Thursday, March 31, 2011

Simplifying: Clothing

 One advantage of moving every one to two years is the opportunity to clean out unnecessary stuff that accumulated. For instance, while packing up my winter clothes I counted fourteen sweaters stacked in the closet! In the last two moves (only 8 months apart) I donated four totes of clothing! I don't shop frequently, but I do collect. 
     The purpose of simplifying, the closet or whatever else, is to clear our homes and minds of unnecessary distractions so that we may be fully present in the role of wife and homemaker. Have you ever stood in your closet and exclaimed, "I have nothing to wear!" though the closet is full? The true message we are shouting is at our husbands that his provision isn't sufficient. My husband is the provider of our family, and I manage that provision within our home. When I express dissatisfaction in my state of being or living, the message is actually striking my husband as being inadequate to provide to my satisfaction. First, stop comparatively looking at the clothing other people display. Second, learn to be fully satisfied in what you have and wear it proudly. Last, if you feel yourself begin to lament then pause and say a simple "thank you for all you do to provide" to God and then your husband. It's remarkable how quickly I forget my complaint when I voice a simple "thank you."
     Dissatisfaction is a distraction to marriage and to our purpose found in living for Jesus Christ. Another distraction is the junk itself. As I mentioned in the opening, I've cleaned out a load of items and yet still have a ways to go. Isn't it funny how all those items I just had to hang onto for a use "one day," are now completely forgotten. This demonstrates that somethings we hang onto really aren't where our focus should be. Clutter pulls our attention away from relationships and refocuses it on the maintenance of itself. We become flustered if someone comes for a visit unannounced because our home is a mess. We become frustrated as we lack storage space or have to maneuver over and around stuff stashed everywhere. These emotions aren't those of a wife full of joy of her home. These emotions are burdens. It isn't the things in life which will make life remarkable, it's the relationships. That  is where we ought to be setting our sights. Life is, in fact, easier and simpler with less possessions!
     I've thought of a few tips as I tackled our closet:

 1) Sort through the duds. We all have items in our closet which remain hung but are rarely worn out of the house. We may slip it on as we decide what to wear in the morning, but it is shortly traded for something else. There must have been a reason it was rejected, and therefore it should go. Second, anything that has lost its color or shape must also leave. Lastly, if you didn't wear it all season then say "goodbye."

2) Determine what is truly a necessary amount. Is laundry not washed weekly? And are there not only 7 days of the week? So, why do we need a month or more supply of clothing? My aim is to limit my closet to a set number of articles. If I can learn to start with some basics and then add a couple of tops or jewerly for pop, then I can extend a small closet a long way. My clothing goals include:
     -5 skirts (includes 1 print) {or 2 pants & 2 skirts}
     -5 simple tops (one solid, one similar print as above)
     -5 tops (in colors which coordinate with the solids)
     -2 simple cardigans (one print or colorful, one basic white or black)
     -casual black shoe, casual brown shoe, sneakers, sandals/ boots, dress black shoes, 1 colorful shoe
         which coordinates with wardrobe
      -1 set of work clothes (1 pants/skirt, 2 tops, 1 sneakers... add a sweat shirt for winter)
      -5 dresses (ex. for church)
      -2 special occasion dresses/ outfits (funeral, wedding)
Each count is for one season. For winter, go for long skirts and long sleeves. Conversly, you will want to do knee-length skirts and short or 3/4 length sleeve shirts for warmer weather. Dress as though you are presentable if a visitor were to come by or you needed to go out. More importanly, dress as though you wish to present the best of yourself when your husband comes home. Get rid of the louge around the house clothes! Your day is significant, and so dress like you woke to begin living it!

3) Replace basics once a year. My husband and I are not shoppers (unless we're stocking our kitchen pantry!), and so we avoid shopping for clothing as much as possible. The sock may have a hole in the heel, but the rest of it is still good! We've determined to make the most of what we have, and then once a year go through and make a list of all the items which could stand to be replaced. This will likely be the one clothing shopping all year unless a special event warrants a special trip. As long as we have what we need, we're content. Cutting the shopping trip to once, or perhaps twice a year, saves so much time, money and frustrations occurred in the stores.

     It is important to keep the right heart while decluttering. By simplifing our lives, we can better focus on our relationships with others, most notably with Jesus. Happy cleaning :)


  1. I'm about to move (and get married!)--your post is a good reminder of things I should take with me and things I should just leave behind. Thanks!


  2. @Caitlin: Congratulations! Marriage is such a wonderful blessing in life. It can be difficult for each person to decide what should or should be let go of in preparation for being in one household. Ask: "Is this going to be adding clarity or clutter to our home?" :)

  3. I love your thoughts on decluttering and wardrobe necessities. I don't move that often but I pretend I'm moving so it's easier for me to declutter. Thanks for linking to We're Organized Wednesday.

  4. Great suggestions here! Thank you :)

  5. Great post! I responded to your comment on my blog, but I'm not sure if blogger actually emails my responses or not, so I thought I'd copy it here to be sure you get it:

    Loved the idea of listing how many of each clothing item you need. Plus, when you do get something new, you can always let go of one you already have. After all, when you know you only need 5 skirts, it's easier to let go. Great tip!


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