Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Posts Tagged clothes

My Minimal Wardrobe

As of late there has been many articles about how Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama all keep a very minimal wardrobe; I was also glad to see a few articles about how women could achieve this too.  A minimal wardrobe is, in my opinion, easier socially for men to achieve than women, but certainly possible and many do.

There are many reasons to have a minimal wardrobe, for me its about saving time and reducing decisions.  Studies have been done that show the more decisions we make, the worse we become at making good judgements and the more it wears on us.  So things like “what shirt should I wear today” can actually impact our abilities later to make the right call on critical decisions later in the day.

So here is my wardrobe:

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This is almost everything for when I’m traveling, when I’m at home its identical, but instead of 7 days of clothes, I have a total of 1o days.  The only thing not shown here is one jacket, a pair of dress socks, a button down shirt, and a pair of dress slacks.  I dress up once a year, so I keep those items in a garment bag in a hard to reach storage space.

  1. 7 charcoal grey short sleeve shirts
  2. 7 white undershirts
  3. 7 pairs of socks
  4. 7 pairs of underwear
  5. 2 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 winter hat
  6. 1 blue long sleeve shirt
  7. 1 workout shirt, 1 pair basket ball shorts
  8. 1 shirt to sleep in, 1 pair of flannel sleep pants

This has been a really great setup for me because I can just reach into the specific drawer and without looking, grab what I need in a flash.  The shirts I get are very comfortable, they are plain so they don’t have graphics or logos, and they aren’t too expensive.  At worst they cost me $10 new, sometimes I can get them on sale for a little at $1.50 from Khols.

Other things to note are I have all the same socks.  This means I don’t have to pair them during laundry, I know I can grab two socks and they’ll match.  For shoes I have one pair of sneakers, one pair of hiking boots, and one pair of dress shoes.

I’ve also have washed these clothes individually with hot water and a “color catcher” sheet, this let me remove any dye that might bleed into the whites.  So now when I do laundry, I can do it all in one batch.  Once or twice a year I’ll run an all white batch and bleach it heavily to keep the whites, white.

When I am traveling, I use packing cubes which keeps things neater and makes it easier to find things.  They’re really just square/rectangle mesh bags that you sort into them.

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I travel a good bit of the year so having this translate to a easy pack is important.  The plain shirts and jeans help me blend in a little bit better as a local versus an American tourist.  The packing cubes I use are made by ebags.  I’ve heard good things about Eagle Creek too.  My suitcase is an Osprey Porter 65, which is suitcase that has pull out shoulder straps to become a backpack.  I like it because instead of being top loading like a backpack, it opens up on the front panel so when you put it on the ground, it fully opens and things are very accessible.  The backpack straps also tuck in so they are out of the way so that when in the airport, the straps don’t get caught in rollers etc.

 

 

Building My Closet

One thing I talk about a lot is taking care to design your storage in your tiny house very carefully.  Making your storage work for you is very important because in such a small space, to not have an ideal setup for you can make things tough.

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My initial drawing of my closet plan.

When I first approached designing my main closet, I knew that I’d be storing mainly clothing, a few containers of office items and toiletry items.  So with this in mind I knew that the bulk of the space should be dedicated to clothes.  Not only should it be dedicated to clothes, but designed to suit the way I store my clothes.

I have written about my dislike for clothes in general, obviously I need something to wear, but trends, fashions and shopping is something I could do without.  For me I don’t like anything that needs to be hung.  I basically have one jacket, one suit, and one button down dress shirt.  I measured how much this takes up and it only needed 4 inches of hanging rod, I added 2 inches for good measure and that’s all I dedicated to hanging items.  I much prefer to have things stacked or piled if it won’t wrinkle too bad.  So for that me that meant drawers.

I needed one drawer for socks and underwear, one drawer for shirts, one drawer for pants and shorts and another for other miscellaneous items.   I then needed a single drawer that was over sized for my dirty laundry until laundry day.  This totaled 5 drawers in total, with one being much larger than the others.

So here is a video which in the beginning shows of my closet space in its raw form.

From there I built the outside walls and the main interior wall out of 3/4″ birch ply.  Right now its in a raw form, I will later face it out with 1×2 trim parts.  After that I decided to take a crack at building the drawers.  This was also the most technical part of the closet because I wanted to make the drawers from scratch and to do that I wanted to use a technique called dove tail joints.  The exterior of the drawer unit was made of more birch ply, but the drawers themselves were made of poplar.  I should note, I am brand new at this stuff, I’ve never done it before, so its certainly not perfect; I just call the mistakes “charm”.

Here you can see the outside of the main drawer bank.  I used dados that would later become the drawer slides.  I opted for a wooden style drawer slide because I really liked the look compared to what it would look like with the metal slides.  Also quality drawer slides are very expensive, so all around I’m happy with my choice.

One thing to note is you’ll see on the top I used pocket screws made with a kreg jig (these are amazing, get them here), I opted to put these on the top side because I’m going to put a top piece of wood that will cover the holes completely.

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You can see the dado cuts on the inside for the drawer slides

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Better view of dados

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Top pocket screw holes will later be hidden by another piece of wood.

Next I tried my hand at making dove tails.  Technically I used “half blind” dovetails.  The jig I used was a dove tail jig from porter cable, which you can find by clicking here.  This jig made it pretty easy and was great for this project.

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Routing the dovetails in my jig

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The finished joint, I love the contrast.

Next up I cut the drawer bottoms, which I was going to seat in a internal dado of the drawer box, but then I decided to do the drawer slides like this.  So I made the drawer bottoms 1/4″ too big on each slide and they nested in the 3/8″ dados really well.  After tacking it all together, I dropped it in the dresser and then mounted the drawer pulls.  Here is the final drawers.  The gaps are not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with them none the less.

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Why I Have To Buy More To Live Tiny

It seems counter intuitive, but for me to live tiny I have to buy more stuff!  One of the things that I am not having in my tiny house is a laundry.  Despite trying to work it out, there just wasn’t a great place to put it, even if I got one of the washer and dryer in one machines, there wasn’t a great space to tuck it away.

laundry-serviceSo this leaves me with having to look for options outside the tiny house, namely laundry mats, friends places or a service.  I have decided my splurge is going to be having a laundry service come pick up the clothes, wash fold, then bring back to me.  I decided this because of one truth I know about myself.  I loath folding laundry and I’m terrible at it.  It’s not that I can’t do it, but frankly at this point in my life, its worth the money to have someone else do it.

This leads to my predicament.  Clothes.  I don’t find enjoyment the act of shopping and clothes, while necessary, as long as they suit my life well, I could care less about them.  This has lead me to just not have a lot of them.

Currently in my wardrobe I have:

  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 belt – reversible
  • 7 shirts
  • 20 pair of underwear and socks
  • 1 polo shirt
  • 1 button down shirt
  • 1 pair of dress pants
  • 1 jacket
  • 1 pair of flannel sleep pants
  • Shoes: 1  black dress, 1 sneakers, 1 hiking boots, 1 crocs

So while my clothes are off at the launder I need to have something to wear and this means buying more clothes; which I don’t like doing.  So I have decided I’m going to pick up another pair of shorts, a pair of pants and 3 more T-shirts and another pair of sleep pants; at least to start, we’ll see how this works and go from there.

I am also making decisions around my closet to meet these needs.  I will only have three things to hang: dress shirt, jacket and dress pants, I figure I’ll allow a little extra room in case I want to hang more, but still, keeping it small.  I am also going to locate the hanging rod at the least accessible space in the closet because I don’t use these things but a few times a year.  The rest will all be shelves and for the socks and underwear I’ll have them in little bins on shelves.

Another thing that I am making considerations on is how to handle wrinkles in clothes, because right now I’d just throw a shirt in the dryer if it got really really wrinkled, but I won’t have one anymore.  So I need an ironing board and a something I can iron on.  I was thinking of making one of these   DIY direction here

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The Green Jean

Today I heard about a neat company almost right in my back yard, they are called Dirtball.  This company is located in Hickory, NC and produces clothing from recycled cotton scraps and recycled plastic water bottles.  They are also 100% manufactured here in the USA and uses 100% recycled materials.  What struck me about them was that they had an innovative product that looked good and American made for quite reasonable prices.  It certainly isn’t going to beat out an Old Navy, but in many cases we are talking $10-$20 more for something that is better quality, sustainable, and ethically made.

I don’t have any connection with them other than I find it interesting, they have a kick starter to launch their new jeans.

 

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