Tackling the Walk-In

The Walk-InHow many clothes do you own? Do you wear them all? Half? One-third? One-quarter? Less?

My besties and I spent some time (okay, almost four hours, don’t judge me) purging my closet. It’s safe to say we were all a little shocked at how much came out of that closet. Why did I have so many clothes? I’d have to change four times a day, every day, to need that many clothes.

Armful after armful came out of that walk-in and I tried on just about every single piece.

We probably share these little gems of reality. I bought some pieces because they were on sale and too good to pass up. I bought some because I was feeling low that day and used retail therapy to cheer myself up. I bought some to go with something else. Some were gifts. Some came from who-knows-where-because-I-don’t-remember-EVER-bringing-THAT-home.

Some pieces were worn to death and had that shabby look. Not the shabby chic look that can look so cute on furniture. Just shabby. Pilling, limp, stretched out shabby.  Why did I still keep them? Because they felt comfortable, fit my idea of who I am, and looked pretty good, even if just from a  distance.

There were more than a few things with tags still on them. Clearly not the wisest purchases.

And then there were the pieces that came out of the closet, got the big uh-uh from my friends and went straight into the discard pile without me even trying them on.

In the end I set out three and a half large garbage bags of clothes for the Clothesline project for the Canadian Diabetes Association. (You call, they pick up, they sell = fundraising. Win win win.) My friends each left with a couple of things (yay for sharing!) and there is still a small pile to go to the consignment store.

And what’s left?

Taking a cue from Project 333 I chose 33 pieces for this spring and summer. I didn’t include my golf or gym clothes, messy garden/painting/cleaning clothes or just hanging out at home stuff.  I also didn’t include shoes or accessories. Project 333 rules include these things but I didn’t. Baby steps.

I hung the keepers on a rolling rack and the fall/winter gear went back into the closet.  I’m going to sew a few simple cotton covers for the out of season stuff to reduce the visual clutter. When the covers are on and the temptation to pull things out to join the chosen 33 is gone reduced I’m going to retire the rolling rack and move this season’s clothes back into the walk-in.

I built a workable wardrobe for any public occasion.  All the pieces go together, are in good shape and flatter me.  I can pull anything off that rack and be good to go.

Or so I thought.

First I found out that no, I can’t live without at least one little black dress. No problem. I pulled out my most favourite LBD. I’ve worn that dress twice in the last week so it makes the cut permanently and another dress that looked more fall-ish to me anyway went back into the closet.

Then I tried on the black shorts and realized that while they technically fit they were just too tight to be comfortable.  Uh oh. Weren’t there a couple of other things that would look better once I have five fewer pounds on my bones? I tried on everything once again and ended up with some clothes that just didn’t make the cut. I tagged the hangers and returned them to the closet. If they don’t fit by July 1 out they go. Just call me Ruthless Ruth.

And the weather turned cold, again. I pulled a couple more long-sleeved tops and a fleece vest out and put a couple of lighter tops back into the closet.  The count is still at 33 but I’m pretty sure that there will be a few more changes before July 1.


1. I have to be honest with myself. I’ve gained 25 pounds in the last five years. Either I lose the weight (1st choice, natch) or I start shopping in the Big Girls aisle. Trying to squeeze into clothes I bought when I was two sizes smaller is just dumb and dishonest.

2. The weather changes radically in three months in Ottawa. Keeping a core of fewer items and adding and subtracting weather-appropriate clothing as needed makes more sense. I need an A-List of core pieces for six months, a B-List of pieces that might be needed, and a C-List of things that I definitely can cover and forget about until it’s time for a full switch-over in the fall.

3. There’s a fine balance between minimizing for simplicity’s sake and trying to meet an arbitrary number just to say I can.  The point of downsizing is to reduce the clutter so the loved, valued and useful has space to shine.

I had intended to post my 33 items to help out anyone who wanted to try this approach. I still plan to do that but I think I need to spend some time communing with my rack of favs first.  It’s a pretty safe bet to say that there just might be another change or two in the wind.

What about you? When was the last time you tackled a purge of your closet? Do you have a wardrobe plan?


Tiny Houses



This morning I came across a YouTube of a Tiny House in progress. (I’m supposed to be painting a wall in my office our den but everyone knows that a little YouTubing is an excellent motivator and a highly productive use of time, right? Not.)

My son has been obsessed with tiny houses for a while and more and more I share his obsession. Mine is turning into an obsession for RV’s because The Hubs is far more interested in living in an RV and I’m smart enough to know that unless the whole team is on board it ain’t gonna happen. Not without tears, anyway.

I followed the tiny house YouTube to the blog and (you know how this story goes, right?) I ended up reading the entire blog. Chelsea, the pen behind TheWhyNotHouse.com has only posted eight entries so it didn’t take long. But the pictures! I’m crushing on this blog and I hope she posts more soon!

Chelsea and Adam’s tiny house is parked in Portland, OR on ½ an acre and right next to a park. How much better could it get? And their tiny house is beautiful. It looks like a house I could be comfortable in, complete with a real shower, a washer/dryer, a full fridge and outstanding cabinets that Adam built.

Too many of the tiny houses we’ve looked at look like a collection of dumpster-dived cast-offs. I have fewer objections to reusing stuff than a lot of people but a coat of paint goes a long way. There’s being authentic to the source and then there’s just plain dingy.

Chelsea and Adam’s house has none of that vibe. Their house is a beautiful blend of new and re-newed.

Chlesea jokes that they could probably sleep eight or more in their tiny house.

I wonder if I can put dibs on a bed now.

What about you? Does the idea of living in a tiny house make you want to call up the chuck all that stuff and move into 150 square feet  of perfect simplicity?