clutter causes frustration, please pull over and allow me to chuck you out

frustration

Those of you who have spent any time on the A9 will be familiar with these signs.  In my experience they have little effect and I have spent hours in a high state of frustration behind a slow moving vehicle.  However that is a whole different story.

Were you to walk into my house tomorrow you would, in the light of this blog, to discover a minimalist, clear lined, almost empty house.  Sadly you would be disappointed.  Despite the enormous amount of stuff we have rehomed there is still far more than we need.  Over the past few days I have seen things out of the corner of my eye that I wanted out.  So today I did Operation Quick and Dirty.

In the space of a ten  minute dash around the house I accumulated all of this.

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Sobering isn’t it?

clothes statistics

It’s end of the month time,  those of you with a mathematical bent will be longing for this post.  This is the sequel to the statistic in the wardrobe,  today you are getting another rip-roaring romp through my wardrobe.

This is the basis of my wardrobe for the next three months.  I can, and no doubt will add and subtract here and there.  But after two months of clothes analysis I think this is the core.

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This is how they look hanging up.

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Including what I am wearing today that makes 27 items.  I have not included shoes because for the most part I wear the same fit flops or Toms all summer.

This is how I got there.

This month I have worn more of my wardrobe, a total of 48 items compared to 40 last  month, but blue has been toppled by gray.

I wore:

  • 11 tops 18 times
  • 8 bottoms 20 times
  • 8 dresses 12 times
  • 6 cardigans 13 times
  • 5 scarves 9 times
  • 10 pairs of shoes 23 times

I must have forgotten to record some shoes because though I do spend most of my day barefoot, I do usually put something on my feet when I walk out of the house!

The colour analysis is dominated by gray, but I have managed to inject a little more colour this month

  • Gray 22
  • Blue 18
  • Red 11
  • Green 5
  • Purple 4
  • White 4
  • Cream 1
  • Pink 1
  • Brown 1

But by far the most interesting figures are the comparison between one month and the next.  As the weather has been pretty consistent they should be fairly comparable

I wore 5 tops, 5 bottoms, 5 dresses and 3 cardigans both months.  Those items were worn a whopping 84 times over the past two months with the highest wearage going to an ancient pale blue jersey wrap which was worn 12 times during April and May.

So isolating the clothes I wore most and adding in those I know go with the core items and I love (no good if I don’t love them, I won’t wear them and they should be on the way out anyway)  I have my reverse approach to Project 333.

 

other people’s clutter

I was intrigued by the comments from people who said they wouldn’t dare declutter somebody else’s belongings.  In this family when it comes to household stuff everyone pitches in.  But the Boss really can’t be bothered with sorting out clothes.  To be honest he can’t be bothered with putting them away either.  He knows full well that a sort out is in order (just how many pairs of chinos does a man need?) but he is never going to do it himself.  Enter Super Sorter.  That would be me.

I make two piles.  Pile one is allowed back into the drawer.  Pile two is left on the floor for sorting and approval.  This he can manage.  Socks and boxers were dealt with last month (hurrah I can shut his sock drawer at last).  Yesterday it was the turn of belts,  sporrans (yes they are plural), sock garters (very plural) ties and shirts.

The most shocking were the garters and shirts.  This is the pile of  belts and garters that have not yet made it back into the drawer.  Bearing in mind they are only worn when he is wearing his kilt (plural of them too) and that is only worn occasionally, the need to own some 40 pairs of garters many of which are the same colour is quite baffling to me.

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That white packet on the right contains an unopened packet of 5 pairs of ….. garters.

The shirts were another huge problem.  This is his shirt cupboard.  I have gone through every shirt and removed those with worn cuffs or collars, stained etc.

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This is the contents of the drawer that held the as yet unworn shirts.  With a few ties on the side.

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You see my problem.  Not one single one of these shirts is worn, some of them are brand new.  Does he need all of these.  I think even the most generous of you would say no.  Part of the problem is, to be fair, of my own making.  I have let him buy shirts he doesn’t need.  He is a classic example of somebody who has so much that he can’t find what he wants so it is easier to buy a new one.  I haven’t even started on the suits, jackets and trousers yet.

So what now?  Today we will work through the piles together.  He has already acknowledged that he has far too much so step number one has been achieved, but whether the canny Scot in him will let him let go of perfectly good clothes that he doesn’t need is another question altogether.

I almost bought a dress

Yes, it is true.  I was seconds away from purchasing a dress that I liked, but did not need, yesterday.  I have a dress I love.  Here it is.

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It is unbelievably comfortable, it makes me feel a million dollars, it can be easily dressed up or down.  It is perfect for my lifestyle and my wardrobe.  The point is I only have one.  Now, I know I only need one, but I had a relapse.  I found myself thinking that now I had found something I loved perhaps I should have more than one.  This thought completely ignored the fact that I have six other dresses in my wardrobe of different styles that also meet the same three criteria above.  Seven dresses is quite enough.

However, the lapsed me is made of sterner stuff.  I knew I had the one in one out rule.  I earmarked the dress to go.  I sat down.  I chose the replacement and I even got as far as inputting my debit card details.

 

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Here fate intervened.  My card was refused.  I was shocked.  I had just checked my balance and knew there were not only funds available but sufficient to allow a dress purchase.  I looked more closely.  I had transposed two numbers.  I was about to correct them when I realised that although I did love the dress.  I really didn’t need it. Furthermore, once I had purchased it, however much I loved it I would know deep down that it was an unecessary purchase and that would detract from the joy I would have wearing it.

As for the dress earmarked for the charity bag.

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It has a reprieve for now.  But if I was willing to sacrifice it, perhaps I don’t really want or need it after all?

PS Yes I do have a bit of a thing for floral prints.  Apparently I am quite on trend this year!

life is easier without clutter

I was talking with my mother earlier today and the conversation inevitably came around to decluttering.  The area in question being her wardrobe.  She maintains that there is nothing in her wardrobe that the doesn’t like nor anything that doesn’t fit.  On the other hand there is enough in there for her to  have just taken out several boxes of clothes because the wardrobe was full.  It is not a small wardrobe.

That freaked me out.  The idea of having that many clothes was scary. I love the fact that it doesn’t take me ages to get dressed in the morning.  I love the fact that I have discovered tops and bottoms that I would never have thought of putting together look fabulous.  I love the fact that I am much better at layering and thus don’t need so many jumpers (even in the north of England).

So I began to think of other areas where decluttering has actually made my life easier.

The kitchen.  I never have to clean a finickety garlic press, it’s long gone, I grate garlic now.  I am seriously wondering about keeping my Kenward Chef.  I rarely use it.  Today I made Bakewell tart and homemade custard for supper.  I did the whole thing by hand and with a hand held beater.  I would never have bothered to make pudding if I had to get out the Kenward and then wash all the bits up.  I make bread by hand because I enjoy the process.  The yoghurt maker died and I discovered I could make yoghurt just as easily without it.  The kettle died so we started using our stove top one on the aga and/or the hob.  Just as quick.  Leave it on the side of the aga and the water is always warm and there is a nice space on the kitchen surface where the kettle used to be.

The knicker drawer!  I cleared out every single item  of underwear other than recently purchased bras that fit and knickers that I wouldn’t mind being caught wearing if I was run over by a bus.  To the latter I added 4 pairs of bamboo knickers that I adore and with which I  will be replacing all current incumbants as they wear out.  Early mornings are so much easier when there are only five pairs of knickers and a couple of bras in your drawer.

The compost bin.  The kitchen compost bin has been replaced by a smaller one and the garden compost bin moved closer to the house.  Net result nobody minds emptying the compost.  That is a BIG result in our house.

Books.  Having got rid of books I had held onto for all sorts of reasons, but books I was never going to read again I have discovered some gems that was hidden behind all the rest.  Books I had forgotten I had bought but have loved reading …. and passing on.

Oddly enough the area I was most scared about decluttering.  The area where I thought I needed all those bits and pieces was the kitchen.  That has proved to be the area where decluttering has been the most productive.

 

 

 

the statistic in the wardrobe

When I was at university (back in the Dark Ages) I had to take a statistics course.  I knew it wouldn’t go well and it didn’t.  I had a book by Derek Rowntree called Statistics without Tears.  I remember throwing it across the room and crying “You lied!” You can still get the book, it is actually very good and as I had a  maths A-level under my belt you would have thought I would be have been fine with stats.

I now realise it wasn’t the stats that were the problem but the subject matter.  If there was less talk of X and Y and more of skirts and dresses, or curly kale and sprouting broccoli I would have been top of the class.  So today I bring you wardrobe statistics where SD stands for Silk Dress not Standard Deviation and Chance Variation refers to the oppotune discovery that the pink scarf looks fantastic with the lime green jacket 🙂

You may remember that I took up the challenge of Project 333 last summer.  This year I have decided to reverse the project.  I am keeping a tally of the clothes I wear over a three  month period and then restricting myself to those clothes only for the rest of the summer (I am optomistic that it will be a blazing hot day on St Swithun’s day).

At the end of month one there is a definite trend appearing.  I am wearing almost entirely jersey (bamboo and cotton) and the colours are generally muted with bright accessories.  I am wearing more earrings (I used to just put a pair in and leave them) and have discovered I rather like big dangley ones.  I rarely wear trousers other than leggings with tunics and I almost  never wear a coat.  I am usually barefoot or wear Toms or Fitflops.  This a big reveal as although I have culled my shoe collection quite severely I still  never wear many of them.  Regardless of the weather I tend to wear summery light clothes and just layer up if it gets cold.  I haven’t worn socks or tights all month.

For those of you who would like the figures they are as follows.

  • Tops:  I have worn 10 different tops 16 times in total
  • Bottoms: I have worn 6 bottoms a total of 15 times.
  • Dresses: I have worn 7 dresses a total of 15 times
  • Cardigans:  I have worn 6 cardianas a total of 16 times
  • Scarves:  I have worn 5 scarves a total of 15 times
  • Shoes:  I have worn 6 shoes a total of 30 times, the fitflops 18 times!
  • Coats/Jackets:  I have worn one coat twice and one jacket once.

Colours are very blue heavy.

  • Blues: 27
  • Pinks: 12
  • Grey: 11
  • Neutrals: 9
  • Teal: 8
  • Purple: 7
  • Black: 2
  • Green: 1

I recently had my colours done and I think I am pretty okay with the ones I am wearing but apparently should be wearing more yellow and orange.  I hate both of them on me so I can’t see that happening soon.

In the meantime it has been an interesting look at how I use my wardrobe and you will be delighted to know you will be getting another update at the end of May.  Bet you can’t wait 🙂

 

gaussian decluttering

S to M declutter will be coming soon.  I can’t believe I just typed that 🙂

In the meantime a quick wardrobe update.  The wardrobe has been my main focus of attention since the big stuff went off to auction/charity/skip earlier this month.  The Gin Gan is wonderfully empty and I am really beginning to feel the day to day difference.  I think psychologically even though I had removed so so so much from our house the fact that it was still on site was a big issue for me and I am glad it’s gone.

Living out of one medium sized suitcase for a month focuses the mind and on my return from Australia I was able to take a look at my much depleted wardrobe and  cull another 30%.  This afternoon I had an urge to do a bit more.  It is interesting that once you really get going it is much, much easier to keep going and become more purposeful.

This is what was left after the Singers and Dancer had picked out the few items that they wanted.

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I now have three full bags of clothes in the back of my car ready to be taken to The British Heart Foundation shop in town.  I was talking to a friend today who is at the beginning of her declutttering process.  She is at the overwhelmed stage.  Remember the Gaussian normal distribution bell curve?  It looks like this.

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Ignoring the statistical use of the bell curve and just looking at the shape for a moment and I think it represents our approach to decluttering.  We start with high hopes and approach the issue head on.  Then we realise just how big the job is, how overwhelming it can feel and we are tempted to give up.  Assuming we keeping going then we plough through the really hard times.  The times when we have got rid of the things that were easy to get rid of because we didn’t really want them.  Now we are faced with the things that we don’t need but somehow we still want.  Finally we get to the top and like the helter skelter rider we come racing down because now it is easy, we “get it”, we want to be unburdened.

So wherever you are on the curve, remember there is a helter skelter ride at the end and it is worth it.