Adventures in Minimalism
Gentle Readers, it has been a while since my last post. But, World Series, ergo GO ASTROS!!!! I know there must be a huge psychological connection between a city devastated and a winning sports team because even though not a single flooded home is being rebuilt any faster for George Springer making 5 home runs, Houstonians feel fantastic. Perhaps you are a grad student in need of a thesis topic - take this one. I would be so interested to learn more about this association.
Ok, so a couple of months back I and some friends packed up all my stuff. It was a huge purging session, as moving always is. To make it more detailed, I divided up my kept belongings into two piles: Stuff I Need Right Now and Stuff I Think I Will Need Later. Since summer lingers in Houston (we're like the opposite of Narnia - it's always summer, but never vacation) I tossed all winter clothes into a box and taped it up. Summer clothes were divided into What I Want to Wear For the Next Few Months and What I Don't. I didn't have time to process why certain items were not selected; I mean, if I don't like them enough to hang in the rental closet, why am I packing them? I'm sure Marie Kondo (www.tidyingup.com) would urge me to just get rid of them, but I felt like it was a stressful time, so I needed to wait on these major decisions. See, I love getting rid of stuff. Almost as much as I love buying new stuff. But there's always a lingering worry: What if an occasion comes up, and this red sweater would be perfect? Sure, I haven't worn these black pants in 3 years, but shouldn't one's wardrobe always have black pants? Why don't I wear black pants? Much of the time, these worries do not come back to haunt me. But every once in a while I think, "Did I seriously get rid of that velvet jacket? Why on earth did I do that?"
My point here is that I have long been fascinated with the small wardrobe notion, and this was going to be my big chance to try it out. To give you some background, I'm an only child, and my mother loved shopping for me as kid. And as a young adult. And even now, every summer she celebrates a Bustle Day (this started when she created holidays for my sons, Younger Day and Older Day - Bustle Day kind of fits in between), and this day usually involves cupcakes and shopping for me. What I'm saying is that I've always had a lot of clothes. I remember a friend once called me a "clothes whore." I think she meant "clothes horse" because I've never had to trade sex for apparel. Also, she was my friend, and she was not sounding snippy, so I'm going assume she just had a malapropism. Anyway... while I like the idea of an airy closet filled with some choice items, I just didn't know if I could do it.
My friend, Melissa, has lived overseas for the past 8 years. Every summer she comes home with just a couple of bags and lives out of these for 3 months. She told me that I would like this experiment, that it does make choosing what to wear simpler. She added, however, that sometimes it just makes you crazy when there's a pair of shoes you want to wear and they are packed away.
Let the Great Minimalist Experiment begin!!
So, this is me in my new closet with my favorites. And while I know it's more than what's in Jennifer Scott's antique wardrobe purchased in a charming open-air market stall in Paris, it is less than the normal, crowded-oh-my-gosh-that's-cotton-it's-got-to-breathe state of my closet.
The biggest surprise is that's it's... fine. I'm actually fine with fewer choices. Now, that being said, around the middle of October, I started to feel like some things were just too summery, and I was wishing I could trade them out, so I do like clothes to revolve around the seasons and not so much around the weather. I mean, it's all hot, but in October/November I want to wear an orange or brown sleeveless shirt and not a pink one.
Also, I still like shopping. I'm not sure how these minimalist gals give up on the thrill of the shop. And that's kind of at war with wanting to keep the number of items limited. I'm thinking of possible solutions - maybe Lent 4 times a year? Or will that cheapen the experience during actual Lent?
Still, these are details that can be reworked. It will be interesting when I move back to my home (insulation going in this week!!!) and unpack everything to see what I'm going to do with all that stuff that I've not seen in 3 months. And it's not even just clothes - I can't believe how much less kitchen stuff we're using.
Unexpectedly, we had a really cold day a couple of weeks ago, which means I was tearing through boxes like a mad woman, searching for suitable attire, not just for me, but for my husband and sons, because it was Family Photo Day, and where the heck are the boys' pants? Yes, I insist the boys exchange their stretchy shorts and flip flops for nice clothes on this auspicious occasion - it's like their early Mother's Day present to me. Anyway, I'm going to try this experiment again when I'm back in my own home and not surrounded by packing boxes.