Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

I have now passed the two month mark with my “half project,” so it’s time for another update (see my first update here). I don’t have as much to share this time around, but I will feature the swaps I’ve made and some thoughts about my summer wardrobe and potential purchases I may make during the coming months.

What I Swapped Out in July

I decided to swap out 12 items this month:

  • Pants: 3 (all cropped)
  • Cardigans: 3 (2 cropped, 1 long)
  • Jackets: 1 (long and tailored)
  • Sleeveless Tops: 3 (all short, for skirts)
  • Dresses: 2 (1 midi, 1 maxi)

These items are all shown in the photo below:

items swapped out - july19

I swapped out these 12 items in July, mostly items from my summer wardrobe. 

Most of these pieces are part of my summer wardrobe and I haven’t worn them since last fall. I took some time last week to try on all of my summer items to assess their fit and how I feel about them now. In doing so, I discovered that some things that I originally included in my active wardrobe are not working for me for various reasons. Here are my reasons for swapping out the 12 pieces above:

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I’m currently reading Digital Minimalism, by Cal Newport. Even though I have only read a third of this book thus far, I highly recommend it. I have experienced a number of “aha moments” and powerful insights, some of which I may share here as I process them and apply them to my life. We’ll start with a concept that most of us probably don’t associate with technology, digital devices, or minimalism: the importance of solitude. After reading Newport’s thesis, it makes perfect sense to me how solitude relates to technology and it’s very much in line with my 2019 “freedom” theme and many of the other topics I write about on this blog.

importance of solitude

Solitude is very important for our well-being – and it doesn’t always look like this…

What is Solitude and Why Does It Matter?

As someone who spends at least half of my time alone, I would have thought that I experience more than enough solitude. If I go by the Merriam-Webster definition of solitude as “the state or situation of being alone,” this is true, but Newport presented an alternate definition that has serious implications in today’s digital economy. Newport defined solitude as

A subjective state in which your mind is free from the input of other minds.”

Given that we can easily be connected with others 24/7 with a quick finger swipe or mouse click, many of us are rarely free from the input of other minds. Even if we’re not texting regularly or spending hours on social media (the daily average is now 2 hours and 22 minutes!), easy access to podcasts, television, and radio often result in very little time spent engaging with our own thoughts.

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I have been doing my “half project” for just over a month now and I’m so glad I decided to take on this challenge! It has already helped me to pare down my wardrobe, become happier with my outfits, and better understand what I do and don’t wear and need. In today’s post, I’ll give you an update on how things have gone for me during the first month of the challenge and what I have learned thus far.

half project closet pare-down - June update

I would eventually like my closet to look more like this (except with a lot more black and striped pieces). 

What I’ve Noticed So Far

One of the first things I noticed was how much happier I felt with the size of my “active wardrobe,” which is just half of what I started out with before beginning my “half project.” Previously, my main closet felt overly crowded and it was difficult for me to see what I had and to select what to wear. My favorites were in there, but there were also a lot of less loved pieces occupying much of the space surrounding them. After making my challenge selections and relocating everything else elsewhere (to my “holding zone” and my “skinny box”), there was a lot more breathing room in my closet and I could better see what I have.

I found myself feeling confident that a wardrobe of that size – or even smaller – would be more than sufficient for me, provided that it consisted of the right pieces. Of course, that’s what my “half project” is all about: curating a smaller and more workable wardrobe. I’m glad that I gave myself a whole year to accomplish this goal, as it’s going to take some time to figure out what’s working, what isn’t, and what new pieces might fill in the gaps.

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As we’re more than five months into 2019, I thought this would be a good time to update you on how I’m doing with my theme for the year. As you may remember, I selected “freedom” as my word/theme for 2019. I explained my reasons for this choice back in January, but I’d like to delve a bit deeper today and highlight some of the areas I’m planning to focus on for the remainder of the year.

I hope that shining a spotlight on my theme for the year will help you think about what you’d like to shift in your life before the year 2020 begins. It doesn’t matter if you’ve chosen a theme or specific goals for this year or not, as most of us have some sense of what we’d like to change in our lives. Also, it’s not too late to choose a theme or set a few intentions now, as there’s really nothing magical about January 1st in terms of goal-setting. We have the power and the possibility to change our lives at any time. June 4th – or any other day – is as good a time as any to think about what is and isn’t working for you in the various areas of your life.

2019 freedom theme june update

My theme for 2019 is “freedom” and it has already impacted my life more than I thought. 

Why “Freedom”?

I selected freedom as my word for 2019 because I noticed a distinct lack of feeling free in my life despite the reality of my situation. What’s true is that I have a lot more freedom than many in terms of my time, money, and advantages. But freedom doesn’t only have to do with objective reality; it’s also about how we feel inside and how we live our lives. It’s all too easy to place shackles on ourselves that aren’t really there through our self-imposed rules, restrictions, and expectations. If we think we’re supposed to do, be, act, or accomplish particular things, we may be less likely to embrace the freedom we are fortunate to have in our lives. This has definitely been the case for me.

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When I introduced my “Half Project” last week, I was going to share information about what I did and didn’t include in the active half of my wardrobe. However, since the post was already on the longer side, I decided to do a “part two” this week on that topic. I will fill you in on why some items didn’t make the cut. I’ll also let you know what my active wardrobe selections, holding zone pieces, and purged items have in common and what I’ve learned from analyzing these categories. If you’re a fan of analysis and “navel gazing,” you’ll enjoy this post. I also hope you’ll be able to apply my lessons to your own wardrobes, especially if you’re joining me for the challenge or are working on downsizing your closet.

My closet may never look this amazing, but I hope to pare my wardrobe down by half this year. 

What I Passed On and Why

A lot of thought went into my active wardrobe selections and during the process of making my choices, I opted to pass a number of items on. Consequently, my total wardrobe is already considerably smaller, which means that the challenge is off to a good start! While I didn’t try every single item on, if I was unsure about the fit of a particular garment or how much I liked it, I put it on my body so that I could make an educated determination about its fate.

Let’s look first at some of the items I opted to purge from my closet.  Although I didn’t include shoes and purses in my “half project,” I still reviewed those categories when I was going through my wardrobe, as I want to get rid of as much excess as possible. After all, the less clutter and overwhelm, the more freedom I will experience when looking in my closet and getting dressed each day!

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