You may have caught my post about buying e-books and helping out a family in need. As I mentioned, one of the e-books was Tsh Oxenreider’s One Bite at a Time. The book presents 52 bite-sized ideas that will help you to simplify your life.
I am starting with Project 35: Declutter Your Wardrobe (and focus on your outward appearance) mainly because I have been meaning to get this done for quite some time. With the coming of real fall weather, figuring out my wardrobe has become a necessity. What with a couple of winters spent pregnant and some additional time in “transition” clothing, it appears that my body has finally reached some sort of equilibrium. Unfortunately, this also coincides with the majority of my clothing being too summery, too beat up, or simply disintegrating. I submit Exhibit A: old, beloved shirt + exuberant washer = sadness.
The basic principle behind decluttering your wardrobe is that you get rid of (give away, store, etc, etc) all the clothing that doesn’t fit you properly. Thus you are left with only the items that you will actually wear, rather than a bunch of clothes that kind of fit. This process is easier if you spend a little time educating yourself about what kind of clothes work for you and what doesn’t. Forget about trends, just stick with what works. For example, I borrowed (and photocopied relevant sections of) my sister’s copy of The Science of Sexy, which breaks down your body type and gives you suggestions based on your measurements. As much as I would love to be an hourglass, I am a tall, medium rectangle. I need v-neck shirts (goodbye beloved crew-neck t-shirts!) and clothes that define my waist (thank you Spanx!). I also know that I look good in purple and beige makes me look like death.
So, last Thursday afternoon my Mom watched the kids and I ventured into the bedroom to edit my clothing collection. It was surprisingly exhausting and took a lot longer than I had anticipated. But I did it. I weeded out the maternity clothes, the summer clothes, and the transition clothes. I put some clothing aside for alterations. I also ditched a bunch of stuff that just didn’t fit me anymore. This included a couple of items that I absolutely adored, including a heavenly white angora sweater and a beautiful blue sheath dress. I just can’t handle angora anymore and after three kids I am just not “hourglass” enough to pull off the sheath dress. Ah well, I am working on making sure they go to good homes. The dress may have an owner, but let me know if you are interested in the sweater.
Of course I forgot before photos, but the “after” picture of my tops should give you a good idea of how much my wardrobe has been reduced. I think I used to have about 5 empty hangers. (This evening Ben used some of the spares as bows and arrows and as a special skinning knife – we’ve been watching Edwardian Farm lately and I think he got that idea from the part about the leather tanner). Oh, and the stuff on the right is the sloppy-stay-at-home section.
I learned three things from this little experiment.
- I really do need to go shopping, otherwise I will be very cold this winter.
- Having only stuff that fits you in your wardrobe actually works! This Sunday was incredibly wet, so I needed something more protective than a skirt to wear to mass. I threw on a pair of grey dress pants, a black tank top, a grey blazer that I just recently purloined from my sister, a scarf, and a pair of black flats. And it worked! I should have worn a rain jacket, but I was comfortable and moderately stylish. It was a heck of a lot better than hunting around for a new outfit, trying seven things on, rejecting them all, and then ending up with the same thing I had worn three weeks in a row.
- Look at how much unwearable stuff I had in my wardrobe!! That is a lot of visual dead weight. Every time I went to get dressed I had to mentally discount whole sections of clothing. Better to just admit it doesn’t fit and get rid of it rather than holding on to a bunch of wishful thinking.
Hopefully this simplification will relieve stress not only for me but for Darren, who cringes visibly every time he sees me standing in the closet with a pensive look on my face. And I’m looking forward to actually being excited to put an outfit together and being creative with clothes!