Back to the Basics

My first full-time job was a secretarial position at a small lumber company.  My clerk-stenography teacher hooked me up with the job while I was still in high school, doing vocational training in her class.  My senior year consisted of going to school till about 11 am, taking a quick “sort of” lunch break, then arriving to work at the lumber company at noon and working till 5 pm.  I had weekends off which I thought was the schizdig, since my previous jobs had been part-time ones that always involved working on weekends.  Immediately after graduating high school, I became full-time at the lumber company.  “Real life” had begun for me.  I was 18 years old, living in a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate, and working 7:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday for minimum wage.  And I was broke.

I was living on the least amount of money ever.  I remember distinctly waking up late on a Saturday and being SO hungry.  I needed food – fast – and there was literally none in the apartment.  At the bank, I discovered I had $12 whole dollars in my account.  I took enough out to buy a value meal at McDonald’s, and seriously worried about what I’d do the rest of the week.  Yep – those were the days!  I had no choice but to be as frugal as possible, and I somehow made it through.

Back then, I stressed over how I would afford decent clothes.  The lady I worked with, who was also the owner, dressed beautifully every day – very professional and classy looking.  Being so young, I remember looking to her as a kind of role model for how to dress.  But there was no way I could afford some of the brands she wore.  So, my solution to this was – buy the very basics and make them work.

I bought two skirts; one was light tan/khaki and the other was navy blue.  I bought a couple button downs; white and pink.  I had a couple pairs of pumps.  There were probably a few other hand-me-downs in my wardrobe, but that was about it.  From there on, I mixed and matched like crazy.  I made things last and last.  Like I said, the things I bought were the very basics – to be mixed and matched in as many ways as possible.  It never took me long to figure out what I would wear in the morning, since there wasn’t much to choose from!

clothing-basics-2

Fast forward to today, many years later (haha!), and I open my closet in the morning to find this insane jumble of clothing.  Not much matches and I struggle to put together outfits for work.  Where did I go wrong?  Oh yeah!  I began to make enough money to buy more clothes.  Also, my younger years of having to be so frugal have made me want to hang on to things – just in case.  Something’s got to give!

Simplicity, minimalism – these are things I admire very much, and over the past couple years I really have made an effort to simplify my life.  It feels great and it works, yet the idea hadn’t quite made it into my wardrobe – until now.  I recently learned about this movement called Project 333 – you dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.  Anything you haven’t used in that time can be donated.  I’ve only skimmed over the basics of it, but I thought – I could totally do this! While I know I won’t follow the rules exactly, just the idea of it has given me so much inspiration.  I think back to the days of buying those first-time basics that I bought so many years ago.  I already know this formula – I just need to follow it once again.  This time, though, I am not so broke and I will look for quality over quantity.  In getting rid of stuff, I think it’s safe to say that if I haven’t worn it in over a year and am still not very interested – well, then it can go!  Yesterday, I took a large bag of unneeded and unwanted clothing, shoes, and jewelry to donation.  I’ve always donated items in this way, but yesterday it was with a new purpose and determination, a determination to get back to the basics.  And it feels GREAT!

 

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4 thoughts on “Back to the Basics

  1. Loved your story and admire how you’re embracing minimalism out of your own will now even though you didn’t really have a choice before. Wish you all the best and a lot of joy on your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your kind wishes! It’s amazing how our perspective changes so much – depending on where we are in life and our circumstances. I like knowing that I’ve done without before and actually made it work! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Isn’t it funny how much more it takes to live once we get used to living on more? Project 333 is great! It has changed the way I feel about my clothes, and made my mornings so much easier. I’m looking forward to taking my first big trip with my wardrobe. Packing will be a breeze!! Thank you for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your input! Yes – it is funny how we get to where we think we need so much STUFF. I should know better since I’ve lived with much less, but like you said – you get used to it. I’m looking forward to actually improving my wardrobe by eliminating all the things I don’t wear. I know this will make my mornings so much easier too! Have a great trip!

      Like

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