Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I've always approached my wardrobe as something that I have to acquire--like, if I can find the perfect black skirt and other items on my list, I'll arrive at a fully functional closet.  But I'm starting to think that another way to get at the essentials in your closet--and indeed, in your life--is by deleting the extraneous.

Last week I went on a 7-day road trip by myself (although technically, my guinea pig came along . . . that's a long story in itself) partway down the Pacific Coast Highway. I found all that solitude wonderfully rejuvenating and quieting. It made me think of the line in a T.S. Eliot poem, "Distracted from distraction by distraction" and how symptomatic of modern life all that noise is. The bursting closet, the television, the internet, they all distract us from our own inattention. I suppose one purpose I have with editing down to a minimal wardrobe is to find a way to enjoy but also contain this hobby, which easily can become both consuming and trivial.

It was great to go camping in the woods and explore the back roads and small towns with each day wide open. And strange to discover that I could take away all the things that I thought would be necessary and still be perfectly fine. I didn't need a radio (stolen a few months ago in Tacoma), a locked door, or even a companion for the trip. 

But I guess I'm moving beyond the ken of this blog. Short of these existential concerns, I also realized more simply that all I needed last week was a boiled wool sweater, a long-sleeve tee shirt, and some hiking pants from The North Face. That's the beauty of traveling, I think: you take what you need with you, and you realize how very little you need.