why less (again)
Bobby + Steven Clark's beautiful + simple home via
Creative people are incredibly inspiring. Creative people love to be inspired. Inspiration comes in many forms + some people like to collect it. I love to comb through photos of homes for the little things that people find inspiring. What speaks to them? What stories do those objects tell? Homes full of treasures look vibrant + interesting. They make their owners look vibrant + interesting. I want that too. I mean, the flea market is still one of my favorite places on earth.
I have to remind myself often...why less. It's quite apparent around here, I'm sure. :) Why not just collect rather than curate...keep instead of letting go. More might offer more options...give me the ability to exercise creativity + freedom of expression. Keeping the pieces that speak to who I was + where I've been would tell my story...give me a sense of grounding + history.
So this, as always, is personal, not prescriptive...just some thoughts. I admire collections + colors + stories. I've had small collections of beautiful Italian tole + tiny 1800s novels + vintage shell boxes (each consisted of about three). :) And then we moved overseas + I let most of my things go. Now I have a small collection of handmade pottery. I appreciate quiet spaces + pared down color palettes. Seeing images of these kinds of spaces (like the inspiring one above) help to keep me on track. Today, I am simply reminding myself of a few reasons that I chose + continue to choose less...no judgements.
Less means I'm using less resources.
Letting go means that someone else can get some use out of some of my things.
I only have the ability to wear one outfit...sit in one chair...eat off one plate...at a time.
Creativity can be even more challenged with less...and good things can happen.
There is enough for everybody's need, but some are still in need.
Keeping things until they are way past out-of-style helps no one, especially not the earth.
Having less makes it more likely that my pieces will get used up.
Thrift shops allow a community to share + have access to quite a variety of items.
Making use of second hand (buying/selling/donating) means less new resources are used.
Buying less means less waste.
Less is lovely.
Less makes it easier to clean + care for my stuff.
Less is all I need.
Less is enough.
I think, for me, my commitment to "less" mainly comes down to preference, but also to resources, waste + need. An even more concise way to explain the second part of this commitment might be...compassion...compassion for other humans + for the planet we share. I choose to keep my hands open...consuming thoughtfully with concern for farmers, garment workers, and the environment...caring for my things mindfully...but not holding on too tight.
A closet full of blankets might provide warmth for a whole family in a shelter. An extra dress in my closet might empower another mama to show up for that job interview or to face her child's teacher. That second set of dishes in the pantry might provide a family with a sense of home once resettled.
My home + my wardrobe tell different stories now, and I'm ok with that.
All lovely photos via link.
Courtney Carver recently wrote about being a proud member of the outfit repeaters club. I am one too. My first full time job out of college involved being the school nurse to four different Head Start schools. I would work out of a different school each day. We didn't have a lot of money, but I had one pair of jeans that felt great. Since the same people didn't often see me two days in a row, I just let myself wear that pair of jeans every day. After a while, it didn't really occur to me that I should wear something different each day.
On the other hand, I know the moment when my consciousness of there being some "rules" around repeating outfits started. Some time around third grade, a classmate asked me why I was wearing the same thing I wore the day before. Well, at my house that was the system. I had three outfits + I would wear them for two days each on repeat. At that moment I became aware of a new norm.
As time went on, I surmised that what may have happened was that this classmate had wanted to wear her favorite shirt two days in a row...her had mom objected + told her that that would be inappropriate. She noticed that I had broken this "rule" + wanted to know why.
I'm guessing that this mama was operating in accordance with the perceived "rules" + was trying to avoid judgement of both herself + her child. In this way, adults pass these "rules" and judgements onto their children. If we desire to break this cycle (even if only to promote compassion for other children), it's important to communicate to our children that different people have different preferences (not rules) about these things. Maybe at our house we cheer for the Broncos + at someone else's house they prefer the Packers. Everyone has different preferences, + that is ok. An exploration of why we hold a preference might be useful, and that explanation may be offered if helpful.
When I started my small monthly wardrobes, I decided to only include one Sunday outfit for the colder months. It felt a bit weird, because I mostly only see those people on Sundays. I went ahead anyway, because when I looked at the big picture it made sense. If I had even just two Sunday outfits, I'd only wear them twice a month for a few months...maybe only ten times per year. Silly + wasteful (to me). :)
Some tools proud members of the wardrobe repeaters club use:
-We find a few pairs of great shoes. A change of shoes can change the vibe of an outfit.
-We decide what we like, what fits + flatters us.
-We might try a uniform of sorts...a few varied white shirts + a few varied dark bottoms...or always a dress...or always a fitted top + wide bottom...
-We take comfort (not shlumpiness) seriously.
-We wear our favorite clothes every day.
-We recognize that we get to set our own norms + that there are no rules.
-We don't take ourselves very seriously. The goal is not necessarily to have no one notice...it's to not really care (totally possible). :)
Today I would welcome a conversation about why I wear the same things over + over. My compassion for farmers, garment workers + the environment...along with my confidence in it being ok to cover my body in the same pieces that I love day after day...just might offer someone else another option! I see this way of thinking as freedom + why wouldn't I welcome the opportunity to share it!?
Any + all are welcome in the outfit repeaters club!
Photos via link (+ the article shows lots more repeat/uniform dressing).
into new hands
This space is about simple beauty + compassion, so I've tried to keep ads at bay...including my own. I just thought I might let you know that I have a few pieces of pre-loved goodness on etsy at the moment. This is my way of trying first to get some of these pieces into the hands of people who can use + appreciate them and to keep them out of the waste stream. No pressure to shop...just in case it might be helpful.
Viva la fairdare! :)
It's still a bit brown + coldish outside, but I'm trying to remind myself + my tribe that we are almost out of the winter woods. A few happy hints that spring is here ::
Lightening up in the closet:
-My knits, hat, scarf, + gloves have been packed away in my suitcase with some lavender.
-It may be a few weeks until my wool blanket coat joins them, but I'm stitching up the holes in it now. The navy really hides the patches well.
-Not as many regrets when I go without socks (because I pretty much always do). :)
Sunshine on a plate:
-Mangos. Alone or like this...add some yogurt, honey, cinnamon, pecans, + chocolate chips!
-Spring reminds me of the simple goodness of egg salad on toast with a sprinkle of greens.
-Golden beets. With kale, onion, chickpeas, wild rice, + avocado.
Getting some fresh air:
-Spotted: crocus + daffodils + tree buds + blue bird
-Trying to get outside for a walk or just to sit in the sun for a bit on those rare warmer days.
-Or at least rolling down the car windows with some good tunes blasting.
-Welcomed fresh air indoors via an open screen door + also received a spider + itchy allergy eyes.
How are you experiencing it?
A well-thought out collection of clothes makes it possible to live with less. The same can be said for workout clothing. Of course the way to really do with less is to wear the same clothes for everyday + working out. In my case, however, I like to have a few things that I can get really sweaty in + wash frequently. With a little variety, I have just what I need for anything from sweltering, summer morning walks to frigid, winter evening yoga classes. My collection consists of a tank, a tee, leggings, shorts, + a layer. I thought I'd share a few dreamy options for small, fair, natural fiber workout collections. (A little background on why I'm avoiding plastic fibers.)
Semi-local mini workout collection (above) : these pieces have origins closer to home ::
tank :: Richer Poorer : organic cotton : made in Los Angeles, California
tee :: Pansy : Texas grown + North Carolina milled organic cotton : rubber/cotton elastic made in South Carolina : sewn in San Leandro, California 15 minutes from the designer's home : completely compostable
leggings :: LVR : organic cotton : made in Los Angeles, California
shorts :: Conscious Clothing : hemp + organic cotton : made in Rockford, Michigan
sweatshirt :: Jungmaven : hemp + organic cotton : made in USA
In the UK try :: Know the Origins :: From
In Canada try :: Free Label
In Europe try :: Base Range
In Australia try :: Shift to Nature
I'm not a super athletic person, so bear with my attempts to clothe one. :) If specialty clothing is necessary, substitute accordingly. I imagine that these pieces could prove useful for lots of activities...from snowboarding (base layer), to beach volleyball...hiking...yoga...
Outdoor sports mini workout collection::
tank :: United by Blue : organic cotton : made in USA
tee :: Patagonia : organic cotton : fair-trade certified : (there are some organic + fair-trade tanks as well)
leggings :: Tasc Performance : organic cotton + bamboo : made in a Tasc-devoted factory in India with 90% renewable energy : closed loop fabric manufacturing + dying : responsibly sourced fibers
shorts :: Prana : organic cotton : fair-trade certified
long-sleeved top :: Tasc Performance : merino wool + bamboo : made in a Tasc-devoted factory in India with 90% renewable energy : closed loop fabric manufacturing + dying : responsibly sourced fibers
The most inexpensive + ethical workout pieces of all are the ones we already own, of course. A closet clean-out might yield enough pieces that could be dedicated to sweaty activities, if desired. Thrift stores would be a great place to look as well, since they usually offer a wide variety of tees, tanks + sweatshirts. Both of my girls recently found perfectly fitting sweatshirts for around $5 each. These new, fairly made, organic cotton pieces are good last resorts. :)
Inexpensive mini workout collection ::
tank :: Pact : fair-trade certified : GOTS certified : organic cotton
tee :: Pact : fair-trade certified : GOTS certified : organic cotton
long leggings :: Pact : fair-trade certified : GOTS certified : organic cotton
shorter leggings :: Pact : fair-trade certified : GOTS certified : organic cotton
long-sleeved tee :: Richer Poorer : organic cotton : made in Los Angeles, California
Alternatives to microplastic shedding clothing here.
Lots more fair athletic wear here.
All beautiful photos via links provided.
frustration vs. contentedness
Early on in this post, I'll reveal that this is probably going in the opposite direction of what the title suggests. I had a "discussion" this weekend regarding how I am striving for better. It led to the statement that sometimes it is ok to just be content. This is probably true in some situations...but that wasn't the position I was willing to take in that moment. I want to see change + growth...both in myself + in the world...and my focus is on trying to take the next step in that direction.
I recognize that the idea of contentedness has most likely been a focus of a few posts here. In theory, I am on a mission to find it + to find rest in it. I wish to find contentedness in order to lay down my desire to consume...once + for all. I covet contentedness in my closet + in my home + in my circumstances. I'm not sure, but someday I may find rest in these areas. Right now I'm willing to call it a journey + to actively engage in the pursuit.
What I know for sure is that clothes + furnishings will wear out. We'll get hungry again. Our home will need repairs + our car will get rear-ended (yup, this week). Our lives need constant tending, + I want to be engaged in making better + more compassionate choices.
There is plenty wrong with this world. The garment industry, climate change, plastic pollution, refugee producing conflict, racial inequities...the list is endless. There is + always will be a spot where we can direct our energies toward a new objective. Jesus said that the poor will always be with us + in saying so, He let us know that our work would never be finished (Matthew 26:11). I pray that I will never be content to just let it be.
It brings me to tears to hear the students saying that the adults have not done enough in regards to gun control + that their generation will. It breaks my heart, on one hand because I know that at least the first part is true. On the other hand, I know that there are mamas + papas whose life's work has become campaigning for change in gun laws after the loss of their own precious sons + daughters. It is not that no one has been working...it is that there is still so much to be done. Contentedness is not an option. Even with stronger laws...the real issue may be more about making sure that every kid + teen + young adult + adult knows that he or she is loved...that he or she is heard...that he or she is valued + worthy + necessary.
When Charity Water's founder is asked what he will do with his life after everyone on earth has access to clean water, he laughs + says he will take what he's learned + apply it to the next problem, of course.
Right now, I see life as a journey involving frustration...and contentedness a destination that may never be reached. I see my daily pursuits like an active yoga posture that engages all of the muscles in the pursuit of lengthening + deepening.
May we always find a cause for frustration, and may our frustration always move us to action.
weekend reads + such
Zero-waste, plant-based, tiny living.
We raise our hands. We raise our voices. We raise the next generation.
We went to Black Panther last weekend + loved it! I noticed some gorgeous knits + found that the costume designer who knit Nakia's scarf released a free pattern for it.
"If happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there." This is so good!
Why are we making our children be braver than our politicians? Take a stand.
Have a lovely weekend, friends!
Tom: I consider what I need is mine, and everything else isn't mine. It came to me through a system that I don't support. And so, I'm getting wealthy by getting involved in Invisible Children or ending the child soldier problem.
Carson: You're rich beyond...you're richer than you've ever been.
Tom: I'm a fat cat, man.
~Tom Shadyac + Carson Daly, on living simply + giving money away
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time