LIVING WITH LESS, LITTLE BY LITTLE

Over the past four years, I’ve made it a habit to clean out my room and re-assess my belongings before welcoming the new year. This blog is a little late (as I have been swamped with work and school papers), but trust me, the decluttering process has been consistent. Going through tons of stuff, clothing and shoes has made me wince at the fact that not all the purchases I made were wise ones to begin with. I thought that by investing in affordable pieces, I was winning but one thing I’ve proven—you really get what you pay for.

SHOES
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I don’t want to speak in general because I’ve met a lot of practical girls, but don’t we somehow dream at least once in our lives to have a roomful of beautiful shoes? I don’t  want to put the blame on Imelda Marcos but I’d say her collection has influenced me as a young teenager, to have as many shoes as I want. Heels, flats, mules, sandals in different colors and fabrics. Back then, I thought “I’ll use my own money anyway, so this is totally okay.” When I began working and got my own salary, I let my little obsession run loose—I bought about two pairs every month.

28936_119594764740179_4708811_nAt that time, Janylin had effectively positioned itself as a Filipino shoe brand that produces high quality, beautifully-designed footwear that stands the test of time. Of course, each pair would cost around P2,500-3,500. Quite hefty if you were to compare it to the price mark of other department store brands at that time. Payless Shoe Source then, wasn’t also that big yet in the Philippines.

A year or two later, I noticed that most of the shoes and bags I purchased from department stores easily disintegrated. The material flaked and peeled off and the colors faded. And I thought I was such a smart shopper. I ended up having to reinforce the footwear by taking them to Mr. Quickie. The repairs were quite costly (if compounded) because Mr. Quickie doesn’t scrimp on the quality of their work and the replacement parts. I computed the cost of the shoes + cost of repair/reinforcement and ended up realizing that the overall cost was enough to buy a new pair. One thing I can say though—compared to my other shoes, my Janylin heels have stood the test of time. The leather doesn’t disintegrate. If you wear them regularly though, it would help to put a rubber install lining and have the heel bottoms replaced to make them last longer.

I now only have about half of the number of shoes I used to own. While I still keep my key colors: black, white, nude, pink, blue, green and purple (these are easy to mix and match with my wardrobe), I am no longer inclined to purchase many of the same kind. What I discovered last year is that, I ENJOY SNEAKERS and low wedges! Oh my goodness. If you know me from way back, you’re probably familiar with my love for high heels and stilettos. I still get to wear them for events from time to time BUT only for a few hours. SERIOUSLY GUYS. Ang sakit sa likod. You also don’t get to walk as freely because there’s that fear of slipping or tripping and when that happens—good luck with that sprain.

CLOTHES

P1030536-001Girls have tons of options when it comes to clothing. Clothing is truly one of the biggest industries worldwide and even if you’re not that much into fashion, it is inevitable that you will buy clothes. Of course you have your basic, everyday casual wear, work clothes, something for sports and recreation and then there are those for special occasions. While fashion has always been an interest, I was never obsessed with luxury brands and I have my grandmother and mother to thank for that.

1 Peter 3:3 says that the beauty of a woman should not come from outward adornment. While there isn’t anything wrong with wanting to look good and be presentable, as believers it is important to check on our motives. Do we call attention to ourselves, giving more importance to the outer appearance than our soul and character? Ashamed as I am to admit this, back then, I used fashion to make myself stand out. I wanted to be known for my sense of style. The opinions of people fed my ego but the opinion of my God, I didn’t give much importance to. 😦

I did make a lot of impulsive purchases and sadly, the items may have been affordable but they did not stand the test of time. I let these items appeal to my ego and senses that I didn’t even pause to scrutinize the quality and wearability, and if these would cause others to stumble. As I got deeper in my relationship with God, I learned to include Him whenever I would pick clothes:

“If I wear/buy this Lord, will I call unnecessary attention to myself?”

“Do I really need to spend this huge amount for this?”

“Will it be honoring to You, if I wore this Lord?”

I also found myself getting rid of a lot of things every time I would declutter. I realized that I gathered so much but really, when I die I don’t get to bring any of them because they will only be left behind.

Nowadays, when I shop for clothes, I look at the fit, comfort, color, quality and wearability. I’m not so much a fan of “one time-wear” clothing. I like mixing and matching. The key to practical shopping, I’ve learned, is to choose items which you can wear multiple times in different ways. It’s good to have a balance of basic colors and prints in your wardrobe. Dresses in solid colors can be easily worn with different jackets and shawls, and can even be used as tops for your skirts. I usually buy my basic dresses off the rack, but for prints I’ve discovered the joy of having them custom-made. I pick and buy the tela myself and have them sewn into designs/patterns that I like. Another bonus: since it’s not mass-produced, the mananahi works on it with so much care and attention to detail.

Anyone else here who’s done some decluttering and minimizing? What are some of the things you’ve realized? What changes have you made so far? Let me know through the comments or send me a PM on Facebook. See you guys soon! Have a blessed week!

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