Note: Remember that post about living on a couple hundred dollars after the mortgage? And the one about the emergency fund needing to be hefty (which it will be in two weeks, not now)?? Well, the temperature in my house is now 90 degrees, with the thermostat at 78. The best laid plans......
Lately I've been working on paring down my closet. It's been a challenge. While there's nary a minimalist bone in my body, I have been trying to find ways to make my closet work more efficiently and eliminate some unneeded items. I have a working wardrobe that I haven't used since 2006. I've also lost weight and some items simply no longer fit. On the other hand, I have some color and fashion challenges. I'm unwilling to do laundry more than weekly, and want to be able to wait longer if the need arises.
In my search to make my closet more workable for my life today, I've visited many a web page, including the 333 project. While I'm fascinated with this challenge and admire those folks who participate, in it's current form it's not a fit to me, at least from my perspective.
Why? Well first, I think that this challenge works better for people who live in a climate with few extremes of temperature. While its 105 (yes, 105) today in Dallas, we also have ice and even the annual snowstorm. Not just that, but I divide my time between Dallas and Denver. Without a separate Denver closet, I need access to certain clothing much of the year. I also think the challenge works better for those who keep a "coordinated" wardrobe. That is, those folks who start with neutrals and add a few pieces. My closet is full of color. A natural "spring" (sorry folks, fashionistas and color mavens will understand), with the exceptions of pants I wear turquoise, yellow, soft green, lilac, soft pink and the like. While many of these colors will mix and match, the fact is I need more pieces to do that. And since I wear colored jewelry rather than bimetallics, I would end up with 33 pieces of jewelry!
What to do? Come up with a "challenge" that works for me. In my case my challenge had two parts. First, to eliminate every thing I did not absolutely love (and had not worn the past season). Second, to limit myself by types of clothing. My (as yet unreached goal) is to limit myself to ten of each kind of clothing (short sleeved tops, long sleeved tops, sleeveless).
While I'm not yet finished with my downsizing, honoring these challenges has been quite revealing. It's also made my closet much easier to handle (when you have a two person walk in closet and its full, life can be interesting). In the end, my downsizing (and ongoing challenge) has had multiple results. First, everything I put on is good quality and comfortable (other than a few items specifically designed for yardwork). Second, most of my clothes these days can go from quilting to school to book group, wherever they need to. Third, most things match with little effort.
While I'll never be a 33 items of clothing kind of gal, I'm glad I went through this purging and organizing session. It shows that even a "hands of my stuff gal" can learn a few minimalist techniques to make herself more organized in the long run.