What keeps me awake at night is having too much of everything
You would think I have more to think about, being in Melbourne wouldn’t you? I do. And I will write about fabulous food, trams, fashion, old friends, coffee, brunch, penguins, soon. But this is what keeps me awake at night. KonMari and worrying about bringing too many clothes on the trip.
Socks and how many is too many?
I have spent the best part of 4 years decluttering. And there is still a way to go. Today, as happens sometimes, I pondered on how many pairs of socks I need.
Tackling the clutter then and now
When I wrote this about going through my overfull wardrobe I got my sock collection down to 24 pairs. I thought that was an achievement. How I have changed since then.
Then I had at least ten sets of bed linen, duvets and pillows cluttering up my wardrobe. I kept them because they may come in useful one day.
I had numerous items of clothing I had never worn. Some with labels still attached. Those and my wedding dress, organised in plastic garment bags. Taking up space.
Scarves and tights were all beautifully organised because I had the space to do so. Never used nor needed any of them. Even when organised, excess stuff is still clutter.
Since writing the posts about decluttering my wardrobes, I have moved house, downsizing considerably. There is one small closet and one chest of drawers between two people. I had to seriously rethink how many clothes we needed.
Adopting the KonMari approach
Out of season clothes are packed in compressor bags. Dresses, shirts and jumpers are in the closet on good quality hangers. All t shirts, trousers, socks and underwear are folded based on the Marie Kondo or KonMari method. Socks have been reduced to one pair of warm ones, one pair for my trainers and seven pairs of colourful socks made from bamboo. All the dull black ones have left the house. I am slowly replacing my husband’s plain socks with colourful ones too. I used to think having all black socks made them easier to pair, but no, bright ones are so much easier. And more fun. And only 14 socks not 48 to match up.
Socks and all undies folded as per KonMari method and now fit into one small drawer, folded and stacked vertically so I can see what is what. Ditto for the husband.
My wedding dress was donated to charity. I kept it for over 30 years and I have no idea why. I still have the memories and the photos. All I need.
Thermals have been reduced to three items only, new house is not as cold as old house. They are needed for cold winters and camping in the outback. They will be my jim jams when we camp in Australia.
Bed linen now reduced to four sets. Two for each bed. That is all I will ever need. All the rest went to Brushstrokes, a charity that supports refugees and asylum seekers. All the spare duvets and pillows also went there, as did most of my towels. I kept one set of bath towels for each of us, with two spare for guests/days when I wash and the rare times I can’t dry them in a day.
Most of the scarves have gone to charity. I kept two pashminas as they are so versatile and the felt wrap as that was hand made by my friend and is beautiful and useful and as per the KonMari method, sparks joy.
The clothes with labels still attached? Gone to a charity shop. The beaded dress is still with me. One day I will find the right home for it.
What do I miss?
Do I miss having 24 pairs of socks? No. Do I love having just one small drawer for my smalls? Yes. Those stupid organisers I used, they took up too much space. Folding is better. It is. I do not miss any of the clothes I have let go of.
No more laundry heaps
Do I run out of smalls and socks? No. That is because I wash clothes two or three times a week. I use the coldest, shortest wash cycle. The next machine I buy for the new kitchen will have a 15 minute wash cycle. Most clothes don’t get dirty, they just need refreshing. I don’t have lots of clothes hanging around the house draped over radiators (I won’t have any of those soon) nor piles of clean laundry to put away. One to wash, one to wear and one spare is what I am aiming for.
I used to have umpteen baskets of clean and dirty clothes all over the house, with wet washing draped on radiators. And we all had plenty of clothes to wear, despite this. I could go a fortnight without washing any clothes. Now I can’t. I like washing every other day or so. Small loads, uses less water, less detergent and takes less time to dry.
Less is more
Project 333 is how I dress now. I base my wardrobe around two key colours and everything coordinates. I have worn the same jewelry for over 18 months now.
If I buy new clothes, I apply the one in, two out rule. After years of not buying a winter coat I got a new one, in the sales. A Jack Wolfskin lightweight, super warm coat. Great for travelling as it is light and I can compress it down if packing it. Two coats left the house destined for the charity shops. One was a duffel coat that had belonged to my mother, warm but heavy, the other a charity shop bargain that was 10 years old and was too big for me. One warm coat, one light jacket and one pacamac is all I need. I brought two with me to Australia, one is currently back in Britain as the person I am housesitting for needed a light mac for Scottish weather, I needed one for Melbourne weather, or so we thought. We don’t.
De cluttering is not easy
I would be the first to tell anyone that decluttering is hard work. We form attachments to stuff. We hold onto old habits. Getting rid of clothes can be difficult. I know, my heart was wrenched parting with the wedding dress. I have held on to my loved worn once beaded dress, which is crazy really. We can justify having duplicates to cut down on laundry. Here’s the thing you can wash one pair of socks 100 times or 100 socks once. The labour, water, time remains the same.
I don’t miss anything
I don’t miss my wedding dress. No room for sentimentality. I don’t miss my socks. No room for excess clothes. I really do like having fewer clothes. And in the next few months I will be offloading a few more.