Sunday, September 2, 2012

Decluttering: baby steps

Today I started feeling stressed out because I knew I had so much to sort through in order to declutter the house. I said, when I started this blog that I wanted to give minimalism a try and I am pretty serious about it, even though I still have a lot of sentimental items. I was at a loss where to start, because although I have a lot of clutter or unnecessary items here, I am sure it's not as much as the average American home. Or is it...?

Anyway, I decided to sort through my underwear drawer first, because I had a lot of old socks, and torn pantyhose that I kept, thinking "I can wear that with boots, nobody will see the pilling on the side of this pantyhose" and so on. But every time I opened the drawer, it was hell getting everything back down to close it again.

I ended up throwing away
(into a donation bag) a lot of items I didn't wear because they were at the bottom of the drawer and were not easily accessible, or because they had pilled (OK in boots but not with a business suit and pumps), or simply because, well, I didn't like them anymore, like for instance my white tights. They have a tendency to look really transparent at the knee and really white at the ankle, so they would probably look better on somebody skinnier. I also donated perfectly new socks that I felt were a bit too tight for me.

The problem when decluttering your wardrobe is that you might have different activities for which the dress code changes. Three years ago, I was working as a freelancer in Paris, and had a lot of time off, so I had to wear "business" for work and could still wear nearly all my casual clothes for fun.
Then I moved to CT where I was a stay at home wife for a while - before I could start my client base - and wore only casual outfits.

Then I moved to Belgium where I work five days a week at a place where the dress code is business, so I really don't get to wear my casual clothes a lot. After I got here, I had to go and buy work clothes for at least a week's worth. It was very time consuming, because I didn't know the city well, and had no idea where to buy women's suits. Online wasn't an option because a lot of times, the cut isn't quite right, or it needs tailoring.

But I can't really let go of all my casual clothes for several reasons:
1) I like them and I don't want to have to buy them again later.
2) I don't know where I'll be in 2 years, I might need "a lot" of casual clothes again then.
3) I have a lot of vacation time, during which I still enjoy wearing my casual clothes.
4) I never wear casual clothes to work and vice versa (except for just a few pieces)
5) I can never wear the same piece twice because at the end of the day it smells bad: it therefore needs washing. I don't have a drier here, just a drying rack, so I need enough clothes to wear until the next load of laundry dries.

Sure, I could pare down some, and I am going to try to make it happen, but my other problem is: I get really cold and really hot within seconds, and that's always been a problem for me. Especially when you live in the city, if you're out a lot you can't enjoy the nice inside temperature.

So basically, when I see other minimalists with just 10 shirts and 3 pairs of pants and they own like, 2 or 3 sweaters, that's great, and I would wish to get to that result, but:
1) it's more difficult for girls than for guys (nobody notices if a man dresses the same two days in a row, unlike women, I think)
2) I sweat (incidentally I bike to work, but that's for another post), so I need to change clothes often, and I don't do a wash every 3 or 4 days, I wait longer.

If you have any tips that you would like to share on your minimalist wardrobe, please do so in th ecomments section. In the mean time, don't forget to subscribe, and share on Facebook!

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