god save the garanimals!

cedarclosetI wrote this for the reddit minimalist sub, just some oversharing, i thought i’d share.  Yes, it’s snowing again, i never did think i would find snow…oppressive, now I know how they feel in one of those never ending monsoon seasons.

When i moved last summer to what I call the smallest house in Portland Maine, I divested a good half of what I owned, and that was after a couple of years of halving everything I owned already.

Once I moved in, and I realized I wouldn’t have the second floor attic ‘bedroom’ finished until next year. Right now it’s all insulation and rafters, So I blocked it up for the winter. There are no actual closets in the house, I brought a smallish old cedar closet with me, about 5 foot tall and 3 feet wide. The only chest of drawers I brought has 4 drawers and 32 inches wide. So nearly ALL the clothes I own HAS to fit inside these things. I say nearly: the bathrobe hangs in the bathroom, right now winter outerwear hang on the back of the door in the kitchen. I have a rotating amount of semi clean clothes on a chair, you know the clothes you put on when you take off your work clothes. I also have two plastic bins on top of the cedar closet.

I didn’t consciously ‘build’ a wardrobe, when I packed I just started eliminating things I didn’t wear, things that didn’t fit, things that I didn’t like how they fit. Anything I didn’t want to be caught dead in, cept for some painting/work clothes that are basically disposable. Since I moved in September, all the shorts, lightweight pants went into one plastic bin and the short sleeve shirts went in the other. I haven’t completely culled that clothing yet, but there’s probably only about 5 or 6 in each, and that’s including ‘fat day and skinny day’ jeans. In spring I will made further decisions when I put them INTO the cedar closet and take out the long sleeve shirts and winter wear and put them into the bins. The drawers in the chest, have socks/underwear, t-shirts, sweatpants and sleepwear, and the bottom drawer has bed linen. Whenever I can’t get a drawer closed, I go through it and send something to the donation bag.

I won’t say I have one of the minimalist-rotate-the-same-15-pieces-of-clothing-wardrobes, that is JUST not practical attire for living in a place with 5 seasons, (yes MUD is a real season up here in New England), or a middle aged woman who does a lot of messy repairs or house fixing, or gardening or biking, rowing, hiking AND has to retain grownup interview and funeral ready clothing along side things with elastic waistbands. But I CAN comfortably say I have the fewest pieces of clothing I have had since I got my 1st charge card.

Most of my clothes comes second hand, I LOVE finding high end clothes for pennies. I do buy my jeans, underwear and socks new. But everything else has been basically curated. I am partial to classic (read boring) LL Bean-ish style clothing, I own a lot of Bean, mostly for the guarantee, as I am rough on clothes, but if you stick with a certain color pallet and simple lines, You can basically consider them Garanimals for adults. If I stick my hand in the cedar closet, most of the shirts and pants and sweaters will all match each other. I’m also pretty redundant, if I put a hole in the front of a navy blue polo, I will keep an eye out for another navy blue polo. (lately I have been just buying specific things off ebay, i can just type used short sleeve henley t-shirt in my size and find exactly what I want.)

A few minutes ago, after coming in from raking snow off the roof, where I was wearing my one thick long sleeve oatmeal Henley (surprisingly not from LLBean) and my navy fleece zippered vest, jeans and LL bean boots. I pulled ON my thick sweats pants, a pair of thermal socks and my Champion hoodie. And I realized, they were all basically the ONLY one of each item I owned. (not the socks!) I didn’t have to figure out which hoodie, or whether it was clean or not. It’s MY hoodie and when it finally dies, I will replace it with exactly the same thing. It’s either cleanish hanging on a hook or in the laundry cycle.

I own about 4 pairs of business casual pants for work, (black, navy, khaki and dark green) in the bin there are some capri length for summer and I rotate them with a couple of solid polos, or striped long sleeve oxford shirts. I have two cotton sweaters, one heavier and one summer weight. I have a pair of leather hiking boots, I have been wearing for this winter, and someplace I have some leather driving mocs, and some canvas grasshopper shoes (1 pair blue, 1 pair khaki) I will wear in better weather, when I am NOT wearing my New Balance sneakers. (1 pair for mud season and sports/1 pair that are newer and cleaner – same model) My long navy wool coat didn’t make the move intact..don’t ask (i am on the lookout for a replacement), so my ‘winter’ coat is a big man’s EMS unlined hooded jacket, which comes down over my butt like a parka, but gives me plenty of room to layer up on the inside. and once I stop double layering I switch back to my LLBean Canvas field coat, (also bought in a thrift store NEW with tags!) which takes me through the rest of the year. Though I have find a blue woman’s barn coat for this summer.

No, I am not the most stylish person, unless you call ‘frumpy’ a style, but by keeping my choices limited, things that don’t fit, just don’t stay. Everything goes with everything else, and there’s really no room for something I don’t wear. I certainly save a lot of time deciding what to wear, and definitely a lot of time doing laundry.

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