Considering a Capsule Wardrobe

 

My collection of scarves is about to get smaller.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had in the past, with every place I’ve lived in, was closet space being too small for my liking.   Even with an added dresser, I’ve always had trouble putting (squeezing/squishing) everything away… and still, SOMEHOW, I was constantly thinking that I had “NOTHING TO WEAR!”

Too many clothes, yet nothing to wear?  How can this be??

I’ve been thinking about this issue for several months now, and have finally decided to take on a huge challenge: The Capsule Wardrobe.  This term ‘capsule wardrobe’ was coined in the 70s by a London shop owner named Susie Faux.  Donna Karan later created a collection called “Seven Easy Pieces”, which catapulted the idea into popularity.

The basic definition of a capsule wardrobe is a small collection of staple pieces that work well with each other.  The collection typically consists of 30 items or fewer (including shoes and accessories.)  You can buy a few new pieces each year, but the idea is to build a streamlined wardrobe of timeless, high-quality pieces that will stand the test of time – and not to mention, save you money and closet space!

Caroline Rector of Un-Fancy re-introduced the trend of the capsule wardrobe a couple of years ago, and she explains it so well:

“To me, a capsule wardrobe represents more time and energy for what really matters (less time spent deciding what to wear / less time spent shopping / less time doing laundry or caring for clothes) more money for our dreams + helping others (less money spent on clothes that never get worn) and more contentment and happiness.”

Having less laundry is a huge motivation (it’s a mom’s dream!), but what I really want is for my closet to be filled with ONLY the things I will truly wear, and obviously, the big picture: to own less.

The capsule wardrobe challenge has started.  I’ve started REALLY pairing down my closet and donating the items that have been collecting dust (I put “really” in all caps because I’ve literally done at least 3 closet purges in the past 9 months.  How is it that I keep finding stuff I don’t use?  UGH.)  I’m leaning toward having two capsules: Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer.  This would allow me to set aside items when they are out of season.  I’d keep each wardrobe (including shoes and accessories) to fewer than 30 pieces, there will be likely be overlap between the two collections.  I’ll keep you posted… Stay tuned!

BY THE WAY…  While this is on my mind, I want to say a few things:

When I started this 20mugs journey last summer, I had no idea where things would lead or how I would grow.  I felt an itch to make certain changes and knew that blogging along the way would hold me accountable to the challenge – because this sort of thing is NOT easy!  It takes a daily commitment and serious discipline.  Sometimes I liken it to when people attempt a lifestyle of a healthier eating.  It’s so easy to fall back into old habits, do what’s most comfortable, pretend like you never made that difficult commitment – and even EASIER if you don’t tell anyone about it.   I didn’t want my desires to fall by the wayside, and I have to say I am SO proud of myself thus far.  I’m not a traditionalist minimalist by any means, but I’m working my way toward a healthier lifestyle where LESS truly is MORE.

I want to thank everyone who has been keeping up with my blog, encouraging me and letting me know whenever I have inspired them.  It’s so rewarding for me to know I have good company on this long road.  Let’s keep taking those baby steps.  We can do it!!

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Photo Credit: http://www.JaneOrganizes.com (Check out that website for some great tips from a professional organizer!)

 

Minimizing Waste

 

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Hilarious bag from Emily McDowell.  Click through to purchase. Just don’t leave it at home.

Up until this point, I’ve been blogging about topics in which I have a reasonable level of experience, and even some “success”, if we can call it that.  Purging, decluttering, fighting consumerism… All things that generally describe the life I’m living right now.

However, when it comes to the subject of MINIMIZING WASTE, I don’t exactly hold my head high.  In fact, I’m pretty ashamed of the amount of waste produced by my daily life.  The issue seems almost insurmountable.  *insert wide eyed emoji here*

Initially I thought I’d hold off on writing about this until I got better at it…  Until I could offer you the “Top 10 Ways to Waste Less” based on my own achievements… Until I could say, “If I did it, you can do it too!”

But then a friend asked if I could write about it.  *GULP*  It felt like I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar.  *What? Who? Me?*  I’m nowhere near where I want to be with this issue, but… I guess it’s probably better to just be honest with where I am instead of waiting because that could take a while.  So here I am, exposing my blatant disregard when it comes to my own wastefulness.  True confessions:

  • I toss things that can be recycled, because I get lazy.
  • I have a knack for forgetting my reusable bags when I go shopping.
  • I buy tons of things that are individually packaged (versus buying in bulk).
  • I use an absurd amount of paper towels in a day.
  • I use disposable diapers.  I mean my SON does. I don’t use diapers.

Obviously the problem isn’t that I was never taught about the importance of minimizing waste. On the contrary, “Recycle-Reduce-Reuse” was one of the many jingles of my childhood, but I’ve turned a blind eye toward the matter for most of my busy adult life.  I didn’t take it seriously until recently, when I watched this Upworthy video about Lauren Singer of Trash Is For Tossers.  

Lauren leads a ZERO WASTE lifestyle and the only way I can describe it is: UNREAL.  While I’m taking out a bag of trash almost every single day (our trash can is small, but still), she was barely able to scrounge up ONE measly mason jar of trash in two whole years.  Everything else had been composted, recycled or simply not purchased.   Watch the video, it’s incredible.  Really made me think.

Why do we produce so much waste?!  I suppose, as with most issues in life, it comes down to two things: Priorities and Perspective.  In America, we seemed to be trained from a young age to seek convenience.  It’s basically handed to us, and we feel strange turning it down.  We’re able to “grab and go” and carry on with our busy lives.  We usually don’t think too far into the matter… BUT if we did, we might consider changing a few things.  We might consider separating compostable items from our actual trash.  We might consider not buying as many bottles and cans.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 pounds of garbage a day.  This garbage ends up in landfills across the nation, which create an obvious threat to both our health and the environment, but for most of us, it’s “out of sight, out of mind”.  This is what I meant when I mentioned Perspective.  We really ought to think about the big picture.  We ought to think beyond our busy little lives and think about the world we are leaving behind for our children’s children’s children.

Our choices shape the world, and every little change we’re able to make for the good, truly IS good.  Like I said, I have a ways to go in this department but I’m moving in a positive direction, and I want you to join me. We just have to start somewhere.

I’d love to hear what you’ve done to minimize waste in YOUR life.  Please leave a comment below!

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TIP SHARE: The 1 Minute Declutter Trick

Thanks to the infinite resourcefulness of the world wide web, I’ve been able to tap into a vast ocean of knowledge shared by other bloggers who are also striving to live a simpler life.  In some weird way, it feels like having a support system who doesn’t even know you.  This journey of owning less, after all, is not all that easy.  It goes against the grain of what society says we ought to be doing with our lives.  But there is a decent-sized army of us, and I can’t tell you how encouraging it is for me.  Sometimes I feel a bit like the slow kid in the back, waving my arms and yelling, “Wait up for me, guys!”  I have so much to learn, and I’m so eager.

One of my favorite blogs to follow is called “Pioneering the Simple Life” and I just have to share with you her tip on decluttering!

CLICK HERE TO READ IT! –> The 1 Minute Declutter Trick

Don’t ask yourself whether the items bring you joy.

Think of the joy you felt when they were off your counters, no longer between you and the front door.