Every year around this time I go through a pretty big decluttering/simplifying stage. And every year my life becomes a tiny bit more manageable.
I believe simplifying and streamlining and minimizing is a gradual process for many of us.
You can’t slam on the brakes. You’ve gotta slow down gradually.
This overwhelming desire to cut down on the mayhem comes at this time of year because it’s the only stretch of time where we have no school, no swimming, no baseball, no… anything.
I’m not coaching and I’m not really teaching swimming lessons. There is no running from place to place, there is no madness in the 4-8 pm time slot, and the difference between the pace of life during these couple weeks in August and the rest of the year is glaring.
Without the total chaos, I am able to breathe. To think. To assess.
And what I realize is that I am ready for a more civilized lifestyle. I am ready to be able to pause, breathe, and even, on occasion, relax.
Life is flying by, the kids are growing up so quickly, and I realize the insanity of it all in these times when I am not running around like a complete lunatic.
I’ve already taken steps to slow things down.
I’ve reduced my coaching hours from 15 hours Monday through Friday to only 4 hours Monday through Thursday so I can be around for and with the kids in the evenings. I will have eleven more hours during the week with my kids after school and in the evenings than I did last year. I am really looking forward to being more present with them and having more civilized week nights this year.
So I’m simplifying my schedule significantly.
As I cut things out of my life that aren’t bringing me joy or are causing unnecessary stress, I discover more and more the value and scarcity of my time. And I find other areas of my life that take up my time.
If you follow me on Facebook, you know I’ve been decluttering this week.
The decluttering process is also a gradual one, I think. For me it is, anyway.
I got rid of quite a bit of stuff about 18 months ago in a big decluttering and organizing phase. But there is still a ways to go.
We still have so much stuff in this house. So much stuff that has to be put away and organized over and over and over again.
And it takes up my time and that pisses me off.
So I’m slowly purging stuff that nobody uses, nobody needs, and that nobody will probably miss or even notice when it’s gone.
One of the areas that continues to really suck up my time is clothing. We have way too many clothes in this house. They are everywhere.
About two years ago I got rid of most of my clothes, and I started adopting a capsule wardrobe.
Then over the course of the last year, I gained some weight back, and most of my clothes didn’t fit. So they just sat in my closet.
This past year, I was coaching a lot, and we were given coaching shirts to wear for practice. I had three different shirts with our team logo on them. A grey one, a white one, and a navy blue one.
Standing on the pool deck and coaching swim practice for 3+ hours every night is not exactly an opportunity to make a fashion statement. Before I was given my coaching shirts to wear it wasn’t like I was stressing over what I was going to wear to practice. It was pretty much yoga pants and a t-shirt every day.
But being required to wear the team shirts for practice made life that much easier. There was nothing to think about. Put on one of the three shirts and that’s it. Done.
It was awesome.
Since I was mostly working from home during the day and not really going anywhere, and since I didn’t want to change my clothes in the middle of the day, I pretty much only wore my coaching clothes, and the things that no longer fit me just sat in my closet.
And so about three weeks ago I made a decision regarding the rest of my clothes.
I got rid of about half of what I had.
That Decluttering Burst blog post I shared a couple days ago? The one that has inspired me to get rid of (at least) 100 things a day for the past three days (and counting)?
Well Courtney Carver is the woman who writes that blog (Be More With Less), and she has another “challenge.” It’s called Project 333.
Project 333 is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.
I have been thinking about this for a long time. Since before I discovered Courtney Carver and her blog.
It’s no secret that many successful people wear the same thing every day.
President Obama only wore blue or gray suits because he had so many decisions to make on a daily basis, he didn’t want to waste time thinking about what he was going to wear.
Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Michael Kors — they all wear (or wore) the same thing.
I know they are all men.
But women do this, too. Even celebrities. Sort of.
I really like Jennifer Aniston. She is the same age as me.
Unlike me, she has more money than she knows what to do with.
But Google “Jennifer Aniston casual style 2017.” You’ll see that she wears denim, white, black, gray, khaki, and olive green. That’s it.
Simple, classic, classy, and timeless.
Same thing for Angelina Jolie.
She’s got more money than God, but all her outfits are very, very similar. Mostly black. Some khaki. Some gray.
(I know they were both married to Brad Pitt, but I don’t think that has anything to do with it, although maybe Brad likes a girl with simple style).
So that’s the direction I’m going in now.
I don’t want to waste any more of my super valuable (and fleeting) time thinking about what I’m going to wear.
I’m paring things way, way down. And I’m going to spend the next couple weeks looking for the 33 (or less) items that I really, really want.
Some I already have.
I know I want blue jeans, a pair of black jeans, a pair of white jeans, and a pair of khakis. Maybe a cool pair of army pants, too. I want a black, white, and gray shirt. A couple fun t-shirts. I want a classic white oxford, a cute plaid shirt, and I want a fisherman’s sweater.
After that, I’m not sure. But once I’ve got it all together, I’ll show you what I come up with.
I’m very excited about this.
I’m looking forward to spending more time on the things that matter to me in the big picture.
And less time on the things that don’t.
And maybe I can help you do the same.