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Minimalist Wardrobe: Yearly Refresh


“How often do you refresh your minimalist wardrobe and what does that look like for you?”

It’s one of the most common questions I receive from people on the other side of the minimalist wardrobe transition, so I’m bringing you along as I move through my yearly refresh.


It feels most natural to us to flow in sync with the rhythms of nature. If you’ve taken the Bucket System class, you know I hold collaboration sessions with each child as we transition into each new season around responsibilities, learning, experiences, and challenges. If you’ve read Lighten the Mental Load, you know my husband and I connect on a date once a season around everything from housework to finances to dreams. And by mid November, the Autumn leaves rain down like confetti in gleeful celebration of the day of my birth (at least that’s how I choose to feel it). This gift-giving holiday generously aligns with the transition into winter to extend the perfect invitation for a wardrobe refresh.


Minimalism is all about moving from consumerism to intentionality, so if I’m devoting resources (time, energy, space, money) to something, I’m going to be clear on my why.

1 Clothes wear out

My wardrobe is designed around weekly laundering. This basically means that I wear each staple once a week and wash them once a week. With frequent wearing and washing, fabrics break down. Higher quality investment staples will last longer than fast fashion (and can often be mended) but clothes wear out when they’re being fully utilized and that’s okay.

2 I evolve

My body and style both evolve over time. I embrace this natural evolution as I gain years, experience, and wisdom. I might need a new size or I might fall for a new color. When your wardrobe is highly attuned to who you are, there will be some evolution. Part of the value of decluttering your closet and designing a wardrobe for who you are today is that you release your attachment to who you used to be in favor of radical acceptance, love, and celebration of who you are.

3 My life evolves

My wardrobe needs change over time as I move into new seasons of life. Sun dresses that served me well in San Diego wouldn’t necessarily serve me well in the PNW. Shirts that served me well while nursing on cue wouldn’t necessarily serve me well after my babes have self weaned. My wardrobe is one way I honor the present season and embrace the sometimes emotional changes.

4 Weather changes

Metaphorical seasons of life change but so do the literal seasons. I don’t pack away out of season clothing as I’ll still grab a beanie and jacket for a late night walk on the beach in the summer or wear a tank top under a flannel in the winter. Plus, I’m siding with Marie Kondo here and saying that clothes packed away are forgotten. But I do rotate the geography of my closet to keep the things I use often most easily accessible.


These are the adjustments I actually made to my wardrobe during this winter refresh:

1 I replaced a couple of my staple v-neck t-shirts that had worn holes (birthday gift from my sister).

2 I replaced a couple worn out flannels with new tunic length flannels that better compliment my realized love for leggings. I also replaced my blazer that was too small with a second hand version of the same thing sized up (birthday gift from my mom).

3 I added a couple dressy white shirts as my youngest has moved into more independence and I’m able to participate in more professional events (birthday gift from my husband). I also moved a couple short-sleeved sweatshirt dresses to my loungewear drawer after realizing I wasn’t wearing them much out in the world but they were exactly what I needed for around the house.

4 I moved my shorts to the top of the closet and shuffled a few drawers (moving my winter drawer up).

How Many

Notice that I follow a loose one in – one out rule. If I’m inviting a new piece in, it’s because a seat has opened up with the exit of another piece. 2 tees came in, 2 tees went out. 1 blazer came in, 1 blazer went out. If 4 pairs of your underwear have frayed and the replacement package contains 6, then toss the 4 and bring in the 6. You don’t have to be militant about it (I’m not going to keep a shredded pair of underwear that got stuck in the washing machine just because I don’t yet have a replacement to take their place), but keep this balance in mind.


If you want to move into your very own curated closet, get the Minimalist Wardrobe class, which with some annual refreshing, can evolve with you throughout the rest of your life.

  1. Deney Vale says:

    Hi Rachel, I’m actually wondering what boots those are in your wardrobe?

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I work from an island in the Pacific Northwest, where I live wild and free in connection with my hilarious husband and three growing sailors in our fixer upper on the beach. I authentically live this healing work out loud raising my own neurodivergent family (inner child included) and draw on my decades of education and experience (I've done all the nerdy work so you don't have to) to guide a revolution of overwhelmed parents just like you to feeling at peace within yourself, consciously connected with your children, embraced by a supportive community, and enjoying a values-aligned life you love.

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I'm Rachel Rainbolt

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