Focused Living, One Month at a Time

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Challenge #6, December 2011: CLOSET CLEANSING

I will give away an article of clothing for every day of the month (a pair of socks or shoes only counts as one).

Just around the corner in every woman's mind - is a lovely dress, a wonderful suit, or entire costume which will make an enchanting new creature of her.  ~Wilhela Cushman

The Why, and a Bit of History
I used to work in the fashion biz.  In another lifetime, before I became envirogirl passionate about ocean conservation I wanted to work in the apparel industry, quite possibly forever, or so I thought.  A few years out of UCLA I switched gears from the sciences, worked at Nordstrom and went to FIDM and earned a degree in Fashion Merchandising.  I soon started at a major swimwear manufacturer as a fit model - not your typical way of jumping into the industry, but it worked thanks to my measurements at the time (over 20 years and 10 pounds ago).  For six years I helped make several popular brands of women’s swimwear fit better, look better, and sell better.  I worked my way up to the “Advertising and Public Relations Manager”. It was all so exciting for quite a while, and leading a team of professional models, photographers, graphic designers, printers, and everyone else, in order to produce catalogs and ads was personally rewarding and fulfilling, for a while. During this time, I pretty much lived and breathed this business – I read every women’s fashion magazine and knew every trend, and I cared about my own wardrobe.  I owned countless swimsuits and a fairly extensive wardrobe of clothes to go out dancing and clubbing in, did a lot of that in my late twenties…Alas yes, a few pairs of M.C. Hammer-pants were featured prominently in my wardrobe, I wore the black ones much more often than the purple ones though.

Since then and especially in the past few years, I just don’t really care very much about clothes – as long as they look decent, are totally comfortable, match, and are not Hammer-pants out of date, I am generally okay with them.  I do enjoy a nice new piece every now and then, but I usually won’t buy anything unless I can see it fitting in with and enhancing what I already have, or if it will serve as a replacement for something I need to get rid of due to wear and tear, and often only if it is on sale as well. But I noticed recently that I was keeping too many things in my closet that I am not wearing regularly, and really don’t see myself needing or wearing anytime soon – sound familiar?

So this was actually a pretty easy month – I actually parted with more than 31 (35) items, most without any hesitation, like the 3 pairs of white socks and 4 pairs of pantyhose I never wear anymore.  And the knit top that had all the buttons down front curving slightly to the right that I always felt self-conscious wearing  - what if somebody notices!  The two t-shirts from a triathlon and a 10K run I did a few years ago, races that I enjoyed the memory of doing them when I looked at the shirts, but were uncomfortable – over it!  And the long sleeve one from September’s swim race in La Jolla that was NEON LIME GREEN – soooooo not my color!  This was fun and definitely  cleansing, and at the end of the month my t-shirt drawer was finally not overflowing anymore - nice!  One of the most memorable giveaways was the raisin colored corduroy pants - they just didn’t fit well anymore (too baggy after the recent droppage of 6 pounds) and I was definitely okay with that.  I didn’t have a whole lot of tops to go with them anyway. 
I also realized I don’t have much of a cold (anything below 40F) weather wardrobe, and I am actually just fine with this, most of my travels are to warm tropical locales anyway.  But by borrowing from a friend and my mom, I was able to outfit myself just fine for the first weekend of the year in Deer Valley in the snow.  Borrowing clothing is a good thing for exactly these kinds of situations – why own something you will only wear once or twice a year anyway?

The Best Item I Gave Away
We went up to Nor Cal for a few days before Christmas.  I wasn’t planning on giving away (nor acquiring) any apparel during this time, however…we visited a lovely second-hand store and I fell in love with a deliciously soft cream colored cashmere sweater and a pair of deliciously soft and fuzzy pink UGG slippers, both barely used and my size – and both ended up being a surprise Christmas gift from my boyfriend on the spot.  When we returned to my boyfriend’s parents home, his mom tried the slippers on (we wear the same size) and remarked how good and stable they felt on her previously injured heel.  She delighted in them and mentioned that she also wanted a pair.  For the next day and a half she was determined – doing her research online and at the local shoe shop, but they were 3x what my boyfriend had paid for them, yikes.   I really liked them while wearing them around their house, but it soon became quite obvious to me that the universe had other plans.  So I wrapped them up and gave them to her for Christmas, for which she was very grateful, and I got to enjoy her reaction.  I am happy to report that my perfectly acceptable utility grey kinda fuzzy slippers (recently washed) are still in service as I write this, and they have no idea of how close they were to being replaced – I’m not telling them.  All is well in the slipper universe, and I got to count this as my favorite clothing giveaway of the month!

Net Clothing Flow and Take Aways
-35 that I purged, but +4;  the cashmere sweater, a T –shirt from running a 5K race on Christmas, a very cute mermaid t-shirt (gift from my sister), and a new very cute and very practical grey jacket I bought, for a total of -31, so I am okay with this!  Taking the bags of clothing I discarded to the Goodwill store was very cleansing, and I feel like I am really committed to keep the net wardrobe flow down to zero, or negative is okay too – keeping extra stuff I don’t wear or need is not my style.   Easiest challenge yet – on to something more difficult for the New Year!