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  • Apol Lejano duffel bagPhoto from Qamay

    I own about 16 dresses, 20 tops, three skirts, 10 house dresses, and eight pairs of shorts. That makes up my entire wardrobe along with underwear and some scarves. 

    Everything fits in a medium-sized duffel bag similar to what you see above. Dimensions: 19.5 x 10.5 X 10 inches. Everything can go right in there. Unpacked, my clothes fill up about half my closet (see below). 

    A few years ago I figured out that, contrary to what I thought in my 20s, happiness cannot be found in a closet bursting with clothes. It clicked in my head when I moved from the Philippines to France in my early 30s. Deciding what to put in my suitcases for the big move forced me to decide to choose what clothes I still liked and what was clutter. In today’s lingo, I Konmaried it!

    After I settled into my new home, I decided to keep things sparse for a while. I liked how light it felt. I didn’t have to spend too much time anymore deciding what to wear. There just weren’t too many choices. And with all the ill-fitting and uncomfortable clothes I gave away, I actually liked everything I owned for once. I’ve since kept it that way.

    How do I keep my wardrobe sparse? One big thing is I do not go to malls if I can help it. I know that mall designers are way smarter than I am. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll let me leave a commercial complex without me buying something. The only way out of the trap is to never go in.

    Apol Lejano closetPhoto courtesy of the author


    When I do shop, it’s to get something that I need. I make a mental list. Then I go directly to the store that I know carries those kinds of items. I rarely window-shop. I’m boring that way, I know. I like dresses because they save me from having to mix and match. I recycle, and I reuse a lot. I cut up dresses that don’t suit me anymore, remake them into something else. I sew, so if there’s a torn hem, I repair it. I replace missing buttons. I darn holes. I use patches. I have a lot of black, so things that fade, I dye back to black.

    Like many of you, I’ve read up on the environmental and human costs of fast fashion. I’m glad to be doing my bit not to add to the whole mess, but the biggest reason I’m doing this is more self-serving. I adore the simplicity!

    Dressing up never takes more than a few minutes now. This is an important thing for me because I do many things. I have a house to run, a marriage to nurture, a daughter to raise, a tech job I adore, and a business that I am trying to grow. I’d really rather be devoting my time to any of these more fulfilling aspects of life than trying to figure out which pants go with which top!

    Apol Massebieau blogs about minimalism and the DIY life at La Pomme LivingShe runs La Pomme, which hand-makes toys and DIY kits for kids. She is currently based in the Philippines and lives with her husband Pierre and 6-year-old daughter Lilou. 

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