Posted in Declutter, minimalism, Project 333, Uncategorized

#Project333 Update – What I will change

Sticking to the capsule has been easy – It’s not like I had lot of choice; the rest of my clothes are packed away! What I have had trouble with is remembering to note down what I am wearing on the nerd sheet and taking photos of the outfits.  There are, however enough notes for me to have worked out a few changes I plan on making to next months capsule (which is totally in the rules I have just made up).  So here is what I have been getting up to this month, what I have learned and what changes I plan on making.

Artmuseums

 

How has it been going?

In both my previous post about #Project333 / #PPTKOMins  and in my article “Clothes? To Capsule, or to Kon Mari?” I mention something quite important; Limiting your clothes choices is not ideal for everyone.  Just because you want to be a minimalist it doesn’t mean you need to get rid of clothes you like and wear just to fit an arbitrary model.

That said, I have jumped into the whole “Less is More” idea with gusto.  It has certainly made getting ready in the morning quicker.  There are, of course, a few issues that have come up in my first month of trying out the project, and my nerd sheet – even when I have failed to complete it- has pointed out some glaring mistakes I have made with my choices.

 

My Choices: 

Let me introduce you to the items that made it into the experiment – First up, I have finally built my Ikea rail so I have now been able to hang all of the clothes together and look at them in an oddly satisfying way…

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Building myself an Ikea rail…
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They work together! Honestly!

And this is my nerd sheet: (A blank copy, obviously!)

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The idea being: I add a date into the squares to indicate what I have worn on any given day.  What has been highlighted by the sheet is that I over rely on certain clothes, have not even worn others, and that I am now totally unprepared for a special event that will mean I may need to borrow an outfit from someone else!*

So let’s go over my choices:

 

Clothes Rail #333
Note the expertly made rail…

Tops and Layers:
1) My navy vest (disclaimer: I actually have two of the same vest, mainly because I wear it under literally everything. Have made  ‘November Decision’ based around that fact.
2) Pinky/Peach chiffon blouse – which needs to be worn over things. (Namely navy vests!)
3) Peach stripe blouse – which I haven’t worn much, but is fact one of my favorites.
4) Blue bunnie blouse – love this one! A newish addition, and rather large, but the most patterned thing in my wardrobe.
5) V neck navy/white striped top- not worn this much either, maybe because it is folded and away in my clothes box rather than hung up?
6) Peach slouch jumper- it’s got a Japanese vibe, so a bit casual, but goes great with all of my bottom choices.
7) Light blue/white slash neck long sleeve top – again another favourite that goes with everything.
8) Brown/White stripe top – worn once, in the wash currently and not missing it, don’t think it will make its way into the November list.
9) Red (ish?) /White striped jumper – Love, love love! But possibly over wearing…
10) Peach Fitted V Neck – it has been unseasonably warm this October, but I have worn this, and will wear it more in November.
11) Blue V neck – thought I would wear this more, but haven’t…still debating…
12) Blue cardi – yep, def keeping, wear with EVERYTHING!
13) Paris Cardi- one ‘wear’ in and I knew this was going, gets dirty far too easily.
14) Blue chunky (oh-er) – wearing as I type, fantastic buy!
Bottoms and Dresses
15) Denim Culottes – Staple casual wear – keeping forever.
16) Beige Culottes – Slightly posher, again keeping.
17) Navy Leggings – only wear under things, see below!
18) Denim Shorts – under stuff, again, see below.
19) Jeans – getting the hang of this ‘jean’ thing.  Will be keeping.
20) Shiny pleated skirt – one of my best charity shop buys ever.
21) Peach net – only worn under dresses
22) Mustard Cord – worn, but a bit short and casual.
23)Grad blue – possibly not suitable for winter, but will be back for next year
24) Boden brown – worn lots
25) Navy prom – love this dress, and it has pockets.
26) Navy Benetton – only worn once.
27) Peach/Blue – only worn once.

Shoes
28) Brown boots
29) Baseball boots
30) Posh shoes
Misc
31) Scarf
32)Maroon duffle coat
33) Grey cap/shawl thing.

 

So, what have I learned?

First of all, I have learned that I am guilty of over wearing some of my wardrobe items. This isn’t necessarily a problem, this is a capsule wardrobe after all, with the aim being to manage with less. However, I don’t want to only be wearing 3 items all week -people will talk! The main culprits are my jeans and red top, but my over reliance on my blue cardi and vests are also posing a problem.  It is actually quite an unusual turn of events – as this time last year I did not even own jeans- it still freaks my Mum out when I have them on, it is such a novelty to see me in any kind of trousers.  It is easy to see why people practically live in their jeans; they’re very easy to wear.  Almost TOO easy… to the extent that, as I discussed with a fellow minimalist on Instagram, my wardrobe was veering towards the too casual, possibly frumpy and definitely over stripey.

While ‘overwearing’ has been an issue for some items, ‘barely wearing at all’ has been the case for some of the other pieces. These fall into two camps:  items that should have been listed as underwear, and items that will not be making it to the November edition of #Project333 / #PPTKOMins.  My denim shorts, navy leggings and peach net skirt will remain as underwear, as they are never worn separately.  Meanwhile, my peach dress, my blue v neck jumper and Paris cardi will have to go – they are just not pulling their weight in the capsule!  This means I will be taking 8 pieces out the wardrobe as it is (I’m also counting the vests as underwear, they are too revealing to be worn apart from under things and the brown short sleeve top is going too)

So I get new pieces!
Choices have already been made…

I have a new stripey dress (I know! More stripes!)
A pink blouse (I’m thinking smart for work? Hopefully!)
Swapping in my denim skirt (casual, I know, I know…)

That leaves five more:  I’ll need a short sleeve top, another cardi, maybe more trousers and then… two more tops? Will have a look and see what I need.

 

TL:DR – Capsule conclusions after the first month…

What so you mean you haven’t read it! How rude! 😉
After one month of trying a limited wardrobe, I am finding very few problems.  Are there extra items I would like to add? Possibly, but conversely there are ones I could have easily lived without.  Possibly 33 items will not be the number of items I end up with, but for now –  all is well in the sartorial world of Polly … now to go find my new pieces for this month.

 

 

 

* Crisis averted – just wore my navy prom dress – is there nothing that dress cannot do! It even has pockets!

 

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Posted in Declutter, Lifestyle, minimalism, Tips & How to's

Where does your clutter go?

So, maybe you have you’ve been inspired by the Marie Kondo movement and have started your mass declutter. You may have completed a #Minsgame or two, or jumped on board the ‘capsule wardrobe‘ train, but you have hit a roadblock.

The Minimalists and Polly
Insert shameless ‘Polly meets The Minimalists’ photo, for no reason but to show off…

What exactly are you going to do with all of that junk?  It is all very well having a good tidy up, but where does all that clutter go? As I have gone through my stuff I have been pretty ruthless and I will freely confess to having binned the vast majority of it.  However if , like me, you live in England, you may have a problem like mine; the council only empty your bin once every two weeks and the bin can only hold so much… and as for visiting the local tip, I’m pretty sure the guy there recognises me and eyes me suspiciously every time I go there.

I have been trying to recycle when possible, but I am still left with a pile of ‘too good to bin’ stuff. What do I do with that? There are basically three things you can do with the stuff if you are not putting it in the bin: Keep it, Give it away or Sell it. This post will go over those options.

 

Continue reading “Where does your clutter go?”

Posted in Declutter

Trying out a capsule wardrobe – Take 1

Having successfully completed Minsgame (and creating a whole hashtag to prove it #PPTKOMins) I have decided to launch straight into another challenge, this time, regarding my wardrobe.  Find out about it in this weeks blog post, where I will be experimenting with capsule wardrobes, namely Project 333.


The house is being decluttered.

A mass cupboard clearout has had an amazing impact on the house; after two trips to the tip, there are now over 25 bags worths of rubbish that are no longer cluttering up the house.  After clearing the cupboard, we have been able to move all the camping gear and bikes into the space that has been cleared, which in turn has opened up the kitchen…and has further fuelled my desire for a tidy house.

There has been a few downsides; I think we may have inhaled an entire bottle of  Cillit Bang Black Mould Remover!  The boys thought we had built an indoor swimming pool when they came in from school, so strong was the chlorine smell (Hannah thought we were covering up a murder – I really need to have a word with that girl).  Another downside has been the fact that all the creatures that had been dwelling, in perfect security, in the cupboard have now migrated into the rest of the house.  I was savaged (i.e.: it walked up my arm!) by a spider so large I could have put a saddle on it and told the kids I had got them a pony…

But arachnid attacks aside, the decluttering continues, and I awoke at 6 yesterday morning with a wild idea… I really wanted to try out the 333 project and have a capsule wardrobe.

Project 333 – So what is it?

An Instagram post I had read the night before had reminded me of the idea; one with which I was familiar through research I had been carrying out for my book.  Having already KonMaried (totally a verb!) my wardrobe to a state where it was fairly reduced by most people’s standards – for example, I only own four pairs of footwear: Boots/Trainers/Baseball Boots/Posh Shoes. – I figured that reducing them down further would not be too difficult.  (There is actually a difference between KonMaring and 333ing, which is also now a verb I intend using, and you can find out more in this article.  But back to me at 6 o’clock, the other morning…) The basic premise is to wear 33 items of carefully curated clothing items over a 3 month period.

While still sat in bed, I made a quick list, creating headers :

Tops     Skirts     Bottoms       Dresses      Accessories  

There are exclusions as part of the rules – so I needed to look up Courtney Carver’s website ‘Be More With Less‘.  Apparently, my personal rules were close to hers.   None of the following are included in your 33 items.

Underwear (I assume this includes socks and tights)
PJ’s – or bed wear
Uniforms – like my Guide uniform, or work clothes
Your wedding ring, or jewelry you never take off – I am including my watch in this.

I don’t own ‘work out clothes’ or indeed ‘in home lounge wear’ – I have a personal rule to never wear anything I wouldn’t be willing to be carried outside by a Fireman in. The one thing I do have though, is a lack of central heating, so I have chucked in an extra hoodie, just to wear in the house if it gets chilly.

While searching the rules, I was drawn in to Courtney’s world and explored her website further. My personal favourite was the detailed how-to of clearing out your closet. – I particularly liked the ‘could take 2-5 hours, brings snacks and stay hydrated’- Purlease! I’ll do it one! *

Challenge Accepted!

I don’t have the luxury of a closet, or a bedroom…or indeed a bed, so I put all the clothes I own, apart from a few items that are currently in the wash, and a peach jumper that I seem to have misplaced**,  in a pile, on the living room floor.  Courtney suggests putting the clothes that don’t make it into your 33 away, rather than actually getting rid of them forever – this makes choosing easier if you know that you can always get an item out if you felt you HAD to have it, and it also gives me new options when I do it all again in December. My knitwear, at present, is stored in a large wheeled suitcase that I bought in Tokyo, and will be the perfect place to store all of the clothes I won’t be using.
Taking pictures took most of the time as I whizzed through my wardrobe.  Lots of my dresses, while I love them, are clearly a bit “summery”, so were obvious choices for the suitcase.  My biggest ‘loss’ will be the black floral culottes that I bought in a mall near Nara – I did lots of shopping in Japan, so much so that I needed to buy a suitcase to bring it all home in, well, that and the knife issue, but that’s a story for another time – however they are black, and most of my other clothes are blue and navy, so they will not coordinate, colour wise, with enough of my other clothes to make them a sensible choice. There is also the issue of the floral design, which will clash with a number of my patterned tops.

Whittling down the clothes was like being Simon Cowell on X-Factor – “You are all great shirts, but only 1 of you can go through to the next round”.  I eventually pared down the clothes to my “winners”; my final 33 items that will comprise my wardrobe for the next 3 months.  Can we, at this point, take a moment to note how impressive it is that the remainder of my wardrobe ALL managed to fit in one suitcase?  Can we also take a minute to note the extreme irony that all of the things I DON’T really want will now be protected in the event of fire or flood…

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So why the 333 method?

There are a number of ways of reducing your wardrobe, and following the Kon Mari method has served me well.  I am currently in a position (financially and spatially!)  where I really need to STOP buying more clothes, and if I limit myself to just 33 pieces, even if just for a few months, I’m hoping I will be able to take note of what I wear, and what pieces I can look to invest in in the future.  To this end I have created an excel page matrix (nerd alert!), so that I can measure which pieces, or outfits get used the most.  While I haven’t officially started on my ‘sartorial slimdown’ at the time of writing this blog post, from looking at the spreadsheet, I notice that I may have over estimated the number of shorts I will need for winter.  These are also only on the list because I always wear ‘safety shorts’ under my dresses, and my 2 pairs of shorts and 1 pair of navy leggings, will never be worn alone, and are therefore taking up a disproportionate part of my “bottoms” selection (See! The nerdy spreadsheet matrix works!) I have also decided to swap out one of my patterned blouses, for a plain, one colour, long sleeve top -Blue, of course! (Further consultation of the nerd-sheet has seen me swap out a number of dresses too, and I have done something I thought I would never do again…I got a pair of jeans.  We shall see how that goes!)

This method, indeed the entire concept of a capsule wardrobe is not for everyone.  I have never been a big ‘clothes’ person (as opposed to someone who has to wear ‘big clothes’, but I am also working on that aspect of my life too!) and getting you to ‘hide’ your clothes away is probably not a great way to encourage decluttering, but if you can work with a reduced wardrobe for a small amount of time, it may give you pause, and then when you eventually retrieve the rest of your wardrobe, it may give you an insight into how many clothes you actually need, and what you actually want to wear.  It is said that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.  If this is truly the case, then I should be able to manage 3 months with 30% of my actual wardrobe.

Is this something you think you could do? Would you rather minimise other areas of your life – and leave your wardrobe out of it?  Are capsule wardrobes a useful travelling tool, but that are where the benefits end?  Would love to know what others think.

Picking my 33 pieces
Decisions, decisions…

* Actually took 57 minutes, and that was because I had to set all the clothes up for photos!

** Panic over! The peach jumper has shown up.

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