I was off work yesterday, and I had a very productive day. A man came round and inhibited the central heating system (that’ll teach him gallivanting with no clothes on – the system, not the man), I completed the first FO of 2013 (more on this later) and I finally got round to unpack my suitcase from Christmas and put it back in the cupboard.
When I say finally, it’s taken me about ten days. The last time I went to Italy it took me 6 weeks to unpack – in fact until I flew out there again. So I’m not doing too bad.
Since both suitcase and cupboard are in my bedroom, I used the time to also have a wardrobe clearout. Only this one was a clearout with a difference: inspired by this Colette Patterns blog post, I made a (much-less detailed) list.
I listed every single garment I own and every single garment that I put in the bags I will be taking to the charity shop later this week. I left out items clearly marked for refashioning, underwear and hosiery, accessories, shoes and coats, since I feel I have 357 more days to go through this.
Why? I have come to the realisation that my work / exercise / leisure routine is fairly established and I don’t see it changing for a good few years. There is no reason for me to struggle to find something work-appropriate to wear in the morning, something that still happens a little too often. I also want to be prepared if I need to move again.
How much? On to some figures. When I woke up this morning I had 131 garments. Now I have 103. I got rid of 21% of my clothes. It’s a start:
What’s there? Aside from a triathlon suit and underwear, I last bought clothes in January 2012. I had another clearout last March before I moved, and again last August. Even without the level of detail of the Colette post, some of this is hair-raising:
Edited highlights – I own 20 tops that I feel are only useful for sleeping in. That’s 20% of all the clothes I own as of today. Is that right? Not for me it isn’t.
In this instance, “Sleeping tops” is mostly t-shirts that I acquired one way or another (gigs, volunteering and so on) that are not fitted. These days, I will not be seen dead in something that doesn’t emphasise my waist, but alas I can clearly be seen sleeping in it. I need to find something to do with them.
At the other end of this very unbalanced spectrum, as of tonight I only own one pair of non-denim trousers. I would only wear such a thing for work, and I haven’t used them since September or thereabouts.
Do I miss wearing trousers like that? Not at all, so much so that two pairs went into the charity shop bag today. That’s a rounded-up and very impressive 67% of all the non-denim trousers I was in possession of this morning.Incidentally, I also own two triathlon suits, a shortie wetsuit, three evening gowns and a lace petticoat. I am a thoroughly modern woman.
What’s missing? As mentioned, I currently own 103 garments. I don’t really care whether that’s too many for some or too few for others.
Nor do I care how many garments other people own, since it opens the door to all sorts of judgmental to-ing and fro-ing that I try hard to stay away from.
As far as I am concerned, I have no idea how many garments I want to own, and I have omitted that column from my spreadsheet. If I woke up to a 61-garment wardrobe tomorrow it will still feel like too many, in the same vein as when Dag tells his Mum “I don’t want stuff” in the run-up to a Christmas visit.
I always feel I have too much stuff, not because of lack of self-worth (Goodness knows I have too much of that, too), but because I have too much stuff. End of. I have always been more keen on spending money on experiences, or purchases that facilitate experiences, rather than possessions.
I am not after asceticism – far from it. But I am after the correct ratio between the different types of garments, one that reflects my life as it is now and makes it easier.
I am after a set of clothes that serve different purposes: stopping me from getting arrested, avoiding a telling-off in the office, helping me run faster, looking good enough that I forget about them, not driving me insane with mess.
What happens next – I make things. I take my usual longest time ever to decide what I am making, but I make things, and I make sure I make them from my stash.
I might also do a few more blog posts during the year, along the lines of accessories and shoes, outerwear and underwear. But I am not entirely sure about that, sorting out normal clothes already seem like enough of an undertaking.
Don’t forget there’s a giveaway going on next door!