Moving chaos has become an annual summer lifestyle for me. And after packing up and moving nine times now in the past nine years, I’ve figured out a system to make it easy, simple, and even fun. The key? LESS STUFF. Less stuff equals less headache, less time, less space. And all that less leaves room for more fun and more life.
1. Downsize. Before packing anything up, I like to go room by room, drawer by drawer, and get rid of things that are no longer in use. Try to be very tough during this process. If it hasn’t been used in the last year and has no possibility of being used in the next week, out it goes. Someone else might love it? Add it to the donate pile. It’s broken, old, not worth anyone using again, ever? Toss it. Either way, let it go. Since we’ve moved pretty much every year for the past nine years, this is pretty easy for me to do. So many things don’t get the proper home when we move in and most of it we don’t realize is hiding until we go to move again. If you didn’t miss it, you probably don’t need it. And by doing this BEFORE you pack, you don’t accidentally pack and move things that you don’t really need, allowing more space for the things that do matter. And it makes for a lighter load as well.
2. Leave space. Not every wall needs to be covered, every drawer filled, every space used. Leave a little room for breathing and fill a space with the things that are needed and the things that are loved and let the rest be. It’s amazing how freeing having an empty kitchen cabinet feels.
3. Outsource. Yes, less stuff means less things to move, but doing it yourself isn’t always the best use of time and stress. Decide what is worth doing yourself and what is worth getting help with. We hate moving furniture up and down stairs so we hire someone to help with the big items. Small boxes I can pack, move, and unpack myself in a day. Cleaning is always more fun with friends, especially if you pay them with food (or wine!) And painting can turn into a fun adventure with a little help. Moving does not have to be a big headache. Recognize your limits and turn an otherwise stressful time into an opportunity for focusing on what matters most.
Having a simplified wardrobe is awesome. The dedicated space in my closet for my 33 items is nice and organized, and my husband now has more clothes in the closet than I do. But I have a confession: I still live in my gym clothes. And since gym clothes don’t count if they only get worn to the gym and not anywhere else outside of the house, it’s okay, right? Well, since I spend my days mostly at home and going to the gym once, sometimes twice a day, they get worn almost exclusively during the week. And if I have lunch plans after yoga, no problem. Have to stop by the grocery store after a group x class? Sure…
No more! My gym clothes drawer got its own Project 333 makeover this week. 33 items for each season of running, weight lifting, yoga, and pilates. And items I really do wear all the time got added to my everyday 33 items. No more cheating! And no more overflowing gym wardrobe.
Thankfully, my running clothes work well as double duty for yoga clothes and yoga clothes are perfect for weight lifting classes. And now if something gets added, something’s gotta go, just like with my main wardrobe. And if an item cannot multitask across different workouts, out it goes!
Have any of you tried Project 333 yet? Any other mid-season capsule wardrobe confessions out there?
Christmas is around the corner, and we are surrounded by boxes and bows, jewelry ads, Santa lists, and toy commercials. And this year, I find myself with a bad taste in my mouth witnessing it all. Instead of stuff and things and excess, how about a new spin on the holiday gift giving list.
- Provide for others. Through the International Justice Mission Gift Catalog, you can donate to fight violence, poverty, and hunger in the name of a friend or family member. My brother did this for me last year, and it was the gift that stuck with me the most throughout the year.
- Homemade gifts. I love cooking, baking, and canning special treats for people at Christmastime. Quick breads, nut butters, jams, candies, granola, salsa, baking mixes – the possibilities are endless and the reward can be shared.
- Gifts with a purpose. Shop at any one of a number of fair trade, non-profit, or not-just-for-profit companies that operate to provide jobs and security to women all across the world. A few of my favorites are Sseko, Noonday Collection, and FashionABLE.
- Time. My favorite part of the holiday season is time. Time away from the everyday. Time with family. Even time in the car is relished when I realize what a gift it is to have uninterrupted hours with someone I am otherwise too busy to see everyday. Create an event, plan an activity, go on a road trip. And enjoy the gift yourself.