July 6, 2012

Wandering in a minimalist direction

Still purging. Still have books. Many more CDs.

I'm planning a theoretical move. What would I take if I were limited to a car? Theoretical as I don't own a car.

I've spent an obscene amount of time reading (are you ready for this?) style blogs. And home design blogs. What I learned for free was I dislike visual excess, don't need a suit and likely could do without 80 percent of what I own. I also learned that I am sentimental. I have things, "mere things, just stuff," as the minimal bloggers say, that I do, in fact love, have valued stories and serve as doorways to a past I'm likely to ignore.

I won't rid myself of a small table my grandfather built. I won't give away signed books or CDs, or books related to my calling. I have a box of tie dyes made by my ex-husband. I'll keep the ones I still have. I'm even using them again, after a two-year break.
I have two metal folding chairs of an earlier vintage than I am. They graced performances at the Denver Folklore Center, and later Swallow Hill Music Association for some 50 years. Three years ago, a higher-up at Swallow Hill decided they were not worth bringing back to the building after a summer concert series. I brought them home and used them as my dining chairs. If I ever have to give them up, I know people who want them.

For now, I know what table would be in my new home. And two of the chairs. And I'd have a futon, a real futon, again.

I've gotten clothing under control, and I'm really condensing what I own there, while not giving up functionality.
I'm giving up absurd imagined selves, out-of-sync perceptions of myself, and I'm no longer clothing a future or past me. Liberating! I even have empty drawers and lots of open space on the hanger rod.

March 9, 2012

Blackout in the grocery store

Maxx Value food store opened in my neighborhood recently, to a fair amount of neighborhood concern.
The previous tenant, Lucky Foods, is a union shop and the new one isn't.
That is a topic for another day.
People also wondered about selection, price and upkeep of the outside of the store.

The outside was repainted, the parking lot repaved with recycled asphalt, and the place is pretty spiffy inside. Prices looked good.

But the neighborhood power went out.
After about five minutes of people quietly continuing their shopping, the manager threw us all out of the store.
Now, I have waited out afternoon power outages in Colorado, where summer afternoon storms can knock power out with regularity.
I've never been told to leave, but mangers have suggested coming back in 45 minutes.

As we all walked out, probably 45 to 52 people, the manager kept saying, yes we need a generator.
Having a back up generator with cold food is a great idea.
But locally distributed energy, hosted on the grocery store property, would be a better insurance policy.
The host could get all the power in an outage (written into the host and subscriber contract) and subscribers would get some credit if the outage went on for several hours.

Community solar gardens can be reality in your neighborhood.
In California, SB 843 opens the doors to this locally distributed electricity.
Call your senator and representative and ask them to vote for 843.

March 4, 2012

More minimalist wardrobe

This is an update on a remix of two challenges popular in the blogosphere,Six Items or Less and Project 333.

I pulled the best guidelines of both and pulled them together to see what works for someone at the crossroads of minimalist and cheap.. er.... frugal. Add the desire to never be under of over dressed, and the desire to know most items will go together, and many fabulously, well. This is worth the few hours of planning (some of which have been fun).

I'm trying to use 10 items of clothing for 30 days.
Launch day is March 10.

For 30 days, I will wear outfits pulled from
1-dark wash jeans
2- green corduroy trousers
3- peacock blue sweater
4- forest green T-shirt, short sleeved
5-black long sleeved T-shirt
6- purple long sleeved T-shirt
7 and 8 to be determined
9- closed toe green and brown vegan earth shoes
10- my beloved black Chacos. I live in these. I bought them in 1998, resoled them three times and re-strapped once. Price per wear is about two-tenths of a cent.

Ultimately, I will have a few capsules (remember capsule wardrobes?) for the seasons, plus one for dressing up situations, which are about six per year for me these days.
Work clothes are pretty much a self-created uniform. That capsule is seasonless and will have three to five trousers and five tops.
That is for my bodywork business.

At times, I appear as a representative of Solar Gardens Institiute, and those meetings are business casual. If I am speaking, I take it up a notch.
The rest of the time is my version of casual, and frankly, after 14 years in tie dye and a couple years of "hippy anarchist" colors, well, I might still be in black and green, but by golly, I can wear blue and purple, too.

And yes, I still have tiedyed clothing. Mostly dresses and a few special shirts.
They were the work and gifts from my former spouse. Beautiful stuff, and will eventually be in memory boxes.
I do wear a few pieces here and there. Nothing like custom clothing that seems to be lasting forever.
One shirt is from the week we met- 17 years ago. It has one small hole. Outlasted the marriage!

March 1, 2012

Prepping for the 10

"My fashion style is 'woman who wears clothes so she won't be naked.' " --Molly Ivins, columnist and all around patriot.

I relate to Molly's quip a little too well.

30/10 grew out of reading style blogs. That means I'm actually going to think about what I wear, what it says and does it itch.
Pretty important, that last one.
I've been reading color theory, imagining what a reworked closet will look like in a year, and trying give myself a reality check about what I actually do.
In reality, my idea of dressing up is nice trousers, even jeans, tidy shirt and a blazer. I actually own two, one in ikat-like stripes, and one solid black.

So, in. 10/30, I will experiment with simpler things. Belts. Scarves. Changing necklace lengths.
I will need to pick up a couple belts at the thrift store, and maybe an interesting necklace.

I haven't decided on all the items, and might leave a couple to be selected later into the experiment.

Dark jeans, olive cords, and one deep peacock blue sweater are making the list.

So, from my closet, I do manage to not be naked. Can I look pulled together?
Could I discover a signature look?

February 29, 2012

Six items or less, or a variant thereof

Last November 15- December 15, I took part in six items or less, a challenge to take six main items from your closet and wear them exclusively for 30 days.
Accessories, undies, shoes, work or school uniforms and workout wear (worn only to work out, not to the library or public meeting) don't count.

While I didn't take a slew of pictures, proof of my needing to evolve blogging skill, I did post somewhat regularly on the challenge Web site.

I created a school wardrobe of three shirts and two pants, exempt from the list.
I pulled a black sheath dress, two long sleeve shirts, a short sleeve shirt, dark wash jeans, and a sweater.

By day 26, I was thinking about the end, but really, aside from not loving one of my original choices ( which I selected in a frantic hour for the first five, while thinking about item six) I was not thinking about shopping, wearing something not in my six, or quitting.

I was thinking about laundry.

The simplest way to handle four tops and two bottoms is to hand wash. Rack drying has to be planned if the rack is inside, as the dry takes a bit longer than outside. Sometimes a day longer if humidity is high.
The six items challenge allows for exact multiples of items. I would have duplicates of anything that takes more than overnight to dry, or plan their use. For me, this was the jeans ( I did have two. One wore out just after the challenge) and sweater.

I did cull my closet, and I have once more, too.

I'm developing my own challenge based on Six Items or Less and other similar projects.

Starting March 10 and ending midnight April 10, I will have 10 items, including shoes, excluding undergarments, coats and accessories.

My hope is to learn how to use what I already have but not look like the hippy kid I often resemble.

I'm in the Bay Area. I have massage clients. I volunteer with a local paper and oversee social media for Solar Gardens Institute.
I will also be in class three days a week and have a couple weekend seminars, as well as attending a professional conference for SGI.

I will exempt the massage clothing, as it is a uniform. My capsule wardrobe for it will remain small, at three tops, two bottoms.

As part of blogging discipline, I will take photos.
I might even post them!