I begun by reviewing my clothes and wardrobe. After giving thanks for them, I threw out nearly 20 articles from my already very functional wardrobe. I managed to recover two pairs of pants, which I realized were hidden in an obscure corner of shelf. For these two, I intend to reincorporate them into my regular attire starting this week.
I also recovered a pair of burgundy trousers which have been in my cupboard for a while now. I remember buying them several years ago, but have rarely worn them because I couldn’t decide how long I should alter them to, ankle length or ¾. I’ve decided to tailor them tonight to ankle height and incorporate them into my wardrobe too.
Like many things in life, sometimes we dither on making tough decisions. We buy clothes that don’t fit, hoping one day we will “slim down” or “grow into” them. But really, we must ask if our purchasing decisions are driven by a reflection of “reality” or staring at purple unicorns. Making careful choices at the point of purchase means enjoying your purchases today and not kicking unnecessary decisions further down the road.
Yes, I might tailor the pants too short. Yes, it may not fit the style of shoes that I am wearing right now. Yet I’ll take the risk, so that I can make full use of them today. I’ll take the responsibility for decisions now, even though they have an impact down the road.
I think one of the main ideas I am trying to convey here is to live in the present. Doing things now and seeing them for what they are today, instead of waiting for the “appropriate time”. Till then..
“I said goodbye to almost all my things and to my surprise, I found I had also changed myself in the process.” – Fumio Saski
One thing that I learnt from this book was that clutter reflected an indecisive mind. For example, everyday items that are neither indispensable nor in surplus are just “kept for another day”.
This is how clutter begins.
Over the long term, these items can overwhelm our lives. When each item becomes an essential one, the cleanup process is immediate, we can’t move on to the next activity before completing this one.
Take cooking for example, we use so many kitchenware during cooking that it becomes a nightmare to cleanup. What if we only had one bowl? If we had used it to whisk an egg, we would have to clean it up on the spot to be able to serve food again. The process forces us to focus on the immediate task and not procrastinate. If cooking is such a small process of daily living, can you imagine how our lives look like?
The modern world has taught us to hate the repetitive and eschew the inefficient. It was through this book, that I understood why my elderly neighbor sweeps the leaf strewn corridor of her flat daily, when the leaves would fall again tomorrow. It wasn’t that she was sweeping away the detritus, she was sweeping away her laziness.
Mark Zuckerberg has been known to wear the basic grey t-shirts to work daily, he mentions that this arrangement simplifies his life and allows him to concentrate on other more important stuff. When I first heard of the idea, it was so foreign to me. I remember thinking how this guy must either be absurdly busy or just absurd.
But recently, I found new reasons to rethink my position.
The problem with things that are unique lies in the fact that they were designed to be different from each other. Without stimuli humans suffer from boredom. Something that looks nice once before can easily look less desirous once the novelty dies down.
I understand the need to want to look our best for any situation, but are our clothes a distraction from this or do they help us prepare better?
On the flip side, when things are different, there will always be favorites. Everyone has had a piece which at some point was worn almost daily, yet somehow that said piece has disappeared into some corner of their cupboard.
With the same shirt, one does not have to pick one over the other, instead clothes become functional item. Being a functional item means less fabric fatigue and increased utilization. By either numbering each piece or using a gravity feeder, you can identify and further spread out the “workload” of each piece. Ensuring that they collectively last a longer time with much less wastage.
It’s funny how in such a simple thing like clothing we can find such inefficiency. I am going to start by reorganizing my cupboard and giveaway/dispose of items that I have not worn in the past year. For the other items I will do a stock count and see if I have too many of one item.
I hope to be able to more than halve my wardrobe and be able to fit everything into one storage bin. Wish me luck!