This year I had a massive lifestyle change - I left my job as an attorney to travel the country and market my family business. We packed up our house, put most things in storage, and loaded everything else into our travel trailer. When we set out on our trip, we planned for it to last 3 to 4 months. Road weary at the two month mark, we called it quits, found a new house in a new town, and moved everything out of our storage unit and into our new house.
As we were packing up to leave, we were amazed and a little bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we’d managed to accumulate. Loads of it went to charity, friends, and as a last resort, the dump.
Still, we managed to fill up the largest storage unit we could find. The last “thing” to go in was my car, which we squeezed in with just inches to spare. Then we set off on our journey with the things we thought we’d need for the next few months.
Living in such tight quarters for two months definitely changed my perspective on things. With less square footage to live in, I was more motivated to keep things as clean as possible. Nothing was purchased unless it had an immediate use - and a place to go. We bought less food, and wasted less food as a result.
Our closets were no exception. We set out with about a week’s worth of clothes. Here’s my list:
Along the way, I found I had a need for a hat, and ended up knitting two. Besides the hand knits and winter coat, everything I brought with me was machine washable. I carefully selected clothes that could be mixed, matched, and layered to create different looks, and I distilled down my jewelry selections to the most essential (but not too valuable) pieces.
In short, I went minimalist. And besides a couple of times when we drew near to laundry day, I didn’t miss the clothes I’d left behind.
When we found a new house and moved everything out of storage, I realized I could spend hours washing and putting away dishes, but after three days, most of my clothes were on a pile on the floor. I didn’t mind dusting furniture, or unpacking box after box of books, or putting together my loom, but five minutes of putting away clothes bored me to tears.
Finally (when there wasn’t much else to do), I put away my clothes. I weeded out a bunch of things that I don’t want or need any more, and kept the rest. I don’t have to dress professionally anymore, but I kept a small professional wardrobe just in case.
I’d like to say that my wardrobe has been distilled down to the ultramodern essential classics, but it’s really more of a jumble. I’m okay with that, though, because I realized that I’m more interested in the process of making textiles than fashion itself. And that’s a valuable takeaway.
So this Slow Fashion October, I’m not planning on making any new clothes. This year, I’m going to focus on things beyond my closet. I’ll celebrate what I already have, and enjoy absorbing what other people make this year.
If you haven’t heard about Slow Fashion October, be sure to check it out. A more detailed explanation of the whole shebang can be found here, or you can check out the hashtag #slowfashionoctober on Instagram.