Thursday, August 20, 2009


"Live Simply that Others May Simply Live". It's a great quote, filled with altruism that I agree with. Why do we have so many choices, so many things, so much waste, when so many people have little or none? But, I also think that we should live simply for our own good, for our own happiness and sanity. Consumption is the great pacifier but it does not truly satisfy. There are loads of popular expressions that point to this: money can't buy you love (or happiness), it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy man to pass through the gates of heaven; reduce, reuse, recycle ...

I have always felt a basic affinity with this philosophy and I have never been wealthy or over indulged materially. I go to garage sales and the goodwill, I get hand-me-downs (from clothes to furniture), I buy used cars, I make my own food and clothing. But I have gotten more middle-class as I get older and I have been a packrat and collected more and more stuff till I feel I am drowning in it.

So, I am going to start an experiment in Voluntary Simplicity. I am going to simplify my life by reducing my wardrobe choices. Specifically, I am going to choose 4 skirts and wear them for a year. I will wear various tops and I will wear socks, tights, or leg warmers if it is cold. I will wear night clothes at night and a swimsuit if that situation arises.

I hope that this will have 3 consequences. First, it will help me to appreciate what I have and not always be searching for new and everchanging things to make me happy. I think it will be fun to be creative with using and getting to know the same four items. Second, it will reduce the amount that I consume, the amount of stuff that I bring into my house. I hope it will help me get used to the idea of living with less in other areas as well. Third, it will be a conversation starter. It will be a way to promote the idea of reducing materalism - that is if anyone even notices. Maybe it will prove that people don't pay as much attention to us as we think!

Why skirts? Which skirts? I am kind of a skirt girl and if I had to give up pants or skirts I would definitely not miss pants that much. I think I can easily dress up or down in a skirt. I chose four because I wanted to keep the experiment within the realm of what would be normal in many parts of the world. Also, I love textiles and I thought it would be appropriate to represent a range of fibers. Different fibers have qualities that are suited to different conditions. I will have one that is wool, one cotton, one hemp, and one rayon. I wanted one to be silk but I don't own a silk skirt and I don't want to buy anything new for this.

In case you don't know, this is not an entirely original idea. The specifics, values and philosophy are mine but I am following in the footsteps of two other projects. I was first intriqued a couple of years ago by a project called One Brown Dress. It seemed heavenly to just know every morning that you are going to put on the same thing! Some people say "oh, yeah, that sounds great" and others say "that is horrible and disgusting"! Just that tells me that it is a worthwhile area to look at. Again, recently, I heard of The Uniform Project where a woman had several of the same black dress made and she put it with different accessories everyday to show that you can be creative within uniformity. Finally my own ideas jelled and this is the result. I hope you will follow me (or join me) in this fun journey! Tomorrow I will post the 4 skirts and Saturday I will start!


  1. Sheila,I had no idea you had a Blog! Just spotted it at the top of your Treasury. So here I am and I read every one on the page. You have a real talent for writing and I love your idea of "four skirts" I justify my bulging closets with the fact that I get them all at a thrift shop where I volunteer. I do recycle them to another store also. Love too your Blog about the weather and negative comments about it. I resolve to find something good to say about it no matter what it is. Rain, wind sun, snow! It`s all good!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. I totally want to do this Sheila- I have so many things and yet wear the same clothing over and over- bravo for you- I love this so much!