Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The 200 Item Clothing Challenge.

As someone with ADHD,  I am always interested in ways to reduce unwanted distractions in my life.   A few years ago I started reading about people who had taken something called the "100 item challenge".  This is for folks who really want to live with the smallest possible amount of stuff.  They basically reduce everything they own down to 100 items.  Now, I knew that was not going to be for me, but it did get me thinking.

I ended up thinking about all of this the next time I decided to clean out my closet - which I do a couple times a year - and I piled everything on the bed.  There was a lot of stuff.  Then I decided to empty my dresser, the coat rack, and my shoe organizers.  Then I added purses, scarves, and belts.  It actually made me feel kind-of gross.  Most of the stuff I didn't even wear. 

I started thinking about the 100 item challenge, and wondered if I could get this pile down to that.  It occurred to me that not so long ago average people lived with much less to wear and survived without being arrested for indecency.  Maybe I could too.  So I thought about what would be in the average woman's wardrobe 100 years ago.  I needed a 5-6 outfits for work.  I needed something to wear for weddings and funerals.  I needed stuff to wear at home. and of course I needed sleepwear and underwear.

Well, I decided to do the 100 item challenge for that season and was able to get the pile down to 100 items.  Because I wasn't truly trusting of this new system yet, I put everything left into plastic tubs and stored it.  And yes, I counted the number of items.  It actually totalled in at 85.

Doing this turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done in my life.  Seriously. 

Suddenly I not only could get all of the laundry done in two reasonable sized loads, I had to do it each week so I would have enough to wear.  Choosing clothing in the morning was easy, because there wasn't that much of a decision to make.  Since I had my favorite clothes, and nothing worn out, ripped or stained, I was happy with what I had on every day.  My closet stayed neater.

The next time closet-cleaning time came around, I did three things.  First of all, I added in the rest of the clothes I wanted to have to complete a year-round cycle and stay under 200 items.  At this point I was confident that I could live with this amount of clothing, so secondly I bagged up everything else and took it to Goodwill.  Thirdly, I took anything that was worn and stained out of the current collection and worked on replacing it.  I have been using that routine every since.

Now because I have fewer clothes and therefore wear them out sooner, I do buy new stuff just about every season.  Because I'm not buying a lot, I do buy decent quality items.  I also tend to buy things I can wash, since I don't really have time for items to be at the dry cleaner.  Finally, I buy a lot of mix and match skirts, pants and tops and only have a few dresses.  Because I do a lot of mix and match, I tend to buy from just a few stores so that all of the colors go together.  This cuts down on my clothes shopping, which I do not generally like anyway.

If you like fashion and it's your hobby, this might not be something for you.  But if you like to look good with a minimum of fuss and bother, you might want to consider this challenge.  It's made a really difference in my ADHD life.  Maybe it can in yours.