6.09.2015

Closet Reformation: A pre-study in feasibility


So it feels quite recent, but it really has been months (years?) since any real blog entry. Oh, this is not to suggest that this is the real thing either. But we have to start somewhere! What did Dante say about the lower foot being always the firm one... Or perhaps this is Penelope weaving her blog.

Perhaps your year has been going great too. As je suis snuggled in a kimono robe with a cup of sage tea with honey...Aaaaaand: No. I wish. The sage is just a few feet away on the balcony, though. The gallon of honey is in the pantry. But, after a hectic day of a hectic several months (years?), I am finally seeing the light of day (or glow of moon?). This can do weird things to an extrovert. I crave calm. Solitude, even.

Feasibility pre-study

Background

This little piggy was overwhelmed by excess and became inspired by a very old post about creating a wardrobe inventory,  The task or decreasing the wardrobe, however, has moved quite slowly. Surely the wonderful full-time job, side studies, side projects, huge family, and full-time relationships take precedence. This project needs to start. When? Years ago. But it will move depending on whether there is time left over from more important things. 

Need for the closet reformation project

Funny enough, it's days when I'm too busy to think about clothes, that remind me why I started considering, let a long attempting to operationalize this project in the first place. But more often than not, simplicity is really the best solution. Being tired when I come back from work has also made me realize that the fewer things I have in the house, the easier it is to keep things neat and clean. There are just fewer things to deal with. I guess maybe my knack for accumulating things can be attributed to habit. I wonder if it's true for most people.

Moi in this wonderful little place with the best rose-water macarons
I carried all of my things in that purse on the right for the week-long trip

Things that bring you joy

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
-William Morris

A recent trip abroad really put things in perspective on this one. I had the best tea, the best crepe, the best pastries, and the "party" night out than I've had in quite a long time with a friend. I traveled with only one bag: my roomy handbag that I've had since early undergrad. These are things that bring joy.
Material things that bring me joy are:
Good sunglasses
Plants/ my container potager city garden
Hand-embroidered linens
Vintage china/teacups
Very nice fabrics: in linens and clothes alike
Very nicely constructed clothes of pleasant materials (see above)
My books on plants, neuroscience, other science and math classics, embroidery, anything in Italian
Comfortable shoes (far more into Tods flats and the good old Birks than Louboutin stitettos)
Vintage jewelry, which I can't wear for long due to an allergy
Fine jewelry, which I can actually wear without getting a rash

Know thyself a little

I'm not a handbag person. I wish I were sometimes. This may mean that marketers are good at their jobs. This may be because I really want a classic, navy or black Chanel and a Birkin. At some point I almost bought a speedy. But, I simply cannot justify these purchases. Every time I think of how many people I could feed or send to school and just end up saving or donating the money or a combination of the two.

Certainly, this little piggy does not intend to fall into the "too comfortable to look presentable" part of the graph. While traveling for a week, I was in comfort the whole time in flats and structured knits.  For regular life however, what is the sweet spot where the wishful fancy meets the practicality?

We're not going all Simone de Beauvoir sartorially. You know the famous quote, "Au lieu d'adapter mes projets à la réalité, je les poursuivais, envers et contre tout, tenant le réel pour un simple accessoire." This closet project is not the point itself, but the accessory to the greater point, to live a life well lived.

The questions for this project may be:
Where is the overlap between the intended effect for the appropriate cost? The effect would be the look, for example, and the cost would be the effort, maintenance, time, comfort, and everything else that is spent on getting dressed.
What are my basics? Are they working? 
Why even downsize on clothes and books, etc?

Challenges of a closet reformation project

Let's face it, after 11 or so hours at the office/lab(s), it can be a challenge to muster the motivation for anything besides a cup of tea or water depending on the season. Still, time must be made for social interaction, so dinner with friends and phone calls with family have been taking priority. Then off to read papers in preparation for writing/planning/discussing future work (important homework).

While I like nearly all of my things, I do keep grabbing the same few items all the time. Even when I had that gorgeous dress hemmed, so I could walk around in it, i have not worn it for (irrational) fear of ruining it. It sits in front of all of my other things. My basket of neatly rolled t-shirts has stayed there all fall, winter, spring, and now summer. Only three of them are in rotation, really.

Luckily, this closet is still focused on quality - well made things that could last lifetimes with proper care.

Next step?

Perhaps next we should handle the real feasibility questions. The economics of this project are much more based on time and energy expenditures, including mental energy (cognitive depletion?). So, how much time would this project undertake? What  does a realistic timeline look like? How much effort can I realistically apply? Could the available resources be used to attain an acceptable outcome?