Monday, September 29, 2014

Losing the Battle, Winning the War(drobe)

Have you ever said, in a moment of frustration, that you hate 75% of your wardrobe? What if you got rid of all those clothes? Then you’d love 100% of your wardrobe. That was the message I read recently on a blog entitled Breathing Room.

The author of that blog and I are kindred spirits, it turns out. I recently decided to take up this challenge after years of feeling frustrated by a wardrobe dominated by pre-pregnancy clothing that no longer fit me.

I was sold on the value of decluttering and welcomed the idea of only having clothes in my wardrobe that I was actively wearing. What I didn’t quite expect was the emotional attachment and memories tied to some of those items. I felt like I was going through old photos and, with each clothing item, was reliving those memories all over again: where I bought it, when I wore it, how I felt at the time.

There was the halter top I remember buying during my younger clubbing days that was such a go-to item in its day. Gone. There was that adorable honeymoon dress which my husband had loved so much. Adios. And what about all those work clothes that were such a staple in my wardrobe pre-kids? They hit the curb too.

Rather than feeling like I was saying goodbye to those fond times in my life, I tried to focus on the positive. I was donating those clothes to New Circles, a Toronto-based agency that offers clothing services to clients with limited income. Most families are new to Canada and many are refugees. There is no argument that others would benefit from those clothes more than I ever could.

With those clothes out of the house, my closet (and I) both feel lighter and more liberated. My wardrobe, though much sparser, reflects who I am today: a happily married mother of two who spends more time on the floor building Lego castles with her kids than navigating office politics or maintaining a busy social life.

I’m sure, in time, my wardrobe will evolve to reflect other new personas but, for now, I’m embracing the yoga pants and cotton wrap cardigans. It’s near impossible to build a Lego masterpiece in a pencil skirt. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How a Cicada Bug Inspired A Simpler Life

My bug-obsessed son recently found the shell of a cicada bug at our family cottage. Amazing, the brown-coloured shell shed by the cicada looks identical to that of an intact, but hollow bug. The cicada’s new skin is a vibrant green color, making the bug’s metamorphosis from an underground nymph to a winged adult bug complete.

I recently began to think about how, in a quest to simplify my life, I may have a thing or two in common with the cicada. We were both probably quite happy in our lives, despite the fact that there were a number of things weighing us down.

For the cicada, it was the weight of the earth it lived under, but for me, it was the ‘excess’ of material objects cluttering my home. As a mother of two young boys, I find it way too easy to accumulate items to keep my family well-fed, dressed, educated and entertained.

Then, I realized that this clutter also extends to the excess volume of activities, schedules and demands overloading my mind. Perhaps finding a peaceful and satisfying resolve would require shedding my shell, just like the cicada, so I could find my wings to reach new heights?

This blog is a diary of sorts as I find ways to shed things which are in excess in my life. Some modifications may be small, others big, but all are changes that I hope will improve my overall health, happiness and well-being.

I view this blog as a way to share ideas and stories with people who also think that Less is More (at least more or less), while also making myself accountable to the goals that I publish weekly.

My first goal is to finally come to terms with the pre-pregnancy clothes that are collecting mothballs in my closet. I’m pretty sure if I can’t categorize my excess pounds as “baby weight” if my baby just started kindergarten. By de-cluttering my wardrobe, I hope to improve my body image by ridding myself of the reminder that I still can’t fit into about half my clothes.

From a practical standpoint, I also hope to get use out of some long-forgotten clothing hiding at the back of my closet which deserves a second chance. I’ll report back soon on how the process went and whether it was a positive change.

Readers, anything you’re hoping to shed in your quest for simplicity?