Capsule Re-Cap(sule): How my New Wardrobe is Going

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It’s been about four months since I started my capsule wardrobe experiment. I’ve gotten a lot of questions, such as how do I decide what clothes to keep? How do I decide what new clothes to buy? Don’t I get bored? Happily, there are an equal number of questions I have not asked myself over the last few months, such as what should I wear today? How do I have so much stuff in my closet yet nothing to wear? Where the @%$# are my favorite pants?

Based on this last bit if nothing else, I am calling the capsule experiment a tremendous success.  Continue reading Capsule Re-Cap(sule): How my New Wardrobe is Going

Who Ate My Pie? January Spending Roundup

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The beauty of spending a month not leaving my house is that I am not tempted into buying things I don’t need . . . the flipside is I discover all sorts of things I never knew I needed.

  • Amazon — light bulbs for kitchen, special kind for can lights that won’t melt the fixtures (learned this one from experience, ha?) — 24.99
  • Rite Aid & Amazon Prime Now (as in RIGHT NOW — I scoffed, but so useful in an urgency) — surgery stuff — bandaids, gauze, ice packs, etc. — 78.49
  • Amazon — half a Pandemic board game, shared with Sweetie Pie — 13
  • Bartells — shampoo & makeup — 32.42
  • Shell — gas — 29.65
  • Aveda — more shampoo; after horrifying/itchifying skin rash from the last attempt, I’m giving up on the cheap stuff — 43.84
  • Wayfair — two small rugs and non-slip pads, following the heartbreaking observation that Cheddar Pup’s aging hips really can’t handle the slipperiness any exposed wood floors these days — 70.92

Total: $271.78

Trying a Capsule Wardrobe on For Size

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You might remember I set a $500 clothing budget for myself this year. This has been hard for me, in a number of ways — it’s hard to stick to a budget, but even acquiring a few pieces here and there, I’m left feeling like I have a closet stuffed with clothes but I still wake up and struggle to get dressed because I have nothing I want to wear. Part of this is a hangover from years past where I bought far too many clothes because they were on sale, or a bargain at Goodwill, or I thought might spice up my otherwise drab wardrobe, but part of it is also my lack of planning or organization or ability to give a hamster’s ham hock when it comes to clothes.

I’ve always struggled with picking clothes and feeling good about what I wear — I don’t know if this is because I went to school for eight years in a very strict uniform (I did), because my mom never let me choose my own clothes as a kid (she didn’t), or because I fall somewhere awkward on the social-graces spectrum and it took me more than 30 years to learn that maybe this is something that I should and could learn to care about and navigate in an appropriately professional adult kind of way (I do, it was, I’m trying).

It was in this context that somehow through the great graces of the frugal gods, I ended up stumbling upon a blog post describing a “capsule wardrobe.” The idea in a nut-sized capsule is that you winnow your wardrobe down to just a handful of pieces (well, 37, so maybe slightly more than a literal handful) that are versatile and generally coordinated, with a few “statement” pieces thrown in for good measure. The idea of getting my closet down to 37 pieces seemed impossible, but I had reached a place of such frustration with owning so many clothes that I would put on in the morning and then immediately take off and exchange for something different that I had to try. I also had a clothing swap coming up (more on that!), so it was a good excuse to spend the weekend emptying out my entire closet. Literally. Everything came out and on to my bed, floor, chair, and an incredibly tolerant Cheddar Pup.

I didn’t get down to 37, but I got pretty darn close. I haven’t done a full tally, but not counting gym clothes, underwear, and PJs, it’s at about 70 for all seasons (made much easier by the fact that there are only two “seasons” in Seattle: wet, slightly cool and dry, slightly warm). AH-MAZING.

I’m very curious to see how it works, but a week in, it’s pretty spectacular. I haven’t changed clothes when getting dressed in the morning or felt “stuck” to pick out an outfit. There are one or two basic items that I’d like to add to the mix, but other than that, I’m happy — and it’s nice to know exactly what those items are that I “need,” rather than being tempted by bargains or the artificial scarcity of my $500 budget. I’ve been wearing more of my “work” clothes in my casual life and more of my “casual” clothes to work, and making better use of what I already have and use, which I know is going to be good for my budget bottom line!

Who Ate My Pie?

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August Spending Roundup

You guys, I did SO MUCH BETTER this month. Like a jigalillion percent better. Here goes:

  • $29.99 — Ikea — Utility cart for my newly spiffified laundry room
  • $13.34 — Amazon — Between the World and Me, because even though I don’t believe in buying books anymore (hello, library!), I believe in buying this book.
  • $9.99 — Amazon — New swim goggles after my old ones finally fell apart
  • $16.43 — Walgreens, for new sunglasses to replace a broken pair, stepped on at the lake, and 400 yards of dental floss. I think that will last me a while …
  • $42 — Gas
  • $5.99 — Goodwill — new black leggings

A whopping total of $116.74.

That’s it! $116.74!

It’s not zero, and clearly I could have avoided some all of these expenses had I put my mind to it, but about as close as I’ve ever gotten as a [semi-]functioning adult. Progress.

Who Ate My Pie?

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July Spending Roundup

Although I’ve been tracking my spending for years through Mint, I have never been one to track every expenditure manually or to really pay attention to the specifics of what I’m spending my money on, as opposed to just how much in general categories. This has obviously not worked for me very well and it’s time for a change.

To hold myself accountable, I’m going to start tracking, here, in PUBLIC of all places, exactly what things I’m spending my money on. I’m (publicly) counting only tangible, actual THINGS, not services, food, mortgage payments, medical expenses, classes, travel, experiences etc. Just the stuff that I could (should) choose not to buy or to find somewhere cheaper, or that will someday likely end up in a landfill (which gets back to why I should not be buying it in the first place…).

I was tempted to wait until August to start this tradition, because boy oh boy, July is a doozy. Continue reading Who Ate My Pie?