Tuesday, January 3, 2012

MY Simple Wardrobe - The Theory

Sooner or later every simplicty writer has to write about clothes. It's very popular to describe how the writer succeeded in simplfying her wardrobe. (I haven't seen a guy write about this, which is not to say that guys don't write about this. But I kind of think it might just be a gal kind of thing to be interested in what other women...er, people... wear.)

So far I haven't yet seen my theory about developing a simple wardrobe described, so I thought it time to do this. I believe that theories are very useful. They help you figure out what to do in a specific situation that you have not encountered before. What you do is to apply the general concepts to the specific situation and there's your answer about what to do.

I think I do have a simple wardrobe, but my way to simplicty is clearly different from others. It seems to me that for many people simplicty is all about numbers ....how few clothes the person owns. That certainly is a legitimate way to think about this. I lable this the "Suitcase Theory." It's all about whether or not you can throw ALL your clothes into a normal size suitcase.

I can't throw all my clothes into a suitcase, normal or otherwise. I have too many of them. That's because I follow the Laundry Theory for a simple wardrobe. For me it's all about being the most efficient laundress. I simplify my wardrobe in order to simplify my launrdy.

Let's start by outlining the issues I'm dealing with that made me develop this theory. Here are my limitaions - I live alone and I do my laundry in a public laundry area where I have to feed quarters into the machine. I aim never to spend unnecessary quarters, and I need to be wearing some kind of regular clothes when I do the laundry. I always wonder what the suitcase crowd wears on laundry day. I guess it's not really a problem if the machine is in one of your own closets.

I can't do washing naked; the building mangement would have words with me if I were to try, and besides that's chilly, and you don't really want to see me naked in the laundry room either, do you? No, you do not.  And I don't belong to the generation that finds it  ok to go outside the confines of your home in your pajamas.  I know, I know. I'd be perfectly covered up in my pajamas (plus a big robe too, if it were me). It's just that I don't do that.  So I can't need to wash everything I own all at once. At least one outfit - the doing laundry outfit, I would call it - needs to be left out for the next time.

I did not select the kind of washing machine I use. It happens that our laundry uses those vertical axis, water efficient models .. good, good, good. But the drums in our machines are big, and if you don't have them really full with clothes, they don't do the final spin cycle correctly, and you end up with a pile of totally dripping wet clothes that have trippled their weight with retained water (no matter what time of the month it is).  Then you  need to do one of the following ( I speak from experience here):
1) have another go in the washer with more stuff added, hoping that you have achieved the necessary clothes to space ratio to make the spin cycle actually work or
2) use about 6 hours in the dryer set to high or
3) have all the clothes hanging all over the apartment dripping water onto the floor the whole time it takes to air dry - about 3 days even with living in a desert.

The bottom line - I have to generate  full loads of laundry every time myself without the help of  a partner, roommate or children. From what I understand this would be a cinch if I had kids. I believe that a baby generates its own weight in dirty clothes in about 2 hours - really dirty clothes that add up fast. I'd be able to just toss my few things in for the ride every day if I had a baby living with me. But I have found that Smokey Rose is of no help in this matter of developing full laundry loads. And somehow acquiring a baby in order to develop full laundry loads fast does not seem like an overall good plan to me; I can see a lot of drawbacks to that idea, not all related to clothing.

Also, being female, I believe in separating clothes and washing things according to their individual requirements. I believe that a women  (aka me) would wash every piece of clothing individually if she thought she could get away with it, each with it's own water amount and temperature, soap type and amount, washing timing in the various parts of the cycles, and, of course, the drying method and time. So many decisions just to keep your clothes in tip top condition!

(In my experience a fellow just dumps everything all together into the washer, uses the hot water cycle, and adds an indiscriminate amount of Tide plus an extra large amount of Clorox. Then everything goes into the dryer on high with enough quarters inserted to buy about 3 hours of drying time - the amount of time that game takes, I believe.  I've seen them do it more often than I can count. It makes me want to weep.)

This means I not only have to generate a full load of clothes myself, but that said load must consist of clothes that can all be washed together at the same time. A load of whites, a load of darks, a load of other colors, a delicate load, a study load.........

So - we're getting to the bottom line here - I own lots of clothes. Enough to make a minimalist say "OMG" and stumble out of the room holding her hand over her eyes. But here's the key ... everything is the same.

I have a drawerful of the same kind of underpants and half drawerful of the same kind of bras. I do have a few different styles of camisoles (the other half of the bra drawer.), but I also have a lot of camisoles.

I have a lot of socks. A lot of socks. I have handknit about half of my socks mostly for the sake of hand knitting socks. But I also engage in the activity known as purchasing socks ..  in multiples at least once a .... well, let's just say, often. They are inexpensive, colorful, and Smith's Marketplace ALWAYS has two for one coupons available in the sock department.  I don't get the idea that socks are not fun and interesting and that it's possible to own to many. To many socks? I sneer at that idea. Besides socks actually wear out and become cleaning rags quite easily. See? Simple living in action.

But even with all that,  I could wash every single piece of underwear and foot coverings that I own at the same time and still not succeed in having  everything emerge spun out and semi-dry. Hence all the knit shirts that are the same style. As well as the knit trousers that are very, very similar to each other. Add in a couple of pair of pajamas, and I've got a full load about once every 3 weeks! Ya Hoo! (or, because I'm Buddhist, "Gate! Gate!" [say it like gah-tey]) Laundry room, here I come!

1 comment:

  1. one of your finest posts. your intellectual analysis of laundry is very entertaining.