Saturday, September 26, 2009

Inside Job

Y’all know I’m a fairly organized woman. I love categories, loathe clutter and I’m possessed to make things streamlined a) in a wasted effort to control the world and b) because I secretly want everything to be perfect and lovely like the inside of a design magazine.

You can see how this might backfire continually given that I live with other human beings who don’t necessarily believe it is a punishable offense to touch walls or pin up posters of Selena Gomez all over the freakin’ place. (I know, I know. The crosses I bear.)

This is a long, vaguely off-point preamble leading you to the substance of this post: my latest realization that, seriously, I must shop my closet – not because of the recession (which I am very concerned about, naturally, but entirely sick of discussing), but because it is neither disorganized nor lacking for fabulous pieces. And yet, somehow I manage to repurchase the same freakin’ sweater every year. Go figure.

We read a lot of posts advising us to organize ourselves for maximum efficiency. They are particularly prevalent at this time of year. I’ve been looking them over and appreciating their content and thinking good point and see how much better that is all fixed up. I’ve been rather occupied by work stresses lately and by the new school year (as a parent) and by the latest renovation thing I have going on in my house (a continuation of the plaster work that started this spring). Lord knows, I have neither time nor extra disposable funds to apply to new bits and baubles.

What is it with me and the neither/nor thing today?

Savvy bloggers advise that we should organize because, in the absence of clarity, we are likely to wear the same thing all the time. Also, there’s potentially tons of crap, going unused, taking up valuable real estate and masquerading as stuff you might one day wear again, . Here’s the thing, I love everything I buy (even if, a few years after purchase, my tastes change) and I’m not a crap-keeper. You look in my closets – ok I have encroached upon M’s but she will be the beneficiary someday! – and things are neatly folded according to colour and denier and time of year. How is it that I still manage to wear the same 6 pairs of jeans and 8 tops (with a few little jackets thrown in for good measure)?

I look at Sal and Wendy and Jennine (to name but a few) and I’m blown away by their creativity. Seriously, you seen a Sal photo post lately? That woman has shoes for everything. And she wears them!

It occurs to me that this is not rocket science. I have clothes. I bought them with the same sassy taste I apply to my day to day dressing. I routinely read lots of magazines and blogs. I have a good eye and I’m nervy. What’s the problem? Fatigue? Apathy? Laziness??

Here’s what I’ve decided (but don’t hold me to it – in addition to the qualities listed above, I’m wishy-washy):

  • Every week, I’m going to come up with one new way of styling the same old stuff .
  • I’m also going to wear one thing not currently in circulation, even if it means I have to move the stuff on the far side to the middle (and mess up my colour progression).
  • If I can’t find a use for that, ahem, crazy – if fantastic - item x I bought with the understanding I’d wear it semi-regularly, I’m going to put it up for sale on Laws of General Economy (though that is quite a time-suck, though a worthy one) or give it to a friend or put it on the front lawn for trawlers.

Who’s with me? Do you think your life might be enriched by a small, creative kick in the ass?


  1. I think my life could be kicked in the @ss. I tend toward the same, safe things. It's time to take a hard look and make some changes. You've inspired me!

  2. Yes, great post. I am a disorganized person who speculates that she buys the same thing over and over because she can't find the last one, but whatever. I am very inspired by Sal and others so I tell myself: wear a different pair of shoes every day for a week, wear a scarf or STOP buying them (also stop speculating why DH put them high up on shelf in box 3 months ago when i changed closets and MOVE THEM DOWN)...just to encourage myself to use and enjoy the things i loved when i bought them, to expland instead of contract! Love your blog!

  3. you know what's funny? i think i wear the same things all the time... which is probably why i cut outfit posts to once a week as opposed to what i used tto do 4 times a week.

    its all a bit of unreal insanity that goes on in personal style blogging...

  4. I love the idea that you'll mess up your color progression, you BAD, BAD GIRL! ;-)

  5. K-Line your opening para was sheer brilliance. I love your look and you are really creative.
    Rule 1 and lesson 1 never judge yourself against others when it comes to style.
    Rule 2 and lesson 2 be creative when the shit hits the fan!

    You'll do it I think you have every ingredient and I look forward to the results!

  6. I too love the idea of messing up your color progression altho' I do so hate messing up mine. I'm doing the closet thing again. I think it is hard not to slip and settle into a few things over and over, no matter how organized. Which also means we eventually have to make an effort to change the mix.

  7. So funny, I was just reading a minimalist capsule blog post and I was inspired to edit way down and really give into uniform dressing and just accept that I am not a creative dresser. Now I am come here and wondering if I should, instead of editing down, try to incorporate the clothes I never use. Hmmm....
    I will watch your exercise with great interest and undoubtedly be inspired and impressed by your enormous creativity.

  8. DEFinitely. I resolve the same every time and time again. Actually, I need to remind myself of it several times a year, because it just seems so much easier to buy something new. but im in for this!!! let the games begin!

  9. Isn't it that we wear 20% of our stuff 80% of the time?

    Anyway, feel free to dress me, as I am useless when it comes to clothes.

  10. Brilliant! I really, really want to get in on this - the idea of getting rid of half my clothes is so good, I've practically got goosebumps.

    But I know that, when crunch-time arrives, I'll just put a whole bunch of stuff in vacuum bags and declare that I'm keeping them for when Anouk is older, and thus I won't really get rid of anything..

  11. Enc: I know that feeling! Let's beat it together.

    Margaret: It's so true! Move the scarves down. This is what I'm talking about. Thanks for your lovely comment and let me know how it goes!

    Jennine: Oh man, what hope is there for the rest of us if you are feeling this way :-)

    Wendy: That's how I roll. Bad.

    Kate: Thank you so much! And what great rules. I'm going to incorporate them.

    Mardel: I'm surprised you have this challenge because you make your own things - I always imagine that gives one an extra spark when it comes to getting dressed i.e. you get to choose from the perfect realization of your own imaginary designs. I guess we are most of us in this boat.

  12. Bel: Isn't it more fun to use those things you spent a fortune on - and were so thrilled by when you first saw them??

    Kitten: Excellent. It is so easy to buy more - but then not so easy when you need a place to put it for all the other things you own and aren't wearing. Don't you agree?

    Tanya: Well said. I'm feeling just like that - or maybe 30%, 70% of the time - still not efficient.

    Iris: I say, don't get rid of (or vaccum pack) until you've given it another go. That garment x may be just the thing this spring.

  13. I toast your commitment, and I'm already playing along: this weekend I got rid of a zillion socks with holes, and expanded from one jumbled lingerie drawer to two neatly organized drawers - "tops" and "bottoms"! (Never before in my life.... uh-oh... was I the only one...?)

  14. N: HOw positively sophisticated - in a practical way :-) I'll have to see your handiwork when next I visit!