Closet visit

One of my 2015 resolutions is to simplify my life, particularly my wardrobe. I’m far from declaring that I have achieved a streamlined, minimalist wardrobe, but I think I’ve made progress. It’s a start, at least.

Closet visit
Tapestry by Laura Dillon Rogers.

A physical benefit of attempting a pared-down wardrobe is that we have TINY closets. Simply, there is no space to have an expansive collection of clothes. When we moved in a year ago, I begrudged this seeming limitation and envied women with those luxurious walk-in closets. But now I feel grateful for this small space. It has forced me to become a conscientious and ruthless editor over time.

Closet visit

Closet visit
Shaker dictum calligraphy print, by me.

This is it:

Closet visit

Closet visit

And then I have three drawers (grunders not pictured).

Closet visit

Closet visit
Shirts, transformed by the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying (a la Marie Kondo).

My shoes live on a little shelf outside the closet.

Closet visit

The surrounding goals are to (1) discard/donate more, (2) reduce colors, (3) refine what I consider to be my personal style, (4) buy less, and (5) buy better-made clothes when I do buy.

Closet visit
Silk blouse from Everlane.

I still have lots of progress to make, but I am feeling refreshed and inspired with this small start. An added benefit is that my mom and sisters (and some of Grace’s friends) are joining in this goal to simplify our closets, and so I have a good deal of peripheral, personal support. I am thankful for them, and for this year of new beginnings, even if it is starting with something as ordinary as a collection of clothes.

“Through housewifely care a house recovers not so much its originality as its origin. And what a great life it would be if, every morning, every object in the house could be made anew by our hands, could ‘issue’ from our hands. In a letter to his brother Theo, Vincent van Gogh tells him that we should ‘retain something of the original character of a Robinson Crusoe.’ Make and remake everything oneself, make a ‘supplementary gesture’ toward each object, give another facet to the polished reflections, all of which are so many boons the imagination confers upon us by making us aware of the house’s inner growth.”

— The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard


Ways I simplify my life

Little Ways I Make My Life Simpler

— Don’t be evil: Use Google. Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Reader are my best friends. Everything I need to do on the Interwebs, Google can make it swifter and smoother for me. If you read any blogs at all and aren’t already using Google Reader or some comparable RSS feed, it’s time for you to enter the 21st century. It will make your Internet reading life 110% better. Promise.

To-do lists. My mother created a breed of obsessive list-makers among us. Grace is probably the most addicted of all; she literally can’t go anywhere without a pad of paper with her to write down things to do during the day. I’m not quite that bad, but I do make a to-do list every day. They’re considerably shorter now that I’m not in school, but they do preserve my sanity. You remember things you write down. You forget the things you don’t. It’s as simple as that.

Budgeting. Guion and I make a budget together every month. Granted, we’ve only been doing it three months now (yesterday was our three-month mark of being married!), but it’s been a tremendous sanity-saver when it comes to spending and saving. Super father-in-law Mike made us an Excel budget sheet that’s very easily customized and has made monthly budget updates a cinch.

Planning and shopping for a week’s worth of food. This can be a headache sometimes, but it really does save us a lot of money at the grocery store. Instead of buying random stuff that catches our attention or going two or three times during the week, we get all of our shopping done at once. The only tricky thing about this method is the produce. Our weeks are usually front-loaded with produce-heavy dinners. I think we need to start taking advantage of the Wednesday farmers’ market.

Morning prayer and study. My day always feels more balanced after I’ve started it with prayer and the Bible. This has always been true for me.

One that I just added to my daily routine is practicing yoga in the morning. (Grace, be proud!) We finally bought yoga mats and after I wake up a bit, I am trying to practice about 15 minutes or so. I can’t attest yet to whether this is simplifying my life, but I’ll keep you posted.

While this won’t necessarily make my life instantly simpler, I am going to save for a subscription to Real Simple. A bunch of my housemates got that magazine last year, and I was so excited when they’d leave it on the kitchen table for public consumption. It’s one of my all-time favorites, and I think it’s definitely worth the money.

I’m writing this mostly to solicit your advice; I’m always looking for good tips on simplification. So, tell me: How do you simplify your life?