Monday, 28 October 2013

Autumn's Thrift Season update

Since February this year I've been a part of the wardrobe Project333. The current season is special, for I've chosen every item (apart from shoes and my laptop bag) from thrift shops and charity shops.

The benefits of a thrift season have been great. I've been longing for a wardrobe which I would not be so emotionally attached to, and choosing items from thrift stores has helped with this a lot. And it hasn't killed my budget, even if I've renewed nearly everything in my wardrobe within a month. I think the most expensive item in the capsule at the moment is the teal scarf, which cost 5 euros (about 6 american dollars). I have to say, to my defense, that the town where I live in is a thrift shop paradise, and it has been really easy to just walk in and choose what one needs, just like I would go to an ordinary clothes shop. Buying a hat for winter last week stopped me thinking for half an hour, for the single thrift shop I went into (off about 10 in town) had at least 50 hats to choose from.

I've reviewed most of the thrift season items before HERE so I'll only add photos of the items I've found after starting the season.

What I needed to add to the original items were an autumn coat (on the right) and a winter coat (on the left), and it took some time from the end of August for them to appear on the charity shops' collections, so I had to wait to get them. But I'm actually really happy - I haven't had a decent autumn coat for the past year, and finding the one on the right was just perfect for the working mornings. The winter coat on the other hand has received such amazing comments, it's really pretty and warm enough for Finland's cold late autumn. People have asked me where I've bought it and claimed it must have been really expensive, and it's been fun to see the looks on their faces when I've told them it's a thrift store find for 4,50€ :)

Accessory-wise I've tried to keep things small and practical (for once). I'm a scarf and legwarmer -kind of a girl, and I usually have at least four scarves to choose from per season. This time I've stuck to two - a cooler scarf for the warmer weather, and a wool scarf for the colder times. They are both pretty, and go well with both coats. The ones I chose are also fairly wide, so I can use them as shawls or wrap them around my head if it's cold and I'm missing my hat.

The count comes, all in all, to this;
I have
3 pairs of leggings
3 skirts
2 sleeveless tops (to go sometimes under, sometimes over longer sleeves)
3 teeshirts (which can also be worn as underwear or overwear)
3 tunics
2 half-sleeve shirts
2 long sleeve shirts
2 cardigans
2 coats
2 pairs of shoes (which are my own, not from charity shops)
and for the accessories
1 hat
2 scarves
2 bags (a laptop bag for work and a purse-type for times off work)
1 pair of legwarmers and 
2 pairs for the hands (one of mittens and one of gloves)

I still have one item left, so I'm down to 32.

If I'd be missing something, it would be leggings that would be made of some warmer material. The synthetic ones I've found from second hand shops are quite cold now that it's snowing (at times) and the temperature's dropped. But as I've mentioned before, the leggings have been the hardest to find.

So I'm a pretty happy girl. There are definitely things I will want to keep for the future, like the winter coat and the denim skirt (although I was worried of it's length, it is shorter than anything I've ever used, but I'm loving it for it's easy use underneath tunics and with cardigans), and the white knitted tunic shown above. And it feels like it won't be so hard to let go of items that have not worked their full magic for me.

I have a month left of this autumn season, and I have plenty to choose from for the coming months of winter. When the next season begins, I'll be editing and culling both my current thrift wardrobe and my "ordinary" wardrobe (which is in a box upstairs waiting) and will most certainly be crediting to the local thrift stores and giving them back some of the goodness I've found from them in the past few months.

Clothes are no longer memories and history and something to cling on to. They are items to be used to keep us warm and to brighten up a day. And while it's good to make good use of the items that one has chosen to live with, it's also ok to sometimes experiment and have fun a bit. I'll be sure to use more of the second hand shops of my area in the future, although I've always been a bit of a thrift shop girl.

Friday, 4 October 2013

What to do with to-do?

I'm a to-do-list girl. Since high school, I've made hundreds of to-do-lists and still do. My then french teacher gave them a word - she used to tell us to "do a posture perfecting movement" whenever somebody had forgotten to do homework or show up for class. So my to-do-lists are called "posture perfecting movement lists", "ryhtiliikelista" in Finnish, to show how one should really start behaving like an adult and take responsibility for one's life and deeds.

I make the lists for home, and most importantly -running a little dance wear shop on my own - I make them for work. I have a book for to-do-lists at work and keep ticking away the chores as they are done. They do work well, and I love the feeling of drawing a line over a chore that needed accomplishing to show the world that I've accomplished something. I also can't forget the things that are on the list, they are visibly there as a reminder, and it helps tons with this limited brain capacity of a human brain :)

One thing I've noticed lately though is that I'm progressively feeling less inspired about the to-do-list book. I don't particularly want to have a peek of what's STILL to be done, and what I still haven't accomplished. For there's a lot to be done, and the more I look at the book, the more it looks like there's no hope for me.

The problem with the work-related to-do lists is that the lists never end. When I get one thing ticked off the list, at least two or three new tickables appear. There's no joy in completing an action when there's thirty-odd more to be done, and then some.

It got to a point a few weeks back when I completely froze looking at the book. There was no point in trying to accomplish anything, because nothing could be accomplished without an addition of two or three more chores to the end of the list. And there I stood, not daring to open the book because for sure the french teacher would come out of the book and tell me off for being such a bad girl and not taking the responsibililty of completing all possible actions to-day.

And as I thought about it, it dawned on me.
The book was my own doing. I had invented all of those chores for myself. I had proper deadlines of about 1/10 of all of the chores (taxes do need to be paid and inventories made, that's not of my own choice, but even their deadlines are negotiable, if need be), and the rest were chores I had completely invented on my own.
Good things, all of them, I'm sure. Things to make the shop easier for the customers and myself to be in, plans on making the shop a better place. Cleaning, clearing, bringing in something new and establishing further the collection I already have. Making new orders and contacting customers. And had I been the owner of the local H&M-store, things I'd have no problem delegating to the immense amount of staff under my fingertips and got done in no time at all.

But as I am here on my lonesome, I can't possibly do 30 odd people's worth of work in no time at all. I can do what I can do, I realized. And that is a lot. But it's certainly not 30 odd people's worth of work.
So I needed to *do less*. Prioritise. Chuck away the book that gave me the shivers and try out something more manageable.

I downloaded the free Ommwriter -program to the computer and listening to the soothing sounds it makes made a list for this week. A list of four things to do. Four, and no more. And once one thing would be done, I would not add another, but look at it disappear for good. The list had things that would be helpful to get done this week, but if that would not be possible, I would not hang myself. I would not make another list until that list was completely empty.

My list for this week first list was:

*To get a certain product online that I've had in the live shop for a long time. It deserves a good space and time dedicated to it. And just that one product. Not the ten who are all calling my name at the same time :)

*To mail all the orders that can be mailed to the customers. This week, and not next week. Not because I have to, but because I want to be of help and of service. And to remember to thank each of the mailed customers separately for their time and attention. For they are who I'm here for, and they have trusted me with their orders.

*To wash and dry a newly acquired materials for another product at the shop. Not to get carried away with the project and try to finish it all in a day.

*To make orders to the manufacturers. This was quite a vague thing to be said, for ordering is something I have to do regularly, at least around this time of the year. But I had listed three companies on the list for this week.

It seems considerably easier to do four things than to do 30. And these would obviously go on top of the ordinary everyday things at work, so even four is quite plenty, for one person's week.

I'm encouraging myself (and offering you a chance to come a long for the ride) to do less, and by doing so concentrating more on the little things chosen to give one's attention to.

Completing the washing and drying made me smile a little. Waving the last mailed letter goodbye today made me feel even better. Somehow lighter. Not a single thing has been added to the Ommwriter list, but I've been watching the deeds disappear one after another. There's still some to be done, but there's still part of today and the whole of tomorrow time. There's *time*!

So I'm encouraging you fellow to-do-listers to try out the calm and quiet four-part list (instead of the usual there's-a-million-things-to-be-done -version) for one week.

Here's how:

*Find a nice writing atmosphere and space. I'm loving the calm of the above mentioned new writing space, and if it's something you'd like to try, you can try it for free.

*Write down 4 things that you think need doing. If possible, make them small enough, so you'll have time to concentrate on every thing you've planned to do. Forget the original to-do-lists for one week, and just go with this one.

*Explain to yourself, why you should concentrate on the four things chosen. Write down reasons why each of these these four made your list. Write down what good they will do and how it will help you and the world around you if you complete them.

*Complete the four tasks in your own time throughout the week. Make sure to breathe through doing so, and stopping to concentrate on whatever it is that you're doing. Make the moment last, and be reminded of the reasoning behind your deeds.

*As one chosen thing gets done throughout next week, watch the deed disappear from the list. Delete it thoughtfully, embracing the reasoning behind your original choice, and realising you're free of the stress it ever managed to cause you. Do not net new things crawl their way onto the list at least until it is completely empty.

*Marvel at the space you have just created, and marvel at the things you have just accomplished.

There's my plan for next week.
How does your week look?