As per my previous post, one project on my to-do list was sorting out my photos. I was feeling productive last night as it’s a light week in work so I gathered all the photos from broken frames, various boxes and a couple of bags and started sorting.
It was a lot harder than I expected. I found a lot of photos from college days that I’d tucked away and forgotten about completely. It was difficult looking at my younger, slimmer self. Like the Sunscreen Song told me when I was 18, I was not as fat as I imagined.
Looking at the photos was like looking at a different person, which, in many ways, I was. I am not the person I was when I was 18 and starting college, or the 23 year old I was the day I graduated, or the 25 year old visiting Barcelona, or the 28 year old getting engaged in Sorrento, or the 29 year old getting married and going on honeymoon.
My new year’s resolution was to join and gym and improve my health and, if I’m honest, my self esteem. The photos gave me pause for thought. That skinnier, younger woman wouldn’t have believe the older, softer, rounder (in many more ways than my figure) woman if I told her what paths her life would take her.
That skinnier younger woman hadn’t evolved much in her thinking on abortion rights. She knew little of the eighth amendment. She hadn’t developed the ability to see more of the world in shades of grey rather than in black and white. She didn’t give herself (or many others) much of a break. She was too hard on herself.
The photos have been sorted-ish. I haven’t seen albums I like and I don’t really feel like looking through many of them again so soon. Thirty Five is not Twenty Five, in all sorts of ways.
I have a tidy, mostly clutter free home but I have a few projects I am determined to tackle over the summer.
The first is photos. We have taken more photos in our six years of marriage than my parents have during almost 40 years of marriage. I need to organise them and separate the wheat from the chaff.
I’ve been slowly replacing my beloved paperback Chalet School reprints with original hardbacks. I’m going to sort through the duplicates properly and see what I can sell and donate.
I still have a couple of spots where junk accumulates. These need to go. I’m going to have one small spot where dumping is allowed and that is it.
Cleaning the shower drain. Begone, horrible gunky muck.
More decluttering. More tidying. More organisation.
Burgers for lunch and an evening out to look forward to.
Having no odd socks whatsoever.
Shredding papers that need to go.
I cleaned our oven using baking soda and a vinegar, vodka and orange peel solution, combined with a lot of elbow grease. It came up pretty well and the lack of heavy duty cleaning smells meant it was easy to get right in and scrub.
I’ve consigned some hand towels to the dishcloth stage of life. I cut them, washed them and folded them for use. The edges are a bit frayed but I can live with that.
I’ve grown to really like the Lush shampoo bar I’ve been using. It does the job and I can stretch to about four days between washes. Depending on whether my outfit suits a headscarf, sometimes I can go even longer.
I have fallen down on the clothes front though. I’ve been ruthless about my wardrobe, anything that sparks no joy or is has tiny holes in it or has become too shabby has gone. This has meant a greatly reduced collection of clothes, with the result that I’ve bought new dresses and a top from Cos. I have worn and loved every item. I’m going to try to resist the urge to buy a few more things and instead use what I have left and seek out other options. I have never found anything I like in a second hand or vintage shop, so online browsing is the plan for now.
I’ve broken out my three pairs of Saltwater sandals following some nice weather. This is my third year wearing them, and they’re just as good as new. I’ve decided to bin all my flat shoes, two pairs were never really comfortable and two are too worn to keep as I’ve been wearing them for five or six years now.
For the first time in a long time I bought new clothes yesterday. I didn’t stick to my zero waste principles but I’ve given myself a pass because I’ve sent six items off to recycling and charity. I have many empty hangers and my wardrobe looks sparse. I’m wearing a new top right now and it sparks a lot of joy. I had been in a frump slump for some time, wearing the same things over and over, many of which were quite old and a little dated. I’ve decided on buying some more new things, things which I have spent time trying on and which I love, and which are a little more expensive than usual. It’s nice to wear something that’s up to date, and I think Marjorie would approve.
Since that post, I have worked on my physique, I have weeded out what I don’t like and I have stuck to my resolve in terms of buying. I have four pairs of flat shoes, two of which are a little uncomfortable and run down, and two of which are extremely comfortable and run down. I’m planning on getting rid of all of them as soon as I find one pair that’s comfortable and stylish.
I have become slightly obsessed with Sara Berman’s closet. I don’t live in New York and have no plans to go there any time soon, nor do I have any immediate plans to strike out alone in a tiny apartment. I won’t see this exhibit before it closes. I do, however, have a greater and greater love for the kind of pared back simplicity this closet inspires.
I am a work in progress when it comes to possessions. I have drastically reduced the things I own, but there is definitely still room for less. Yesterday I wore a top I hadn’t worn for almost a year. It didn’t spark joy once during the day I wore it, so off it goes.
I noticed that my colour palette has reduced too. I have a lot of blues, greys and blacks, which makes me happy. I wore white and black to the gym yesterday and being in those colours made me feel focused and put together, even when sweating during a weight class.
White isn’t really my colour (too pale and interesting for it to make me look anything other than washed out) so I won’t be following Sara Berman down the all-white route. However, I can see the sense of joy in having a co-ordinated wardrobe, in the fact that everything always matches and looks clean and fresh, especially when folded with precision.
I think Marjorie gave us some of advice Marie Kondo is currently spreading around the world back in the 1930s. She tells us clutter is at outdated as modesty and that no one can live with musty heirlooms without becoming a bit musty herself. She advised that perhaps you didn’t need to spend a lot of money to improve your living quarters and that the best thing to do before opening your wallet was to clear out the clutter, give away the junk you don’t like and scrub the place clean. One of her cases like a ‘clean, scrubbed look’, a look to which I am becoming increasingly partial.
Our rooms are all painted the same colour and all our floors are wooden, which I love because they get dusty, you can see the dust and you can get rid of it. I tidied my bookshelves last night and the reorganisation resulted in more books going off to places new, discarding a few that were past any more rereads and more of a clean, scrubbed look overall. Marjorie cautioned us to keep our homes places to which we’d want to return, lest we succumb to having to decide Will I Or Won’t I, a problem which she says every woman has to settle for herself.
She’d agree with a lot of the current craze for minimalism and keeping only the things you love and which spark joy, even if she probably never considered that idea. She’d probably be more brusque and less sympathetic about why you’d want to keep something that looks like junk, but I think a ‘clean, scrubbed look’ is something many can relate to wanting.