Friday ReBlog: RV Living with 5 People + an Epic Closet Purge and more

It’s been a minute since our last Friday ReBlog, a spotlight on articles/posts/podcasts I’ve recently found interesting. This week I’m sharing some good minimalism-related reads and listens I came across while recharging my enthusiasm for keeping my stuff to a dull roar.

First up, here’s a fun read on the principles of psychological economics behind Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The article puts some words on phenomena we’ve all experienced – like finding it a lot harder to give something away once we’ve let it live in our closet/house/bookshelf for awhile.

Next, here’s a few tips on really paring down in order to live in a smaller space – and some amazing pics of a family of 5 who live in a converted RV: Living simply, going tiny.

These two Brooke Castillo podcast interviews with Shira Gill (episode 216 and episode 217) are short and sweet bursts of inspiration for decluttering. Shira’s approach is basically the opposite of Marie Kondo’s massive tidying spree (while also overlapping in some ways). Some of my favorite parts were the discussion about how much mental space clears up when you don’t have to manage excess stuff; the glory of empty drawers; and consuming as a way to numb our feelings. PS Shira’s blog is full of great decluttering ideas, too.

Last but not least, pop some popcorn for this excess-to-edited account of a closet purge of astounding magnitude. I’d wager most of us have never spent $25,000 on clothes in one year, but if you’ve ever bought something to soothe some unprocessed emotion, you’ll relate.

Happy Friday!

Friday ReBlog: Decluttering by Color

Janice over at The Vivienne Files is doing a two-parter on decluttering, and her first method is based on color. (No surprise given she’s a master at building capsule wardrobes based on color palette!)

It’s worth the read-through on your own, but a few highlights that caught my interest:

“You’ve got to WANT to accomplish something – your own personal something – when you plunge into this process. If you’re currently perfectly happy with your wardrobe as it is, don’t do this; there’s nothing to be gained!”

I think where the impact lies in this great insight is not avoiding a cleanout when you’re happy with your wardrobe, but defining your “personal something” when you’re unhappy with your closet but don’t know why. No one wants to spend a lot of time and effort decluttering according to someone else’s rules or approach only to still be unsatisfied with the results!  Take a few minutes to write down (or talk through, or Pinterest, depending on your style of learning) what you’d like to achieve from a closet makeover: a consistent color palette, a style refresh, to end up with only clothes you thrill to wear, etc.

That brings us to her second observation I want to engage:

“With all the respect in the world to Marie Kondo, I’m NEVER going to feel joy from a black tee shirt, but having a handful of them is really important to being well dressed, in my life.”

I don’t particularly care about defending Marie Kondo, but I do think (depending on your personality and style) that it’s possible to have an entire wardrobe composed ONLY of things you love – right down to your knickers. (Maybe underwear’s especially important in this category since only you will see it, but it can brighten up your whole mood to know you’ve got Animal underpants on under an otherwise somber or formal ensemble!)

An undershirt I thrifted at one point comes to mind. No one was ever going to see it, since it was designed to be worn as a base layer.  But it was made of the softest Pima cotton, and it felt luxurious every time I put it on.

My point isn’t to be dissatisfied with your wardrobe if your really practical pieces don’t “spark joy,” but to encourage you not to settle if you feel rather “blah” about a practical piece – it’s scratchy, worn out, cheap, doesn’t fit quite right… There’s likely an alternative out there just waiting to be thrifted that will give you, if not joy, a little more pleasure when getting dressed.

 

What are your thoughts on making sure you have figured out your raison d’être before decluttering, or about having your mundane pieces “spark joy”?  Scroll down to comment!

 

Thursday ReBlog: “Dressing Like a Grown Up” and the Crème de la Crème

It’s Thursday, yes, but I’m posting my Ireland packing list tomorrow so you get a “Friday” ReBlog today.

First up, Duchesse at Passage des Perles responds to Vanessa Friedman’s New York Times article “How to Dress Like an Adult.”  Some good food for thought in both categories.  I just went in for a (thrifted, of course) dress-coat as a topper to replace a long slouchy sweater in part because it felt more put-together, more “grown up” for my work life (post next week!).  And to Ms. Friedman’s point #3 – essentially, take care of your clothes – I also just bought a travel-sized steamer to reduce that “sat under a pile of clothes” look things get when I don’t hang them up right away.  (I’ll write a review in a few weeks when I’ve tested it out a few more times.)

 

Second, Adina at Blue Collar Red Lipstick waxes eloquent on wearing only the crème de la crème of her wardrobe and how she’s moving from a wardrobe full of 7s out of 10 that worked just fine to 10s all the way.  (She now says she gets the Marie Kondo “spark joy” thing.)  While I’m not holding on to so-so work horses in the same way she was, I am holding on to some “meh” pieces that I just don’t wear/like because they are interesting/unique/good quality.  Great inspiration if you’re looking to really go for the gold, wardrobe-wise.

 

What are your thoughts on making a wardrobe out of 10s and dressing as a grown up?  Scroll down to comment!

 

Radical Wardrobe Love

Ya might be sick of my wardrobe capsule shenanigans by now (original here; updates here, here, and here).

But if you’re not…

Since it was my first capsule wardrobe, it’s not surprising it took some tweaking to get it right (see those 3 updates above!).  When all was said and done I decided to just keep what I thrill to put on. Which was sort of the point in the first place.

At least I got there in the end!

So here is the aforementioned experiment in radical wardrobe love in which I get rid of every winter item I don’t THRILL to put on. Continue reading “Radical Wardrobe Love”

Sunk Costs – or How My Spouse Uses Baseball to Understand Thrifting

In honor of the World Series…Congratulations Royals!!!

Ours is a baseball family–our kid’s first baseball game was at 6 weeks (unless you count the one in utero…) and we all own hats and t-shirts of our respective teams.  We follow the Red Sox and the Cubs (gluttons for punishment, anyone?) and enjoy games live, on tv, on the radio, on our phones…there’s something special about the steady rhythm of pitches, at bats, and innings punctuated by the excitement of incredible sporting moments and the magic of beating long odds (see: Red Sox 2004, 2007, 2013 and Cubbies…well, next year??  Wanh wannnnnh).

What does this have to do with thrifting?  Normally nothing (other than that my and my kid’s Red Sox outfits were both thrifted.  My spouse is very jealous of this).

But a few weeks ago, while watching the Cubs face off against the Cards, the Spouse was talking about the sunk costs of investing in certain players and then feeling like you have to hold on to them even if they’re not doing well, because you already spent a bazillion dollars on their contract.  Rick Porcello’s 4-year, $82.5 million contract extension—partly responsible for Jon Lester now playing for the Cubs—comes to mind.

RICK-PORCELLO

Thank you internets.

 

And then he said, “You should write a post about sunk costs.  With thrifting.”  When I asked for more, he said, “You know, if I bought a $7 pair of pants and they’re not quite right for me, I’ll still hold onto them because I paid $7 for them.”  He then reflected that this might be a principle that applies more concretely to shopping in general (e.g. if you spent $70 on some pants you’d be MUCH more likely not to give them away…), but since we mostly thrift in our house, $7 was his frame of reference.

If you’ve already invested money in something—whether $7, $70, or $170—you’ll be tempted to hold on to that item because it makes you feel like your money is still WORTH something.  But here’s the truth: if ya ain’t wearin’ it, it’s got zero value for ya anyway!

It’s all another way of saying:

Don’t throw good closet space after bad.

List an item you don’t love but are hanging on to for sunk-cost reasons on eBay, ThredUp, or at a consignment store to recover part of that value. Or, use it to create new emotional value for yourself by passing it to a friend whom you know will love it or donating it so that someone else can love it.  Marie Kondo‘s thoughts on this are very helpful in this process: thank a piece for teaching you something (I don’t actually wear that color/style/type of garment; I already have/am enough; I live a different lifestyle than the one in my head…), then free it to go make another thrifter happy.

And now to decide if Lester’s subpar post-season performance is a sunk cost we’re willing to absorb or if it’s time to let him go…ahh, baseball…

 

Have you ever had trouble letting go of something that wasn’t right for you because you paid so much for it?  Does this way of thinking about clothing investments help free you up to let things go?  Scroll down to comment!