Sunday, January 4, 2015

33 Things, maybe

So I've spent the last few months paring down, purging, streamlining my stuff. Kitchen stuff, living room stuff, clothes stuff. Some stuff I've posted on Facebook and given to other grad students, most has just gone to the local Goodwill (truckloads and truckloads!). There's a stack of four boxes of books in the hallway ready to go to Goodwill as we speak. Some friends have called dibs on books, and I know there are causes I could mail them to but it cost me $6 to mail one book to a friend and I don't really have the money to mail things, so Goodwill it is. I've been more concerned with purging, so haven't been taking money for these things. Plus, if it's going to grad students who are poor like me I figure I'm earning massive karma points.

With the new year, lots and lots of people have been posting about resolutions and things to do. Not a big resolution person, but I do set goals, and with the first and second rounds of heavy purging behind me, there are still some things I want to do.
  • kitchen needs another round of purging. I'm looking at you five travel mugs.
  • linen closet is finished, but I realized I needed another set of flannel sheets for the cold weather, so bought that. I have two sets of sheets, one set for regular weather and cold weather (so two warm weather, two flannel). While this may seem excessive, as a grad student, I don't always have time to wash one set before I need to put them on, so it's worth the no stress for me. Same for towels, I have two sets.
  • now that the walk in closet ladder shelves are finished, there's another round of purging there as a lot of those books are ones I used to use when teaching high school and in my new path will never teach again, so a lot of those can go.
In all the "resolution," "new me" things streaming across social media, one thing that did strike me is the 333 Project. You get 33 things (items of clothing) per season. Seems in line with what I'm trying to do, and ties and shirts every day for work make things easy, so I went through the closet to take pictures with posting them here in mind as I counted up to my 33 (or 66 as you'll see) things. As I pulled things out to photograph I managed to dump another garbage bag of things on the floor as I saw them in the light of day.

Albuquerque (and eastern North Carolina) doesn't follow the four seasons per se (it can be 80 degrees then 50 or 50 then 20), so I won't be packing up items and storing them, but did reorganize the closet for warm and not-warm.

I wear a shirt and tie and jeans every day I teach (dark Tuesdays, earth tones on Thursdays). The weather here doesn't often allow for jackets (maybe one week in the fall and one in the spring), but I wear them as weather allows. Based on a blog I read a while ago and don't remember the name to credit, I try to dress more informally/accessible during office hours so a top, or sweater and slacks. So here is the entirety of the clothes my own.

I own two belts, one brown and one black and four fashion scarves which I don't wear and should probably get rid of but they were my mom's and I find myself keeping them. I have a jewelry box, and mom's jewelry box. I rarely wear them but like to go through mom's stuff. And despite only wearing her wedding ring, a watch, my necklace with a St. Cristopher medal and crucifix, and the same earrings every day, I don't feel the boxes needs to go.

Per the "rules" I'm not counting my sleepware/work out wear which is the same. I have seven pairs of sweatpants which is what I sleep and wear days I work from home as it's easier to wear to bed because then I don't have to change because of Nehi's multiple walks every day. I do have a ridiculous amount of PJs bottoms (like fifteen?) but it's a tradition in my family to get Christmas PJs on Christmas Eve so I have a hard time parting with them. A few years ago I recycled them into making blankets for me, Mom, and my sister. I'm sure at some point I'll figure out a way to reuse them so they stay for now.
Likewise I wear t-shirts to bed, so not counting those as it's also what I wear in my "off" time and spring and summer. I did recently purge my t-shirt collection A LOT.
I didn't want to get rid of nostalgic t-shirts/sweatshirts from high school I taught at/graduated from but knew I would never wear them. So I sent them off to be made into a quilt. There was still purging, as the quilt would only fit so many things, but now I will get to keep those items for nostalgia but they're "useful."

I do have a set of 9 t-shirts that are work quality and can be worn in spring/summer.

Not counting socks or underwear, per rules, but have pared down both the last few months.

I don't really have "specialty" items, although I have a beach bag with swimsuit and swim shorts in it.

So if it's 33 items per season, that's 66 for warm and 66 for not-warm. I'm WAY below that (even with my t-shirt obsession). Some of these items are not getting a lot of wear in Albuquerque, but did in North Carolina so I'm holding onto them because I'll be moving in eighteen months and there's no way to know where I'm heading. I did put the last bit of girly items (skirts I usually wear to church, cocktail dress, etc.) in the trunk for storage because grad school doesn't require these things but faculty gatherings in a couple of years might. So they get stored, but don't need to be out in the closet.

I have one small pile of shorts/pants that don't fit that I keep despite round after round of purging. The pants because they are/were "perfect fit" work/dress pants from Target and in my ongoing quest to lose weight hope to fit in them again at some point. Same thing with the shorts- they were pricey, heavy-duty cargo shorts. But it's a pile of six things, so I feel okay about holding onto them.

It is true that no one will ever notice you're repeating items. It is also true that life is easier when you have less to choose from. It is also true that life is better when you purge items that don't fit, "might" be you at some point, and just aren't your style.
I admit that my work choice of shirt, tie, and vests or jackets makes my life easier. Girl clothes and expectations for women of professional dress can be ridiculous. But still, I think particularly for grad students deciding what their professional look is, this is one way to approach it.

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