Tuesday, November 02, 2010

limits that free part 1

disclaimer: not my closet

Staring at my side of our walk in closet, I thought of the young man who was content to only own two shirts.

While no one would ever accuse me of being a clothes horse or a slave to fashion, I definitely had plenty of clothes.

I started looking at my clothes in a new way. Since I lived in the Northwoods and not Guatamala, there were several things that were needed for warmth and protection in the winter. Long sleeved blouses, boots, a warm coat, hat mittens/gloves and scarf. But how many of these things did I really need?

I began to pare down. Out went everything that I did not care to wear anymore (taken to Goodwill - you can get a receipt for tax purposes). My closet looked less full. It was a very gratifying feeling.

But I also felt bad that I had wasted some of Pat's hard earned money on these items. So, I purposed to be very careful about how I shopped. Nothing trendy, only classics. This part was pretty easy. I hate to shop. Always have - ask my mom.

Mom (cheerfully): Let's go shopping and get you some new clothes for school!
My junior high self: Okay (said decidedly Eeyoreishly), if we have to (ugh).

Never been a fan of shopping.

I once heard Elisabeth Elliot tell of helping one of her granddaughters clean her room. As they picked clothes up from the floor, the problem became apparent. There were many clothes for the dresser. Many would go buy another dresser. But our wise friend Elisabeth asked her granddaughter, after counting and folding 25 tee shirts, how many tee shirts she really thought she needed. The answer was 10. She chose her favorite 10 and donated the rest. Now it was much easier to dress each day and to keep her room clean.

As I looked through my closet, I assigned my own limits. How many jeans does a person really need? For me it was three pairs: one for gardening and hauling wood, one for running errands and one dressier pair. You might have a different number. As the years went by, the jeans would move down the chain. The gardening and hauling jeans reached a point where they were only fit for the rag bag, the running errands jeans became the gardening and hauling jeans and the dressier pair became the running errands pair. Then, and only then, would I allow myself to buy a new pair of jeans.

More tomorrow...

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