Now that we’re settling back into our Connecticut life, I’ve been considering another goal of mine: get all my belongings down to just one backpack. Yes, this is a lofty goal, and if I’m being honest with myself I’m not entirely sure why I want to take my minimalism to such an extreme point. I think what it boils down to is I like the freedom and mobility that comes with being able to pick up and move at a moment’s notice.
I’ve done a decent job of whittling away at my belongings. It was fairly easy to do, what with moving eight times in the last ten years (not counting a few short-term housesitting stints). When you don’t unpack boxes from one move to the next, that’s a good indicator you do not need those items, whatever they are.
What I’m having the most trouble with at this point is the amount of clothes I have. For anyone who knows me personally, this may make you laugh, because I pretty much wear the same thing every day: yoga pants/leggings (usually in a fun pattern or bright color) under a black skirt and a t-shirt of some sort.
For curiosity’s sake, I just took stock of my closest and checked my laundry. Here’s what I own:
- 13 pairs of yoga pants/leggings
- 10 pairs of Be Present yoga pants (I’ll come back to why these pants are in a separate category later)
- 3 long-sleeved t-shirts
- 7 short-sleeved t-shirts
- 10 tank tops
- 3 skirts
- 2 dresses (including the dress I wore when we eloped)
- 3 sets of long underwear
- 2 pair regular underwear
- 6 bras
- 13 pairs of socks (3 athletic; 8 wool for hiking; 2 fleece for warmth)
- 1 pair jammy pants
- 1 sweater
- 1 quilted flannel shirt
- 1 hoodie
- 1 bathing suit, plus swim bra
- 1 rash guard
- 1 all-around scarf
- 2 winter scarves
- 2 pair fingerless gloves (including the pair I wore when we eloped)
- 1 winter hat
- 2 ear warmers (one handmade by my niece)
- 1 pair heated gloves
- 1 pair arm warmers
- 1 pair leg warmers (a gift from friends when they went to Peru)
- 1 winter coat
- 1 up-cycled sweater coat (which I also wore when I eloped and I wear until I need my winter coat)
- 1 pair sandals
- 1 pair hiking boots
- 1 pair “dress” boots I bought in Peru
- 1 pair Uggs I now mostly wear around the house to keep my feet warm (but I also wore them when we eloped)
Here’s what 95% of the clothes look like all together:
And in case you’re interested, here’s my full wedding ensemble:
Yes, these are all the clothes I own in the world. For the record, my mom still has some of my clothes from my teenage years and a few fancy dresses stored at the house I grew up in. I have cheerfully encouraged her to PLEASE DONATE/GET RID OF all of them as I do not want any of it. She claims she has a plan to do so. If I didn’t question the ownership of whether those clothes really belong to me at this point, I would haul them all off to the Shining Light Thrift shop first chance I got.
But I digress. When I looked at my list of clothes, first I felt a moment of disgust. How can I be a minimalist and own so many t-shirts! You thought I was going to say yoga pants, didn’t you? I promise, I’m getting to that.
I let those feelings of disgust sink in and then realized that while I could cut down a few t-shirts and tank tops, I reminded myself that I only own one sweater. I use that sweater and my three long-sleeved t-shirts to get me through the winter. Plus, I like to layer a short-sleeved shirt or tank top over the long-sleeves, just so I have some variety to my wardrobe and then I get to use those shirts year round.
I do admit that 13 pairs of socks are excessive. That count increased recently by three because I only brought a few pairs of socks with me the two months we were on the road housesitting. I ended up wearing my hiking boots more than my sandals, which turned out to be not so good for walking long distances, unlike what the Zappos reviews claimed. After wearing the same pair of socks for an entire week, I finally broke down when my Mom and I were at Costco and she offered to buy me some more.
But now on to those yoga pants. Yes, it is ridiculous for me to have so many. There are two reasons why I do. First, yoga pants are my underwear since for the most part I treat them like tights. And although I may wear the same socks for an entire week, that doesn’t seem nearly as gross to me as wearing the same “tights” two days in a row. So, clean yoga pants every day!
Realistically, I know I could halve the number of legging-like yoga pants I have. At least three pairs are starting to wear out, so I’m hoping I can lessen this number simply by wearing them more.
The second reason I have so many yoga pants is one that I frankly don’t know what to do about. The 10 pairs of Be Present yoga pants I have were made by a company that went out of business over two years ago. I LOVE everything about these pants – they’re comfortable, loose, flexible, made-in-the-USA, and the material has a patented breath-weave technology so they dry super quick. Plus, I have them in some really great colors. They also are virtually indestructible, as I’ve had most of them for more than 7 years.
Here’s the problem – they make excellent summer clothes, but during the cold, windy Connecticut winters I almost never wear them. With my minimalist mentality, this should mean I donate them somewhere because I can wear my other clothes during the summer anyway.
Except…once the Be Present pants are gone, I can never get them back. I have a profound sense of fear that if I give them away, I will someday regret it.
Have I ever donated/sold/trashed anything that I then regretted? Just once. Last summer, when a huge snake took up residence in the compost bin where we were housesitting, I wished I still had my rubber rain boots. But I knew that once we left that house in August, I wouldn’t have a need for them. So I sucked up my fear and instead wore my hiking boots outside in the yard. That snake never did end up slithering across my feet (THANK GOD).
And I have lost a pair of my Be Present yoga pants – a bright and shimmery pink pair – that several times over the past year I wished I still had because I wanted to wear them.
This situation is quite the spiritual conflict for me. If I truly believe in the spiritual law of circulation (that whatever you give, you receive back), then I should be able to let go of some of these pants. Yet, for some reason I can’t let go of my attachment.
Thankfully, this is not a choice I have to decide RIGHT NOW. We’ll be in Norfolk until May, 2018, and I won’t have to pack any bags until then. Also, anything and everything could be different with our life at that point in time and there’s a good chance I will have worn through several items of clothing on my above list. Still, I think it’s good to know how I’m holding myself back on my spiritual journey. In the coming weeks, I will certainly reflect on what these yoga pants mean to me and try to gain some insight. If I come up with anything, I will let you know. Until then…peace, love, and yoga pants!
You’re an inspiration. I need to take stock too, but I’m in a hurry and just want to discard like crazy. That’s maybe the difference between being a plotter and pantser?
Oh, I’ve definitely discarded like crazy. Before I left my university job, one of my friends asked if I was dying, that’s how much stuff I was giving away with absolute delight and abandon.
They still sell those Be Present yoga pants all over the internet, you know…besides, if you really wanted some new ones, you could probably talk the former owners, Jon and Amy Dobrin of Denver into making you some.
Do they sell them new? Because I’ve looked. I don’t really want to buy used yoga pants?
Maybe they are only sold used. Looks like you will have to entice Jon and Amy to make you some new ones.
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