Against all odds and the will of my Christmas-loving, Clark Griswold-idolizing husband, my favorite holiday is New Year’s (both Eve and Day). Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the Christmas season, especially the advent and anticipation before Christmas; but there is always a little bit of sadness on Christmas night. Knowing that the marathon of Christmas movies on T.V. is over, that the tree and lights will all come down soon, and the kids are going back to school… it feels kind of depressing. But then, all of the sudden, there is something to look forward to. Another year! A brand spanking new year that has who-knows-what in store for us.
There is something so inspiring and energizing about the New Year. I am a serial list maker, and my favorite list to make is a list of New Year resolutions. Typically, mine are very specific and quantifiable so I can keep myself accountable and measure my progress. As I begin thinking about my goals for 2016 and beyond, a theme has started to appear — I want to live more purposefully. Hang in there with me, because I know that sounds really abstract. Here are some ways I see myself being intentional with my time, resources, and relationships:
- Plan my personal and professional time daily, and adhere to the plan. For this I have started to use a Purposeful Planner, and I love it.
- Continue to focus on health and wellness by drinking at least 8 cups of water a day and staying involved with my workout group.
- Save money weekly for personal purchases. I am participating in a 52-week money challenge. More on that later!
- Stay off my phone every day from 6 pm – 8 pm to be present with my family.
Those might seem either trivial or overwhelming or totally not of interest, depending on who you are. All of them are a continuation or improvement of something I am already doing, except for the phone one. So, I think I have room for one more. Enter the doozy for me, and what some people will think is ridiculous:
- Get dressed in real clothes every day, and fix hair and makeup.
“What in tarnation” (as my 6 year-old would say) does getting dressed and doing hair and makeup have to do with being “intentional” and living “purposefully”? Well, I could probably write a 10,000 word explanation, but I will keep it short and sweet instead: When I take time to put on a cute outfit, put on a little bit of makeup, and at least brush my hair, I undeniable become a better version of myself. I am less likely to complain about how busy and overwhelmed I am (which is sometimes a faux cover for why I look so crappy), I am more likely to flirt with my husband, I am more likely to engage socially instead of hiding in my car during school pick-up and hoping my kid can find me in the sea of other white SUVs because I AM NOT GETTING OUT OF THE CAR, and I even believe I am more productive while working because I am sending myself a signal (pajamas or yoga pants = relax, be lazy, do a little work between Netflix episodes vs. jeans, a cute top, hair and make up done = you didn’t do this for nothing. Get stuff done!).
Part of the reason I hate getting “dressed” in the morning and instead opt to slip on some semi-athletic clothing, is I feel like I have a closet full of clothes I don’t love, and therefore nothing to wear. Why get dressed if I don’t love my clothes? And I can’t afford to go out and buy an entire wardrobe, so I just ignore my closet and grab a comfy Tee and some stretchy pants.
Well, in the spirit of ringing in a brand new year, our family decided to do a good old fashion closet-clean out in every bedroom. Channeling Marie Kondo, I forced myself to ask this question when going through my wardrobe: does this item bring me joy? In other words: when I put this on, do I love it? Do I love the way I look in it? If the answer was “No”, it went in a pile to be consigned or donated.
Let me tell you something. It felt SO good when I was done. Now, I did feel a little anxious at first. I was getting rid of so much, I felt a little panicky. What was I going to wear? Was I going to regret getting rid of this tank top I paid $80 for in college, even though I haven’t worn it in a year and a half? What if I decide to go as Marilyn Monroe to Halloween next year and I could somehow use this dress in a costume? I just took a deep breath and stuck with the plan. If I did not love it or know it to be useful (you have to have a pair of old tennis shoes to do yard work in or an ugly t-shirt to paint in, so those don’t count), it had to go. The result? A collection of about 40 seasonal items I actually like to wear and use, including blouses, sweaters, cardigans, Tees, jackets and coats, shoes, belts, and purses. What also became clear was that I have an actual style. WHAT?! I have a “look”? I had no idea. I actually like my look! Why don’t I buy other clothes that look like this? Why do I buy cheap stuff that I kind of like, but it tears the third time I wear it?
So at that moment, this idea was born. I will have a wardrobe of only items I actually love and items I will wear every day. When I shop from now on, I will focus on quality, not quantity. By having a smaller group of quality items, I hope to find greater ease in choosing what to wear every day, but I am also determined to be creative with my small wardrobe. This blog will document my experiment and the lessons I learn along the way. I also hope it inspires anyone who might find their way here to be the best version of themselves, whatever that looks like! I believe big changes take place with small daily steps. I hope that I get to journey with others who are also making changes to improve their life, even in the smallest ways.
So, hear it goes! I have 48 items in my closet right now. And I cannot wait to live in them and share them with you in 2016.