Thursday, July 9, 2015

Not Quite a Capsule, but Still Pretty Small: My Wardrobe

I’ve been reading a lot lately about capsule wardrobes. And I honestly have no idea why this idea even appeals to me, because I’m the type of person who when I have plans with a friend, I try and think of the last time I saw him or her, and then try to remember what I was wearing so I can be sure not to wear the same thing.

That said, I honestly don’t have that many clothes. I take up one side of a walk-in closet with my wardrobe. I counted my items one day, and while there were some things in the laundry, I came up with 116 pieces of clothing. If one was to do a Project 333 wardrobe, you’d end up with 132 items (right? That’s 33 items every 3 months? Or do you keep some items from season to season?) Of course, my number wasn’t counting shoes or jewelry. Anyway, my main point is that I have a medium sized wardrobe that over the two years I’ve really been trying to edit down to only the pieces that I truly love. I have all but stopped buying clothes in retail stores (aside from my recent “emergency” Target trip to get something to wear to a bachelorette party). The way I have been shopping lately is via a personal shopper through my favorite thrift store. My shopper knows my sizes and style, and picks things for me to try on at our session, which I have done four times now. I have gotten some incredible deals (a $425 purse for $40 that I adore and carry daily) and I now try to purchase higher end brands that last longer than my previous wardrobe of mostly Target and Old Navy stuff.

Still, I think my wardrobe could still be edited down more. At this point, I’m not really trying to save space because my clothes don’t take up that much space, and I’m not trying to save money, because I feel like I’m already doing that via thrifting. But I’d like a simpler morning routine. I’d like to get up and just select something and know it’s going to look good and fit well and match. I sometimes stand in my closet unsure of what to wear, and then get frustrated at the time and energy I’m wasting. I’m suffering from choice fatigue.

So, I have a few options. One is to create a smaller capsule wardrobe for each season with my existing clothing. I’ve thought it might be useful to reorganize my closet into sections for the seasons. I wouldn’t see the need to take out everything but the current season’s clothing when my clothes currently fit on my hanging bar. I’d be creating a storage problem when there isn’t one! But right now everything is all mixed up, and my cotton skirts are hanging next to sweater dresses, and that just doesn’t make a lot of sense. My other option is to just continue to edit things out until I only have items I truly love. Really, the best option is to do a bit of both. There is some chaff in my closet right now that could use separating, but the organization of the closet could also use some help. I might also go back to planning a week’s worth of outfits on Sunday night. The time I’d spend up front would save me a lot of time in the morning.

I will keep you updated (and maybe snap some photos of my current set up) and let you see how my closet evolves!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July Monthly Goals

Time to set my July monthly goals. I really want to make these happen, so I think I’ll set fewer this month.

*Declutter a cabinet in our bedroom. Turn it into a craft, art supply, computer cabinet. I want to be one of those people who always knows where the paper and string are. Right now we have some kid’s art stuff in the kitchen, sewing stuff in the master closet, and computer paper and CDs and such all over the place. I thought it would be nice to have one dedicated space to this kind of thing, and the cabinet that currently houses playing cards, pens, and a bunch of books from college seems like a good place.

*Remodel our bathroom! We had a contractor come out and take measurements, and we’re holding our breath waiting for the estimate to come back. In order to either sell or rent out our condo, we need to address the shower. It cannot be sold or rented in its current condition: there are tiles falling down, the shower base is so dirty and cannot get clean (believe me, I have tried). I’m excited we’re finally making steps toward making this happen.

*Declutter our garage. In the summer we don’t park in there because we can’t with the bike and bike trailer being down. But right now, I feel like we can barely walk in there.

*Continue simplifying and saying “no” as much as possible. That includes saying “no” to our kids sometimes when they want to get fast food for lunch or have ice cream after playing in the park.

June Goal Recap

Well, here it is, July 8, and I haven’t posted in a really long time! I’m going to update how June went and create my July goals.

* Automate our weekly daycare payment to go into savings instead. I will set up our bank account to withdraw the same amount weekly that we pay to daycare. If we stick to it, we’ll save a big chunk of change this summer!
We did awesome at this. Our weekly daycare payment is going into savings automatically, and I have barely noticed. We ended up purchasing a new computer in June because our laptop broke, and seeing as though I work from home one day per week and M works from home full-time, we needed to replace it. However, we paid cash and the daycare payment replenished our savings in no time, which felt fantastic!

* Find free and cheap things to put on our “summer bucket list.” One of my ideas is to visit every park in our school district. The kids love exploring new areas, and who knows, maybe one of these parks will become our new neighborhood next year!
We’ve been doing pretty well at this, but we could do better. Our problem tends to be we’ll be out doing something for free, and then we hit meal time and end up grabbing something out. A really fun beach trip ended up costing $50 in lunch the other day. We need to pack more picnics, or stay close enough to home that we can go home for lunch or dinner.

* Quiet our master bedroom. I didn’t do this last month, but I really want to focus on making our master bedroom a decluttered, minimal haven for us to relax.
Ugh, still working on this. I quieted the space somewhat by taking out all the tchotchkes and framed photos off the surfaces. But I want to take the next step and work on a cabinet that right now just holds a bunch of junk, and then make a few tweaks to make it cleaner, more minimal, and relaxing.

* Take care of the school’s community garden. One thing we adore about our neighborhood is my eldest’s school. We are participating in the community garden this year, and have signed up for a week in late June to be in charge. I look forward to digging in the dirt, enjoying fresh vegetables, and being part of the community.
We had our week of being in charge, and it was great! I enjoyed weeding and watering and having something to check on and dote on for the week. We’ve gotten a ton of lettuce from the garden, and last night I also picked some kale, a zucchini, and chives.

* Better anticipate “extras” in our budget, particularly presents and outings. We do have some wedding showers and birthday parties to attend in June, and I need to better incorporate these expenses into our budget. For some reason they always sneak up on me, and they really shouldn’t. I also want to make sure we are as frugal as possible when it comes to these expenses. For the wedding I am in in July, I plan to get my dress altered by someone I know who is extremely affordable, wear shoes I already have, and wear clothing I already have to all the other events instead of buying new outfits.
I did pretty well at this goal. For those events in June, I built the presents into the budget, and that really helped. It was nice that those things weren’t a “surprise” that threw us off track, but something that we had planned for. I tried on the shoes for the July wedding and none of them fit well (my feet have seriously gone up a size since having my kids!), but I scored a pair of better fitting shoes in the color the bride specified from a thrift store for only $3! I wore an outfit I already had to the shower and felt great. However, I could not find anything I liked for the bachelorette party, which was on a lake cruise and then out to bars. My wardrobe is heavily weighted toward professional work clothing and not so much on the girl’s night out clothing. I ended up driving to Target an hour before I had to leave and buying a new top there. Not a great moment for the budget or my simplification plan. However, I really like the top I purchased and will wear it again. And that moment has made me think a little bit more about the idea of creating a capsule wardrobe, which I will explore in a later post.

* Say “no” more. If it doesn’t fit into the budget, if it makes our schedule untenable, or it just doesn’t fit with our values of living a slower, simpler life, I will say no.
I think we did OK at this one. We both said no a couple of times last week when friends wanted to go out, but we already had plans on the books for later in the week. We tried to strike a balance between being with friends and spending money. I don’t think we totally accomplished it, because there were many days that were far too busy. But we tried to be more mindful of our schedule getting too overloaded.

* Dent the credit card debt. We saved a lot of money last month, but didn’t pay down any debt. My goal for this year is to do both simultaneously, so I have will make this a higher priority in June.

We did this a little bit. We paid a couple of small balances. I hope to do more later on, though.