Our new house is larger than our last, but with substantially less storage. What appeared to be a vast, blank canvas has quickly become a sardine tin ready to burst. I am spending more and more time trying to manage our things, to keep them in their places, cleaned and ready to go for the next day.
I feel like I am living in my Tupperware drawer, scattered, stained and mismatched. All lid and no containers. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am messy and disorganized anyway. Adding a husband, two little kids and two old dogs has magnified my problem immensely.
I found myself saying “NO!” to family adventures until the house is put back in at least three times this school year. And that stinks, to miss out on fun with my babies because I can’t find anything for anyone to wear. And it’s clean – probably, but it isn’t folded or put away. It is lurking in some corner or chair, wadded up and covered in dog hair by now.
It was the last straw when Bodacious lost her backpack with her new tap shoes, ballet shoes, leotard, tights and tutu. While it didn’t cost a fortune to replace, “losing” $100 worth of dance equipment in my own home was ridiculous. So I forced her into a very tight leotard from last year, sans tutu, and hustled to Payless for new shoes and tights. We found the bag three weeks later, in a corner beneath a sack of art supplies and drawing paper. I swear, I looked there, but I guess I just missed a bright blue, mermaid-covered backpack.
I just can’t take it anymore, and I just can’t commit to working on crap management anymore. I want to spend more time doing what I want to do! So I am doing what my minimalist brother has been suggesting for years. I am saying goodbye to my stuff. I am a creature of comfort, and I like fluffy couches and pillows and throws, so it might be slow going, but I am going to give it a try. I started by reading Marie Kindo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Here’s what I have learned. I have too much stuff. I should only keep the things that bring me joy. And three, start with baby steps.
I am starting with my clothing. I have such a mishmash of things after my pregnancies. Not all of it fits, fits well or is age-appropriate. Now that I work from home, I will likely never need my “work clothes” again. Sigh. So my next book was Kendal Farr’s “Style Evolution: How to Create Ageless Personal Style in Your ’40’s and Beyond.” What I learned here was that my graphic t-shirts and clothes from Forever 21 were no longer ok to wear.
And my last thing to read, about 10 articles on “wardrobe capsules.” Capsules are basically season-appropriate wardrobes made up of 35-40ish pieces of clothing. Once you select your 40 for the season, every other thing goes into a box or another room. No more shopping, no “stealing” from the other closet. This sounded like a real approach to having things that are of good quality and versatile, make me happy when I wear them, and is an amount that is MANAGEABLE for me.
The first thing I did was drag everything out section by section. I did all tops, then pants, then dresses, then skirts and outerwear was last. First I cut out everything that I didn’t just love. Still left with too much. So then I tried on everything and made a pile of things that needed to go to the tailor so they would fit perfectly. I got rid of things that did not fit right then — no more things that are a size, or two sizes, too small staring at me and making me feel like a big, fat failure. Literally. Then, I mapped out outfits to see what – if anything – I needed to buy to be summer ready. I shopped for a few day dresses, another pair of shorts, a casual jersey top that worked with shorts and skirts and an embroidered Mexican peasant-style top.
I settled on a cap of 40 items, and it has to last from May through August because the weather does not change from hot and sticky until September.
I am hoping to accomplish a few things with this project. First, wearing all my things instead of just a few old favorites. Two, learning to be more creative when putting outfits together. Three, spending less money and using what I have. Four, investing in higher quality, longer-lasting items. And five, spending less time worrying about my clothes. Ain’t no one got time for that!
I tried to pin as many of my actual clothes and accessories into the following collections. If my clothes were a year older, it was difficult to find them on Polyvore so I have added pieces that closest resemble what I have. Apparently, I wear A LOT of neutrals! But these are all pieces that fit (I spent about $100 to have waists taken in, sleeves shortened, etc.) and that I really like. I am curious to see how many I actually wear over the next 4 months. The Hubs has offered to build me a spreadsheet to track them, we’ll see.
You can see my 40 items below, in categories. You can follow this project on Instagram, too.