieces listed accordingly helps me to see how much I have. Looking at this list, there is no denying just how many things I have...and it's easy to see where I may have not only enough...but excess. From here, I think about how many pieces in each category might be enough...and I can take appropriate action. This may involve testing out my guesses by packing a few things away for a period of time before letting them go responsibly.
--One good way to think through what we need is to write down all of the circumstances we find ourselves in...work/school, after work/school, weekends, parties, formal events, snow shovelling, exercising, etc. This can help us to keep what we really do need (one multifunctional pair of gloves...not three pairs)...and not to get rid of things that we wish we didn't need + don't really bring us joy (snow boots).
--I find it useful to consider "enough" in terms of bare necessity...like what if we lost everything + we had to start over. What would I absolutely need to be appropriate + warm? This list doesn't mean I can't have more than that, but does help me to accept that I have everything I need. When I can make + look at this list, it is even easier to see that I do have "enough"...and I will most likely be able to have enough in the future. I can let the scarcity mindset go.
--After learning from the monthly wardrobes for a year, I stepped back to take a look at my wardrobe as a whole. I could tackle concepts like: maybe I don't need the perfect dress for a summer wedding + the perfect ensemble for a winter holiday party...maybe the same thing could work for both (+ more).
I can't overstate the fact that none of these practices focuses on shopping. Finding "enough" is about taming our consumption...the demand for resources to be grown, sprayed, extracted, dyed, manufactured, transported...purely for our consumption. Finding "enough" is about decreasing our disposal of partially used goods, goods that may be transported across the globe to clog other country's economies...goods that demand more + more landfill space...goods that will exist on our planet far longer than their usefulness merited.
It is possible that through these exercises a need might be revealed, but in most cases we will find that we already have more than enough. When our goal is to rightly value farmers, garment workers + the environment, we endeavor to step away from consuming and to fully embrace + use what we already have. When we assemble monthly or seasonal wardrobes, we are shopping from our own closets. When we make our list of necessities, we can pull these items from what we already have. We are looking to expose "enough" + internalize it. We are looking to find + confidently walk forward in the enlightened, exuberant, liberating joy of enough!