Tuesday, May 5, 2015


I've been purging and it feels soooooo good. I think it really started when I was sick in December and watched a bunch of tiny house type shows during my long confinement on the couch. I couldn't actually envision myself living in 180 square feet, but the thought of getting rid of that which wasn't essential was appealing.

I don't consider myself a pack rat, but compared to my minimalist husband I guess I am a little (we might need one of those 200 + screws stored in the basement or that extra wood in the garage). I often compare myself instead to my depression era born dad who is a bit of a pack rat and feel like I have the appropriate amount of stuff compared to him (he's been purging too, but that's another story). And for the most part, I still feel that way, but think that from time to time one has to purge. Things get unused, out of fashion, and as new things come in sometimes old things just need to go out.

So a few months ago I started with a purge of trinkets and such. Old candle holders, vases, etc - stuff that I essentially stored in a closet and never used. I even started reading about capsule wardrobes and was determined to pare everything down. But the draw of dark, winter evenings caused me to fall back into unproductivity and nothing else was disposed of.

But then there seems to be something in the air when spring rolls around that causes productivity and cleaning and purging - at least for me. It started innocently enough with cleaning out the freezer and apologizing to all those freezer burnt strawberries (and other items) that we didn't eat. Such a waste. Poor little strawberries that never got to live up to their full potential in some sort of sweet desert.

Anyway, I think my husband fell in love with me even more when he saw the emptiness of the freezer.

Next, in an attempt to find my cousin's email, I ended up cleaning up my email inbox. It got waaaaaay out of hand. I don't know what I started with, but I'm pretty sure it was close to 1000 emails just in the inbox. Now I have 8 emails. It is exhilarating (except that I have another email address that has 863 emails that are pretty much just emails between Jesse and I - that one is next on the list to tackle!). Oh, and I never did find my cousin's email (but I did get it from a different cousin so I'm all good).

And finally, I am one step closer to that capsule wardrobe. My closet has taken a serious dent, but isn't down to the 'capsule' yet. I clean it out from time to time, but now that I work from home it seems that I repeatedly wear the same items and many items just haven't been worn in at least a year so it was time for a major cleaning.

When sorting this time, I put clothes into several piles:

  • items I'm pretty sure I want to keep
  • items that I maybe want to keep
  • my comfy shirts that are comfortable to work in but not necessarily fashionable
  • and then I put all items that were to be given away right into a bag

I didn't want to leave the 'no' clothes out to tempt me as there could have been a chance I'd move them to the yes pile so in the bag they went. Once I had my piles I started trying on clothes in the yes and maybe piles and this helped me decide that a number of them no longer fit (or maybe never did) so they became goners. In the past I'd get maybe a paper bag or two, but this time I cleared out 5 overflowing bags. Yeah, I had a lot of clothes... and really still do, but it feels much more manageable.

Some of the clothes were faded and a little worn. In the past, I wondered if I should end up donating these items or if the staff at Good Will was cursing the bags I brought in as they were more suited to the trash. My nephew now works at Good Will and said that pretty much everything gets sold at the store, reused, or donated elsewhere so in the bag everything went (except those old stinky slippers - why did I have those? I rarely wear slippers anymore. Into the garbage with them).

Another thing I noticed is that I got rid of a lot of brown stuff. I've always wanted to successfully have a stylish, earthy fall outfit, but I can never quite put one together. Brown frustrates me since brown isn't just brown. Turns out there are a ton of different shades of brown... but only one black. I can trust that if I buy black I have black and it will match with my other blacks. I kept a couple brown items, but I'm not sure they will survive the next round. I should say, Jesse, on the other hand owns nothing black. I was astonished when I realized this. Not a belt or a shoe - nothing. How is this possible?

I almost pulled one (brown) sweater out of the donate pile when Jesse commented on how much I used to wear it when we were dating. His comment was dripping with nostalgia and it made me think I might wear that sweater again, but I held strong since 1. I haven't worn it in at least a year, 2. it was brown (with a weird green tint - what's up with you brown?)

(Imagine me in the brown outfit I was going to post here, but Blogger refuses to do. Blogger doesn't even want the world - or the 5 people who read this - to see me in brown. Wait, you can see me in brown in this 'style' post.)

At any rate, I now have a better grasp on what I have and if it works together or not. I will certainly be purchasing some new items, but it will be with the intent to be a part of a select number of clothes. I'm sure much of what I have now will transition out as I get items that are more fitting to my lifestyle and comfort level and of course go well with other items. Even though yoga pants and tank tops are my main uniform it would be nice to have some other items that are just as comfy, but a little more stylish and don't make me look like I am headed to the gym.

I also, probably, won't have a true capsule wardrobe. Let's face it, this is Minnesota and it's cold and I run cold so I layer. It's possible that I could wear a traditional capsule wardrobe all at once in an attempt to stay warm. I will certainly have a loose interpretation of the capsule wardrobe, but it will be a vast improvement over the mass of clothes I had before.

I've heard that successful people wear the same thing all the time (or give themselves limited options) so that they don't have to expend energy on making decisions about clothes. I can certainly appreciate this since I already sort of wear the same thing over and over, but one of the greatest wins out of this is I can already say that I have less clothes than my husband. Whose the pack rat now, honey?

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