The season has ended and once again we are in the time of year known as the off-season. And after the bittersweet celebrations and goodbyes, we end up facing the same reality as we have the last 5 seasons. Talk of planning, travel logistics, family visits and the infamous ‘what/where next?’ all become commonplace. And amid all this talk and talk, some actual action has to take place. Whether we move across the world or to another zip code in Bako, packing has to be done. YES, packing. The only thing worse is unpacking. So all this boxing, folding and jamming makes me once again take stock of what we have and what we don’t need. I feel, personally, that I am an expert at the art and science of deciding what stays, what goes and what never should have been here in the first place. Let me share some of that expertise with you…
Get Real And Get Rid
Whether we’re talking about fashion that was never fashionable, a misguided infomercial purchase or a gaudy gift, I can almost guarantee that you are hanging on to more than your share of things you never, ever use. Moving and packing every few months has it downsides, but one of the best aspects of this lifestyle is that I am virtually forced to purge such items regularly. Better yet, as the end of a season approaches or while we live in transition during the off-season, I lose all desire or urge to shop. I don’t want to add books to my shelves, clothes to my closet or food to the cupboards. Every time I pick an item up in the store, I automatically ask myself ‘where will I pack this’ or ‘can I bring this with me’ or most tellingly ‘would I replace something else from my luggage with this item?’
You probably don’t move that often (unless you are Nell, Jill, Hilary, Sherry or my other readers from the world of hockey). So you probably have closets and drawers that hide the things you aren’t using. And the more that’s piled into said drawers/closets, the less likely you are to see or find any of it. Open those drawers, silence your inner hoarder, and be real.
You never will (and never should) wear those leopard print leggings. Despite seeming useful, the hand held misting fan will never be the preferred way of cooling yourself. A Snuggie is just a bathrobe worn backwards. You don’t need an Ab Roller/Nordic Trac/Thighmaster collecting dust in the corner just because you fear to admit that you never intend to break a sweat using them. If, in your attempt to cleanse, you are tempted to listen to a little voice that says ‘oh yes, we forgot all about that! NOW we’ll be using it regularly!’, I beg you to be realistic. That voice is a lying liar who doesn’t love you. Silence that traitor and move on.
Take Your Clothes Off
Of all those closets hiding your clutter, the fastest, easiest and most productive place to start is in the one that holds your wardrobe. I am willing to bet that every morning as you stand there looking for something to wear, you shuffle through a number of items that are never, ever chosen. Those things are never given a chance because they no longer do (or never did) fit or flatter you. And they never, ever will. Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to say that you won’t lose those last 5 pounds or tone up your tummy. I’m simply saying that a) your overall body shape is what it is and b) having a dress two sizes too small staring at you from a hanger every day isn’t so much helpful encouragement as it is cruel taunting.
Trimming down the size of your wardrobe is a way to shed more light, in both literal and figurative senses, on those pieces that do fit and make you fantastic. Fewer distractions means more creative outfits with much less fuss. Packing for a trip becomes much less complicated. Quality over ill-fitting quantity, my friends.
Go Go Gadgets
The allure of cluttering a closet full of clothes seems only rivaled by a desire to cram cupboards full of crap. Gadgets and gizmos, particularly for kitchen use, are over abundant. A walk through the nightmare that is Bed Bath and Beyond on a Saturday will prove that you can truly buy a device to do any random and often infrequently performed kitchen task. You do not need these things. You think you do, and you convince yourself you’ll use it the same way you convince yourself that stirrup pants will come back someday. Even if you use the sandwich maker more than once (doubtful), it isn’t worth the space it takes up. Even if stirrup pants are back in fashion (dear god), they aren’t worth it for the way your ass will look in them. See where I’m going with this?
A short list of examples of gadgets not to buy includes but is not limited to: juicers, ice cream makers, any Ron “Ronco” Popeil invention, tortilla warmers, margarita maker (seriously, use your blender) and waffle irons.
Less Is More Freedom
The truth of the matter is that the zen of simplicity can’t be underestimated. We don’t even own one closet or cupboard to clutter, but I can tell you that life was simpler when we had two suitcases worth of belongings rather than the amount that fills a half-full mini-Uhaul. The thought of owning a home to make my own and fill up is enticing, but the liberation of downsizing and possessing mobility, if not much else, wins for now. I could pack it up, two dogs and happy husband in tow, and move anywhere they would allow dogs. So where should we go, where should we stay…