Day: 22 June 2013

The Closet Countdown: T-8 Days

Today I went over my chosen clothes for The Closet Countdown.

Still thinking about rethinking the shoes.

Had an odd moment when I looked “behind the curtain” at the back of my closet and saw some of the unchosen. I thought, “Oh but I love that dress too.” I’m not getting rid of it. I’m just going to see if I can live without it for 100 days. That’s all. What is this feeling? I mean, it’s just a dress..right? In some ways, perhaps our clothes are like our baby blanket or childhood toy. They represent a sort of security, a sense of pride of ownership.

I can’t quite pinpoint it so I’m going to call it an icky feeling. So I went into the garage, and began to do some cleaning. I needed to look at something completely different. I needed to get a sense of the world outside of my closet; to get away from the icky feeling from imagining life without a silly dress.

Organizing recyclables seemed to do the trick. I’m a little puzzled by the strange, icky feeling but at least it’s not there any more and I’m good to move on with The Closet Challenge (without the dress in the back of my closet).

So here’s my bit of encouragement for the day: don’t give up. If you get frustrated while choosing what to “keep” and what to hide away, remember that it will still be there in 100 days. If you have to, you can even get it before then. Don’t stress about it. Go play a game with someone, call your mom, send an encouraging text to someone having a rough time. Or go clean in the garage.

But above all, I hope that you will be willing to go back to those feelings later. Let’s explore them together. Let’s learn about our relationship to our stuff by living without it for just a little while. I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m saying I believe it will be worth it.

One more week and then it is on!

Mini Minimalism Experiment: Three Days. One Dress.

“The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.” – Clariee Belcher in Steel Magnolias

I’m an amateur minimalist. Budding. Growing. By no sense of the word have I achieved “minimalism”. Like most things in my life, I tinker. I experiment. I learn. I play. And I choose to love every single second of it (I’ve inherited my mother’s unfailing sense of optimistic adventure and I refuse to change that about myself). I cannot tell you how to clean out your garage or what you should keep on (or remove from) your kitchen counter. But I do know clothes…

When I say “I know clothes” I do not mean in a Carrie Bradshaw kind of way. I know clothes that are perfect for everyday adventures. Most of my clothing coordinates with almost everything else in my closet and can easily go from work to play. I know because I’ve tested them.  As you may have guessed from my previous posts, my favorite brand is Merrell (yes, they make hiking shoes but they make oh so much more). I’m sure you won’t see my favorite little black dresses on the runway…um…ever. But you might see them on travel-savvy folks who can appreciate the utility and versatility of what they offer.

My closet is my favorite place to “play minimalist”. I’m proud to say I have given away trash bags full of clothes. I still have a long way to go but I’m happy with where I am for now on my simplicity quest. On a recent trip to a convention, I decided to see if I could wear the same dress three days in a row. The main reason for this is because I wanted to prove to myself that I really can pack lighter. I struggle with over-packing so this felt like a bit of a risk for me.

Here’s my experiment in a nutshell: In my attempts to pack light, my goal is to wear my Merell Lily Sleeveless Dress every day. I packed my swimsuit and lounge clothes but the center stage of my wardrobe will be my Lily.

Mini Minimalism Experiment: Three Days. One Dress.

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Basic Breakdown:
Who: Me (Ginny)
What: Mini Minimalist Experiment: Three Days. One Dress
When: Friday – Sunday
Where: on the road, in a hotel, on the road again
Why: To experiment with packing lighter and figure out new, creative ways to wear one of my favorite dresses.
How: Wear one dress for three days.
My Hypothesis: I won’t like it that much but I’ll be glad I tried it.
I know I like challenging myself so that part will be fun. I will have to fight that part of me that wonders what people think about me and what I wear (“Um…wasn’t she wearing that dress yesterday?”). It is a small voice but it’s there. Shallow, I know. But if I’m going to do this minimalism thing and really embrace a life of simplicity, I must be honest with myself. If I can’t do that, this is a waste of time and I should just pack my suitcase to the gills and then go shopping. 🙂

Of course, I chose my Merrell Lily Sleeveless Dress for this fun, summer project.

Other items in my bag:
Black Leggings
Black tank top with shelf bra
Socks and underwear
(and a few toiletries)

First day:
Lily Dress
Blue overdress (can also be worn as a lounge/sleep dress/top with leggings)
Light, striped accent scarf
Second Day:
Lily Dress
Sarong worn as a long vest.
Third Day:
Lily Dress
Brown Shrug.

What I Learned: The main thing I discovered was that I loved it. Loved wearing one of my favorite dresses every day. By the third day, I felt slightly grungy but it could have been worse. I survived. No one gave me strange looks nor made any rude comments. Good thing I’m not the center of the universe. Otherwise they might have noticed… ;). I learned that I love my little blue overdress even more because I was able to wear it as a swimsuit cover up. Such a versatile little piece. Oh how I love versatility. I find such freedom in that word alone.

Well, there you have it folks! I encourage anyone on the road to minimalism to play with little experiments like this. Challenge yourself. Figure out what you can live with and what you can’t live without. The point is that the process should be fun and make you feel better about life, not deprived. Good journey, my friends. Cheers!