Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Capsule Wardrobe that Isn’t

I started my entire minimalism movement inspired by the ideas of a capsule wardrobe. I loved the thought of having beautiful, high quality clothing and having a lot less of it all together. And that’s exactly what I’ve created. I have a teeny, tiny wardrobe. But no capsule.

What I mean to say is that unlike other capsule wardrobe projects, I don’t have anything waiting for me “off-capsule,” if you will. When I started, I pulled items for my spring capsule, pared down clothes I didn’t really want, and set aside pieces that I liked, but wasn’t sure about. Summer or fall capsule items, I thought.Yet as time went on, I reevaluated those items with a more skeptical eye. Why weren’t they special enough to be first draft picks? Ultimately, the answer was because they were ill-fitting, declining in quality, or simply no longer my taste. It gradually became clear to me that those feelings wouldn’t change with the seasons, so out they went.

The only pieces I own that aren’t hanging my closet are bulky, cold weather sweaters. There are 4 seasons in Missouri: Snow, Rain, July, and Oh my gosh it’s so nice today can you believe how nice it is today I love this weather this is great weather. I wear variations of the same thing year-round. As the weather cools, I throw tights on under my skirts. As the weather warms, I roll up my jeans and wear them with t-shirts and lightweight blouses rather than sweaters. Flats, button down tops, pencil skirts, blue jeans, v-neck tees, are worn in every season.

It didn’t make sense to set aside anything for future capsules. I didn’t love that much of my closet anyway. The summer season is approaching and here’s what I intend to buy:

J.Crew Button Down (a variation of my beloved white shirt)
High-waist Denim Shorts (I’m going to try them. There’s a good chance they get sent back, but I’m trying to be brave)
Madewell d’Orsay Flats (I finally pitched a very smelly pair of black flats and my others aren’t far behind. The work shoe situation demands attention.)
High-waist Bikini (As you can imagine, Brett has thrown the full weight of his support behind this purchase)
SOMETHING TO WEAR TO A BARBECUE, OUT TO DINNER, AND A WEDDING. Y’all, I’m struggling here. I’m gravitating towards a jumpsuit. Maybe this one, or this one, or this one. (HELP.)

And that’s it. It’s not an inexpensive list of items to be sure. But they’ll all fit in very nicely with my current wardrobe, which though small, I’ve been getting along with quite nicely. Recently a friend asked me if my capsule wasn’t actually bigger than normal, because she’d never seen me wear the same thing twice. (I can assure you this is not true. I’m actually wearing the same pair of pants today that I wore yesterday. I considered adding another pair of slacks to my list, but decided I should just shave my legs so I can wear a skirt instead. Minimalism you guys. It’s a whole thing.)

So maybe don’t stress if you haven’t dominated your closet situation as swiftly as you’d like. You don’t need a perfectly seasonal and rotating selection of highly curated clothes. My recommendation is to trim until it’s easy to get dressed in the morning and you always have something to wear that you love. It’s working for me!

 

 

 

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Become a Minimalist and Earn $1,000*!

*Results not guaranteed.

A pretty incredible consequence of the Mosers Going Minimalist has been a nice little deposit into our Travel Savings as a result of selling a lot of our unloved possessions. We’ve made about $1,000 from auctioning old phones and records on e-bay, selling empty bookshelves on message boards, and hocking $1 coffee mugs at a garage sale. I can hardly believe it. Things I don’t find useful or believe to be beautiful have transformed into new energy- money that can go into life-giving transactions. (Like staying with our dearest friends in Canada and watching our sweet friend Ben get married on the East Coast and tickets to see Aladdin on Broadway.) (HELLO!)

When I started this journey, I posed the question: Do you believe that you’re enough? Extra money is a treat, but being enough? Having enough? That is my end game.

Savoring new, empty spaces

Savoring new, empty spaces

And now that the clutter is cleared, the real work starts. It’s important to remind myself why I started this project.

1. Own fewer, more lovely things. Saving and making money weren’t actually goals of mine, though I’m pleased at the results. Rather, I wanted less possessions that were more treasured. I sold or donated all of my purses and kept one black Kate Spade that was a gift from my darling cousin and bought this gorgeous cognac brown Madewell tote that I’ve been coveting for years. I even had it embossed in gold with my initials. (MINE FOREVER.) In the end, I’ll probably spend the same amount on clothes. But they’ll be soft and special and higher quality and that pattern of value will repeat itself through my entire home.

2. Capture some peace of mind. One of the things that I found the most practical about the KonMari Method is that after you’ve cleared your home of anything that doesn’t spark joy, life becomes a lot more straightforward. If you fear you’ve lost something and it isn’t where it belongs- then stop worrying. You’ve definitely lost it. Isn’t it THE WORST when you aren’t sure if you’ve actually lost it, or misplaced it, or dropped it at the office? With the Kon-Mari method, everything has a place and if it isn’t in its place, you can stop looking for it and start problem solving. HOW VERY SIMPLE.

Last week Brett was in a really good mood and said, “I’m so cheerful lately!” I said, “You’re unburdened!” As we’ve cleared our lives of unnecessary clutter, commitments, and concerns, we’ve been noticeably more agreeable.

3. Value the right things. Brett fell asleep before me last night and when I stepped out of bed to turn off the lamp I was struck right in the feels. I have everything I’ve ever wanted. I was so overcome, I took a photo.

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There was my beautiful husband and my precious pets all sleeping next to me, peacefully. You guys, it was the most perfect moment and God gave it to me and I have done nothing to deserve it. I cry thinking about it. When we sorted through our mementos, I threw away every single journal I had kept during junior high and high school. It was easy — I was lonely and sad growing up. My family was troubled. I felt unloved. I had wonderful friends and a grandmother who lifted me up and showed me what life could be outside that fog, but I poured my hurt and my anger and my pain into notebook after notebook. I have carried those totems with me for ten years now and it was easy to say goodbye. Now, I have everything I have ever wanted. I don’t need to look back and remember when I didn’t.

There is no possession worth more than that. Don’t you agree? My people matter. Not my things. And I really think that is what lives at the heart of minimalism. This wonderful message that our lives are complete, that we are blessed beyond measure, and that we are truly enough. HOW VERY SIMPLE.

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Kon-Mari Method

Minimalism. Can we talk about this? Because, I am exhausted.

Brett and I took Monday and Tuesday off work to give our house the Kon-Mari once over. An hour into Day One, I was exhausted.

I’ve been overly confident, y’all. I felt that because I had been expressive and vulnerable here, I was prepared to do the work. I expected it to be joyful, simple, and most importantly- quick. I established myself as an authority on minimalism, without actually becoming a practicing minimalist first. (I do this…)

But, I want to encourage you in the face of what I was feeling. Because I think this is so worthwhile.

The most accurate way to describe my reaction was “All. The. Feels.”

Oh my gosh we have so much stuff. Why do we have so much stuff? I just bought that. Why did I buy that? What a waste! I’m such a waster! I’m tired. Why did I think this would be fun? This isn’t fun. Why do we have so much stuff?

And so on. I was overwhelmed immediately, but this is because (as previously established) I tend to ignore hard facts and idealize EVERYTHING. My blessed, sweet husband was patient and encouraging and didn’t pick on me at all. And when I said, I need a break, he said just the right thing which was, Let’s get ice cream. 

We started with clothes and y’all- I am STILL pulling unworn items from my capsule. I yanked a pair of navy khakis, a black sweater, and a button down from my current capsule and just about everything from my “off season” capsule except sweaters that are too damn hot to wear. If it didn’t make the capsule in Round One, I don’t love it. If I have 30 items in my closet and I still ignore certain pieces, then I really don’t love them. Out they go.

Papers were easy but caught me off guard. I was diligent in keeping anything I felt might be important and what remained was a time capsule of my first years of adulthood. An $800 receipt for the black 1994 Escort LX coupe that my dad bought my senior year of high school. (You guys, this was a big deal for us. $800 was a lot of money. I can’t even.)  The award letter for my Bright Flight scholarship. The lease on my first college apartment. The insurance paperwork from when my car was totaled. (Not the Escort. That junker died in the Target parking lot on my way home from work. I bought a beautiful Nissan Altima and some jerk t-boned me on a rainy day 2 months later.) Our marriage license and the applications for our passports. Except our marriage license (natch), these all went in the “shred” pile, but there was something startlingly emotional about flipping through them in succession. I was glad when we finished up.

Komono was, well, everything. We went room by room (to make it manageable) and it took every bit of two days. We emptied cabinets, cleared shelves, dug things out of nooks and our living room is now patently full of goodies for our garage sale on Saturday. (We’re having a garage sale on Saturday!).

Fatty was a big fan of all the available boxes for sitting.

Fatty was a big fan of all the available boxes for sitting.

Mid-day Monday, I was pretty sure there was no chance I’d have the energy to deal with mementos, but by Tuesday afternoon I was so ready to be DONE that I powered through. We kept scrapbooks and photo albums (probably not in total alignment with the Kon-Mari method, but it works for us). I sorted through a plastic bin of photos and Brett and I both determined we didn’t need the hall pass from Kindergarten or the card from our 13th birthday party signed “Joe and Jane.” (Who are Joe and Jane? Where did this card come from? Why did I keep this?) We even sorted through cards and letters we’ve written each other over the years and only kept the most special. (Brett noticed a somewhat concerning pattern which is that about half my cards begin with “Sorry I’ve been such a bitch lately…”)

I threw away a lot of photos. I had an astonishing quantity of photos of 1) People I am not friends with anymore; 2) Places I do not remember being; and 3) Me doing things I should not have been taking photos of (drinking, smoking, breaking into circuses). Emotionally, this was an easy task because if I ever go into politics (I won’t), the blackmail material is significantly lighter.

I’m ready for next week. I’m ready to clear the debris from my home, to pay someone to give it a deep clean, and to settle into the maintenance phase- which I am the most eager and anxious for. I think I’m ready to call myself a minimalist, but I’m certain that there so much more to uncover in these new stages than I could ever expect.

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