In 48 hours I will be on Carolina soil. Technically North Carolina, but only just barely. So I’m cleaning and packing and doing laundry and getting excited to spend quality time with my pup. When I have to pack for a week in my carry on, I get all existential about clothing and minimalism, and take the job way too seriously. It’s mostly because I lived out of one suitcase for a whole semester, and I kind of loved it. Turns out, when you have limited options, it’s way easier to get dressed. Less choices equal less stress in the wardrobe department. Life was simple when I didn’t have to worry about what to wear. I could spend my thoughts and time on important things, like making my train and finding where my host dad hid the peanut butter.
So while I’m packing for this next week in South Carolina, I’m wondering to myself, “Self, what if you lived every week out of a small suitcase?” Meaning, what if my wardrobe was small enough to fit inside a little bag? Or even a jumbo-sized bag (because let’s face it, even that would be a huge stretch for this shoe hoarder)? My time in Botswana definitely triggered this desire in me to have less stuff, mostly because I saw what true need looks like, and I realized that I had no actual need in my life. Only, that sort of perspective is more guilt-inducing than necessary for a Monday morning. But if I’m coming at it from a place of making life simpler, having only what I need and love and use, well that’s entirely more manageable.
What’s going in my suitcase for this next week is my favorites – striped sweater, chambray, black skinnies, gold flats. I gravitate towards these neutral favorites day after day. And it makes me wonder, what if I had an entire (small) wardrobe of favorites? If I only had four pairs of jeans, but they were all my favorite and made of high quality denim. Or if I consolidated five pairs of sandals into two pairs of versatile ones. The list goes on. Having less things would not only give me reason to have nice things, but it would also make life just a tiny bit easier. It’s something I’ve been thinking about and working towards for most of this year, slowing paring down my wardrobe month by month, replacing several items with a single multi-tasker whenever possible and when budgets allow. It’s a slow process, something that requires my patience and discipline. Maybe once I’ve conquered my wardrobe, I’ll apply the same logic to my kitchen. And maybe one day I’ll get there, to a place where I have only things that I love and use and need. Because there’s less guilt in that life, and there’s much more time for important things like puppy dogs and cherished friendships. And that’s my ideal – a life full of joy and not full of stuff.