Freedom in simplicity

Last night I simplified my closet. Again. Periodic clean out is necessary for most spaces, and since Ido that work for other people, it’s prudent to do it for myself.

Years ago, I was sitting at a conference for image consultants. The topic at the table was how many pairs of shoes each person had. Most counts were in the hundreds, and as my turn to speak was about to happen, I felt the shame of not being a part of the crowd. As if image consultants should have a quota. My 20 pairs seemed like an avalanche of shoes to me, and that was before I had foot challenges and fewer events to attend post Covid.

Why did I not have a plethora of shoes to choose from? Where was my creativity and zest for fashion? As I captured that thought and let in go in favor of wanting a simplified and focused life, I reminded myself of my goal to become more others focused.

And doing that requires, for me, less of everything. My mornings are more streamlined if I can see every piece of clothing. And if it’s organized in a way that allows me to grab a top, a bottom, some shoes and accessories quickly.

Now when I see my 20 pairs of shoes, I relax. Even with my winter shoes and boots put aside, I know I’m only ever working with about 8 pairs of shoes. Even that can sometimes feel like too many, but I am conscious of why I have each pair, and how many outfits each goes with.

In the end, I am not a minimalist. But I do like things simple. I want engaging in life to be simple, so I can focus on what is often more complicated, like relationships.

In her article on this topic, Juliana Poplin, write about the difference between minimalism and simplicity.

Simplicity allows me to think about a balance between the inner and outer parts of my life. If I am focused on God and focused on others, then my lifestyle will not allow for copious amounts of time searching for outfits, finding a lost necklace or hanging up 20 pieces of clothing each morning. But simplicity is also complex. Richard Foster in his book, Freedom of Simplicity, writes:

While simplicity provides an easy answer to the modern dilemma, it does not provide an easy answer. We must never confuse simplicity with simplism…[simplicity] is also a discipline. It is a discipline because we are called to do something. Simplicity involves a consciously chosen course of action involving both group and individual life. What we do does not give us simplicity, but it does put us in a place where we can receive it. (pp7-8)

Simplifying our closet requires action. And, there are hundreds of articles on purging and clearing and decluttering, but the impetus must come from within first before anything happens. I removed a few items from my closet last night, but not any shoes. Maybe next month. Or next week.

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