Friday, 22 March 2013

The Caspule Wardrobe

I have a lot of kind and generous friends and family and they give me clothes, lots and lots of clothes which I am very grateful for. Some of these people are mere acquaintances and in some instances the connection between the kind hearted donor and me is very tenuous indeed. I never say no though - I am a junk whore and will accept almost any rejected item. I like to think of this as recycling but it is really just my inner treasure hunter looking for it's next fix.

Usually I really enjoy being the local drop off for the unwanted and past it - I love the sorting and finding but there comes a time when these new additions must be put somewhere. My catch all 'somewhere' is a pile of shopping bags plonked either in my bedroom on in the spare shower
(don't say anything, I know that's a little strange but strange is normal in our house and I bet the same goes for your place too). At some point the clothes migrate into my drawers and wardrobe and get used, all good so far.

This system came to a crashing halt recently with the delivery of a much appreciated small bag of sartorial goodies. As there were only a few items I decided to skip the store and wait step and put them straight into service whereupon I discovered a catastrophe - they wouldn't fit! The problem would not be solved with just a quick tidy and refold, I needed a hard core clothes cull - all you hoarders out there will know how that freaked me out. Sorting, categorising, folding, selecting and placing are all comforting activities, getting rid of stuff - any kind of stuff is not. Getting rid is incredibly satisfying after the event and you see rediscovered corners that can now be covered in new junk but the process itself is gruelling. You know that as soon as an item has left the property and is forever irretrievable the event, occasion or use it was specifically made for will become apparent and you no longer have it - this situation is a major stress inducer to be avoided at all costs.

So what to do about drawers breaking under the strain, wardrobes doors jammed open, hooking clothes hangers onto even more hangers and only being able to reach 3 outfits without pulling the whole house of clothes down on myself? There comes a point when rearranging and putting a pile of clean clothes into the wash to create more space won't work anymore so the teeth gritting moment had arrived - I had to face the fact I had too much stuff and some of it had to go.

I am no stranger to the clothes cull, I have done a great many of them and they all end up with the same result - less stuff to hand but not necessarily in an efficient way so I decided on a new approach. The capsule wardrobe, the small collection of clothes that always appears in the womens magazines around holiday time that will take you from a glittering dinner at the captains table to an impromptu tryst in the scented gardens with the porter (I have yet to find any outfit that has directly led to an impromptu tryst in any circumstances but I am aiming to include it my version of the capsule wardrobe). The idea behind the capsule wardrobe is everything must go with a least 3 other garments so you can pretty much look ok by choosing items at random which is my preferred method if getting dressed before 10am when my brain actually begins to function. The capsule wardrobe should also be small as it is designed to fit into expensive dainty luggage designed for 'the country retreat' or the 'winter sun break' and here is where I had the advantage over the holiday packers - I am very unlikely to be attending either destination and I can therefore add a few extras without straining my not so dainty clothing receptacles.

With the capsule wardrobe principles understood I set about making it so. Once all my clothing was laid out around the bedroom I really saw the scale of the issue for the first time and this lead to a panic attack - if I kept only a capsule wardrobe that would mean getting rid of so many items I would probably have to be hospitalised with the trauma and separation anxiety so did I need to abandon my brilliant idea in favour of something a little more obsession friendly? I really didn't want to give up on my new wardrobe makeover so with a little creative thinking my mentally healthy self came to a compromise with my mentally a-little-skewiff self and it was of course a complete epiphany. just because I had a capsule wardrobe didn't mean I had to get rid of the rest of my clothes; I just had to remove them from the bedroom! Viola, problem solved. This fantastic idea made the selection process of the capsule wardrobe so easy and not at all stressful because I knew this seasons rejects were just going away temporarily and could be retrieved at any time.

So anything that didn't fit and couldn't be a part of at least 3 outfits has been spirited away and I can now shut all doors and drawers and actually see all available options without getting the torch to see what has fallen down the back of the dresser. The whole process left me feeling empowered and floaty instead of the usual stressed self doubt, in fact I felt so good I even ironed some cotton and linen items (a rare occurrence) and mended 2 items (a never happened before occurrence).

So despite the crys of  'cheater'  from the back row (who listens to ther kids anyway?) I feel the capsule wardrobe idea was a complete success. No stress, maximum efficiency, virtous feelings and a very workable capsule wardrobe in my room while the rest of my clothes have a little r&r  - a capsule wardrobe break if you will. Of course knowing they are stashed in the kids playroom and can be picked through at a moments notice settles my often over taxed brain and the kids don't need all that space anyway - I just had a big clear out of their stuff.