It wasn’t until one morning a week or so after the Christmas party, as I fought my tangled sheets to roll over, that I caught a glimpse of the navy blue dress I had worn to share Christmas cheer with a few friends. There it stared back at me, in the floor of my closet, an abandoned rumpled mess. Not one for making rash purchases, that morning I regretted walking into the Gap to purchase the silly dress at full price, a dress that was convenient to buy as I “needed” new attire for the Christmas party and felt too lazy to shop around some, sadly a dress that I likely won’t wear again for some time for one reason: I didn’t care for the dress greatly when I purchased it. Even though I could have easily slipped on black slacks and a silky top without venturing outside of my existing wardrobe and blended easily in the mesh of friends, I simply felt like I should purchase something new for the party. A seventy dollar purchase for a dress I don’t even like. Seventy dollars! Ugh. Disgusting and shameful. I feel like a bloated American.
Kidding aside, I truly believe life is freeing when I weigh the cost of something before making a purchase for myself. Do I really love this? Will I wear it over and over again? Is it practical? Do I already have something just like this in my closet at home? Will buying this just create more clutter? By attempting to live small (yes, small is an adjective not an adverb but smally sounds/looks ridic—almost as ridic as the word “ridic”), I can not only save money, which is the obvious, I can take my mind off of myself for a while. I stop thinking about the next thing I can purchase for good ‘ol me and, in turn, stop caring as much about what others think of me—my hair, clothes, skin, and any other frivolous concern.
Have you ever compared the closet size of a home built in the early 1940s with a home built today? How fascinating it would be to own one pair of dress shoes, one pair of everyday shoes, a few dresses, a scarf or two, a lighter jacket, a sweater or so, and a heavy winter coat. While I cannot realistically support simple living to this extreme, I do condone buying a heavy wool coat I first absolutely love and then wearing it five or more winters, and I believe in purchasing a few basic work sweaters and then “fancying” them up with scarves, belts, and accessories. Something about this just feels right. Satisfying. After all, why do I need three of something when I can cherish one truly special something, wearing it for as long as it’s practical? Side note: Yes, clothing items do reach the end of a life cycle. Let’s be honest, some items, particularly under garments, are not made to be worn a lifetime. Nuff said.
As part of a winter survival plan, I recently moved from my two-bedroom house of five modestly-sized closets to live with a dear friend in her two-bedroom home. (Nobody should face the winter months alone.) I down-sized by giving away most of my household items to my cousin who is young and in need of “stuff” and by then moving a few items into my friend’s basement, a few items to our shared closet, and most items to my new bedroom. Something about living even smaller than I had been living made me rejoice as I saw the move as a fresh challenge. Not to sound overly hippie, I tend to agree with the Drums who espouse in the lyrics of one of their many finger-snapping good songs, “The less you own the more freedom you have.”