putting thought into function

Storage on the back of the bedroom door for pashminas!

I like to clean out my closet.

I’m not being metaphorical this time. Twice a year I pack up one season of clothing and populate the closet with the next.

However, it’s not quite the time to switch from the winter to the summer wardrobe. As these Spring temperatures reveal, it’s still cool enough at night to need a wool jacket and yet warm enough in the day (particularly at work) to not be wearing sweaters. So what to do? I guess I’m rearranging my closet more than twice this year!

On this weekend, I have chosen a quiet Sunday to haul up my bags from storage. I’m taking stock of all my clothing to figure out what stays out and what goes away.  Perhaps there are a few lighter items that I can make use of before it definitely becomes time for open-toe sandals and white cotton skirts.

While I am attending to this task, I realize it has been quite awhile since I last made an assessment  of what I need in my collection. As I go through this transition,  I am writing out a list. For example, how many sweaters do I have, what colours are they, and do they suit work or recreation. And from that list, I determine what is it I need to go buy.

It sounds shallow to type this but truly, I don’t have enough clothes. There are things that I will spend money on and clothes are at the bottom of my priority list. (On the other hand, I have a growing collection of pashminas! See picture above) There is a threshold, I believe, when it’s not practical to overuse a single item. So I need to do some shopping.

Meantime, here I am folding and unfolding and the minimalist in me starts to pull out things that I’m not using. That brown v-neck fine knit sweater for example. It’s a great colour on me. It’s in great shape. And it has been barely worn. I recall talking to this garment last year, convincing us both that I will try to get some use out of it.  But I didn’t wear it at all.

My tastes have changed. I’m interested in more feminine shapes. As well, I want to introduce more patterns and lighter colours, both of which have not been permitted in my interpreting outfits for decades.

So I’m letting the sweater go.

I feel a bit silly. “It’s just a single sweater. Leave it in your closet! If you have such a small wardrobe, then it’s not taking up valuable space” But you know what? It is taking up space in my mind.

So this is when I decide to be a consumer. But I will still follow my rule: “If something comes in, something has to go out.” Donate the sweater. Someone will get great use out of it. And then I will buy something that I will wear.

So as I plug through this afternoon’s task, I may end up with a small pile of 5 or 6 items to get rid of. I know my partner also has a few things in his closet that he would like to remove. We have both lost weight recently (we took part in the Toronto Weight Loss Challenge!) and some pieces don’t fit anymore.  So we’ll take a box over to the second hand shop this week.

I recognize that when I say I am a student of minimalist habits, I more likely mean I am attempting to be more conscious. What do I need; what do I want.

A short exercise, accomplished in a couple of hours, makes me feel good. I have made myself a list. When I go shopping I will purchase exactly the right things. I don’t have much money to buy several items at once – so I will check off one piece at a time as I can afford it and I will introduce items into my growing wardrobe that will compliment.

Interesting, I notice I’m giving away fewer things each year, because I’m being careful about what I purchase. However, my tastes change, my shape evolves and I am adapting to new career needs.

Constant evaluation. Works for me!