This is actually 7 pairs of boots and shoes that I either haven’t worn in over a year, or that are shabby beyond repair.
I recently spent an entire Saturday going through my wardrobe and clearing stuff out – I am planning to draft a couple of blog posts about that, but these shoes were part of the cull. Some went to the charity shop and some had to go in the bin.
My favourite brown boots had holes in the toes – they leaked in the rain, and the rain water soaked into the leather at the toe ends. I’ve finally admitted that holey two-tone damp shabby boots are not a good look.
I hate this shirt. It’s baggy and shapeless. I feel like I look like a man when I wear it. There’s no way that I could easily adjust it, and if I did I’d probably still hate it.
This morning, low on clothes left in the wardrobe, I put it on, and instantly hated how I looked. Why have I kept this wretched thing for so many months? It stares disapprovingly out of the wardrobe at me, making me feel guilty because I’ve only worn it a few times.
NOT ANY MORE.
It’s new home is the bag of stuff due to go to the charity shop – and hopefully someone else will love it.
These are the four things that got filed as part of this month’s review – 3 sleeveless tops and a bolero / shrug style cardigan. I haven’t got rid of them entirely, as they are firm favourites but just not appropriate for winter! I took the opportunity to dig out some woolly jumpers and another pair of jeans to replace them on the rail.
One thing that’s going through my mind is how to ensure I don’t end up wearing dreadfully tatty clothes because I’m wearing my favourites over and over again. They will inevitably start to wear out, but if I haven’t bought any new clothes in a while, there will nothing new in the wardrobe as a contrast.
Maybe I need to add a new step to my monthly review – asking myself questions such as: Are any of the clothes faded, bobbled, stretched, tatty?
Now that I’m about to start packing up the house, it might be a good time to do an overhaul of the clothes that I’m not including in my 33 (keeping in storage) to see if any of them really need to be exited..
January might be interesting, clothes-wise. I am starting a new job, and there’s every chance that the dress code is smarter than where I’m working now. That would mean digging out some old suits (and probably finding that some of them need replacing!!).
The secret to a capsule wardrobe is that as many of the items as possible should be able to mix and match, but I find that very difficult to get right without seeing the clothes on me. So here’s my answer to that conundrum.
The one in Project 331 comes from the fact that I review my capsule wardrobe every month (not every 3 months). The thought of having to decide up front what I am going to need for the next season frightens me a little bit, so I cheat.
At the start of the month, all my hangers are turned backwards (a la Oprah Winfrey, who apparently first came up with this idea).
As clothes are worn, washed and hung back up, they go the right way round at the right end of the rail. When I am choosing what to wear, I tend to start at this right-hand end and move left.
If there’s nothing suitable on the rail, I do occasionally delve into the plastic crates – this month it was so hot I had to dig out some shorts and a couple of lightweight tops to wear. If I do this, the new items get worn and washed and hung at the right end of the rail.
At the end of the month, I:
- do a count up
- add any new items to my “official” list of 33 items
- figure out which items need giving or packing away to get me back to 33 or less and cross them off my official list.
My criteria are not very sophisticated – usually there are a couple of items still at the left-hand end of the rail with their hangers the wrong way around, either because they are out of favour or out of season.
If I try something on and it doesn’t go with what I’m wearing, I put it back away where it came from. Anything that doesn’t get worn very much because it just doesn’t “go” often enough, ends up at the left hand end of my clothes rail and at the end of the month gets considered for chucking. Lack of ability to mix and match on a hanger – solved.
Project 331 is taking shape.. It’s taken me a whole year since I first started thinking (and blogging) about it to really get on board and make it a regular pattern of life..
As I said in my first post on the topic, I’m not really following the proper rules and have adapted them even further (made them easier) for my own purposes, but it’s working well now. For several months I lived with both of the rails shown in the picture above full of clothes, but not all being worn. Now I’ve sorted and folded the remainder into the two big crates you can see above, labelled:
- Summer / Holidays
- Spring / Autumn & Winter
So I now have 33 items of clothing I am currently wearing sitting on the rails, but I haven’t included accessories or shoes in that number any more. Also, the standard gym/sports clothes, PJs don’t count in the number. Adding work clothes into this mix has made it more challenging.
I must admit that in addition to this wardrobe, I also have a cupboard storing shoes, suits and other out of season clothes that need hanging up, a chest of drawers with my underwear, sports clothes, PJs and accessories in, and another cupboard with a stack of evening dresses in. (Oh and a dirty linen basket.)
However, having removed the excess clothes from these rails (that form the basis of my daily clothes decisions) has made such a difference that choosing what I am going to wear the next day is now easy-peasy.
Several months ago, I had a goal to minimise my wardrobe. It worked quite well and I was pleasantly surprised at how well I managed to dress with a smaller range of clothing. This is an especial surprise given my lack of ability to instinctively tell what goes with what. Then I got a job and that put the suits amongst the pigeons and the discipline round the wardrobe dissolved.
My recent post explains how decluttering isn’t really a priority right now, and so I have decided to try a pants experiment. (For those of you not ofay with British humour, pants means knickers in the UK, and is also used to mean “rubbish” or “not that great” – i.e. “I’m having a really pants day!”)
Anyway, the gist of all of this is that I have alot of underwear I don’t wear and I reckon I could live with less. But how do I tackle this without risking running out of pants? In order to figure it out, I have emptied my underwear drawer into a storage box. As clean pants make it back to my underwear drawer I will only dip into the storage box if the drawer is empty. After a few weeks l can throw away any sets of underwear I haven’t worn..
Once that’s done I might venture to carry out the same experiment with socks!
I have been hitting the books at least one day every weekend, and on as many evenings as I can manage, since the New Year. This has been combined with a very busy period in a new job, and together these things have taken up much of my time and my brain space.
The pile of stuff in the spare room is still calling me, begging to be listed on ebay or given to a charity shop, but I am relentlessly sticking to the view that it is not a priority. We will find out in the next month or so when our next house move is likely to happen, and this makes the pile of stuff nag even louder, as I can’t bear the thought of having to pack it all to move to the next place. But, it is still not a priority.
I’ve thought several times in the last few weeks that it’s an odd to be writing a minimalist blog, whilst telling myself that decluttering is not a priority. I also have ambitions to restart a project on my wardrobe, and my chest of drawers, and most definitely the study.
But as well as studying for my exams, we have a business to shut down before the end of the financial year. These things are more important right now than spending time clearing my stuff, so I’m keeping my minimalism focused on my spare time activities – making sure I’m doing the things that are most important.