Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A Good Idea

I apologise that this is neither seasonal nor uplifting – just a really good idea.

Because of my endless quest to own less Stuff, I’m always interested in dual-purpose items – like a seat that is also a storage unit or a sofa you can also sleep on.

Also because of the quest to own less, I often get rid of things in a fit of simplicity enthusiasm, then later wish I had them again.

In recent times I’ve had a dear little Victorian dressing table – the kind that has drawers so you can keep clothes in it. It has a large mirror.

Now, in the quest-for-simplicity, clothes are my terrible weakness. I haven’t got any New Year resolutions yet, but I should formulate one along the lines of managing to keep my weight and my wardrobe stable (because those two things are connected). I do love clothes, and in fact my wardrobe is more of a dressing-up box in truth, all be it a rather restrained and sober version.

I like skirts, and these days shirts with collars suit my ageing neckline better than scoop or crew necked tees. I don’t like ironing. This all means hangers are my friends, not shelves. Deb, if you are reading this, I know you have achieved the art of compleat minimalism in the clothes department, with your three skirts and tops folded neatly in a drawer, and I bow to you in utter respect. I have lots of clothes, because I get bored and like a change. Even so, they do all fit in one normal-sized wardrobe. Well, that’s not quite true. I have summer dresses and sandals in the attic ready to be swapped over with the warm skirts and winter sweaters. But the clothes I’m wearing in any given season all fit in one wardrobe.

Only, it’s a long time since I had a wardrobe, in the sense of an item of furniture. Well over a decade ago I had a wardrobe, briefly, then we lost our home and it had to go. Since then I’ve lived pretty much out of a couple of drawers. But, fed up with my expensive habit of acquiring and ditching clothes (and weight), I’m trying hard to hang on to a sensible range of garments and a sensible level of fat – both of those being more than the minimalists and the doctor think I need, but hey.

So the Badger is making me a wardrobe (I’ll post a pic when it’s all finished).

And this means I no longer need the dear little Victorian dressing table. I love it very much, but my room is so very small that if I add in a dressing table with a seat and a wardrobe, there isn’t a lot of floor left over and it all gets to feel overwhelmed. Or I do, anyway.

So the dear little Victorian dressing table will be on its way, to some carefully chosen recipient who will love it as much as I do. If they don’t, they can’t have it. I’ll be sorry to say goodbye to it – Hebe and I bought it together when we were rebuilding our life after our massive family crash years ago, and it’s travelled with us in various locations ever since. It’s a most useful piece of furniture because it’s small and neat, fits in almost anywhere. But not in my tiny room if I have a wardrobe.

But there is a snag. I do need a mirror – just for hair and make-up and checking I haven’t got kale or bran on my teeth.

I was annoyed about this, because I used to have a free-standing mirror back in the day, but I moved it along when I got the dressing table. And at one time I had a very small wall mirror too, but no longer. So I thought – sigh – I’ll have to get a new one.

And now we come to the Good Idea. At last. You may have been wondering what happened to it.

Oh, wait a minute, I thought, as I was considering this. I can use the photo booth on my laptop as a mirror! I can stand it wherever I want it to be, and when it’s not in use it will just vanish completely. How neat is that? And it angles, so it can sit at any height and still do the job.

I feel really pleased with myself for having thought of that even if hundreds of other people are doing it already and I didn’t know.

It’s a bit gloomy and dark still on this stormy winter morning, but even so it works perfectly!


Sandra Ann said...

Brilliant! I have the opposite problem with clothes, I am in desperate need of some :-). I hate clothes shopping!

Rapunzel said...

Hmmm. Thinking it would be dreadful to get rid of the dressing table without letting us see it first, because of what CURIOSITY does.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) High street shopping, I do not enjoy. I get confused. You know how they say there are electromagnetic vibrations from cellphones and so on, always travelling through us? Well, so there are from people. When I go the high street, in no time at all I feel exhausted by the ceaseless traffic of thoughts and emotions that travel through me like lines of light, emanating from all the people around. I buy groceries on the high street, but most other things I get online. Though, having said that, I am trying hard to return my life from an online environment to the old-fashioned immediate one, because I think it may be possible to become too detached.

Rapunzel said...

Oh yes, I agree with that Pen, it is possible to become too detached I think. That is one of the reasons I have chosen to walk and ride the bus at my new location. Living alone, if I were zipping around in a car I'd miss a lot of interaction with people, so I'm trying to stay car free as long as I can manage. It keeps me grounded in earth life, which is good since I have a tendency to live in my head ; )

Eager to see the Badger's wardrobe creation!

Pen Wilcock said...

Yes! That bus and car thing is a very important one! x

Suze said...

I am looking forward to seeing your new furniture.

I have to agree clothing and shopping overwhelms me. It also does not seem very important to me. Lately I have bought some items because my clothing was becoming sad. I do need to cull as I am ignoring the pile as it annoys me and I do not have a place for my belongings as I lost my home too. I will always have somewhere to live but compromise is I have to live small and suit those around me.

God bless you and send you peace and quiet joy for Christmas and wonderful new year.

Pen Wilcock said...

In what you said there, Suze, it's all interesting, but the bit that stands out to me is "It also does not seem very important to me." It made me think, and I'd like to come back to it in another blog post once I've processed the thoughts. About the annoying pile - I know just what you mean. Back in the year 2000 began a series of events in my life, all different but all coincidentally having the effect of leaving me with very very little space for possessions. This suited my life philosophy well, so I didn't mind. But the clothes thing has been a problem. I find I need clothes for formal and casual, for cold winters and hot summers and wet/dry of varying temperatures. Clothes easy to move in to encourage walking, but also clothes for ceremonial occasions (conducting funerals, preaching. Nightwear, underwear … In my efforts at a minimalist wardrobe I found myself constantly shedding and re-acquiring. Also because I kept trying to lose weight, then put it back on. What I've decided in the end is to have the set of clothes I've accumulated at present, though, like you, the accumulation annoys me, and gently cull over time as I notice if there are things that, though nice, I never wear. Sorry for such a long sentence!!
The compromise in sharing limited space is one of the things that enables me to live with myself in a world where so many people live in such terrible poverty, compared with the ease and opportunity I enjoy. And the challenge of it is quite fun. How about you? Do you enjoy it or find it a struggle? xx

Deborah said...

I could actually spend my life in white tops and navy skirts so I don't get bored like you do but I do have a blue skirt, a red skirt and a green one. My tops are multicoloured though so I do have choices :-D Mum keeps wanting me to make a new skirt from some fabric I was given but I said I'll leave it til one of my skirts wears out. :-D

My craft stuff in on the increase though...I'll have to keep an eye on that :-D

Pen Wilcock said...

Aha! It seems like each of us has our area that needs vigilance. It seems to be the things associated with our occupation. I could cheerfully live in a tiny set of fleeces and trousers, but because I preach and lead quiet days / retreats, and officiate at funerals, I feel something extra is needed in my appearance. Also, my beautiful mama is very picky about appearance, and looks me over in utter silence a lot of the time … x

Rachel said...

I am trying the 33/3 Project next year. You may have heard of it.

I guess it's an American thing. You see if you can get by with 33 articles of clothes and accessories for 3 months. Afterward you can downsize your wardrobe accordingly.

Pen Wilcock said...

Yes - I have followed Courtney's writing with interest and found it helpful and inspirational.

Because I tend to be anxious and obsessive, if you give me a number I fixate on it completely, and in thinking things over I've concluded that's where I've sometimes gone wrong in the past - set myself too specific and ambitious a target, got rid of too much and got in a muddle. So my efforts in 2016 are more about stopping - stop ditching, stop acquiring, stop over-extending; in an attempt to create a path of more peaceful and reflective stability. x

Pen Wilcock said...

In case anyone reading doesn't know the 333 Project, it's here - well worth a look: