Last December I did one of those renovate your closet and put everything that you think you won’t wear, don’t fit into, might wear in the summer, items of clothes into two plastic bins at the bottom of my closet only to be looked at again once the snowdrops are up and maybe the tulips too. My now scant closet was transformed into brilliance: sparse, controllable, minimal, easy, good. There were a few hanging blouses for work, a couple of dresses, and some work trousers in coordinating colours for easy outfit building. I likewise rolled up some jeans and some sweaters, placing them neatly onto shelves in the wardrobe I share with my husband. I kept only the nice underwear that I like wearing and are comfortable. Same too with the bras. Everything was great, right? Less clothes means more relaxing? But what to do with those old clothes? What about the ones that no longer fit? Some of them were missing for reasons other than I didn’t want them.
I know that there are a couple of places where I can try to re-sell all my items of clothing but I have a particular problem selling a bunch of clothes that I actually like (there aren’t a lot of them) mostly because they don’t fit not because I don’t like them, aren’t useful, or aren’t in good shape. I tend to do the closet clean-up a number of times a year so what remains remains for a reason. But here is the kicker: the amount of my stuff has grown smaller but I have not.
Oh, how to reconcile these two things! And they are deep seated things to be reconciled. Sure, on the one hand, I am watching and writing and reading about making things smaller, my home, my possessions. Yet, on the other hand, I am struggling with growing bigger myself, physically, my anger, my sense of purpose. The less I worry about my stuff, sometimes I forget my body, and the more it seems my waistline expands. These are countervailing winds: the shedding and the gaining.
And so it reminds me that with a lot of this becoming large by living small ethos requires self compassion as well as striving. I think we forget this sometimes. And then I read this remarkable interview in the NYT with K.D. Lang today appropriately titled K.D. Lang Doesn’t Have to Indulge Your Constant Cravings
In the following Q&A between MS. LANG and PENELOPE GREEN, I found my new mantra. It’s a good reminder of why frugality is important not only for the wallet but also for the soul; why we need to shed not only our stuff but parts of who we are; and, not only that, she offers clear instructions on how to do it.
from the interview between them:
“I was an extrovert and pushing myself on people. Now, I’m an intense introvert, which can be incongruent with being a performer.”
How do you go from one state to the other?
“Practice,” she said.
What a lovely reminder – all this frugality is not only about creating the space around you for financial freedom but also the space within you to be free. The best thing we can do is practice rather than succeed.