Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Body Image

Where to begin?

Having been caught up through 1/25, that now means I'm 63 items behind on removal!!

I'm not quite that far off because I have given a way a few things in the past weeks.  Let me get caught up...

I pulled out two tri tops, two tri shorts and a one-piece tri suit to donate/discard.  I donated a bathing suit top that was unflattering and a purple long sleeved blouse that I no longer wear.  I dumped a pair of canvas flats that were never even worn out of the house anymore because they were so ratty looking and I donated a pair of heels I'd bought and never even worn.  That brings me to 54 pieces behind so basically caught up through 2/3 (my sister-in-law's birthday).

April 1st (Saturday) brings me to the 6 month mark.  That means, if I can find 54 + 2 more things to give away, I will have removed 183 things from my wardrobe since October 1, 2016.  That's pretty impressive if you consider how little I've bought in that time frame, too.

I will continue to push towards catching up partly this evening and partly this weekend.  The big bin of 'doesn't fit me' clothing and my bin of spring/summer clothes have yet to be opened and purged.  I also realized over the past weekend that I really should purge my outerwear.  I have my favorites  (both winter and spring) but there are other jackets hanging in the downstairs closet that I just don't wear and should be donated.  I also need to purge my bras.  I don't know why there are so many in my drawer when I wear the same three for 99% of the time.

Lately I've been really struggling with body image.  I'm 49 years old and I can tell that the hormones are starting to go a little I'm sure that's part of my issue.  Additionally, I'm overweight.  Having been forced inactive for 4 months over the holidays really messed with my fitness trajectory.  In the past few weeks, I've been slowly getting back into healthy living on all fronts.  My nutrition is good (and improving as I workout more regularly) and this week will be my first week with three OTF workouts in one week! I've had to ramp this up very carefully to avoid triggering alignment issues again. The problem is that I am 10 lbs over where I was when I stopped working out (and I'm 20lbs over where I belong).  It's not THAT much, but it's enough.  The 10 extra pounds are actually a big problem because they push me to the edge (and over, in many things) of where my current clothes will fit. And I already got rid of all my 'fat' clothes.  Nothing sucks more than having everything you own be unflattering and uncomfortable. It sucks that I can't wear yoga pants to work!  Add to that the looming vacation (we are traveling to Hawaii in mid-May) and I can't help but get anxious about myself and as a result, I'm fighting the blues.

My resolution?  Buy something.  I know it breaks the rules and it sounds stupid, but it's important to me that I look decent/feel comfortable in what I'm wearing.  In the past couple of weeks I've purchased a pair of jeans, a knit skirt and two blouses for work wear.  I also ordered a few versions of a plain black bathing suit bottoms that can be worn with my already owned tops in Hawaii.  I'll only keep the best one and return the rest but I can't expect to lose 20 lbs by mid May to fit into the one I own.  And lastly, I ordered a pair of work pants and two dresses for a new career trip at the end of April.  I don't think I can wear jeans, so a single pair of work pants and a single skirt won't get me through the whole 4 days of events no matter how creative I get.  In the past when I've gotten to this point, I bought a few new things, wore them, starting feeling better about myself, and then started losing weight again only to end up donating those large items a few months down the road.  May my pattern prove true once again.

Oh, did I say new career?  I did!  I'm leaving that tidbit for another post.  For now, know that I made it almost 6 months without buying anything and had I not gained 10 lbs and made a career change at the same time, I might have made it the full year.  This challenge does not end here though.  Not by a long shot!  I will likely use my $500 gift card to buy work-related clothing before I start my new job, but that's not for a few months.  Until then, I'm cutting off my own spending.  No more clothing.  And the item removals will continue unabated.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Falling behind on removing items

According to my records, it looks like I'm all caught up on donations through 1/25.  That means that I need to locate 34 items to remove from my wardrobe to be caught up through March 1st.  I was looking for some sunglasses the other day and stumbled upon my old tri gear.  I have been storing it all to use again one day, but I noticed that the material really, really stinks. I think that lycra and chlorine don't mix if left over time (even if things were washed).  I'm probably going to toss all my outfits and just plan to buy new things should I take up the sport again.  I can't help but wonder if any of the lycra things would still have any stretch in them anyway!  Luckily, I know some of the swim suits are still fine as I've worn them for lap swimming in the past year.

It is also time to be ruthless on the bin of clothing that is too small for me.  There are certain things that I love and that cannot be replaced but even being totally reasonable about how much weight I can lose now that I'm finally starting to work out again, there are still things that I can safely give away.  To be perfectly honest, this stash of extra clothing is part of the reason for this challenge in the first place.  I needed a true incentive to dig into it and be honest with myself.  If I haven't worn it in more than 2 years, I'm clearly not going to and it's time to let go.  That'll be my goal for this coming weekend.

My shoe wardrobe is also looking like it needs a good purging as well.  Now that my winter boots have joined the collection, there just isn't enough room in my tiny closet.  I wear boots most of the winter and sandals most of the summer.  Overlapping those are a few pairs of flats and one pair of heeled black patent shoes.  Everything else needs to go.  I'll commit to doing this purge this evening and bringing that '34 items' down to a more manageable number!

Mid-February I was in Florida for work and was able to take a couple of days off to drive over to Tampa to visit with my parents.  It also happened to be my birthday.  After hearing about my challenge, my mom gave me $100 so that I could buy some clothes.  Except, that's not how it works and I had to tell her that had she bought me clothes, I could have accepted them...but now that I have money, I can't use it on clothing!  I am going to need a good pair of polarized non-prescription sunglasses for our kayaking in Hawaii in May, so I'll probably put it towards those.  While that could be considered an accessory...with my history of sun damage in my eyes, I'm counting this as a medical necessity.  What was funny was that while I was explaining this to my mom, I mentioned that it's not as hard as I thought it would be. She pointed out that it had only been 4 months.  WHAT?  I can't believe it's only been 4 months...well now, 5.  I'm not even half way and I'm not only running out of things to give away, but I am starting to try and rationalize buying new things.  I'm not actually doing the buying yet, but it's clear I am looking for excuses.

To be fair, I had not counted on the wear and tear to my clothing.  Because I've purged so much, I wear the same things (basics) over and over again and they are truly getting worn out.  My black work pants, a few pairs of jeans, my black pencil skirt, white t-shirts, my black blazer, an ivory cable sweater, a few striped tops...all of them have now seen better days.  I need spring to get here faster so that I can put some of the wintry things away for a good rest before they fall apart!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Giving, not buying

My husband and I have our bank accounts set up so that as each of us gets our paycheck, a small amount automatically gets transferred into our individual spending accounts.  These are used for discretionary spending on whatever we want.  Up until October of 2016, most of my money went toward clothing purchases.

Over this past weekend when I saw the news and protests about the immigration ban from 7 predominantly Muslim countries, I was appalled.  When I saw that the new administration would 'consider' anyone of the Christian faith from those countries on a case by case basis, I literally got ill.  As a non-religious person, the idea of a using a person's faith to judge them in any way shape or form offends me beyond words.  In response, I immediately sent money to the ACLU.  I am already a monthly donor, but knowing I had extra money in my personal spending account, I gladly sent it to them.  I can't think of a better way to turn my clothing challenge into a benefit for someone else (besides the clothing I donate).  It was also really nice to know that I could just use that money for this (something I believed in) without a second thought.

This past week I traveled to North Carolina for work.  One of the items I took with me was this black wool sweater/jacket thing that my husband gave me for Christmas.  I was so pleased with it's performance (how it felt, how it remained fresh looking after a 6 hour flight, etc) that I immediately pulled another black wool jacket/sweater thing from my work wardrobe and moved it to my casual wardrobe.  Then I pulled the identical one that was in my casual wardrobe (this one had two holes that had been patched up), and put it in the donation pile.  One less thing I own.

While I was in the hotel, I also noticed that the white t-shirt I'd taken with me has holes appearing in the front near the waist.  I will continue to wear it for a layering piece until I can get a replacement. I cannot wear a hole-ridden t-shirt to work. This particular shirt has been my go-to white v-neck for a number of years as it's just the right fit, material and look to use for a bunch of situations and still look professional.  Finding a replacement will mean that I'll have to go into a store to find what I want.  It'll be the first time since last October that I'll be going into a clothing store with the intent to buy something.  The real trick will be to buy only that t-shirt and not try to justify anything else.  Maybe I'll try to keep the protesters at the front of my mind while shopping.  The less I spend, the more I can give to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU or to media outlets who focus on investigative journalism.  Focus on giving...not on buying.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Urge to Buy

In short...I still have it.  As much as I love having less in my closet and in my life, I still find myself wanting to buy new clothing ( to me).  Part of this is boredom at work and part of it is advertisements.  In fact, those two reasons are really tied together.  If I wasn't bored at work, I wouldn't be online and seeing ads!

This morning was a great example of why I'm doing this challenge.  For whatever reason, I woke up super tired today so I barely dragged myself out of bed in time to get my morning routine done.  I had not planned an outfit or even thought about it.  After I took the dogs out, made breakfast and packed my lunch, I jumped in the shower.  When I got out, I just started to grab clothing - jeans, boots, black turtleneck, knit scarf, hoop earrings and then topped it off with my black rain coat and off to work I go.  As I was walking into my office building, I thought to myself "I like my look today".  A look that I just tossed together. THAT is why a capsule wardrobe is so awesome!  Because I like everything I own and it all goes together (for the most part), I can grab and go and still look fabulous (or more importantly, FEEL fabulous)!

On the buying front, I almost succumbed to temptation and bought a scarf at Banana Republic.  It's the perfect scarf for me and my current wardrobe, but I left it in my virtual cart and thought about it for a day or two and then I deleted it.  I don't NEED it.  I just don't.  That said, I did notice that I have a $50 credit on my account at BR that will expire in April.  While that could have been considered a 'waste', I actually used it to buy something for my husband for valentine's day.  Unlike me, his wardrobe could use some's mostly just sweatpants and t-shirts.  The result of working from home for the past 9 years!

In the past couple of days, I've set aside three more things to remove from my wardrobe.  Two scarves that I just don't wear (one is a bad color for me now that my hair is natural/silver, and one no longer goes with anything in my wardrobe) and a sleeveless white T.  I put the T on to use as a layer yesterday and saw that the material around the neck is literally shredding.  That T was purchased when I worked for the Gap...circa 1993!  No wonder it's literally falling apart.  If I can find a replacement, I'm giving myself permission to buy it as this was a staple in my wardrobe.  The scarves will go to Goodwill.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Gifts, old and new

The end of Dec and first few days of January afforded me a bunch of time off which was very welcome.  I've been less than thrilled with my situation at work, so it's nice to get a break to recharge my brain and get my mindset better aligned.  It also afforded me some time to do a bit of purging around the house!  I managed to clear out a TON of random junk from my drawer in the bathroom and from under my sink.  I also did some purging from a few places in the kitchen and goodwill benefited in the form of some cook wear!

For Christmas, my husband gifted me with a new wool zip jacket, a new scarf and a pair of new boots. All three items have served to help me 'freshen' my wardrobe a bit and allows for some new outfit looks.  Just what I needed as I felt my resolve to not buy anything weaken in the wake of major holiday sale prices.  50% off everything!!! (eye roll)

In the process of purging, I stumbled upon a gift card to Banana Republic in a dresser drawer.  I only vaguely remembered putting it there for 'safe keeping'.  When I looked it up on their website, I discovered it was valued at $500!  I think I received this as a birthday or Christmas gift a few years back while I was in the midst of a weight loss challenge, so I set it aside to spend once I'd reached my goals.  It was then forgotten...  Admittedly I briefly contemplated spending it since it was a gift back in the day but that kind of defeats the purpose of this challenge.  I've tucked it into my wallet (where I am less likely to forget about it!) and I'll not spend it until after Oct 1, 2017.  I'm thinking I'll likely use it to replace things that will be worn out by then...that seems to be the trend.

I am still donating one thing for each day that passes, but I will say, it's getting more challenging!

Easy donations: four sweatshirts, sweat pants, camel pea coat, four sports bras, two sports bra tops, two pairs of shorts, a pair of tights, three tech t's (from races), four t-shirts, and two pair of yoga pants.

Harder donations (things I still like but that I have to admit that I am just not wearing):

Sorel boots - bought these for a recruiting trip to Maine a few years back (in Nov).  They are just too warm for around here - my feet sweat!  I do appreciate how comfy they are though...

little black dress - my mom gave me this a couple of years ago.  It was hers and she never wore it and since it fit me, I thought it would be a good basic to have.  I've never worn it so it's time to go.  Still has tags!!

flannel from Madewell - cute black and white basic flannel that fits me great.  I've worn it once or twice but I feel weird in it.  It's just not me.  Not truly my look and it's obvious when I have it on.  Someone else will make much better use of it.

wool jacket from jcrew - I bought this from thredup last year.  It's the exact same style as a black blazer I already have and LOVE but it's not the same fabric.  This one is much heavier weight and I just don't wear it.  The one I love is fast wearing out but unless I can find an exact duplicate, I'll likely wear it until it's rags!

funky moto jacket from Banana Republic - bought this in Vegas last year.  Loved it there.  Got it home and it just feels too flashy for the real world. It's also too big in the body for me, so I don't feel like it's flattering.  I still adore it, I just don't adore it on me. Letting it go...

wool wrap from Neve - this is the hardest one of all to donate.  I LOVE this wrap. It's gorgeous, soft and it looks great on me...I just don't wear it.  It's really hard to wear a big soft wrap to work because 1, it's hot in my building on the second floor and 2, there is no way to wear a coat over it (because of how it wraps).  Love it in theory (and in the mirror) but in practice, it's just not working for me.

All of the pictured items will to go so at least they'll earn me some credit and ultimately go to someone who really wants and appreciates them (instead of ending up in some bargain bin somewhere!).  I just noticed that there is a definite theme to the items I like...all black, white and/or grey.  You should see the remainder of my closet!  Its that a bad thing?  When I truly weed out my closet and curate it down to my favorite pieces...they are mostly black, white or grey.  Oh well, it is what it is...

I also stumbled upon my old Bates Rugby jacket that I'll likely not wear again any time soon, but I just can't bear to part with it...not yet, anyway.

These all bring me up to date as of next Saturday, 1/21/17.  I'll be out of town the 23rd - 27th, so if I can't get to more donations before then, they'll have to wait until I return.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

More Donations

I needed another day before updating since I wanted to take a few photos this time.  I did manage to pull 22 items (caught up through tomorrow!) from my closet.  This includes a couple of things pictured below that I have had in my wardrobe since I worked for Polo Ralph Lauren.  I've been carting these things all over the country and I realized yesterday that it was time to let go.

Pictured here are a brown chalk-stripe double breasted blazer, a tweed skirt, and multiple long sleeved shirts all from Polo Ralph Lauren that I honestly haven't worn in years.

I also donated a striped t that is mostly brand new but somehow already has pin holes across the front.  That's what I get for cheaping out on something! Of the 22 items, more than half are tennis outfits that my mom handed down to me when we joined a tennis club a few years back.  I kept two outfits and one skirt and I am donating the rest.  I just don't need that much stuff.  In fact, since we don't belong to the tennis club anymore, it's likely these kept items will end up as a donation before this year is out anyway.

Also included in this batch is a Banana Republic tank blouse that I bought and never wore and a sleeveless sweater from Madewell that I wore once or twice and decided I didn't like how it looked on me.  These two items (and the old Polo things above) perfectly illustrate WHY I have too much.  And I keep stuff like this because I like it or 'it gives me joy' but yet I don't wear it (or can't wear it) and it's just stupid.

Rick and I are talking about selling everything we own and moving into an Airstream and traveling the country.  It's mostly a pipe-dream since we still have two large dogs and a cat and I cannot imagine that would be a good situation for any of us...but maybe someday.  Even thinking about the space we'd have with that kind of a lifestyle makes me a little more ambitious with my purging!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Still Holding Strong!

Even during the holiday season of 'spend, spend, spend' that a song?  It should be!

Not being able to buy anything for myself has really kept me on the straight and narrow when all my favorite stores are bombarding me with seasonal 'deals' and 'time is running out' emails. Not buying clothing means that the cute snowman printed scarf was not thrown into the basket at Fred Meyer the other day, no matter how inexpensive.  Today I ordered two plain white t-shirts from Banana Republic (using a credit I'd earned) and I resisted the call of the dark teal long sleeved sweater that was screaming my name...  I stuck to only ordering the two t's which are to replace my existing ones that are looking too ratty to wear to work.  I'll donate the old ones (or make them into rags) when the new ones arrive.

My husband and I are even looking at ways to shrink the spending of this season even more.  We are collecting ideas for non-stuff traditions to implement for future years.  The first one is the 'White Envelope' that I'm planning to do this year.

This year, we also limited stocking-stuff to just 5 items.  It is forcing us to be more thoughtful about the things we buy and not just grab junk to fill the thing!  In general we don't go crazy with spending at the holidays anyway and we never use credit so that it comes back to haunt us in January, but I think we can do better.  Next year, we are thinking about ways to add experience gifts.  I'd like to limit the whole holiday to 1 bought gift, 1 made gift and 1 experience gift each.  I haven't proposed it to him yet, but I know he stresses himself out about gift-giving so I'm not sure if the 'made' thing will be a good thing or a bad thing in his mind.  I know he'll be on board with the experience gift, for sure.

Anyway, I've been remiss about tracking my donations.  According to this blog (my only record of this), I last donated on 11/28.  I have since also donated the old version of my 'dog walking' shoes now that the new ones arrived.  I also thew out a white tank that somehow got a huge black smuge across the front that will not wash out.  It's right near the neck too, so I can't even use it for layering. Not happy about that one!  That means I am covered through November and I now need to come up with 20 things to donate to be caught up until tomorrow when I will be back to report in!