In January I was inspired to comb through my closet and attempt a capsule closet a la Project 333. This went okay for a few weeks until I started needing things (or thinking I needed things) that I had packed away. Additionally I was feeling really stale clothing-wise. The attempt at minimalism did require me to try different combinations and wear things I wouldn't normally, but in the end everything became this grey and black bleh (although that could have just been the weather) and while I felt relatively put together, I didn't feel like me.
By last week I had pulled out about 15% of what had been put away and my dressing room was a mess. In addition, after two and a half months of mostly abstinence (I only bought one blouse the entire time) I finally decided to buy some Spring basics this week. What I had was already a mess and I was bringing more into it. I didn't feel good about my clothing situation. A Twitter friend was sharing her own attempt at downsizing inspired by this blog and I thought, okay. Maybe let's try this again.
I know that downsizing and appreciating what I have and investing in what I need is much smarter than continuing down the road I have been on. At one point I unpacked everything, put all of my clothes into the room and forced myself to take stock in it all. It made me feel bad to see all of those clothes, some I had never even worn, some I didn't even really like, just limp and piled up. I spent money on this stuff and I would rather have the money now than the clothes.
That's the other thing - money. Kiah and I are in a really weird place financially where we're planning a trip to Europe and talking about buying a house but also I'm about to be unemployed in June and maybe so is he but we have no idea yet. We shouldn't be making any big purchases right now, and honestly we shouldn't be making any frivolous ones, either.
So here is what I did and what I'm doing. First of all, I am getting rid of about 1/3 of my clothes. My friends and I are planning a massive garage sale if Spring ever arrives and I'm going to try to sell it off there. What doesn't sell gets donated. I'm channeling my Niecy Nash here. It's time to stop with the foolishness. Another 1/3 of my clothes is winter stuff and wintery maybes, so I am packing all of it up in boxes this time which will be taped shut until Fall, when I will sort through everything again and decide what to keep and what to toss. I live in a crazy climate (we just had a blizzard on the first day of Spring) and some things like 20 pairs of tights and leggings and 6 pairs of boots are just necessary. I do plan on culling some of it next Fall, but that's later. As for the final 1/3, it's hanging up, and all of it fits in its respective place. Nothing is bulging out or spilling or anything, and that feels good.
This time around I did try to really think about what I wanted to look like and what I looked best in. The things hanging are tried and true, there is very little risk thrown in. Stripes, spots, solids, a few simple patterns. I got serious about this. I made a ~Mood Board~ on Pinterest. I thought about what inspires me, what I feel good in, and what's versatile. I made a color palette. I wrote, at 1 a.m., this:
Taylor Swift, Diet Jessica Day, Ann Perkins and later season April Ludgate-Dwyer. Put away winter dark things; bring out colors. Black, white, grey and navy for neutrals. I want to be coordinated (a pipe dream). Incorporate my mint bag. Quirky-lite, sweet, colorful, bright, but simple. Classic but not boring and not kitsch. I can't be Solange and I'm not in an all-girl punk band. I study literature and I need a job that isn't waitressing or retail. I am a teacher for God's sake.
Then I spent 6 hours (okay, I was also snacking, watching Cheers and wandering around the house a lot, too) cleaning and folding and hanging and trying stuff on. There was no limit on what I could keep like Project 333, and I didn't try to create a capsule collection or anything; I just stuck to my ideal look and my color palette. I think I have maybe 80-90 things to wear, which is a lot, but it's got to take me to September and it's 12 degrees out right now so there's a wide range of functionality that needs to exist.
Now that my closet is in order, goal for the rest of the year is to not buy anything. Of course I do have some small exceptions: I can buy makeup and I can buy shoes. I do need to cull my shoes a bit, but that's because I've been collecting them for the last decade, not because I buy too many. As for makeup, that is one indulgence where I am typically very in control. As for stuff I might need, come birthday and Christmas I am just going to ask for a couple of really nice sweaters, because acrylic sweaters are bullshit and I'm sick of owning crappy sweaters. And that's it.
I've been cleaning our house this week room by room and the amount of stuff we have is really bumming me out. It's frustrating. I would like for it to change. I want to be the kind of person who spends money on experiences and memories and not things. I'd rather have great, justifiable splurges than lots of tiny itsy bitsy splurges regularly that add up to a lot of money but also a lot of crap. I want to continue justifying $7 ground coffee even if both me and my husband lose our good jobs; we can make this purchase because we aren't making other purchases. The older I get the more I realize how much more comfortable I am with a simple life - exercise, walk the dog, read a little, cook something, watch something, make something; perfect day - and having a ton of stuff just doesn't fit in. Kiah and I are both readers so we're always going to have a pretty obscene library, but we don't also need a library of clothes and other crap we don't use.
I don't know how well this is going to turn out. I am not renowned for my self-discipline or control; in fact I think most of my closest friends know me for the exact opposite. I'm an indulgent person, but I want to find other ways to be self-spoiled and hedonistic that don't involve acquiring more stuff and spending tons of money, and I think it's worth a shot. Maybe I'll get really into champagne and jogging. Like, really into it.