when the pruims came north

Although it’s not particularly my kind of holiday, I still feel that it’s necessary to wish you all a Happy Halloween today! & to give you something else to celebrate, our internet is up & running this week! I know, I know, it’s a much bigger deal than dressing up in creatively thought out costumes & consuming an unheard amount of candy. But with the wifi set up in our friends apartment, I’ll hopefully be able to devote a bit more time & attention to The Pruim Life. The past two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, mostly due to our second cross country move in less than a year – nay, less than half a year. I’ve been to more states in the past six months than I have been in my entire life combined! And these recent endeavors have been some like I’ve never had before, so I wanted to share some of them with you today.

The first leg of our trip led us to San Jose, California for two nights to stay with Adam’s great aunt. This gave us a prime location to check out two of the only things I knew about in Northern California: the Redwoods & the Golden Gate Bridge. We spent a Friday morning driving up the winding mountain roads to get to a state park that we could wander around & look at some of the most fascinating trees I’ve ever seen. I know I’ve said before that palm trees are my favorite tree, but I might have to reconsider that now. These trees are giants. They’re tall, wide, & some are unbelievably old. Their experienced in their old age too. Many of the redwoods we passed by were hollowed out & charred on the inside from past fires. Yet they still press on, and still grow. And they’re still something to marvel over.

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We then trekked up the California coast along Route 1 to see our last bits of the pacific shores on our way into the depths of San Francisco. The rush hour traffic had us scooting along the same road for two and a half hours until we finally reached the big red bridge before the sun went down. It was definitely cool to see this structure in real life & it was interesting to read up on how it was made. But after seeing the redwoods at the beginning of the day, I made the decision in my mind that I’d much rather stare at the handiwork of God than the handiwork of men. I had no idea at that point what we had in store for the rest of the trip that would confirm this decision in my heart even more.

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On a Saturday we gathered our stuff & set off for Nevada. We said a last goodbye to In-N-Out in Sacramento. It just so happened that after we left In-N-Out I got stuck at a light and then the highway split into construction traffic so Adam & I were separated & I spent approximately 45 minutes trying to catch up to his car which had the GPS set for our next stop. In the midst of my stress and frustration while trying to work my way through other cars to find him, we were passing through the Tahoe area. This was the second time on the trip that I was staring out the window with my jaw dropped at the pure beauty of the scenery. It was one of those “Ok God” moments where I gave up my stress, calmed down & just thanked him for His creation. Because guys, it was gorgeous. We pulled off on the side of the road to take some pictures shortly before we crossed over to Nevada.

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From here we moved on and made it to Winnemucca, NV after sun down. We stopped on the side of the road to give Boone a brief break from the car as the sun was setting over the mountains. This was the most enjoyable part of the state of Nevada for me, because to be honest, driving through the desert is just plain boring. & we learned that to be even more true on our Sunday drive across the never ending roads going through nowhere. Breaking into Idaho at least gave us cell service & a little bit more color other than sandy brown.

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We left Monday morning with the destination of Montana, but this was the day that we would pass through Yellowstone National Park. Friends, if you have never been to Yellowstone I strongly suggest that you go add it to you bucket list right now. Ready, go. Ok, have you added it? Great, let’s move on.

We entered into the park at the West entrance & drove south to visit Old Faithful. After many miles of trees, streams, and hot springs (as well as a moose sighting by Adam – I’m terribly saddened that I missed them), we reached the infamous geyser. We had to wait about a half hour for it to actually go off, but something so unique as this made the wait worth it.

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We headed back up the same path we drove down & stopped at a set of springs to take a closer look. I’ve never really seen anything like them before. The heavy amounts of steam and the bold colors in the rocks and water made for a pretty artsy view.

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We moved on and continued to work our way north. We didn’t stop anywhere else along the way, but for the third time on this trip my jaw was in drop mode and my eyes were not paying nearly enough attention to the road I was driving on (sorry mom & dad). Pictures could never do this place justice. Every bit of it was breathtakingly beautiful. My favorite part was actually driving through the mountain passes. After leaving a dry & droughty land in California, to see greens and yellows in the trees and water in the river beds made my heart feel full. I wished we could have stayed and stared off those mountain tops for hours. But alas, we had to move on. And that led us to a long, food-less drive to Billings, Montana.

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I anticipated Montana to be a bit more eventful in it’s views, but the southern parts that we drove through were long stretches of nothingness, with some sub par mountains along the way. I guess driving through Yellowstone makes other mountains a little less fascinating in comparison. This day, as well as a couple others, were supported by gas station food for lunch because towns with restaurants were few & far between. Chex Mix & I got real close on this trip. By our last day of driving we were antsy to get to Minot. We were tired of spending the entirety of our days in the cars. We were tired of staying in a different place every night. We just wanted to get there. When we reached North Dakota the land slowly started to level out and it quickly became littered with oil rigs errywhere. I knew that oil was a big deal in North Dakota, but seriously, I did not expect to see rigs every mile. The construction traffic we got stuck in made us all the more eager to get out of our dirty, bug covered cars. And by Tuesday evening we made it to Minot. A town that has ended up being much larger than I ever expected. So large that one of the first stores I saw as we pulled in was a Hobby Lobby. Now that’s saying something in my opinion, but that may just been out of pure excitement that the store I worked at for almost five years was once again at an attainable distance!

As a whole our travels were easy, smooth, & for the most part stress free (except for our 45 minute separation on the highway & the one day I went a real long time without food. That day wasn’t pretty). Everything went smoothly. We were pleased to find that Boone is a rock star traveler. The little pup spent most of the days sleeping in the front seat of Adam’s car. Then he’d have a burst of energy when we got into each hotel room, and then he slept all night. How he has the ability to do so, I have no idea. We think he also liked having king size beds to sleep on. He took full advantage of the extra space.

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As of right now, we’ve been in our new town for a week and a half. We’re currently staying in some gracious friends’ apartment until our house on base is ready for us to move in to. Don’t even bother asking me at this point when that will be because it’s been a headache of a situation to deal with. It’s one of those circumstances where I’m reminding myself daily that this is God’s will so I will be trusting & patient. The latest we should be moving in is November 20, but we’re hoping for an earlier date. We’ll just have to see what happens.

We were ecstatic to arrive in 70 degree weather. Our whole first week here was the perfect fall weather that I’ve been craving. 60s and just slightly breezy. That made a quick shift this week though as we’ve entered into the 20s and 30s. Needless to say, we’re already starting to make preparations for a North Dakota winter. But more than anything, we’re making preparations to start a life here. We’re welcoming any & all visitors that are willing to come 🙂

where the next chapter begins

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My dear blog readers, what a week & a half it has been! Last time I checked in here our belongings were being packed up to be moved across the country to North Dakota. Now, as I write this, I myself am sitting in a Starbucks in North Dakota, after finishing sipping on my first caramel apple cider of this fall season of course. That’s right, we’ve arrived! We ventured across six states to get here and stopped for some scenic adventures as well. When we weren’t taking time to see parts of the United States we’ve never seen before, I had plenty of time on my hands to think, reminisce, listen, and marvel in the glory of God, meaning I have a whole slew of things to share in the days ahead here on this blog. This whirlwind life we’ve been living has me processing more than I can piece together at times, so bear with me as I try to string all that God has been laying on my heart together. A more in-depth post on our trip itself will come soon, but for now just know that time alone in the car driving through the desert and the mountains was a great opportunity to invite the Holy Spirit to move in me.

As we transitioned across the country, I couldn’t help but reflect on the adventures we’ve had already. Because that’s what our life has been: an adventure. Back when Adam & I were married in May of last year, we started our life together in a trailer in Southern Illinois. Though our time there was brief as we were finishing out Adam’s year lease, from the get-go we clued into the fact that our life together would be an adventure. & from the get-go we unknowingly decided that we were going to make the most of it. As anyone’s life is, our adventure has come with the everyday journey that God has laid out for us, alongside of the less usual excursions He has had planned as well. Our life in Southern Illinois held more pieces of the adventure than we ever anticipated. But as Adam’s graduation came near the Air Force bid us West and so we turned the page on the first chapter of our lives.

Chapter two had California in store for us – a place that both of us had always dreamed of visiting, yet we found ourselves living there. We took up as many adventures as possible, many of which have been shared here. But we knew that this season of life was to quickly pass. And as I’ve disclosed here multiple times, we’ve been ready to move on to what is to come in the next chapter.

On Tuesday the next chapter of our lives began. The chapter that has brought us to North Dakota. The chapter that has brought us to a new state, a new home, a new life. A chapter that is going to bring about a lot of new and old challenges, hardships, and joys. As I sit in this coffee shop still letting it sink in that this is our new home, I feel the greatest level of flexibility that I’ve ever known. So much of our adventure right now involves us taking our hands off the wheel and letting God do the directing. And as he leads us into new circumstances there have been countless times that I’m having to trust again that this is His will for us, therefore this is for our good. Even when our housing situation has become more of a nuisance than we ever thought, this is still what God wants us to go through. Even when Minot turned out to be much more populated and busy than we expected, we can look to Him and know that He knew this is what was to come all along. Whether what we face is tough or easy, He is working in us in ways that we don’t even realize is for our own sanctification and for His glory. I find myself lifting my hands and saying, “okay God, I’ll go with it.”

The thing about chapter books is that a chapter by itself is not the whole story. It’s only a piece of the big picture. Sometimes a chapter holds details of struggles and hardships. Sometimes it speaks of events of great joy & happiness. Other times it explores the challenges faced. In the time preceding our move to California I started accepting the reality that the military was drawing us in towards a life that we had no control over. One that would bring us through chapters that we could not even fathom. & yet I started cluing into the fact that it was God who was drawing us onward. It’s been God that has prepared the way for us to go where we’ve gone and where we have yet to go. It is He who has led us through the struggles, hardships, joys & challenges. And I’ve come to the realization that I’m not the main character in this story. Neither is Adam. We’re just the supporting cast that has the role of pointing towards the One that the story is all about. I must say, the story has started to make a lot more sense once I take myself out of the center of it. But I still want to live up the part that I am playing within it.

This is what The Pruim Life is all about. It’s about the adventure of our lives. It’s about the paths and roads that God is taking us on as we learn to live this life, and story, for Him. And it’s about honoring Him in the midst of it all. So I invite you all to come along for the ride. I invite you to share in this story along side of us as we turn the page to The Pruim Life: Chapter Three.

things to miss & things to look forward to

Guys, we leave California in 3 days. Another season of transition, adjustment, & hopefully not too much stress is quickly approaching. The process feels more real than ever as TMO is packing up the majority of our stuff literally as I type this. In a couple hours we’ll be left with only two car loads worth of stuff. Most of this past weekend was devoted to packing up what I could, & organizing as much as possible so that this move goes much more smoothly than our last one (i.e. we don’t leave ourselves with cars overflowing with unnecessary belongings). Doing so has helped eliminate more stress than I even realize. But with just a couple days left in California, I don’t want to let it slip all away. We’re planning on going surfing & enjoying some In-N-Out tomorrow to finish off our time here in style. As we transition to the next season of life, I’m making the efforts to embrace the things we’ve enjoyed here, but also look forward to the goodness that awaits us. I’m trying my best not the resent the things that I don’t care for here, or being negative about the cold weather we’re going to be moving to. So I thought I’d share the things that make me smile as I reminisce our time here on the Central coast, as well as the things that have got me itching to arrive in Minot.

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Things I’m going to miss about California:

  1. The weather – Let’s be honest, warm sunny weather all the time is pretty fantastic. While my Midwest roots have brought up the unthinkable in me & have made me miss the rain & the seasons, I know that come winter time I am going to be aching for the sunshine & perfect, non-humid temperatures.
  2. The beach – Although we haven’t spent as much time at the beach as I thought we would (the central coast hosts a lot of weather in the 70s that makes it a bit cold for the beach sometimes), but I have thoroughly enjoyed having some so close to us. I like having the opportunity to (attempt) surfing nearby. I like the beach-town vibes that can be seen & felt in the shops & restaurants along the coast line.
  3. My job title (or lack thereof) – guys, it’s been a true blessing to have not had to work these past few months. I’ve been able to refocus & rejuvenate myself in many ways. I’ve made time for things that I haven’t had the time to do in ages. I’ve started on projects that I’ve been dreaming of for years. & I’m not even done with them yet. I’m just not quite ready to give up all this free time yet. Once we get settled in ND we think it wise for me to start looking for work again. Retirement at 23 just isn’t feasible. I think it’ll be great for me to get back to work, but being a stay at home wife has been better than I even hoped it would be.
  4. My tan – I think I’ve mentioned it multiple times here, but I FAILED at achieving my goal of becoming the most tan I have ever been while spending a summer (not working) in California. It seemed so sensible. & yet life stood in the way. While I have gained some color, I know that in a couple months I’m going to be shaking my head at myself. The tan that I have accumulated in the past 5 months is going to fade from me quickly. I can feel it. & I’m going to miss it dearly in the cold, pale winter months in North Dakota.
  5. The palm trees – If I had to pick a favorite tree, it would probably be a palm tree. It was always a dream of mine to have a palm tree in my backyard (yeah, I dream real big) & I’ve achieved that here in California. So I’m going to miss having those tall guys (& the short ones too) around.
  6. The adventures – Anytime you go somewhere new there are adventures around you because you’re not familiar with what’s there. But something about being in California makes it seem like the adventures are more attractive & more plentiful. We’ve had opportunities to go try new things & visit new places that are all thrilling & exciting. While North Dakota is going to bring new adventures of its own, there’s something about the things to do in California that are really appealing.

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Things I’m looking forward to in North Dakota:

  1. Seasons – We’re moving back to the Midwest. Friends, I’m telling you, I really never thought I’d be that person that would wish for the seasons as I’m soaking in the sun & daily warm weather, but it’s happened. I’m dying for some caramel apple cider, but the weather around me just doesn’t make that seem real fitting. I want to wear the fall clothes that I spent the past year stocking up on, but the weather here makes that unreasonable. So, I’m looking forward to mixing it up. Now granted, in a short few months time we’ll be experiencing the terrible tundra & I’ll again be shaking my head at my current self, but right now I’m looking forward to something different. The same weather every single day really is nice, but it’s just not normal to my Midwest heart
  2. Permanency (well, sort of) – since being married last May, Adam will be moving to our fourth home. Yes, fourth. In a year and a half. That blows my mind, because I never moved in my whole life until I went to college. Oh how the military has changed that for me. Although we’ll only be in Minot for 3 years, that’s already 2 years more than we have spent anywhere so far. I’m looking forward to getting settled somewhere – to getting rooted in & not have to leave so suddenly. Which leads me to…
  3. New relationships – with Minot being a semi-permanent place for us for the next few years I’m looking forward to building new friendships with neighbors, co-workers, & whoever else there is to join the party. I’m excited to meet people that are ahead of me in stages of life, as well as ones that I can journey alongside of. I’m excited to learn from others, while also sharing my heart too.
  4. A New Home Church – Being in California so temporarily has made it difficult to really get plugged into a church. We’ve found somewhere to attend each week, but in the summer months the small groups don’t meet so opportunity to build relationships has been left to just Sunday mornings. & it’s been minimal. After coming from a church that we both deeply & passionately loved in Southern Illinois, we’re hoping to find a church that we can invest ourselves in as well as be invested in by.
  5. Closer proximity to home – Now it’s not like we’re living right next door to anyone, but we’re jumping from approximately 31 hours away from home, to 15. & 15 hours sounds a whole lot more reasonable to me. With how badly we’ve become homesick, it’s nice to know that visiting home will be a little more tangible now.
  6. New adventures – While California hosts many of the adventures I’ve been dreaming about all my life, North Dakota is going to present new opportunities as well. It’s a state I don’t know much about (& I’m finding that basically no one knows anything about it either). But I sense that we have the opportunity to get a little more outdoorsy in a state that isn’t crowded with cities & people. & it puts us in closer proximity to visit some other states we’ve never been to before. (Minnesota, I’m coming for ya!)

My heart & mind feel ready for this move. We’re tying up the loose ends of all the logistics & getting ready to go. We’re anxious to see how Boone handles the cross country move. He may not be a fan of being cooped up in a car all day for a few days straight, but we think he’s going to like having his own backyard in a state that isn’t so hot on his black fur. Until then, he’s not being very helpful in the packing process while he takes naps on my to-do lists. Lucky for him, he’s the cutest puppy on the planet & I don’t mind all that much 🙂

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savoring the seasons

As a result of growing up in the Midwest, I’ve always been used to four distinct seasons of the year, each having their delights & each having their drawbacks. While I’ve always been a summer-girl, I’ve still always embraced the coming each season for their unique characteristics & all the feels that come along with them.

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Spring, a season of growth; of renewal; of refreshment. The time of year that the fresh rain brings bright colors into the world again. The air gets a bit warmer, the sun shines a bit brighter, and the days are spent outside more often.

Summer, a season of warmth; of excitement; of adventure. Growing up it’s the time of year when school is put on hold & the swimming pools occupy people’s time. The days are longer, the nights are chill, & the skin gets tanner.

Fall, a season of transition; of coziness; of change. The time of year that the trees turn magnificent colors, and caramel apple cider is constantly on my mind. The smells are incredible, the clothes include layers, and the fallen leaves beg to be played with.

Winter; a season of hibernation; of holidays; of togetherness. The time of year that bundling up & cuddling inside is how every night should end. The snow is quiet (yet can still cause chaos), and the quality time begs for creativity as time is spent inside.

Every bit of the year brings about memories for me & excitement to recreate them to be even better. To play in the rain in the spring, visit the lake in the summer, jump in the leaves in the fall, and go snowboarding in the winter. There are new adventures to be had with each season. There are highs, and still there are lows. Spring gets muddy & murky with all the rain. The summer heat can sometimes get unbearable (especially with that humidity). The fall means that the summer is gone & the cold is coming . The winter means the cold has arrived (enough said), & along with it comes icy roads & people that don’t know how to navigate them.

Like I said before, summer has always had a special place in my heart. It’s always been my favorite. I used to believe that if it was summer year round the world would be a better place…or at least I’d be a lot happier. I always thought that the people who moved away to warm places & later said they missed the seasons were fools. How could they possibly miss the seasons when they live in perfect weather year round?

But the jokes on me. Because here I am, after five months of living on the central coast of California where it’s sunny & in the 70s just about every day, and I miss the seasons. It’s October. It should be getting cooler. I should be layering up my clothes. I should be drinking caramel apple cider & plenty of hot chocolate. & yet here I am: wearing shorts during the day, with the same old weather I’ve been experiencing every. stinkin’. day. since coming here. Seriously, I feel as if I should be biting my tongue or shaking my head in shame, but I miss the variety. I miss the sporadic rain storms. I miss the occasional not-so-great weather that doesn’t make me feel like I’m wasting my day by staying up inside. I’ve always had the seasons to mix it up for me (& the Midwest to throw me a curveball in the midst of the seasons too. Snow in April? It happens. 50 degrees in the summer, been there too). Even if there are particular characteristics of each season that I can get sick of real quick (Namely the cold, because ain’t nobody got time for that), I have still quietly liked the newness that each season brings. But I’m here. Missing the changes in the leaves & the changes in my heart. I feel ashamed of myself. But I also am learning just how much I appreciate what I am missing. I’m learning that sometimes our fantasies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. I’m learning that a life of the same thing all the time can get a little dull, regardless of how good it is. & I’m learning that if I were in Hawaii or the Caribbean this might be a completely different story 😉

With all this said, although I am dreading the long, cold, bitter winter that awaits us in North Dakota, I am looking forward to the change. I’m looking forward to returning to the Midwest that raised me. I’m looking forward to utilizing the fall/winter wardrobe I spent the last year building. & I’m looking forward to making the most of this next season of our lives, despite how the weather looks or feels outside.

digital camera for the win

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If there ever is a cure for homesickness, I would have to say it’s going home. I’m still weaning off the emotional high from spending a weekend in the greater Chicagoland area for one of our best friend’s wedding. The weekend was jam-packed with family, friends, & late nights with little sleep. & it was exactly what I’ve been needing. My heart has been aching for community with loved ones for so long, & I finally got it. I was a little fearful going into the weekend that spending time at home would just make me miss it all the more, & although some pieces of me wish we could be there more often or for longer, I’ve walked away from it filled up. It was the fix I needed to be able to come back to California & face this next season of life with new hope. I can’t thank Jesus enough for knowing the desires of my heart & bringing them to fruition more than I ever dreamed.

The coolest way we saw that unfold was through our journey to Chicago. Initially we weren’t supposed to get in until midnight Friday night, but due to an unexpected course of events Adam’s schedule was changed up with his training & we were able to leave sooner. We left Santa Barbara at the glorious time of 5:45 AM with two hours of sleep under our belts & got into Chicago at 2:30 PM. With this change my cousin Jordi was able to bring along her son Lukas & my mom to pick us up from the airport. We were able to get lunch & not-so-coincidentally run into other family when we did so. Getting in early meant that we were able to attend the wedding rehearsal, which was a pretty big deal since Adam was the best man & I was able to fulfill my apparently hidden calling of being a wedding coordinator. We were able to go to dinner & spend extra time with our friends & their families. Adam was able to be a part of a last minute mini-bachelor party bonfire with the guys & stay the night with his soon-to-be-married best friend. & I was able to stay up extra late with Jordi while we ate way too many pumpkin rice Krispy treats & talked all about life. We were able to do all of this all because we bumped up our flight to earlier in the day (which happened to not even cost us any additional money). To that I just say “Thank you Jesus!” It was an incredible, unexpected gift to us (& I’m still slightly obsessed with how perfect it all was).

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Because I knew that this weekend was going to be of utmost quality, I wanted to be able to come away from it with pictures & memories that were of equal worth. I brought along my Canon Powershot that sits the shelf far more than I would like it to & made myself a promise that I would utilize it more often than I used my iPhone. Back in high school, & even through much of college, my camera went everywhere with me. It was what I used to capture some of the best memories. But as smart phones have been taking over the world, they have become more convenient & practical. This was my fear when my dad handed me my iPhone 4s for Christmas a few years ago. I was afraid that the smart phone would replace all of the other pieces of technology I already owned. & that fear proved to be true. Slowly over time my iPod became outdated & insignificant. My camera became inconvenient & forgotten. I’d tell myself that I would want to use them, but then it would slip my mind as I walked out the door. All I needed was my phone. & to be honest with you, I don’t like the sound of that. I don’t believe that one man-made thing is capable of fulfilling all of my needs, or wants, in the best ways possible. Yes, my phone can take some nice pictures. But it can’t replace the crisp, clear image that my Canon can capture. I decided going into this weekend that I wanted to make a change in this habit. (Especially because I finally updated to the new iOS 8 the night before we left & became furious with the many issues that it presented me. Apple made me want to rebel even more!!)

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Here’s something to emphasize my point: The picture on the left was taken with my phone. The one on the right with my camera. The difference in quality is pretty obvious, & both of these pictures were taken by someone who is used to an iPhone & not my camera. Obviously iPhones have the capability to take great photos when everything is just right, but if my camera can take even better pictures with even less effort, I think that has a more promising result.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my iPhone. Probably far more than I should. But I don’t want to be ruled by it. I don’t want it to be the end all be all of the technology in my life. If I have a nice, quality camera, then I want to use it. If I have an iPod that holds all of my music instead of my phone that can just hold some of it, then I want to use that instead. If I have a laptop that makes typing & browsing easier, why not use that instead of my phone that makes things in smaller print & makes me feel like I have a chronic spelling problem. & when it comes down to the heart of the matter, I want to be able to set them all aside & still be content without any of it glued to my hand. When did it become acceptable to be ruled by our technology instead of our technology being ruled by us?

I want to make a change in this. I want to avoid shortcuts to get sub-par photos. I want to rediscover my interest in photography through the use of my camera. & more than anything I want to look down less, & live life more often.

the purge: tips for minimizing your wardrobe

You wake up in the morning & look into your closet & just stare. You see a closet stuffed with clothes, yet in the sea of shirts, sweaters, & dresses you find that you have nothing to wear. Bring on the feelings of frustration at not having anything you like enough to wear, feelings of insecurity as you try on 10 different outfits only to settle on one that feels a little less “meh” than the others, & feelings of guilt at how you have wasted money on clothes that you’ve maybe worn once or twice. We’ve all been there.

It was mornings like these that brought me to a point where I just didn’t want to feel those feelings anymore. I want to be able to look into my closet & be satisfied with the clothes that I see. I want to be able to pick out an outfit that I feel comfortable & confident in every single day. & back in May I discovered a way to achieve this…or at least work towards achieving this. My eyes were opened to the option to minimize my wardrobe so that I could get rid of all of the clothes that made me feel lousy, insecure, or antsy when I wore them & leave the pieces that I wouldn’t mind grabbing on any given day. There’s the doubt that might be creeping into your mind that says “how can getting rid of clothes solve my problem of having nothing to wear?” & here’s the thing: if you purge out the unwanted & unnecessary items, you’ll remove the roadblocks that stand in the way of your key item pieces. It clears up your vision & frees up your mind to come up with an outfit easier. Does this mean that you might have less to wear? Yeah, it does. But if quantity over quality has led you to a state of “nothing to wear,” then clearly it’s not working out. If you like an outfit, why not wear it more often? If you don’t like a piece of clothing, then why keep it in your closet? These realizations & ideas inspired me. So much so that when we moved into our apartment I couldn’t wait to unpack all of my clothes so that I could go through them & get rid of them.

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THE PROCESS

I set aside some time one afternoon/evening to go through everything in my closet & dresser. I started with my closet, took everything out & tried on every single piece of clothing – tops, sweaters, dresses, & t-shirts (this one was a big feat because I have a lot of them & have fond memories attached to most of them). I even tried on the clothes that I was pretty sure I would be keeping, because I didn’t want some emotional attachment to blind my vision of what the clothes actually looked like. As I went through each piece I asked myself a lot of questions to determine if it was something I really wanted to stay in my wardrobe. Does it fit? Is it too short? Too tight? Too baggy? Is it flattering to my body shape? Do I feel comfortable in it? Do I feel confident in it? How often do I wear it? When was the last time I wore it? Can I see myself wearing this in the near future? Does it work with the other clothes in my closet? Do I honestly like it? Or am I just tolerating it?

As I answered these questions, I found some pieces were easier to figure out than others. Some were an immediate no. Those ended up in a pile on the floor. Some were a definite yes. Those ended up back on a hanger. Then there were the maybes. The ones that I was still questioning; The ones that I thought might not be a necessity, but I was still attached to; The ones that I thought might be able to be worked into other outfits; The ones that don’t exactly fit me anymore, but could if I stayed committed to working out and losing a few pounds. I took the maybes and put them back on a hanger, but put them in a separate spot in the closet to revisit. I continued on to my dresser & followed the same procedure with my jeans, my shorts, my sweatpants, my socks & intimates, & even my bathing suits. I continued on to my accessories (scarves, belts, jewelry, shoes). I didn’t want to keep anything that was unnecessarily taking up space. By the time I finished trying on everything, I had a pretty massive pile on the floor of items that were no longer going to be a part of what I wore. Then I revisited the maybes. I tried them all on once again. There were some pieces that I was now able to give a more clear answer to. Then there were still some that I wasn’t so sure. The ones that still didn’t have a definite answer I put back along with the yesses. I had future plans (that I’m also very excited to share with you soon!) for these pieces to see if they were worth keeping, so until then I would keep them with the good stuff. (As an update though, I have continued to get rid of a piece here or there as the weeks have gone by as I have settled on a final decision about the piece. So I’m still getting rid of things on a weekly basis). I turned to the giant pile on my floor and sorted through it to create a sell pile, a donate pile, and a trash pile. Then I boxed up the sell & donate piles to follow up with on another day & threw the trash items into the trash (those pieces included items that were either damaged, or unable to be donated). Then I rested peacefully that night knowing I just accomplished a great deal (& had my own fun doing it too).

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THE TIPS

So after going through a total purge of my wardrobe, I’m here to share some of the tips I picked up while dwindling down the things that no longer belong.

1. Try on EVERYTHING. If you’re willing to commit to a complete wardrobe overhaul, you should go through & try on everything. & I mean everything. I went through my tops & t-shirts, my jeans & sweatpants, my socks & other intimates, my shoes & accessories. I went through it all. There is no reason to keep anything that is never being worn & is unnecessarily taking up space. It’s also unreasonable to hang on to clothes that don’t fit right, or that you don’t even really like that much. Not only are these pieces physically taking up space, but they’re also adding to the mass amounts of stuff that you have to choose from every day. These are the things that can cloud your vision when you’re trying to decide what to wear that can make you feel like you have nothing to wear when staring at a full dresser & closet.

2. Question everything. What I mean by this is really think about each piece in your wardrobe. Ask yourself some targeted questions to help make decisions about whether or not an item is worthy of staying in your closet. Here are the questions I mentioned before that I found myself asking as I went through every item in my wardrobe:

Does it fit? Is it too short? Too tight? Too baggy?
Is it flattering to my body shape?
Do I feel comfortable in it?
Do I feel confident in it?
How often do I wear it? When was the last time I wore it?
Can I see myself wearing this in the near future?
Does it work with the other clothes in my closet?
Do I honestly like it? Or am I just tolerating it?

Sometimes we get so used to the clothes in our closet that we don’t really think about how we actually feel about them. Asking yourself these questions can help narrow down where the problems are with your clothes. & they help to determine whether or not a piece is really worth keeping. Plus, as a bonus, they can help you pinpoint what looks you actually like.

3. Be honest with yourself. From the get-go it’s important to approach this task with the right mindset, otherwise you may end up justifying a lot and not accomplish the goal you set out to achieve. We have a lot of those items that we hang on to just because. They may have sentimental meaning. We may have had it a long time & aren’t quite ready to part with it. We may have just bought it last week & feel like we need to put it to use. We may have received it as a gift, but feel bad getting rid of it. There may be the pieces that we really love, but they just don’t fit like they used to (thanks a lot stupid dryer!). If you’re not honest with yourself when you’re answering the questions from number two, you’re not going to have a very successful purge. You’ll just end up justifying why you should hang on to things. If you’re serious about purging, then you need to blunt with yourself. It can be painful to see so much go out the window, but it can really help release your attachment to things that take up too high of a spot on your priority list.

4. Be systematic. This may just stem from my naturally organized personality, but having a method to your madness & sticking to it can significantly help you plow through this task more quickly & efficiently.

5. Set aside time for it. If you are going to go through every item in your wardrobe, odds are it’s going to take awhile. I found it best to try to do it in one sitting so I could stay focused & motivated. If you don’t have large chunks of time to spare, break it up. Maybe tackle your shirts one afternoon, then visit your pants on another, and the rest on another. But at least devote some chunk of time so that you can stay focused on the task at hand.

6. Phone a friend. If you need some help deciding on some pieces (especially those pesky maybes), having someone there to give you an outsiders opinion can be beneficial. I had the convenience of my husband to ask what he thought of a piece I was unsure about. (Extra Credit marriage tip: the other plus side to having a hubs to ask is finding out what he likes on you so that your wardrobe is not only satisfying to you, but appealing to him.) You can also ask a roommate, family member, or friend that is willing to be honest (yet loving) with you to help.

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As tough as it was to make so many decisions, I was really happy with the outcome of my wardrobe purge. It has freed up a lot of space in my closet & drawers, as well as in my mind. I got rid of a lot of unnecessary stuff that I didn’t need ruining my mornings anymore. & I feel a lot better about the clothes I have to choose from now. I would rather have a wardrobe made up of fewer quality, favored pieces, than one made up of mass amounts of less appealing, not-so-likable items. I would rather wear my favorite shirts throughout my days and be happy, comfortable, & confident, than suck it up when I wear a below average outfit in order to justify the amount of items I have in my closet. We should all be wearing things that we love & feel great in. & we should all be doing that all the time.


If you want further inspiration for minimizing your wardrobe, I would highly recommend checking out Un-Fancy. Caroline’s capsule wardrobe & outfit ideas are definitely worth checking out. This is hands down the blog that I look most forward to seeing each day. It has given me such significant inspiration in my minimizing process. I haven’t quite committed to a capsule wardrobe yet, but I see it being a definite possibility in my future.

So what about you guys? Do have any tips or tricks that you’ve discovered to help purge your wardrobe?