Within the hours earlier than our household moved from California to England for seven months, right here’s the place you’ll have discovered me: on my arms and knees on our front room flooring, sweating and pulling random gadgets out of my bag, Sebastian Maniscalco-style (please pause and watch this, I die each single time). I yanked out sandals, a fanny pack, a striped scarf, then zipped up the monstrosity once more. My husband stepped on the size, lifted the bag once more. “52 kilos.” I groaned and went again in: I suppose I didn’t really want this guide, these boots? Did I really want this many pairs of socks? I fished out something that may push my suitcase over the 50-pound weight restrict.
Why all this fuss over making all the pieces match? As a result of my husband, daughter and I moved overseas for half a 12 months and took just one suitcase every. This was, in fact, no in a single day bag; it match a good quantity. However this journey was going to span three seasons, which meant being ready for snow, torrential rains and warmth waves. The lowly Samsonite additionally needed to match footwear, pajamas, slippers, toiletries, plugs, luggage, treatment, and jewellery. And, sure, in fact, Cambridge has clothes shops, however the concept was to be as self-sufficient as potential. We weren’t going to be shopping for wardrobes after we arrived. (Books, it turned out, had been one other story.)
When my husband and I made our one-suitcase deal, I anxious about two issues: First, that I’d pack badly and find yourself with clothes that was inappropriate for the climate. And second (this one niggled at me extra): that I’d get tired of my few items.
Effectively, I used to be unsuitable. I managed, miraculously, to pack with none gaping holes. (No forgotten pjs!) However the larger lesson was round what I did deliver.
In fact there have been moments once I stared on the identical pair of black GAP overalls I’d already worn twice that week and assume, You? Once more?, however largely what I felt was aid. Pure, unadulterated aid. I’d been ruthlessly trustworthy with myself earlier than packing and introduced solely my most beloved items alongside, gadgets I knew, for sure, I’d put on. And maybe most necessary, I’d packed nothing aspirational. Nothing to the tune of “After I lose 5 kilos,” or “I’ll put on them to [some fancy event I’ll never attend],” or “In Europe, I’ll turn into a gown particular person!” and even, “This one works completely with, like, 4 security pins to shut the gaping round my boobs.”
No. None of that sort of mishegoss made the minimize. Farewell to alter! Farewell to hope! Farewell to when in Rome! Each piece certified as one thing I repeatedly reached for at dwelling, match me precisely proper this very prompt on this completely imperfect middle-aged physique, and made me really feel snug in my very own pores and skin.
So, what did I deliver? Three pairs of denims, the aforementioned black overalls, three jumpsuits, T-shirts, turtlenecks, two blouses, a number of sweaters, 4 jackets/coats, and a gown I’ve but to put on. I packed underwear, bras, socks, pajamas, trainers (I’m apparently British now) and clogs, and purchased a pair of trainers after we arrived. The top.
Unsurprisingly, with my selections narrowed, it now takes me a fraction of the time to dress within the morning. This isn’t solely as a result of there are fewer choices to wade by means of, however as a result of there may be nothing on provide whose worth or match I query for even an prompt (identical goes for earrings and make-up). Every part is one thing I really like. Every part works on me. It’s, briefly, a revelation.
This may make me sound completely bonkers however after a number of months of dressing like this, it began to really feel like a metaphor for — friendship, perhaps? And even for all times? Do I would like clothes or individuals hanging round my closet or my life that I wouldn’t need to attain for any day of the week?
Do I really want all this extra stuff that doesn’t match me or my life anymore? Why am I holding onto a lot?
5 months in, I’ve missed nearly nothing from my closet, besides the fanny pack I tossed out on the final second. Has this made me need to return dwelling and donate all the pieces in my closet? Type of. A capsule is simple and doable and cheaper and has given me a lot extra mind area (in addition to closet area). There aren’t any extra piles on my mattress, aka morning rejects I didn’t have time to hold again up earlier than college drop off and solely get to at evening, lest I be compelled to sleep with them (which I’ve finished).
However I’m rather more within the capsule’s metaphorical implications: Typically, it seems, it’s okay to pare down, within the clothes division and elsewhere. Not all the pieces matches endlessly: sweaters, heels, bras, jobs, houses, hobbies, buddies. This may occasionally really feel unhappy in some methods, however it’s additionally refreshing to see that “endlessly” is just not essentially the marker of success. The marker of success, lately, appears like having simply what I would like, nothing extra, and all of it proper for me.
I wouldn’t name it pleasure, the sensation that overtakes me once I glide open my uncluttered British drawer, however I’d say it’s soothing, a little bit like opening up “favorites” on my telephone. It’s as a result of I see myself, as I’m proper now. I don’t should shapeshift, I don’t have to enhance, I don’t should battle with my physique or my tastes. I don’t have infinite selections that don’t really feel proper.
What, I ponder, would occur if I did that in additional elements of my life?
Abigail Rasminsky is a author and editor primarily based in Los Angeles. She teaches artistic writing on the Keck Faculty of Drugs of USC and writes the weekly publication, People + Bodies.She has additionally written for Cup of Jo about beauty, marriage, teenagers, loss, and only children.
(Prime photograph by J. Anthony/Stocksy.)