Texas

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #4

20130728-101007.jpgIt’s been four weeks since I started The Closet Countdown and the honeymoon phase is pretty much over. I still remain positive about trying it. Determined to see it through. A strange mix of optimism and stubbornness, I know. It’s working for me so far.

I miss t-shirts. I kept one of my man’s white v-neck Hanes shirts to sleep in or wear with shorts if I needed to. Love it. But I wish I had a few more. The tops I kept are versatile – I can wear most of them to work, work out, or go out. They are even comfy enough for just hanging out around the house. But I miss some of my girlie, fitted, soft cotton t-shirts. I may not get rid of t-shirts when this is over.

I also miss some of my other summer dresses. If you’ve read any of my previous updates, you know that my Lily Dress makes me very happy and is a GREAT summer dress. It’s everything I need in easy going clothing. But this week, I missed my vintage cotton dress. It’s a beautiful hassle: cotton fabric requires ironing, extra under clothing, and special washing instructions. But I still love it.

20130728-101048.jpgI think a big part of minimalism is discovering what you really need and what you don’t want to live without. There are things that hold us back and there are things that lift us up. I find joy in figuring out how that applies to each item in my closet – and my life.

On a different – and less whiny – note, I did not wear my Lily dress out this week (gasp. shock. suprise!). I did wear it to play outside with kiddos but for a change of pace, I went with another great travel gem: the Merrell Emery dress. Dinner at a friend’s house on Wednesday and then out and about to brunch and a movie on the weekend. I even slept in it because I was behind on laundry (and I don’t have any extra t-shirts). The fabric is so soft. I changed the look of the dress by adding a little thing I use to help keep my sarong in place. Not sure what it’s called but it’s made of coconut shell and has two holes. Changed the look of the dress and I loved it.

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I found another shirt I do not love. I want to love it. I really do. But it’s not a Hell Yeah. So I had to let it go. I’m down to 53 items now. Might have to go grab a couple of t-shirts to supplement. 🙂

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading, commenting, and encouraging. It helps keep me going. Cheers!

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The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #3

20130721-165933.jpgTwenty-one days of The Closet Countdown and I’m still doing okay. Still learning a lot. It’s how I roll.

Last week I did a little bit of walking/running and I already know I miss my athletic leggings with the nifty little pocket in the waistband. I did keep leggings but I chose a versatile style that could be used for athletics or regular apparel. No pockets. I’ll be fine…I guess. My teal skort has pockets but my black one doesn’t. Only two athletic items with pockets might get to be a little bit inconvenient.

While I’m on the subject of inconvenient, washing clothes in the shower is not working for me. I like to make showering as efficient as possible. I do not enjoy the extra time it takes to squish, rinse, roll in a towel, then hang my clothes. Lighter items like underclothes and tank tops aren’t bad but it becomes impractical when it comes to larger items like leggings and dresses. So I use the washing machine a little more frequently. I love being outside and that means sweat in the summer. I refuse to stay indoors more so I can keep my clothes cleaner longer. I have my priorities.

I continue to search for the “flow” of minimalism. Just enough simplicity to give me more freedom to focus on what matters most without creating superfluous work. I’m getting there. Slowly.

Though I do try to wear other dresses, I keep coming back to the Lily. I wore the black one twice this week. The first time was to an open mic night event at a coffee shop. I paired it with my favorite sarong as a long vest (as seen in my Mini Minimalism Experiment: Three Days One Dress).

On Saturday, I really tried to wear something different to an outdoor concert. I did that girlie thing where I tried on about five different outfits before admitting I just really wanted to wear my Lily. I was going see a band that played a combination of Motown and funk. Had to go classic little black dress.

I am so glad I did. When we got there it was raining. We set up our chairs to reserve our spot and hoped it would clear up soon. Eventually, the sun came back out and the rain clouds passed. Perfect weather for a summer evening concert. My chair, however, was soaked. I didn’t care because the Lily is made of a swimsuit-like material. I can’t say it was comfortable sitting in a damp chair but unlike a friend who came in white capris, I was fine. Especially since I love to dance. With the movement, the dress dried quickly. I seldom sat down entire night.

Next summer, I’ll buy a few more colors and wear the Lily to every event. It’s the perfect dress for travel and a life full of everyday adventures.

As always, thanks for joining me. I appreciate your time and I promise to keep you posted on my “progress”. Cheers!

P.S.

  • I’ve posted more pictures on The Closet Countdown Page.
  • The band we saw is Matchmaker Band from Austin, Texas. Excellent musicianship and super sweet crew. If you are ever in need of the best Motown/Funk band in Texas, please look them up here.

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Minimalism and What We Leave Behind

20130707-140800.jpgOn the road in my treasured Jeep Cherokee. Just me and my Lily. Somewhere between two small Texas towns. The AC is out. Again. (It’s a long story). Warm air rushes around me as I head toward my cousin’s memorial service. It’s my favorite white noise. Sometimes I put my arm out the window and play with the wind. Up. Down. Up. Down.

I can’t hear my phone if I get a call or a text. For about an hour it’s just me, my Jeep, the wind on my skin, and the road ahead. Time to think and process where I’m going and what I’m doing. Not just the memorial service but all of it.

My mind wanders  to conversation with a well-meaning friend about how I should keep my childhood artwork because it might be nice to display some at my funeral someday. My response was self-righteous and inconsiderate. Pssht. I’m a minimalist. I don’t keep anything. But she didn’t mean keep everything from childhood. She actually helped give me some boundaries in my quest for simplicity. My apology was a little late and a lot lame. I should have listened better. Been kinder in my response…

At the little church where we gather to honor and say farewell to my cousin I stare at the photos and things he left behind and my mind wanders again. I said goodbye to my father in the same church more than twenty years ago. I’ve since said goodbye to his three siblings there as well. I inherited things from all of them. Things. Stuff. But they left behind so much more: stories, kindness, an appreciation for hard work, and a deep love for people and Texas. I have no greater inheritance.

It’s a small service. My cousin was a natural minimalist. He lived on a small ranch in a small cabin. He fought illness and social stereotypes while training horses. People take turns standing up and telling stories about him. “He was kind.” “He loved people and animals with all of his heart.” “Even when in pain, he had so much joy.” My favorite words are “If you knew Larry, you loved him.”

And like a flash of sublime light it hits me. In seconds, several moments blend into that tiny church. My conversation with my friend about saving stuff for my funeral. Driving in my Jeep. The pictures of Larry. His saddle. Memories of my dad. My aunts. My uncle. The words. The beautiful, sweet words that people said about my cousin.

For just a few seconds I get it. All of it. Life and what is important is incredibly clear. And I want nothing more than to love on the people around me, shower the world in sunshine, and leave behind more kindness than nicknacks.

The drive home is hotter. I don’t mind. The wind dries my tears and the ice water by my side keeps me cool. I’m going back to my collection of things with a new perspective. My heart is full of what matters more than my Jeep, or the heat, or the road ahead…

Thank you for traveling this path with me, dear reader. The AC doesn’t always work but the road remains a wonderful teacher. Cheers!