the closet countdown

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #2

20130713-161950.jpgAnother week has gone by in the The Closet Countdown. I’m still having a blast. Perhaps the “newness” of it still hasn’t worn off. Or maybe I’m just the kind of person to likes to keep things fun. Maybe it’s both.

I’ve learned to appreciate my basic pieces more and more (which I think is a big part of what minimalism and simplicity are all about). I thought I would get tired of my wardrobe (and maybe I will eventually) but so far, I feel great about my decisions and the thought I put into choosing each piece.

I also have items I don’t even wear that I thought I would. So maybe the beautiful (and super smart) Courtney Carver and her Project 333 aren’t as crazy as I thought. 🙂 I LOVE learning that I can do things I thought I couldn’t. Might have to try Project 333 for my next experiment in minimalism…

I continue to wear often and love my Lily. This week, I wore the black one on a road trip to the Texas Hill Country and the pink one to an outdoor concert. Just can’t beat it. I refuse to apologize for sounding like a broken record in praise of this dress.

I’ve been adding pictures to The Closet Countdown page. So feel free to check them out!

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The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #1

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It’s been a week since I started The Closet Countdown. I decided to revive my running and do some part-time nanny work at the same time. Um. Should have included a few more sport items and probably could live without the “nice” dress I included “just in case” I needed it. Oh well. I’m learning.

I found a top I thought I loved but really I just kinda liked it because it coordinated with my other stuff. Decided to let it go. Now I’m living on 54 items. Figuring out how to “make it” on “just 54 items” feels very much like a first world problem.

My easy-grab and wear-anywhere favorite is my black Merrell Lily dress. By far. Hands down. No question about it. Hell, after this is over, I might just sell the rest of my clothes, buy more Lily dresses, and go from there. I wore it for a Fourth of July event as well as a casual memorial service. Even though I rave about the Lily, I do wish it had one thing: pockets. Perhaps with all the time I’ll make for myself by getting rid of stuff (including other, unfinished craft projects) I’ll make some modifications. Or why not dream big? Design my own line of minimalist travel clothing? First the junk, then we’ll see. 🙂

As I explore minimalism and figure out new ways to simplify my life, I re-learn over and over again that it’s about balance. Too much stuff is a pain to take care of. Too little can create different problems. Like needing to wash laundry more often. I hate running such a small load but I need my clothes to not smell like my morning run. Or the hours on the trampoline playing superhero robots. I don’t mind hand washing stuff in the shower but that’s kind of a pain too when I’m trying to make my shower time quicker. Like I said, first world problems…

It’s been a good week. I’m still glad I’m doing this because I’m learning quite a bit about myself and my choices.

As always, thanks for reading. I appreciate you and your time. Cheers!

P.S. If you want to read previous posts (and see a few pics) please check out The Closet Countdown page.

The Closet Countdown: Day 4

TCC Day 4This is the last of my daily updates for The Closet Countdown. Weekly will be better. Reading about my drinking habits and my clothing choices will get boring. I know because I think writing about them will be boring.

Here’s what you may assume about my daily clothing choices for the remainder of The Closet Countdown:

  • Morning run: Tank top and a sport skort or leggings.
  • Daily life: Different top with my skort or a different skirt with my top. Or a dress. Whatever.
  • Evening drink: Tequila. Life is good. I’m learning a lot about simplifying my life, living with less, and minimalism and truth and justice for all.

See? That might get boring. So I’ll switch to weekly updates with pictures after this post.

So…today I wore a black tank top and black leggings for the morning run. Switched to the ever-reliable Merrell Lily Dress for Independence Day activities (eating grilled food, playing a crazy-fun card game appropriately titled “Oh Hell”, drinking, and lighting things on fire). It was a fabulous day with dear friends and family. And yes, I drank tequila. Because it’s so American to celebrate our independence by consuming imported alcohol (I have a sarcasm streak that runs a mile wide).

As always, I extend a cheerful heart of gratitude to you dear reader. Thank you for your time and attention. Cheers!

Hope everyone who celebrated had a happy fourth! Here is a collage of some random pictures from our festivities. Recipe for my friend Ann’s fabulous (super easy) salsa recipe soon to come…

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The Closet Countdown: Day 3

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Another great day. It happens. I like it that way. No slush tonight. Just tequila with fresh lime and ice. Simple. Someone should start a blog all about minimalism and beverages. I’d follow it. Maybe someday I’ll try 100 days of tequila. Just kidding. Well, kinda…

The Closet Countdown continues. Wore the pink tank top again and my teal sport skort (the one I washed in the shower last night and pictured above) for the morning run. Last time for the tank top. I promise. Mostly because I actually did some running this morning and though the cool weather lingers, I did perspire. I’m going to do a full load on Friday so it can wait. After the run, I kept the skort and added a black tank top.

I already find myself gravitating toward the same few items. I’m bummed that my pink tank top is dirty. Mostly because I love the fit and the color. It’s a fun top to wear while running. Oh well, I’ll wear my black one tomorrow and I’m pretty sure it won’t diminish the joy I get from running. The teal skort is turning out to be quite the staple. I chose it because of its versatility. I can run it and then change the top and shoes and it’s almost a whole new outfit. Loving it so far.

I’ve known for a while but this experiment puts it under a magnifying glass: I’m weird about clothes. I can live with that. It’s the least of my weirdnesses.

In a few days, I’ll put up some pictures of individual items from the “chosen” collection so you can have a better idea of what combos I’m choosing.

That’s all for Day Three. I mean it every time I say thank you for stopping by. I mean it with my whole heart. Cheers!

The Closet Countdown: Day 2

20130702-220937.jpgAs I reflect on the day, Slush in hand, I feel…peaceful, content, happy…

A rare cool front made a welcomed appearance in what is shaping up to be another brutal summer. Went for another walk/run. Spent a peaceful morning with my favorite man on the planet and a strong cup of coffee. I wore the same tank top from yesterday and thanks to the cool weather, I think it will make it another day. I ditched the leggings from yesterday and added an athletic skort for my slow run.

My black top (polyester/spandex blend) from yesterday went well with the skort and to prevent snags while doing various projects, I wore an old Starbucks apron. It’s a great, sturdy canvas and I choose it over my grandmother’s more delicate, pretty aprons almost every day. What a great way to preserve clothes.

On a podcast about minimalism, I heard a seasoned minimalist traveler say he would put his clothes on the shower floor to keep them fresh between washings. “Just stomp on them a bit while using soap/shampoo, give them a rinse, and hang them to dry.” I tried it about a year ago and found that my clothes did not dry very quickly. Earlier this year, I read a travel blog about how to hand wash. They said to roll the clothes in a towel and squish it. Then hang it to dry. That seemed to do the trick when I tried it and my clothes dried much faster. (please forgive me for not including links, I do not remember the sources at all)

So today, after a lot of hard work and sweat, I let my clothes take a shower with me. I’m trying to keep it simple so I just stomped, rinsed, rolled, and hung them to dry.

It’s only the second day of The Closet Countdown. The adventure in minimalism is still new and beautiful. I won’t promise that will post every day but I promise to try.

Thank you. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my words. May you find something useful for your journey.  Cheers!

The Closet Countdown: Day 1

20130701-142756.jpgIt has begun. The Closet Countdown is on. Wow. Feels like I’m about to embark on a great journey. I have no idea if this will work. Just like all my experiments in minimalism – I don’t care. I crave simplicity. I love the adventure. I love the excitement of a new project. I love the perception that I am possibly freeing up some time and brain space in an otherwise cluttered life. I love learning new things about myself – positive and negative.

20130701-131748.jpgTo give myself a fresh start, I washed my clothes and wore some of the “unchosen” items around the house yesterday. Since I’ve been preparing for this for over a week, I didn’t sort anything. I just made sure I had everything on the list, snapped a pic, and then hung out with friends over some chips and a mean crock pot of queso. No “ickyness”. Just peace.

For my morning walk/run (the first since a 10K in April…) I wore leggings, and a tank top. When I got back to the house, I wasn’t really sweaty so I put my tank top aside to wear tomorrow. As I considered what to wear for the day, I found myself thinking about the week ahead because I don’t want to get something dirty that I might want to wear in a couple of days. I’m already becoming conservative in my choices. I won’t be able to put off doing laundry very often. Especially if I’m going to start running again. I kept the leggings, added a solid, black shirt, my sarong (pictured above draped over the closet rod to the right of my clothes), and some sandals. So far so good.

To continue my battle with perfectionism, I decided to make a chart by hand. Perhaps someday I’ll get on the machine (my computer) and make a prettier one. For today, I just wanted something to help me keep track of my choices and how long I’ve been doing it. I tacked it near my closet and I’ll cross off days as they go by.

20130701-144619.jpgThank you for stopping by. It fills my heart with joy that you read my words. Cheers to you and I’ll keep you posted!

The Closet Countdown: T-4 Days

018The official blast off of The Closet Countdown is coming up fast. Now that I’ve dealt with some fear and frustration, I’m ready to think about other aspects of this experiment. I recently wrote about why I’m doing this whole minimalism thing and suddenly all my apprehension and worries faded back. The whole point of doing this minimalism thing is not to get in touch with my inner whiner. It’s to live a deeper life. So I might do some simplifying of my objectives and see if I can pick one goal to work on with all the time I’m buying for myself.

Random Thoughts on Day Four:

  • I’ve decided (thanks to a small patch of poison ivy on my leg) that I’m going to figure out how to keep a pair of pants for yard work. It will probably be my faithful pair of work overalls. Yes. Overalls. I’m just cool like that in the garden…
  • When I unpacked a box full of clothes I’d put up in a previous experiment, I found a few tops I wanted. Had to make some “tough” calls on what to put in the “unchosen” category considering I put tops on my number ten slot.
  • Summer and a love for the outdoors means sweat. Which means I might be doing laundry more often. Might have to experiment with some hand washing for fun.

That’s all for today. Thanks for stopping by!

The Closet Countdown: T-5 Days

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 “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

The Closet Countdown almost ended for me yesterday. I hit some sort of wall. Not fear this time. Just fed up with thinking about it. Ready to just get on with it…but not really. Thinking about my things for too long just makes me sick to my stomach and I don’t want to deal with the tedium. As I stood and stared at my ten tops and now six pairs of shoes, it hit me…this might be why minimalism is not the most popular lifestyle choice.

It’s a pain. A real, brain-taxing pain sometimes. Going through stuff and making decisions about dresses and socks can be mentally exhausting and well…I’m lazy. This culling process feels like work. Feels like I should be doing something better with my time. Certainly something more “noble” or “impressive”. I almost quit.

I sat on the floor and let my mind wander as I considered really quitting. Pathetic. I know. I’m reconciled to the fact that I have these moments. Most of the time, they push me to give the finger to that discouraging voice inside my head, grab the reigns of my conflict, and ride it into the future. I have to know how this part of my story goes. If I quit now, I won’t get to know all the great things I could learn.

Yes, I’m lazy. But I’m also hopelessly curious and stubborn so that works out…most of the time. 🙂

The good news is that I’m not quitting and in preparation for the closet countdown, I went through a box of current clothing and easily got rid of half of it using my favorite Hell Yeah! method. That felt good. I still love that feeling that it does get easier (read more about how it gets easier here). It gets easier to let go. I guess that’s why I keep at this “silly” project. I’ve had a tiny taste of the mental and emotional freedom that comes from dealing with my stuff and I want more. I hope to find it as I continue to experiment with minimalism.

Thank you for wading through my rants and struggles (and triumphs!) related to minimalism. I appreciate your company on my simplicity quest. Cheers!

The Closet Countdown: T-6 Days

One week from today, The Closet Countdown will officially be on. No more deciding, no more wondering if it was a good idea. It’s like I’m going on a journey and I’m trying to figure out what clothes to take. I must consider the activities, location, season, weather. Planing is key to a successful journey on my simplicity quest. Especially when the quest is about minimalism.

I think I identified that “icky” feeling from last week. Fear. Seriously. When I search myself and try to understand my attachment to a dress (and the rest of my possessions, actually) it all boils down to fear. Fear of living without something I think I need. Fear of living without my many options. It offends my pride to admit it. And if I choose to be honest with myself (and you), that kind of feeling seems so shallow. Afraid of living without a dress? Oh please.

It’s not about the dress in the back of the closet. Or the shoes. Or the inherited dust collectors. I believe it’s about figuring out who we are and what we want out of life and deciding to live boldly with those decisions. I must push past the fear (and pride) to find out what I can learn; to find out who I can be. No matter how “icky” that makes me feel. No matter what I must admit about my “First World” hang ups and vulnerabilities.

I’m searching for ways to gain more time to do the things l love like spend time with loved ones, write, learn about photography, go hiking, dance, and one of my favorite activities in the world: encourage people. I don’t know for sure (because I’m still testing ideas and getting rid of things), but I believe I will have a richer journey if I don’t have to lug around and take care of extra stuff. I can’t prove it yet, but I’m working on it.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my words about pride and minimalism. Your time is a kindness that fills my heart with joy and gratitude. I wish you well on whatever journey you take.