Archives

Look, I said I’d do it so you don’t have to nag every year

So I said I would do it this year.

And this is where I am up to:

  • Collected receipts from around the house. Dang, I hid stored them in some interesting places!
  • Sorted receipts into year groups.
  • 20131017-113309.jpg

  • Shredded paperwork and bills that are not needed.
  • 20131017-113210.jpg

  • Set up a station in a handy place for the next year’s tax.

    20131017-113352.jpg

    And now I feel a wave of procrastination coming on.

    No, Lucinda, fight it!

  • It’s still too much

    Despite decluttering my wardrobe and not buying clothes now for 9 months, I recently couldn’t find the pants I wanted, so I reverted to my old method.

    Pull everything out of the cupboard, find pants, and stuff everything back in, higgledy-piggledy.

    Not mature, not tidy, and definitely not showing care for my clothing.

    As I was sweeping some of the clothes out onto the floor, I thought about Cline’s statement: “We own more clothes than we can wear.”

    And I thought about the cost of all these clothes, some of which I wear a lot, some of which I will wear, some of which I will never wear again, and some of which I have hardly worn. The cost in terms of how many hours I had to work to buy them. And the cost in terms of the environmental impact to manufacture clothes many of which would just be stored in my cupboard, and not be used for their purpose, ie to be worn, (and then worn out from use). (And the cost to my time sorting and locating the items I want.)

    Do I need 9 camis? They are all different – different fabric and different colours. But I hardly wear camis. I keep them just in case.

    The same could be asked of my other tops which are all different – styles, fabric, colours, cut, fit. But I do have a lot.

    As I swept them onto the floor and then as I picked up bundles to stuff back on the shelf (I was in too much of a hurry to put them back nicely at that time; that would have to wait until I had time) I thought that this was an awful lot of fabric.

    So yesterday, as I folded and tidied the cupboard shelf that stores some of my items, I picked out several items that needed to go.

    This skirt I bought quite a few years go. I have hardly worn it but couldn’t bring myself to donate it. It’s Anthea Crawford!! And I bought it with 2 camis, a sheer top that goes over the camis, and another skirt. Kinda like a mix and match capsule wardrobe. But I never really took to the colour of this one. And I won’t wait until I donate the others. Off it goes.

    20131005-171927.jpg

    And these three items! The shorts just don’t suit my shape, and the tops are too short. I have reached an age when I like my tops to cover my lower back. So much more healthy. (Oh, I do sound like my mother!)

    20131005-172020.jpg

    The skirt and shorts will be donated to the charity shop. The tops, which are cotton, will be used as cleaning rags.

    So now my cupboard is looking a little more organised. One side:

    20131005-172204.jpg

    And the other:

    20131005-172241.jpg

    I would like to be like someone my mother knew. She had very little in her wardrobe. Every season she would buy a couple of tops, a pair of pants, a skirt and dress. And then wear them to death. Next season, out with the old and in with a new set. Sounds so liberating. Rather than hanging onto items no longer worn. And to have a sparse wardrobe!

    I might follow that with a few capsules for different “looks” and needs, as in one pair of exercise outfits, one casual outfit, one hanging around the house outfit. My fear is that one year I will not find something that suits me and I’d have to hang onto the old worn out ones.

    But that it a long way off. For now I have so many clothes, I need to just wear them.

    Mindful Clothes Shopping

    In this, the ninth month of my wardrobe diet, I have been reevaluating my future purchases.

    I have been reading Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline. The subtitle gives you a clear picture of the focus and arguments of the book: the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion.

    20130929-160621.jpg

    The cost, to workers, to the environment and even to our clothes (the quality of fabric, cut and production) makes this book too depressing to read in one go. So I have been dipping in and out. Still, it is a challenging and depressing reading.

    While Cline’s facts and figures are American, the cost is universal in the Western world. We treat clothes as disposable items. We expect unbelievably cheap prices. We buy without thought for where, how and by whom the clothes have been manufactured, and where our clothes will end up, which is usually landfill. Even though we know that our clothes are cheap because of how and where they are now manufactured, we buy. And we buy lots!

    And the cost has also been to manufacturers and workers in countries with labour and environmental laws.

    Remember when buying a new piece of clothing was a major commitment? Growing up you didn’t have piles and piles of clothes. They were expensive as a proportion of our income. And clothes were cared for and repaired. They had to last!

    I remember how excited I was when the first cheap Made in China T-shirt was on sale in this warehouse with just soooo many cotton clothes. What was exciting was the price! I could buy heaps, in different colours, for the same price of one Australian made top. But the quality? Well, after a few washes the shape was skew-whiff.

    Cause or consequence? Either way, we don’t expect quality. When favourite clothing lines go off-shore, we know the quality will not be the same, despite assurances by the retailer. And our expectations are confirmed. But it is too late. The local manufacturer has gone. The local jobs have gone. The knowledge on how to make and repair our clothes lost.

    Yes, maybe clothes designers, manufacturers and retailers made too great a profit in the past. And I know there are no simple answers. The workers in third world countries rely on the employment, even if underpaid and overworked in unsafe sweatshops. And there is exploitation and breach of environmental protection laws in first world countries.

    Still, I will now try to only buy clothes made in countries with labour and environmental protection laws, or from suppliers who guarantee ethical treatment of their workers. I will buy fewer items of better quality with greater thought in buying what I need and like. This will mean I spend money and buy fewer items. There is the potential that I won’t actually spend much more because I will buyer fewer things, and things that will last.

    This week I needed new socks. My current socks have all died at the same time. Previously I would have accepted that my only option was for those made in China. Cheap and plentiful. Buy them in bulk lots. They may stretch quickly but why worry? They’re cheap after all.

    I investigated my options. 3 pairs of Chinese made socks at $6 or one pair of Australian made using Australian cotton and Australian wool for a cushion bottom. The latter were much more expensive. $16! And a cotton pair for $11. Ouch! I have become use to cheap imports. But what’s the true cost? The real cost? The hidden cost? That needs to be factored in!

    I just did a 30 minute walk (2.66 km) in my new wool cushion bottomed socks. Very springy!

    20130929-173751.jpg

    Want to see the speciality range of Australian made socks? They have ones that grass seeds don’t stick to. Probably great for gardeners. Go to Humphrey Law socks. I love how you can see how they are made: here. Looks clean and safe to me!

    20130929-174119.jpg

    No I don’t.

    That is my usual reply when people ask me if I feel worried.

    What about?

    That I haven’t done my tax in a number of years.

    OK, I do kinda feel a bit worried. But I just switch it off. And I switch off tax agent ads on the tele. And change the topic when my husband asks how we are going in getting it done.

    A wonderful example of burying my head in the sand. And as the years add up, I become more and more ostrich like.

    It’s just that as the years go on, the work becomes more involved.

    But it is like a remembrall from Harry Potter. I am just waiting for it to explode.

    20130925-162107.jpg

    So I have a new challenge. To get my tax done in the next four weeks. It has been one of my goals for this year. So off I go!

    First step to lift the weight off my shoulders: today I will collect all the receipts from around the house.

    20130925-162353.jpg

    Another one bites the dust

    On a roll from sewing on two buttons yesterday, I attacked another shirt. This one has roses sewn on as embellishments. Two were coming off.

    So being the queen of obvious, I sewed them on. (If you’re after earth-shattering posts full of intellectual content, my apologies.)

    The shirt has been waiting for months and months. For something that took minutes! I knew it would but I just couldn’t be arsed to get started. Isn’t that often the way? With exercise? With eating healthier? Why isn’t it the way with opening the bar of chocolate? Or the next bottle of wine?

    20130907-155143.jpg

    And then a made an attempt at a dress whose front seam had come undone. But found that the material had frayed. So sewing it up wasn’t going to work. And being where the seam was, front and upper thigh, it would be noticeable. Well, too noticeable for my liking. I am quite particular.

    So off to the charity shop. And that means I now have 36 dresses.

    20130907-155525.jpg

    And look! Nothing next to the chest of drawers.

    20130907-155811.jpg

    Nor on the towel basket (a repurposed picnic basket).

    20130907-155903.jpg

    Nor behind the door. (Except dust.)

    20130907-155959.jpg

    And I sorted and tidied one shelf.

    20130907-160047.jpg

    I am just going to rest on my laurels. All this goodness is too much. Too much, I say.

    I might get back on track with the original intent of my blog – getting fit, slim and healthy. Then again who can be….

    For want of a nail

    For want of a nail the shoe was lost;
    For want of a shoe the horse was lost;
    For want of a horse the battle was lost;
    For the failure of battle the kingdom was lost—
    All for the want of a horse-shoe nail.

    Let me share my version:

    For want of a button the shirt was lost.

    That’s it. I don’t have anymore lines. No button, no shirt.

    Motivated by my post on how I store all my clothes, I have attacked my clothes-needing-mending pile.

    Two shirts, both needing a button sown on, have now made it to my wardrobe.

    And look! Two “new” items of clothing without spending a cent.

    20130907-150453.jpg

    20130907-150510.jpg

    Happy? You bet ya!

    You can’t handle the truth.

    This isn’t going to be a pretty post.

    It will be honest. It will be raw. It will be messy.

    But then truth is often messy and not pretty.

    So if it is sequins, world peace or happy, sparkly, feather-and-light that you want, click away.

    Jo of All the Blue Day asked me how/where I fit my 37 dresses.(And my 32 skirts. Don’t know how many tops, jackets, coats and pants I own.)

    Let’s start with the good news. I don’t have any storage containers under my bed. And I don’t have anything hanging in my son’s built-in wardrobe. My husband has more hanging space than me. And about the same, but maybe more, shelf space. (This wasn’t always the case.)

    Here’s my shirt, jacket and skirt part of the wardrobe. Look at all that space around the skirts and pants! That comes from my decluttering and not buying in new things. Makes getting dressed for work in the morning so much easier. Fewer choices, better view of what I own, easier to flick through the clothes and unwanted items have gone.

    20130904-175730.jpg
    Then there is the other side. The full length hanging part for dresses and coats. Same width as the other bit. OK, pretty crammed in there. And there is a dress folded on the floor of the wardrobe. Can’t remember why I put I there. (My husband has the same width on the other side of the wardrobe – all half and half for shirts and pants.)

    20130904-175839.jpg

    In the middle is hanging space and three drawers. I have three jackets hanging in there. All the other space is my husband’s.

    20130904-180120.jpg

    Our chest of drawers is also equally-ish shared. I have two half sized drawers and two full sized. Husband has two full sized drawers.

    20130904-180233.jpg

    Now comes the horror. The horror!

    A top and jacket on the floor next to my chest of drawers waiting for me to move to the laundry. The top is there to remind me to unpick the label. I hate scratchy labels and end up with a rash-like reaction up my neck and face. If I put the top in the wash I will forget to remove the label and will only realise the full pain of the label when I am at work, after itching on my trip to work and thinking a bug has bitten my neck.

    20130904-183642.jpg

    Clothes hanging on the butler’s stand. Now if only there was a butler! Some clothes need alteration, some hand washing and some are resting.

    20130904-183816.jpg

    Behold my cupboard in the hallway between my ensuite and bedroom which also holds linen. I have one and a half shelves for my clothes. One shelf and the floor for shoes and handbags. The shoe shelf also has some clothes squashed in. Various shots for your smug feeling of order compared to my mess. There are wrap dresses piled in there. They don’t hang well as they slip off the hanger and don’t need ironing so it is better to roll them and put them on a shelf.

    20130904-180604.jpg

    20130904-180618.jpg

    20130904-180638.jpg

    20130904-180655.jpg

    I couldn’t fit all my clothes in the wardrobe and cupboards at once. Luckily at any one time there has to be clothes waiting for repairs, for washing, for moving to the washing and clothes resting. Now remember this is mid-week, so I haven’t washed or put away all my clothes. (But then some have been waiting a long, long, long time.)

    Let us move to my bathroom. Here I pile clothes awaiting decisions – to rewear? to wash? to hang? – or clothes I wear after work so they can’t go in my wardrobe as they have been worn.

    20130904-184023.jpg

    And behind the door my dark or delicate clothes to be washed. I don’t like putting them in the laundry as my husband will wash them with other things.

    20130904-184151.jpg

    On our way out now. Hanging on the bedroom hallway door (I have a door to the little hall [where my linen press / cupboard is] to my bedroom and bathroom – have I told you I like embedded clauses and asides {punctuation is such a soul-warming swiggle}) is a dress. Been there a while. Waiting for warmer weather. Not ready to be washed and not clean enough to re re-hung. (And my walking cap.)

    20130904-184458.jpg

    Out to the dining room. The jacket I wore today draped over my work bag.

    20130904-184604.jpg

    Let’s head towards the laundry. Just outside the laundry door, the mending basket (which also holds a few throws). Two tops and a dress are waiting repair.

    20130904-184730.jpg

    Finally the laundry. In the basket, under clothes from other family members, is a few of my items.

    20130904-185056.jpg

    So there you are! My clothes storage. A finely tuned, systematic, web of connectedness. Each area dependent on the other for success.

    Thus I am able to store 37 dresses without fighting one who is equally generously endowed in the clothing department.

    10 Green Bottles Hanging on the Wall

    How many clothes is too many? How many is enough?

    100 dresses and skirts? 50? 10?

    If you read Jo you will see an amazing wardrobe capsule. Jo has few items but they all mix and match. (OK, few is a relative term.) Such a wardrobe would make the decisions on what to wear easy to make.

    Having stopped bringing in new clothes and having done repeated sorting and decluttering, I am whittling down my wardrobe.

    I started the year with 42 dresses.

    And if one green bottle should accidentally fall? There’ll be …

    Yesterday a favourite dress died. Made of silk, it cannot be repaired so I have saved adding another item to the pile awaiting repair (and saved myself the associated guilt.)

    I now have 37 dresses.

    Too many? Just enough? Not enough?

    20130904-071228.jpg

    Sorry I missed your birthday

    One of my idiosyncrasies is I am always late sending birthday greetings. If at all. I think about the family member or friend’s birthday, often even buy the card or gift. Just don’t get around to posting on time, or at all.

    A way to describe that with less spin is that I am careless and don’t think enough about others. Bad friend. Ow, that hurts.

    Anyway, true to form I missed my blog’s birthday.

    20130825-082729.jpg

    Originally this was an experiment in blogging. Just to see what was involved and if I could do it.

    Then I thought I would use it as a journal about getting healthy and fit.

    I set some goals:

    Sleep
    1. Don’t fall asleep on the lounge.
    2. Get ready for bed before relaxing on the lounge.
    3. Get 7 hours sleep a night.

    Fitness
    1. Walk 45 minutes four times a week.
    2. Pilates once a week.
    3. Strong Women routine twice a week.

    Food
    1. Drink 1 litre of water a day.
    2. Eat 3 serves of fruit a day.
    3. Cut out white bread during week.
    4. Limit processed, non-food food stuffs.

    Treatments to protect my back
    1. Osteopath twice a term.
    2. Massage once a term.

    Continuing to work on them. A lifetime of bad habits can’t be cured in a year, can they? Really, I wanted to return to my beautiful slimness. But even if I did, I know I can’t recapture the beauty of being young. Still, I am more conscious of needing to make healthy choices. Something I didn’t really does a younger me; taking for granted my health, my consistent slim body and my strength.

    While I’m not leaner, my house is definitely leaner. All that tossing and sorting.

    And I have learnt that online friends can be just as supportive, funny, warm and plain good fun as IRL friends. That’s been a big change of thinking for me. (“Get out and see your real friends,” I used to think. Well, you can do that as well as talk with, and catch up on the doings, of e-friends.)

    20130825-085144.jpg

    Filing cabinets – organising & decluttering

    I read once that you only put pieces of paper in a filing cabinet if you never want to read the information on them again.

    As evidence may I present my HSC Modern History notes.

    20130824-205533.jpg

    Pages and pages of neat notes on Weimar Germany, World War One and Twentieth Century China. Never read since I sat my HSC exams in 198…mumble, mumble.

    So why have they been moved through three different filing cabinets, and five houses and a couple of storage cubicles?

    Because once placed in a hanging file, there they live, undisturbed for many, many years.

    (And if the response of my husband is any guide, once they pass the test of time, they become valuable in their own right. “Keep them,” he says. “It’s nice to know you have them.” And the logic of that is that he never knew I had these notes. OK, there is no logic. But his sentimental attachment to things we have had for years, even if they are useless or worthless or forgotten, is an illness.)

    So the only way to organise a full filing cabinet is to do a lot of this:

    20130824-210451.jpg

    It is difficult to sort over-stuffed drawers filled with over-stuffed hanging files.

    No point organising paperwork until there is room. And really most of it becomes useless and space-wasters. (Greater thought before putting something in the filing cabinet would have avoided the problem – actually not just stuffing Manila folders full of multiple copies of things would help too.)

    More to do, but I am happy with my afternoon’s efforts.

    How did you go attacking your filing cabinet, Jo?