Chairs, Clothes and Other Bits

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We have recently replaced the protective felt feet on the legs of our kitchen chairs.  There are four high chairs which fit around our large return bench/meals area.

This project was undertaken two chairs at a time so for several weeks there have only been two chairs in the kitchen at any given time.  I realised how much less cluttered the area felt with only two chairs.  Since there is only GMan and I here most of the time, there is really no necessity to have four chairs.

The next question was, where could we store the other two chairs so that they would stay clean and be easily accessible when we had additional guests?  We found that the wardrobe in the guest room would be perfect but the space was currently occupied.  My off-season (summer) clothes were hanging on the rail and the floor was filled with about 100 magazines which are some of my retirement reading material as well as 5 large photo albums.

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I set about working out how I could re-arrange things.

The clothes were moved to the empty hanging space in the third bedroom which is used primarily as my sewing room.

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The photo albums provided the impetus to continue working on sorting and culling my photos – both digital and hard copy.  You can read more about that in my post from yesterday.  They will live in the library/study until they are no longer required.

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The magazines have been relocated to the drawers of the dressing table in the guest room.  I intend to make a start on reading them and expect that once I have finished reading them I will pass them on to someone else who may be interested in them.

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The chairs are now in the wardrobe but easy to retrieve when we need them.

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I am pleased with the final result and as an added bonus I have been spurred into doing some more work on the photos as well as making a start on reading my large collection of Australian Geographic magazines.

A Winter Wardrobe

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Some of you may be familiar with Project 333 by Courtney Carver.  While I briefly flirted with the idea some years ago, it was never really my intention to try to manage on a specified number of items for 3 months.  You can read one of my early posts on the subject here.

It is now the latter part of May and we are fast approaching the official start of winter.  Although our climate is fairly mild we do still need winter clothes which are more than summer frocks or shorts and singlet tops.  The maximum temperatures this week are between 14 and 18C (55 – 65F) where I live.

I finished full-time work at the beginning of July last year.  Although my workplace accepted a business casual dress code, my clothing requirements have certainly changed in the past year.

The change of season is as good a time as any to review the contents of your wardrobe.  This is mine before I started today.

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Not everything is hung up so here are views of the 2 drawers in my dresser which contain outerwear.  My underwear, pyjamas, swimwear and scarves are in 2 smaller drawers.

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I removed everything from the wardrobe that I do not envisage wearing in the next 3 months (end of August) and have hung it in the wardrobe in the spare room.

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A couple of items that were previously folded have now been hung in the wardrobe and the contents of the drawers re-arranged.

This drawer is what I may wear in winter.

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All of the summer shorts and tops have been consigned to the bottom drawer.

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Then it was time to tackle the shoes.  These are the summer ones I have put aside.

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The end result looks like this.

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Due to washing and wearing requirements there are a few pieces missing from this photo.  2 pairs of blue jeans, a rugby top, 3/4 sleeve tshirt, long sleeved jumper and my black ankle boots.

The total inventory is:

Jeans/trousers x 5
Trackpants/travel pants x 3
3/4 sleeve tshirts x 3
Long sleeve tshirt x 1
Short sleeve shirt x 1
3/4 sleeve shirts x 5
Rugby tops x 3
Cardigans x 3
Jumpers x 3
Dress x 1
Vest x 1
Polar fleece jacket x 1
Waterproof jacket x 1
Trenchcoat x 1
Long boots x 1
Ankle boots x 2
Dress shoes x 2
Casual shoes x 2
Walking shoes x 2

In addition, I have scarves, beret, hat, gloves and a couple of thermal tops.

Is it enough?  Or too much?  I am sure there will be some items that don’t make the cut at the end of the season and there is a good chance that there will be some additions.  My aim is that any new pieces will be sourced secondhand or made from fabric I already have on hand.

Winter Warmer

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We live in a temperate, sub-tropical area with relatively mild winters but that doesn’t mean that we do not need some warmer clothes for about 4 months of the year.

I try to predominately buy secondhand clothes and today was no exception.  We were in our local town and I popped into the Salvos thrift shop to see what was on offer.

I found this pullover which is completely devoid of labels.  I do not know the brand, size, origin or type of fabric.  However, for the princely sum of $5 it came home with me as it fitted and I love the colour.

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It may be too short on some people but is perfect for me.  I really like the fact that it does not have bands on the sleeves or the lower edge.

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I will not be pairing it with the green patterned jeans which I happened to be wearing today.

This piece will fit nicely into my smallish wardrobe.  I will team it with either black or dark denim jeans and one of my collared shirts or alternatively with a patterned scarf.  I will just need to find something suitable.

 

 

What I Wear – 6 Month Update

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It is now 6 months since I began tracking what I wear.  June signals the beginning of winter in the southern hemisphere and we finally have some weather that can be regarded as appropriate for the season in our area.  Therefore, some of the clothes I wore in the past month are ones that had barely been touched since I began recording what I wear at the beginning of December.

I have had a net increase to my wardrobe as I added 4 new items and discarded 2.  One is not actually new, just new to the list.  I can’t believe that I completely forgot to list my turquoise cardigan.  Anyway, it is now on the list.

New additions:

The dress was actually bought in April but I had not added it to the tally since I was not sure that it would be a long-term addition.  I have now decided that I will keep it.  You can read more about it here.  The trousers are slim-fitting pull-on tailored trousers that will be the mainstay of my work wardrobe during the cooler months.  I like the fact that there are nor buttons, zips or other fastenings to spoil the line of tops worn with them.

Discarded:

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I have now worn 79 of the 93 pieces in my wardrobe.  I expect that there will be less than 5 unworn ones by the end of the month.

This is the selection that have yet to be worn during this experiment.  They are mostly winter clothes with the exception of the cocktail dress and the formal dress.

I will miss half of the southern hemisphere winter this year as we will be in the USA and Canada for the latter part of July and almost all of August.  By the time we return spring will be just around the corner and my small selection of winter clothes will not see the light of day for another 9 months.

What I have discovered is that I can probably streamline my wardrobe further to around 80 items to cover all weather and all occasions and activities.  I also know that it is dynamic – an ever-changing process as pieces are worn, discarded and updated.

Until next month………

What I Wear – 5 Month Update

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I have now completed 5 months of tracking what I wear.

When I tallied up the month and moved across to the new spreadsheet for a new month, I found a couple of interesting insights which I would like to share with you.

See if you can guess what these 7 items have in common?

Dark denim jeans
White 3/4 pants
Checked seersucker skirt

Pink tshirt
Old khaki shorts
Black 3/4 leggings
Old striped rugby top

They are the only pieces that I have worn 10 times or more over the past 5 months.

When I review the pieces that have had more wear it is easy to see why.  I have a small selection of clothes that I wear at home when working in the garden or cleaning, therefore, they end up on high rotation.  The jeans, pants and skirt are probably my favourite ‘bottoms’ and it is interesting that there are no tops in the frequently worn pieces which tells me that I have probably got too many – or at least, that I don’t need any more.

Of the 91 items I have in my wardrobe I have worn 75 of them since I began this project.  Many have been worn just once or twice.  Some of this is due to the weather now starting to become slightly cooler.  However, it is partly because I think I have chosen to wear some things just so that I could say I have worn them.  These are the ones which possibly will not make the cut for next summer.

In any given month I wear around 50% of the clothes in my wardrobe and most of those are only worn once or twice.

The weather is finally starting to become cooler and I am looking forward to wearing some of the clothes that have not seen the light of day since last winter.  More on that next month.

What I Wear – 4 Month Update

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I have now completed 4 months of recording what I wear each day.  I began this project on 1st December last year with express purpose of trying to understand how often I wore the clothes I had and whether they were truly the best selection I could have.  This has evolved a bit more to include a challenge to buy as little as possible in 2016.

I have removed another item from my wardrobe which has brought the total down to 91.  It was this long, lacy cardigan which I had bought from the recycle boutique and although I had worn it twice, I found that I consistently overlooked it when making my choices.

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Although it is a lovely Mela Purdie piece it is simply not me so off it went – back to the boutique where I am sure it will find a grateful owner.

We are beginning to see slight signs that summer will not go on forever, although rather than saying it is getting cooler it is probably more appropriate to describe the weather as “less hot”.

So, for the past month it has been more of the same – mostly summer dresses or shorts and tops.  There has not been a lot of scope for variation but that will come.

I have now worn 70 of the 91 items in my wardrobe.  The remaining 21 fall into 2 categories ‘Winter’ and ‘Special’.  The first includes jackets, coats, woollen cardigans and pullovers and long-sleeved tops.  The second is a lace cocktail-length dress which I wore to a wedding 3 years ago and would be my ‘go to’ outfit for any similar dressy occasions as well as 2 pairs of travel pants which are exactly that – lightweight trousers that zip off to shorts which are perfect for travel.  I do also sometimes wear them at home during the cooler months.

Therefore, I am pleased to say that I have worn everything that is appropriate to the weather during the last 4 months.  However, not all of it will necessarily make the cut to next summer.  Having a limited selection of clothes forced me to carefully appraise whether I felt an item was really perfect.  2 pieces that won’t make it are these camisole-style tops.

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They are past their best and I am not sure whether the necklines have stretched slightly or I am being a bit more discerning but I feel as though they sit a bit low for my liking.  I will buy some more of a similar style but will take the time to look around and find something that is ‘perfect’.

That is it until next month.

 

What I Wear – 3 Month Update

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Another month has rolled by and the summer weather is still with us.  There has been very very little variation in what I wear so the figures have not altered substantially.

The total remains at 92 as I have neither acquired nor discarded anything in the past month.  The number of items worn since I started this project stands at 68 – 3 more in the last month.  2 more scarves/pashminas got an airing (mainly to wrap around my shoulders when out in the evening) and an old polo shirt which I wore when gardening.

Firm favourites

When I look at the figures, these pieces are clearly some of the most versatile and popular ones.

By the time I do my next update at the end of March I hope it may have begun to cool down a little so there may be some different pieces being worn.

It is now less than 5 months until we head to the USA and Canada for 6 weeks so I have started thinking about what I will be packing for the trip.

What I Wear – 2 Month Update

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At the end of November I wrote this post outlining my plan to track what clothes I wear.

It is now 2 months since I began this project on 1st December.

I listed every item of clothing that I own on an Excel spreadsheet.  I included scarves but not socks, underwear or pyjamas.  The list started at 90 items, then increased to 95 during December when I bought 5 new tops.

In the past 2 months I have worn 65 of the 95 items listed.  Most of the unworn ones are winter woollens and coats/jackets.

I have now discarded 3 pieces so am back to 92.  They were this pair of trousers which i finally ripped beyond repair, an old polo shirt when I realised I had more than enough gardening clothes and a dress.  When I was ironing the dress, I discovered it had a tear in the centre front of the skirt.  I had bought it from a recycle boutique, had plenty of wear out of it and was not devastated to let it go.  It was the black and white dress second from the left hand end of the rack.

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I returned to work on 4th January after 2 weeks break.  My work outfits are not substantially different and a lot of the separates are also worn for casual wear.  The exception is shorts – I do not not wear them to the office.

We have had a week or 2 of hot weather and more coming up.  At this time of the year my outfits are very simple and straightforward.  There is limited opportunity for mixing and matching.

Today is a summer dress and sandals.

You can follow my daily clothes posts on Instagram.

Retirement Planning

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As with everything else in life, nothing is certain when it comes to retirement – redundancy, illness or even death can interrupt the best of plans but it is important to have a plan.

GMan and I plan to retire from full-time paid employment in about 3.5 years so it is still some time away yet.  We have worked hard to get to this point and have a financial plan that is coming together.  Our goal is to be able to live a comfortable existence on our terms.

This post is not about superannuation, investments or even travel plans – although we do give that quite a lot of thought.  It is about forecasting future needs and changing circumstances.

I was thinking about this yesterday as I folded and put away clothes.  GMan does not generally wear a suit to work but his attire is mostly business shirts and trousers. However, the dress code seems to have become increasingly casual over the last 10 years.  He no longer wears ties every day and even the shirts that are worn in his workplace are less of a business shirt and more of a hybrid business or casual item.

So, how much of this will be worn once he walks out of the office for the last time?  This is where the planning comes in.  It seems ridiculous to think that we could be left with 3 or 4 pairs of trousers and 8 – 10 business shirts that may never be worn again in a few years time.

I have decided to try to keep track of approximately how long a shirt lasts.  I think it is around 3 or 4 years.  About half of the shirts GMan wears now also double as shirts for dressier non-work occasions.  I hope that any future purchases will also fit this category and they will not be redundant when no longer required for wearing to work.  Keeping the number of shirts to the minimum (6 or 7) is also a goal.  This will give me very little leeway when it comes to washing and ironing each week.

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Even socks can be considered when reviewing clothing needs.  The front row of socks in the photo are mostly the ones GMan wears to work – black, grey or navy but they are rarely worn with casual outfits as he tends to mostly wear lighter colored trousers and often different shoes and thicker socks.  Some of these socks are very nearly at the end of their life.  Some have been darned several times.  I think he could get away with not replacing them and keep wearing the remaining ones.

Why the focus on GMan?  What about my own clothes?  I am in the fortunate position of wearing very similar clothes for both work and casual wear.  However, I have taken note of those items that are worn more at work and will be less inclined to replaced those styles in the next 3 years.  I will also consider how any future purchases will fit into a post-employment wardrobe.

I can visualise how easily changes of lifestyle or circumstances could result in a build-up of clutter if steps are not taken to identify and remove those things that are no longer used or useful.  This is particularly evident as children grow up.  Think of the things that are considered essential for a baby who is less than 12 months old.  Are any of them still relevant 5 years later when are going to school?  While it is reasonable to keep large items such as a cot or high-chair for subsequent children, there is no logic in stashing piles of baby equipment and toys in the garage or attic.  Pass them on to someone who can use them now.

What is your life-stage?  Are you planning for change?  Do you have stuff that is no longer relevant to your life?

What I Wear – 1 Month Update

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At the end of November I wrote this post outlining my plan to track what clothes I wear.

It is now a little over a month since I began this project of 1st December so I thought it was time to check how I am going.

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I listed every item of clothing that I own on an Excel spreadsheet.  I included scarves but not socks, underwear or pyjamas.  There were 90 items on the list initially but it expanded during December when I bought 5 new tops so it is now 95.  It encompasses the full range from a cocktail dress to the clothes I wear when I am gardening and everything in between.

December included work, casual social occasions,  Christmas, a trip to Melbourne and some work around the house.  I wore almost half of my total collection with 46 pieces being worn.  Many pieces wore worn just once or twice during the month but my 2 pairs of denim jeans were each worn on 4 different days.  I found this surprising as it is summer and I would not have expected this.

I think this is going to be a really interesting exercise and am looking forward to understanding what I wear most often.

You can also follow my daily clothes posts on Instagram.