Grace for the journey

I recently posted about my very first capsule wardrobe. I had been intrigued by the idea and wanted to give it a try. I was feeling pretty good about it until a few commenters mentioned that I still had way too many clothes. Hmm. Was I doing it wrong? Is there some kind of minimalist scale I’m missing?

I started to get nervous. Then I thought about what my goals were in simplifying my wardrobe and how the capsule is working for me. And I realized that for right now, it’s perfect for me…on my journey…on my scale.

Am I happier when I walk into my closet? Can I pick out an outfit in under a minute? Do I feel good in the clothes I wear? Yes, yes, and yes.

Capsule Wardrobe | InspiredRD.com

I’m calling it a success. And I’m realizing that living a simple life is a journey, one that will probably take me my entire life to not quite master. I’ll never be perfect. I’ll never stand in a Pinterest-worthy minimalist home and say, “Ta-da! I’ve done it!” And that’s ok.

Life happens. Ruts happen. I go through seasons of pile-everything-into-a-closet-and-shut-the-door. In fact, I am currently sitting in my office with a closet that is screaming for attention. And yet I sit here and write. See? Not perfect.

But I know I’m on the right path because my relationship with “stuff” has changed. I’m more mindful of my purchases. I’m learning to live with less. (Hence, the capsule wardrobe.) I’m learning to value quality over quantity.

I’m getting there…but at my own pace and in my own way. Because minimalism is not a competition. And when we strive for someone else’s definition of perfection, we will certainly fail. So I’m giving myself grace for the journey.

Make sure to give yourself some too.

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40 Comments

  1. Casey

    Yes! I shifted to a minimalist wardrobe and found myself stressing that I had a few too many hangers. You realize via the interwebs that there are different veins of minimalism. There’s Competive Minimalism and Minimalism For a Simpler Life, among others.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      Interesting, I didn’t realize there were so many types of minimalism out there. I guess the best kind of minimalism is the one that works for you!

      • emily freeman

        That’s a great point – the one that works for you. yes! Love this.

        • Alysa Bajenaru

          Thanks Emily! That’s a lesson I’ve been learning in every area of my life recently.

    • Vicki Cook

      Yes – I agree! When did minimalism become a competition? I’ve greatly reduced my wardrobe over the past year. I started with Project 333 because it gave me parameters, but I bent the rules to suit me. I originally started with 33 items for 3 months, but I wanted more flexibility. What if I chose something I didn’t want to wear for all 3 months? What if it’s unseasonably hot or cold? So I allow myself to swap out items – one in, one out. I also started keeping track of what I wear on a daily basis. It’s very easy actually. I have an Excel spreadsheet hanging on the back of my bedroom door. Each day I just put a hashtag next to the item. If I didn’t wear something that month, I put it in storage. I can always get it back out again if I want it later. As the weather changes, I just grab what I need. I don’t wait for an official date to swap out my wardrobe. It’s much more fluid and works for me. BTW – I currently have 27 items in my wardrobe, but who’s counting?

  2. Sue

    I love the last line, “I’m giving myself grace for the journey.” Words to live by. I am considering a capsule wardrobe, but it kind of scares me. 🙂

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      Don’t be scared! And take your time… 🙂

  3. Maryalene

    When I first heard about capsule wardrobes, it was through Project 333 and it was based on 33 items. Then Unfancy took it to 30 items, and yesterday I read about a capsule concept of only 10 items. Pretty soon we’ll all be walking around naked!

      • Eve

        I’m working on 6 of everything which works for me.. 6 shirts, 6 pants (2 are jeans) 6 Ts, 6 tanks, I have 2 skirts, 1 long dress with jacket, and for outerwear 1 London fog raincoat short, 1 windbreaker. So far it works. I do have 6 Winter sweaters and some sweats but I live on the Coast so they don’t get worn much. You need to choose according to your climate I believe. Shoes are 1 pair sandals, 1 pair flats, 1 pair tennis shoes. All neutral colors. Hope this list helps someone. I know it is still too much so I am trying to weed down a bit more.

  4. Tracy

    I wonder if the competitive minimalists are still have the mindset of keeping up with the Joneses but going the opposite way in getting rid of their belongings. Since the one with the least stuff doesn’t “win” any more than the one with the most stuff, I am going with the grace for the journey cause I definitely need it too. Grace to you. Amen.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      I’ve never thought of it that way, but I think you are exactly right.

    • Amy

      Very well put Tracy. To me the whole point of minimalism is that you are more than your stuff and your stuff does define you, control you. If you are a competitive minimalist you are still be controlled by stuff. That said, I am playing the Minimalist Game this month! But in the spirit of fun and motivation, rather than competition.

      • Bridget (strong butterfly)

        i like the comments – it’s a really good post – and so true, goal is not to be controled by stuff – it’s OK to actually enjoy the stuff you do have, not try so hard to get rid of everything. Mindful, and full of grace

  5. Audrey

    I am also trying to adopt a capsule wardrobe but it’s a process, and anything that makes you FEEL better is worth doing. But don’t do it by others’ standards. Do it by your own. I think your wardrobe is fantastic. Keep it up!

  6. kariane

    I think simple is what allows your soul room to breathe, and gives you space and time in your life for the things you love. I think this is different for each person. If you’re happy with it, than it’s great.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      “Simple is what allows your soul room to breathe.” I love that!

  7. Maggie

    This is fantastic! It’s making your life better and, ultimately, that’s the whole point. We all have different starting points, ya know?

  8. joanna

    Grace for the journey. So love that. Beautiful sentiment.

  9. Linda Sand

    There are many right ways to do minimalism. We each get to pick the one that works for us. The goal is to live a better life–you get to define your better and choose your way of reaching for it. I’m currently playing with the idea of capsule housing–just how much furniture do I need? Is there a reason I need both a table and a desk?

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      Ooooh, I like that idea. Especially since we currently have WAY too much furniture.

  10. Tam

    This is so beautiful! I can be Uber OCD and be gun ho an all or nothing. I am grateful for your post. I work from home but like my skirts and dresses. But I also travel for or work or have meetings. So I kind of need 2 wardrobes. I had 3/4 of a closet with all seasons of clothes and what I did not wear, fat days, after I lose 20 pound days. I did the purge kept only what I liked and what fit today. Seasonal is now in a plastic tote. Down to more like 50 item wardrobe. You article basically gave me permission to be me. I also love the saying about grace. Wonderful!

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      So glad I could give you “permission to be you.” 🙂

  11. Jenn

    Interesting. I had to go to your other link to see what a capsule wardrobe was and wouldn’t you know it – I’ve been living this way just about all my life and didn’t even know it had a name.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      Well you are ahead of the game! Good job! 🙂

  12. Pam

    I am trying the Project 333. When I removed all the ill-fitting, too tight, too loose, can’t stand it, has holes clothes… I ended up with 7 items. I have been wearing these same seven items since Sunday! I am doing simple extreme until I can find time to shop. lol

    Pam

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      Well if this was a competition, I think you would win!

  13. alexa

    Not allowing yourself to even contemplate jumping through others’ artificially constructed hoops sounds like just the right attitude :).

  14. Angela @ Setting My Intention

    I’ve been simplifying since February and it feels great! There will always be people “ahead” of us and “behind” us but we’re all making progress. I just “KonMari”ed my clothes and am down to the clothes that I enjoy and fit and feel good. Thanks for sharing!

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      I had to google “KonMari” – looks interesting!

  15. Sandy

    What one person needs in their closet is very different from what another person needs in their closet. It is out of line to comment on another person’s choices unless those choices are causing harm to self or others. If we’re ‘de-owning’, how about tossing the judgement, the criticism, the getting into other people’s business, and the unhealthy comparisons. I don’t see any room for those in a simple, minimalist life.

    • Susan H.

      Well said!

  16. Liz H

    I read your capsule wardrobe post and I don’t see how you have too many items! I have purged and purged and purged and I still have more than you, lol. My goal wasn’t so much a “capsule wardrobe” as an easy accessible one that made choosing clothing simple. I still pull stuff out fairly often if I find I am not wearing it as much as I thought I did. Minimalism isn’t one size fits all. It’s totally ok to have whatever number you are comfortable with. If you’re a fashionista you’re going to have more. If you don’t like to or can’t do laundry very often then you will have more. If you’re a guy, you can probably get away with less and no one will know/care. (Really, it isn’t fair. Hmph.) If you don’t work outside your home, you can probably get away with less than your typical working woman. No hard and fast rules. Free yourself from legalism!

  17. Paula

    I think your capsule wardrobe is great. There are no hard and fast rules for minimalism, so it’s ridiculous for anyone to decide your way is wrong. It might not be right for them, but it doesn’t make it wrong. I’m in the process of weaning down to a smaller wardrobe. I’m taking inspiration from a few places, but also being flexible to take into account what will work for me in my situation. If I tried to follow someone else’s “rules” for my wardrobe, like the 33 items for 3 months, I’d have a problem today when I’m supposed to be into my summer wardrobe, but it’s below 50 on June 2nd and about 60 degrees in my house right now. Good thing I kept a sweater or two handy just in case.

  18. toni

    This is super interesting to me and I want to be strong enough to embrace it completely. Minimalism is probably going to happen to me whether I choose it or not. I am old. I have too much stuff. I will probably go to a “home” one day. Can’t have all my stuff there! I have been and am a collection station for my kids stuff (6 adult children, 4 grandchildren). It comes in handy when they want to have or borrow things. I probably have what they need. In addition, I am a crafter so I use/reuse lots of stuff. But in all honesty, I don’t craft as much as I used to and of late I can satisfy my crafting desires by looking at what others do and admire that. But it is nice that I do have things that the kids want and it is nice that I have things that belonged to my grandmothers and my parents and my brother who are all deceased. But then it all adds up and I have to dust around it, or keep it stuck in a closet or attic and there it is doing NO ONE any good. Sometimes I find the conflict between purging and having stresses me out. I appreciate all the comments I have read here and mostly I appreciate this blog. It gives me strength and courage. Thank you.

  19. Bethany @ Online Therapy and Coaching

    I remember when I used to try and gauge my “progress” as a minimalist. For me, it was about belonging. I wanted to claim the label “minimalist,” be confident that I had earned it, and belong to the minimalist community. It was about trying to fulfill a personal need, to find my tribe.

    Now I live on a saiboat, in less than 200 square feet (with my family of 3!), and I own a Wii U, amongst other things. Once I found the life I wanted and realized what my goals even were, I was able to stop obsessing over earning a label.

    • Evelyn @ Smallish

      Hi Beth! Loved your reply here. 🙂 I agree that it would be nice to have a badge to be able to wear to “officially” belong to the club, even if just for myself. 😉 You’re so right though– it’s not about belonging so much as finding what’s important to you personally and owning it.

  20. Evelyn @ Smallish

    Yes yes yes! Love the freedom in this post to say “I’m on the road to less and minimalist, but I’m not there yet.” Less is relative and so is living minimally. The important thing is that we encourage and draw alongside each other in whichever point we find ourselves. Because at the end of the day, giving each other grace is what is most important! Great post.

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