I was planning something else for March’s challenge, but I’m pushing it back to April because a wrench was thrown into my wheel of life two weeks ago: We have to move. There are some things we will really miss about where we’ve lived for the last four years, and others we won’t. Mostly we are looking at this as a new adventure. We are staying in Portland and the move is only ten minutes away, but even if you’re just moving down the street the reality is the same: Moving Sucks.
I was very smug about moving our stuff at first. I had spent all of December minimizing my wardrobe and reading books on having less and I had substantially reduced the things I owned over the last three months or so. Imagine my surprise when we actually started packing and I realized I was still in hoarder status. Okay, it wasn’t THAT bad, but I still couldn’t believe how much STUFF we had. Way more than I thought. There were cupboards and closets FULL OF STUFF that I hadn’t even opened since we moved in. Not a good sign. I immediately pushed March’s challenge to April and shoved in a minimalist home month for March.
As I was wrapping up my February news challenge, I was getting excited for this opportunity because I had so much fun doing my minimalist wardrobe that I wanted to expand on that and really look at my home life in detail to see what else in my life I could simplify, particularly in regard to THINGS (and also in particular, my kitchen: how many mixing bowls does one need?).
So this month as unpack my belonging and go through them I will be trying to ‘let go’ of one thing every day for a total of 30 items donated/sold by the end of the month. Each week I’ll give a photo evidence update of my goodbye pile.
Week One I want to revisit my wardrobe and give an update on how the minimalist wardrobe is holding up. I’ve made some changes since the last post so It’ll be fun to show what’s new and how many pieces I have now.
Week Two I want to get into the kitchen and start examining what feels like the 30 mixing bowls I own and reexamining my life with them. Do they spark joy? Probably not.
Week Three I will go through my books, movies, photos and papers and see what I can trim out.
Week Four I will wrap up with an overall update of some of the smaller facets of my life that I want to look at and minimize.
There is a book I used to pour over when I was kid. I’m not sure who got it for me or how it came to be in my possession, but I actually still own it. I found it again while doing my Marie Kondo method on all my books. Surprisingly it still sparked joy so I kept it. It’s called “Sally’s Room” by M.K Brown. My only guess is my Dad bought it for me as a joke as a child…or in the hopes it might bring inspiration. If it was the latter, it worked.
The books is about a girl named Sally who never cleaned her room. Her room hated it so much they finally decided to do something about it. They marched out of her room, down the street and straight into Sally’s school. Sally’s teacher asks who the room belongs to and defiantly Sally stands up and says it’s hers. And she likes it that way. Eventually she goes home to an empty room and realizes how much room there is in there without all her stuff. When the room barges back in, Sally realizes she has to finally face the facts and clean.
I used to take this book out every time I had to clean my room and follow Sally’s cleaning and organizing method. She puts all her games away, finds her favorite sweater, folds her clothes, makes her bed, etc. In the end she finds that it’s a room where anything can happen.
I pulled the book back out and felt like I’d been through Sally’s journey so many times in my life, but it finally feels like it’s going to stick.
I kind of always knew this about me, but I really love throwing things away. I love cleaning and organizing. Even with all this going for me I found it hard to give up a lot of items this month in my minimalist wardrobe challenge. I don’t miss them now though! I had bought so many clothes I never wore before. It seemed wasteful to throw them out. But did they spark joy? No, they just made me feel bad that they didn’t fit or didn’t turn out to be part of my style as much as I wanted them to be.
I ended up finishing “The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth more Than Anything You Can Buy” By Cait Flanders. I don’t think I’ll be going through her exact path of only buying consumables for the year, but I did like her idea of only buying something when an older version of it is broke and needs to be replaced. She also inspired me to clean up my consumer debt. I don’t have a lot compared to the average American, but I have accumulated some from my wedding in October (photographers are expensive!). I’ve made a plan to set aside large chunks of my income each month to wipe out the debt by the end of May and before my zero interest runs out in August.
“One thing debt and clutter have in common is that as soon as you start letting it pile up, it can be harder and harder to see your way around it.”
Cait Flanders, The Year of Less
She also had a great idea of unfollowing all the stores, newsletters, etc. on social media accounts and unsubscribing from all of consumer emails. I started doing this and instead of 25 new emails in morning I’m getting about three. It’s a good start and I love not having the feeling of missing out when I get an email about picture frames on sale from Pier One with free shipping. I don’t need any more picture frames! And if I suddenly do, the Good Will has plenty of great options for $5 or less.
I have a plan for my wardrobe to become more capsule oriented and once I do my research and purchase the two items I’m really feeling I need to supplement in, then I think it will be complete. I’m really pleased with this journey and if you’re feeling like you want to declutter, organize and make getting dressing in the morning simple AF, let me know if I can help in any way! I am NOT an expert, but I’m feeling confident about the process.
Stay tuned for what my January challenge will be! Hint: It’s time to get honest.
It has been a true joy to get dressed for work this week. Why? Because I’ve barely had to think about it! I have ten items of clothing that I can mix and match tops and bottoms with and all of them make me feel comfortable. The only thing I’ve had to check is if it’s raining that day and if I should bring my waterproof coat. That’s it!
So I started the week off going over my shoes, which wasn’t difficult seeing as I didn’t have many to begin with. I knew that I did have few pairs in there that I liked, but never wore so those went first. In the end I went from 14 pairs to 10. Not that interesting, but it felt good to toss some I’d been hanging on to. I’ve got a pair of navy blue heels for weddings and formal occasions, which go great with my one formal dress that is also a navy color. I’m pleased.
Once this task was completed I dug back into Marie Kondo’s book feeling really smug about how my closet and drawers were less full now and only filled with things that spark joy. I was really feeling like an expert at this point. Then we got to her section on folding and I found out I’ve been folding clothes wrong my entire life. So that was a nice way to deflate my head.
Here were the two big takeaways: “The goal is to fold each piece of clothing into a small smooth rectangle that can stand on its own.” “Never tie up stockings or ball up socks.”
With those two things in mind, and after countless hours of watching people fold clothes (something I never thought I’d do), I once again dumped all my clothes out of my drawers and began my refold.
I was slightly miffed, but the end result speaks for itself:
The last bits of Kondo’s book had some of the best bits because it expanded beyond the wardrobe. Her blunt advice about how to organize and tidy papers? THROW THEM ALL AWAY. Papers don’t spark joy. Sounds good to me! I spent a good day after work this week happily freeing myself from electrical appliance manuals and pay stubs from many jobs ago.
She even gave me permission to throw away – gulp – GIFTS. “The true purpose of a gift is to be received, not kept always. Presents are not things, but a means for conveying someone’s feelings.” Consider the feelings conveyed, singing birthday cards I received for my 22nd birthday…in the trash you go!
Kondo goes through how we should tidy books, photos, papers, kitchen appliances, and the one everyone dreads: personal mementos and keepsakes. That was the hardest for me, which is why she suggests to do it last.
“Possessions: Face them now, face them sometime or avoid them until the day we die. Life becomes far easier once you know that things will still work out even if you are lacking something.”
So wardrobe is done. It only took me half the month and that’s because I’ve been slowly donating clothes over a period of months now. This was really just the final push to let go of some of those things I was holding onto for no reason. So if that wardrobe is done, what do I do for the next two weeks?
Well, I’m trying to shove one more book in on this subject and I want to see what comes of it. It’s called “The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth more Than Anything You Can Buy” By Cait Flanders. It’s a long title that really spoke to me. So I’ll be letting you know all the fun tidbits that come of that read.
I’m also planning my January challenge and getting ready to really start promoting this website! Thanks to anyone who is reading early. I will be posting a new YouTube Throwback this week and on my Book Reviews tab I’ll be posting my favorite fiction and non-fiction reads of 2018!
That’s the first prompt Jessica Rose Williams has for her readers in her Year Round Capsule Wardrobe Guide. So how does my wardrobe make me feel? Overwhelmed, unhappy uncomfortable and annoyed. That’s a lot of negativity and once I started to get to work on my wardrobe this week I could see why. I really only had four items of clothing I actually liked wearing. So what in the world was I doing with the rest of this shit? How come when I was asked what are things I never wear I said dresses, but still owned a whopping total of TWELVE DRESSES. Why did I say I felt good in three-quarter length sleeve blouses but owned only one?
The workbook is great in helping you decide your personal style needs, what your goal is when it comes to your capsule wardrobe and really assessing why this is something you’re interested in. Me? I’m sick of staring at my closet and drawers every morning feeling overwhelmed and unimpressed. I’m sick of walking around the office feeling uncomfortable four out of five days a week because once I wear my favorite outfit I have to wait another week to wear it again. Why isn’t my wardrobe full of favorite outfits?
I want to tie my work with William’s ebook guide to another book I’ve been reading this month by Marie Kondō. In her book, the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up she suggests when beginning to tidy there are only two decisions to be made about stuff: Whether or not to dispose of something and deciding where to put it. She insists that tidying has to begin with discarding. William’s suggests taking every single item you own out of your wardrobes, cupboards, drawers and any other hiding places. Lay it all out in front of you. I mixed this advice with Kondo’s belief in tidying by category. Don’t go drawer by drawer because sometimes you have sweaters in a drawer and sweaters hung up. Place all like items together and get a good idea of what you really have.
Once everything was out of hiding I took another leaf from Kondo and held every item and asked myself ‘does this spark joy?’ Along with that I added in Williams questions: Would I wear this right now? Have I worn this in the last year? Does it fit me properly? and Do I feel confident when I wear it?
“Do you feel happy wearing clothes that don’t give you pleasure? You thought it looked cool in the shop…then why did you never wear it? Was it because you realized that it didn’t suit you when you tried in on at home? If so, and if you no longer buy clothes of the same style or color, it has fulfilled another important function – it has taught you what doesn’t suit you.”
Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
So here are all my clothes out of their drawers, sorted by category and laid bare:
It’s amazing to have one hundred pieces of clothing and really only wear or like half of them. I already mentioned my 12 dresses….yikes. I also had ten pairs of jeans, only four of which I ever wore. There was a huge imbalance of items I liked to wear vs the amount of those items actually in my closet. Through William’s journal prompts I found that my three key words for my personal style are neutral, timeless and relaxed. It’s boring, but it’s me. I feel comfortable in black, gray, brown and sometimes floral print. That’s about it. So why did I have so much of everything else I didn’t like? Time to toss!
Two hours later here is the Inventory and much less exhausting closet: Cardigans, 5; Shirts, 5; Leggings, 3; Blouses, 1; Tank tops, 8; Jeans, 6; Pants, 1; Skirts, 0; Sweaters/Zip Ups, 4; Pajama bottoms, 3; Pajama tops, 6; Shorts, 4; Workout bottoms, 3; Workout tops, 3; Shorts, 5; Dresses, 4; Coats, 2; TOTAL ITEMS OF CLOTHING: 63
I ended up with a lot of extra hangers. I’m storing these for now because even though I have cut down the wardrobe I’m eyeing ten or so more pieces that I don’t like that much, and would like to replace with things that suit me better and can be more versatile. The reason they’re still in there now? Well, I can’t go down to 2 shirts and 2 cardigans at the moment. It won’t work with my work week. So as I start to learn more about my personal style this upcoming week I’ll be keeping an eye out for new clothing items that are neutral, timeless and relaxed and can all mix and match together to really create that perfect capsule wardrobe look.
I’ve made big strides this week, but I still have a bit more work to do this month. Updates next week!
Dressing yourself is hard. I always say if I won the lottery the first thing I’d do is hire someone to dress me. Everyone thinks they have a weird body type. I’ve heard people of all shapes and sizes complain about it, so if you think someone has the ‘perfect’ body, they’re probably pissed off about something you’ve never even really noticed in them.
“I’m too tall, my pants always turn into capri’s.”
“I’m too short, everything has to be rolled up.”
“I have a [insert: pear, rectangle, hourglass, inverted triangle, big bird, pencil, noodle, barge] shape.”
“I can’t do crop tops.”
The point is, we’re all a little insecure. I have so many clothes and shoes and only two outfits I feel really comfortable in. So what am I doing with all this extra stuff? Feeling bad about myself, that’s what. Once I wear my two favorite outfits I itch to do some laundry so I can wear them again, then suffer the rest of the week with outfits I don’t feel comfotable in.
The idea of downsizing has come to me over the past two years and the more I sit with the idea the more I like it. Since I’ve committed to it, I’ve donated multiple bags of books, kitchen items, etc. that I once thought I couldn’t live without. I thank the universe every day that I became an e-reader as I would have a home that I could barely walk through with the rate that I used to buy books at. The part of my home that remains untouched though, is my closet.
I have done some minor things. For instance, I only have one pair of heels now. It took years of me trying to be a heels girl to realize I am not a heels girl. I’m short enough to be a heels girl, but I have this thing about loving my toes more than my appearance and also my coordination is flawed. There’s nothing wrong with being a heels girl though. If you love ’em, wear ’em and rock ’em then you do you. I’ve had enough rolled ankles to give up on the entire thing and just whittle it down to one pair for special occasions. Also, I threw out all my old plastic hangers last year and gave myself some Blair Waldorf ones just to feel less cluttered and also because, well, Blair Waldorf.
For this month’s challenge I’ll be creating a capsule minimalist wardrobe and I’ll share photos of my progress each week as well as the challenges that come up and bits of fun information I glean along the way. Jessica Rose Williams defines a Capsule Wardrobe as:
” A wardrobe full of your favourite clothes. It’s a well curated collection of quality items that you’re happy to wear again and again, suit your lifestyle and won’t go out of style. It isn’t based on trends or a one size fits all formula. Everything in it compliments each other and as a result you need less clothes. A year round capsule wardrobe needn’t be more than 50 pieces, it may be less (mine is 32), and owning one will show you how little clothes, shoes and accessories you actually need.
Jessica Rose Williams – How to Build A Year Round Capsule Wardrobe
Also, before pictures are so much fun and so, here are mine:
Next week, I’m taking every single item out of the closet and dresser and throwing it on the bed for inspection of worth. That photo should be fun. Until next week! In the meantime you can see my thoughts on twitter, photo updates on life and monthly progress on instagram and goodreads for my progress on the books I’m reading for this challenge.