dressed out

I'm simplifying.

For those who know me well, you can probably imagine why. I complicate things.

I don't mean to but I can't help it-- and it starts at breakfast. For example, I'm on an oatmeal kick at the moment. Easy enough, right?  Sure but no dump and stir packets will do (though they are in the house because my more sensible half takes them for his breakfast). No, I instead confine rolled oats, salt, coconut oil, toasted pecans, a squirt of agave, and fresh blueberries in a travel mug with some boiling water. This is all assembled while my 14 month old's chubby fingers empty every box and can from the pantry stored lower than 28 inches.

After I dust off the baby and restock the pantry, I head back to my room to get dressed. As you can probably guess, things get worse. Imagine for a moment my "before" closet. Actually, don't bother.  Just see below.


An affection for clothes and shoes coupled with 20+ years of disposable income (including a prevailing goal in my twenties to start every Monday with "something with tags on it") took its toll. The drawers were bursting and rods bowing under the weight of "I might want to wear that one day."

I'm not exactly sure what (or who) caused the breaking point but I'm there now.  I am over my stuff so it's out. I've been convinced by the ideas in books like this one from best-selling author, Evan Zislis, that life will be better when it is less complicated. In short, I'm fine with the hard stuff being hard and the stuff that doesn't matter being either easy or gone. 

Deciding to simplify then actually doing it are two different things, of course. Within minutes of coming to this realization, I made it complicated. Grand visions and aspirations bloomed and, all of a sudden, the very act of simplifying seemed daunting.  I needed a plan.

That plan started with (of course) a Google search that led me to this Real Simple article on wardrobe basics. Of course, I couldn't just read it and go clean out my closet.  No, I downloaded it, tailored it to my tastes, edited it, formatted it, printed it, taped it to the wall in my closet.... then cleaned out my closet.

Things are better now.  I've actually taken another pass through since I took these pictures to eliminate everything outside of a basic black, white, blue, and gray palette.

My goal was to put some structure to my closet clean-out plan and head into Fall with a clearer picture of what I actually needed-- versus what was on sale at Banana Republic or looked cute in the moment. What I got was that and more-- surprising given that we are still just talking about clothes.

As a regular reader, you might have reached this point wondering what this has to do with federal government programs and communications. For me, they're related in that a simplified life helps conserve energy for both client and personal challenges. I honestly feel lighter, my brain less cluttered, and more focused. Having a plan made decisions easier and more deliberate. Now done with this step, having less stuff to wrangle in the morning makes me feel more productive, organized, and capable of tackling other big messes. That pantry is next.

Here's the printable list. I hope you find it helpful too.