Perfectly on-point quote from author and minimalist, Joshua Becker.
Perfectly on-point quote from author and minimalist, Joshua Becker.
It was a gorgeous DC summer Saturday…85 degrees, lots of sun, very low humidity. Very unusual for the typical hot, humid DC summer. On tap for me on this absolutely amazing summer day…absolutely nothing.
How I saw the day shaping up…I would hang around the house trying to decide what to do, eventually the sun would start setting, and I would opt to go out for dinner or drinks with my best friend. Not a bad day, but…that’s hours worth of sunlight that I saw myself wasting by hemming and hawing over an action plan. I would love to go to the beach, but the closest “real” beach is three hours away, which is easily four or five depending on beach traffic. And of course you don’t drive four or five hours just to come straight back, so I’d have to then deal with overpriced beach rentals…which now means my simple attempt to enjoy nice weather has turned into an all out high cost excursion.
So not in the mood for that.
Nor was I really in the mood for a crowded boardwalk, wrangling over beach space, and being overcharged for everything.
But I did want to enjoy the sun, listen to some waves, and totally veg out for a couple of hours. I knew there were some smaller beaches in the area, so I looked one up, packed a simple beach bag (towel, shoes, cardigan, book, bottle of water, that’s it!), met my bff, and rode the 45 minutes to Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. My bff and I are known to really overdo a simple outing. We pack a cooler, sandwiches, snackies, waters, adult beverages that we pre-make, slice cheese platter, make our own trail mix, wash and bag all types of fruits, and don’t forget all of the related plates and cutlery, make a playlist, the list goes on. And while we love having all types of conveniences with us while we relax at the beach, it makes a simple trip seem like a daunting plan that requires a ton of prep work.
Then the “me” in me always has to play out every possible scenario, and pack for that as well. What if we decide to go dancing, what if I get tired and want to stay the night, what if my shoes get too sandy and I need another pair as a back up? And that always results in a ton of extra time gathering up those must-have items, plus lots of extra crap in my bag. It’s just too much! So I decided oh well, if I need extra stuff and don’t have it…OH. WELL.!! Pack what you need for your objective (sitting on the beach), and roll out. And so I did just that.
As we set off for Chesapeake Beach, unlike travelling anywhere in the DC metro area on a Saturday, there was virtually no traffic. Aside from a minor unrelated snafu getting to our meetup spot, getting to the beach was a breeze. Ahhh…I can feel the stress leaving me already. Few cars on the road and lots of trees to look at as we rode along. Our directions to the beach had literally two turns. Simple, simple, simple. And I loved it!
The beach was tiny…TINY. BUT…at the end of the day, what did I want? A non-fussy place in the sand where I could lay in the sun, listen to the waves, read my book, and laugh with my bff. And that’s exactly what I got.
After we had enough of the beach, we went to the local beach resort, had some dinner and drinks, listened to the house band, ate some great seafood, and enjoyed the fresh air. It was perfect.
The lesson learned from this outing. Keep it simple! Remove the excess from my objectives, and stick to the task at hand. In this case it was taking advantage of a beautiful day. Done! And we had a great time. Our only regret was not coming up with the plan way earlier in the day. We would have loved spending more time basking in the sun. But now we know for next time.
How can you remove excess from your objectives? Pick something that’s been overwhelming to you. Remember the purpose, and remove the baggage. Give it a try and let me know how you do!
My accessories used to be my pride and joy. I loved going to thrift stores and vintage shops and finding awesome beaded necklaces or some adorable must-have earrings. There was a time I just could not pass up a clearance jewelry section without coming away with something, anything. Combine that with my love of crafting things, and I had more accessories than any person could ever need.
I loved showing up to events with that statement necklace that made the fashionistas coo. Nothing tickled me more than someone saying “Oh my gosh! I LOVE that bracelet!” I never spent a ton of money on clothes or accessories, but I loved feeling like I had an eye for picking out those pieces that got people talking. Sometimes I’d reveal my secret…”oh THIS? I picked it up in a great vintage store for 2 bucks! Can you believe it??” Or I’d say “you wouldn’t believe how easy it was to make!” And sometimes I’d just chuckle on the inside at their awe over my low cost trinket.
And now, my overflowing jewelry boxes, accessories hangers, ring bowls, necklace trees, and various other random organizers reflect just how bad my addiction once was. I have crap EVERYWHERE! But the funny thing is…now I rarely if ever wear any of those things that I once just HAD to have.
Lately I have taken on a new accessories philosophy, and I didn’t even do it with the intention of scaling back. But luckily, this new philosophy just so happens to fit my current quest towards minimalism. I’ve fallen in love with dainty and simple. Now I coo over mini hearts or tiny studs, or…if I’m being fancy, a necklace with my monogram in it. I keep things simple. Faux diamond studs, small gold heart necklace, and maybe a bangle or two if I’m feeling saucy. When I’m dressy, I pull out my faux pearls. When I’m casual, my small gold ball earrings. Simple, basic, and dainty make me feel far more fashionable than some oversized, multi-layered shenannigan hanging from my neck. And honestly, I still get compliments on my accessories, but I just don’t care about that like I used to.
Occasionally I may pull out one of my necklaces from accessories past. But 95% of the time, I stick to my simple pearl necklace or my dainty studs. This takes up way less space, is easier to keep organized, and saves me money. My need to constantly purchase is gone, and now all of my jewelry fits nicely in a dish on my dresser. Isn’t this better??
One thing that helped me scale back in the accessories department was my love of hearts. I bought a silver heart necklace and a gold heart necklace, and one day I realized I wore those two necklaces almost all the time. I also have a love of pearls (my birthstone) and I also loved things with my name or initials on it (cue my inner Laverne De Fazio). So knowing these things about my jewelry preferences helped keep me from falling back into the trap of purchasing any and every accessory that I ran across. I guess I sort of established a jewelry identity. And now I don’t purchase anything that falls outside of my dainty, heart, pearl, initials, identity realm. I guess for me, my statement pieces became things that speak to my personality, but do it more in a whisper, not an all out scream. lol.
Try to minimize your jewelry collection. Find things that define you, that speak to your personality. Keep the pieces you select simple, and you’ll find that when it is time to head out for the day, you will want to wear things that you identify with, not just things that are the right color for the outfit you have on. Here are a few things around the web that I think are cute, simple, yet adorable.
Establish your accessories identity and use it to simplify your jewelry. Let me know how you do!
I love this blog post by lauraandfriends.wordpress.com, and I will be trying the 30 piece wardrobe experiment for September. I’m excited!
Do you remember awhile ago when I shared a little about the five piece French wardrobe?
I was actually really struck by the concept. I loved the idea of a wardrobe that is functional, yet more minimalist – and full of high-quality pieces. I started thinking of how my current closet could reduce in size.
So, in a moment of sudden inspiration, I took all my clothes out of my wardrobe for my own personal experiment. I picked out 30 pieces and returned them to my closet. And that’s all I let myself wear for 30 days.
On one hand, 30 pieces feels like a lot. I picked out three pairs of jeans, three skirts, nine…
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Removing excess from my life, to say the least, is a daunting task. I decided the only way to do it is little by little, step by step. While I wish I could just bang it all out in a day or a weekend, the reality is that it took years to accumulate all of my stuff, and it will take a long time to remove it from my life.
So this leads me to today’s challenge–my jeans. I’m a short, curvy woman who is “hard to fit” at times. In addition, I gain weight, lose weight, gain some of it back, lose some of it again…and my wardrobe reflects these fluctuations. So when I find something that I like, that I believe fits me well, I buy it…and sometimes I buy more than one…sometimes in different colors, sometimes not. And jeans have always been a weakness for me. One look at my jeans pile shows just how weak in the knees I get over a nice pair of jeans. It’s ridiculous. I know this.
Today’s Challenge: Pick my five favorite pairs of jeans, and remove the rest from my closet.
The first step…gather up all of my jeans. Ideally, they’d all be in a drawer or somewhere neat and wonderful…but that isn’t the reality of my life. Anyways…gather my jeans from the floor, bed, closet, wherever they may be. Look at them, and give good thought to how exactly they fit and are utilized in my current wardrobe. Current is really the key here. It doesn’t matter how much I wore them two years ago if I haven’t worn them once in the last six months. There’s a reason why they keep getting bypassed…they fit weird, they aren’t in style, they aren’t comfortable, turns out they make my stomach look gigantic…something. Even if I am just subconsciously passing them by, there’s obviously something about them I don’t like…and they need to go.
Next I looked for damages or imperfections. Are they ripped, torn, too long, too short? If so, time to go! I’m clearly not going to hem them, sew them, take them to the cleaners, or make whatever adjustment I’ve convinced myself I would make that I haven’t yet done.
And finally, decide which ones I like. Which ones do I actually pick when it’s time to go out, which ones do I pick for casual day at work…etc. It is natural to lean towards the same few pairs when I’m getting dressed, and I typically avoid the same pairs.
The challenge wasn’t as hard as I expected…however I didn’t quite get down to my goal. So maybe it was actually hard? Idk. I started at 34 pairs (GASP!! I know. Reee-diculous!! Don’t judge me.). I removed trouser jeans from consideration…wait, I have a reason. I really wear trouser jeans more as work gear, and didn’t feel like this was the appropriate category to use for whittling them down. They will be addressed once I get to the work pants challenge. So…after removing the trouser jeans and jeans with tears in them, I wound up with 27 pairs of jeans. Still absurd, I know. I pulled out the pairs that I’ve worn in the last few months, and then from that pile, I kept the ones I’ve worn in the last few months that I actually liked. Instead of the targeted five, I wound up with seven pairs of jeans that I really like. I will revisit the seven finalists and figure out which two additional pairs I can remove, if any. But for now, I feel like I’ve significantly cut down on my jeans collection, and I’m pleased with what I’ve done. The rest have been taken out of my room and will either go to someone I know or be donated.
And here are the finalists!
Whew! That was tough but I did it. And I’m really pleased with the selection I came up with. Various fits…bootcut, skinny, flared…some with pockets, some with no pockets…a nice variety of shading…let’s see how it all plays out in the upcoming weeks. I have high hopes.
Try the challenge for yourself. Let me know how it goes!