One of the new fads I've noticed that is getting a lot of attention is the concept of a "capsule wardrobe". I have to admit that I think it's a neat idea, but not something I think that everyone could do. I first learned about this idea at this website: http://theproject333.com/about/
The basic idea is to use only key pieces in your wardrobe and mix and match them. With this particular site they tell you to work with 33 items for 3 months (hence the 333), then change it out at the end of the 3 months. Options vary according to where you live, climate, work conditions, etc. I don't know that I could do it to this extreme, but I did like the idea of just paring things down, taking up less space and having fewer decisions to make when deciding what to wear every day.
Instead I just decided to quit buying clothing for a while and get rid of things on a regular basis. It has actually worked pretty well, just this morning I did a large clean out of things that I'm just not that wild about, I got rid of 16 clothing pieces and 5 pairs of shoes. They may be things that I'm tired of, don't fit or just decided after I wore them for a while I didn't like them anymore. The simple fact is that if I haven't worn them for a while, chances are I'm not going to anytime soon either. The best part is that out of those 16 pieces, only 3 were items that I had purchased at regular retail, the rest were all thrift store purchases. As far as buying new (or new to me) clothing--I have pretty much stuck to limiting that, I bought a pair of jeans in the spring, two pair of shorts at the beginning of the summer and the sweater set I picked up at a thrift store a few weeks ago. I did buy a new pair of sandals at the beginning of the season, but they were to replace a pair. I think I've done well, and I hope to continue to weed out and get rid of.
I may at some point impose the "nothing comes in unless something goes out" rule too, I did that one time before and it really does make you think before making that impulse purchase. My goal at the end of the summer is to have only one container with spring and summer clothing to store, primarily with shorts in it. That's it. Come next spring I'll buy a couple of new tops to replace the ones I got rid of. In this day and age, you truthfully only need a weeks worth of clothing, if even that. It's not like the old days when you had to drag your stuff down to the river to wash it!
This morning I was faced with a sort of dilemma that made me think about other things in your life that you could do this with. Our dishwasher is in the process of crapping out. It's over 10 years old and I quite honestly don't feel like spending the money on a repair, I'd rather put it towards a new one. But then the other side is, do we really need a dishwasher? My first thought was yes, but the more I thought about it, I started to question the necessity. Part of the issue is that we have a small kitchen and without the dishwasher I can't put all of the drinking glasses away. But is the problem a small kitchen, or simply that we have TOO MANY drinking glasses?? And would we need as many glasses if I was washing them more often instead of waiting until the dishwasher was completely full? Interesting, huh? With just two of us, I'm not sure we do need a dishwasher. Hmmm...
I have a friend who is in full out clean and purge mode at her house. She's sick of tripping over things, not having space to put the things they do need away, and just having clutter around. I commend her for doing this because I know it's not an easy task. But I also know that it does feel TONS better after you have done it. I've been working on mine a little bit at a time, but there is a part of me that just wants to be done with it and it's so tempting to do what she's been doing. I love her philosophy with it too. There is no point in keeping something because you think you might need it. Get rid of it if it falls into that category. In this day and age, if it turns out that later on you do need it, then you can go buy a replacement for it. Chances are you won't need it and in the meantime, think of the space you gained!
I can think of so many things that this would work with in our house. We have bicycles that haven't been used in years, odds and ends tools, we even have a lawn mower in our garage that has been there since 2012 (when we sold our other house) that we need to make a decision on. Over the next few weeks I hope to start some more serious cleaning around here, doing a room each week, and I'm hoping that when I'm done, we will have a few less items. Maybe even a lot less items.
I do know that part of the reason that I'm thinking more about this is because over the past few months, I've hurt my back twice, moving furniture around. As a result, I haven't been able to keep up with the cleaning and such around here. Part of it is simply because my movement was limited during the recovery process. But the other reason is because there is just too much to clean around. I can't help but think about how much easier everything would be if we didn't have some of this stuff about. And I've also had time to think about what I'm actually using and how my interests have changed. There are things that 5 years ago I wouldn't have thought about getting rid of, but now that some time has passed, I have come to realize that some of those items no longer have the same use or meaning as they used to have. I've mentioned several times here on the blog about trying to clean out the stuff that we didn't need or use, but now it has even more validity to me as I am truly trying to simplify things around here. I'll let you know how it goes.