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eBay addiction and decluttering

I’ve been totally addicted to eBay lately.  Buying and selling, at least, but I think I have spent a lot more than I made.  Which, for an unemployed person, is not a good idea.  In the last week or so I have purchased a houndstooth check skirt, grey handbag, two jersey cardigans, and a canvas blazer.  At least I have immediate uses and plans for all of these things, but since in reality I am still sitting at the computer in my bathrobe most of the time, it seems foolish to buy more clothes.  I suppose the next thing to work on is developing a habit of getting dressed properly every morning.

As part of the Xmas-Graduation cleaning frenzy, however, I have managed to make some progress on organizing the house.  I managed to persuade DH to sort through a lot of his random stuff, eliminating the boxes that have been under his desk ever since we moved in.  I put all the CDs in an old suitcase in the closet so that I could use the bookshelf for actual books, and I put the file sorter on the wall.  It looks a little strange, hanging there empty, but I also found that it holds the netbook and ithingy quite well, so I may revamp it into a sort of charging station.

I’ve also been spending a ridiculous amount of time looking at style blogs.  Not really in the sense of finding out what is trendy, but in looking at what other people have worn and thinking of ways to adapt it to suit my style and body.  This includes a lot more navel-gazing and trying to identify the sort of image I want to project and the clothes that can make that happen.  It seems like a really frivolous exercise, but really, appearance is such a huge component of communication that it is a worthwhile investment.  For a fat lady like me, it is even more important to counteract the stereotypes of being slovenly and undisciplined.  Which I kinda am, in some ways, but not in the ways that count.

What I have found, though, is that I really don’t have a single “taste”.  I like elements of all kinds of styles, although I still gravitate toward the goth/tailored side of things.  Last week I sorted through my closet and pulled out everything that doesn’t really fit me and put it aside, then I rated everything that was left as “like it”, “ok”, “don’t like”.  I wound up with about 40 things that I actually like to wear, almost all of which are t-shirts and jeans, and mostly green, blue, or black.  The styles are all over the place, but mostly either very casual or basic, or very business-like.  I suppose my next phase of evaluation should be to work out how to incorporate the business-like stuff into a more casual lifestyle without feeling silly.

And I also really need to figure out what my actual wardrobe holes are, rather than randomly buying stuff that appeals to me.

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Results of a shopping frenzy

I’ve gone a little bit nuts lately.  My latest acquisitions are a funky leather bag, a black satin jacket, a striped long sleeved t shirt, grey wrap top, and a funky black and white gingham blouse.  I’ve also bought dark red heels, “greige” heels, and now cowboy boots.  I guess this week I’d better post some more stuff on eBay.

There is still no real plan to my shopping frenzy, though.  I think I will revisit my closet analysis and the “rules” for my body shape and see if I can come up with an actual plan for what to acquire and what to purge.  At present I lack a goal beyond looking less dowdy and frumpy and unkempt.  Which is not really a very useful goal.  Perhaps I should work on constructing wardrobe capsules for all of the events I have found myself at in the last few years, and try to come up with something that I feel good in.

Thoughts about organizing

My desk really drives me nuts.  I feel surrounded by things that I can’t really put anywhere else because there is just no place to put them.  Lately I have been on a drive to purge things, but it occurred to me this morning as I was looking around wondering what other bits of furniture I could make or buy to organize to help fit more stuff on my desk that the fundamental problem, really, is the more stuff.  Half of the things on my desk are not actually things that I use frequently, they are just things that somehow fit into the “desk” category and so they always get put here.  But many of them could be stored somewhere else and only accessed when needed, and then I would have more places to put the things that are always piled up and crammed here and there because they don’t have a proper home.  All the books, for example — they have been sitting here waiting for me to read them for months.  Why don’t I put them on the shelf and just get them out when I want them?  Ah, yes, because the shelf is full of things that I really never look at, like CDs.  You know, self, most of those have been ripped to your hard disk.  Why not rip the remaining ones and put them all in a box and store them out of the way?  And perhaps even put the ones that aren’t in special packaging of some kind into a wallet?  Then  you would have two whole empty shelves to put books on.  And an empty desktop.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

And how about the stuff on the floor?  Why don’t you put the file sorter on the wall, like you originally planned, and put some kind of decorative folders in it for your stuff?  There are hundreds of tutorials for making your own folders out there.

Do you really need to have more little shelves so that you can pile more books around you?  I think this behavior of yours probably encourages the lazy, fed-up-ness that causes you to pile things all around you instead of putting them away.  That and not having easy places to put things away in the first place.  You know that is key to organizing — everything should have a designated place and should be accessible when it comes time to put it away.

Just by looking around the room I can see several places where this principle could be applied.  Recycling bins of some kind, which are easily transported downstairs, would be a big help.  Perhaps even a few baskets designated for the purpose of carrying things into the room where they belong.  The box files could be covered with new paper and labelled appropriately.  I could find a purpose for the triangular shelf besides just sitting there looking like it should be important.  DH’s papers could be filed into an organized box.  The mystery boxes under his desk should be cleaned out, too.  My own tidbits of information and so on should either be tossed or collected in a single binder.  Random decorative items could be organized into some kind of coherent display.  Posters and maps should be framed so that they look like art rather than stuck to the wall with blu-tack.  The magnetic memo strips should be moved someplace where they can actually be useful, rather than just being a home for random magnets.  I could move the drawers out from under the desk and put them along the wall.  I could move the filing cabinet next to my desk and get a dresser for DH.  There are lots of things I could do to make this space less cluttered and more functional.  And I really think it is time to do it, because my brains feel cluttered at this point.

Above all, it’s time to purge, purge, purge.

Absolutely stunning!

Why is so much stuff on eBay described as “stunning” or “absolutely stunning”?  I’m sorry but there just isn’t that much in this life that is truly stunning to me.  A used t-shirt from Asda is definitely not stunning.  Not even a fancy leather jacket from Harrod’s is particularly stunning.  Nice, cute, even gorgeous in some cases, but in general I’m not that enthusiastic about my clothes.  Especially not when they are used items bought at auction.

Lost an auction.

Well, I lost the auction for the jacket that I hemmed and hawed about for so long. But there are more and similar jackets up for sale now, so I will keep my eyes peeled. Velvet could also work but it’s not as suitable for summer.

Thinking about a black satin jacket

There’s yet another thing on eBay that I am contemplating buying: a black satin blazer.  It’s a bit tuxedo-style but all satin, with long sleeves.  I’m hesitating because I am cheap, but I also feel like it might be a worthwhile item to fill a few holes in my wardrobe, so I am going to brainstorm some possible ways that I might wear it.

First, this could be a suitable alternative to the elusive bolero jacket.  I like the idea of a bolero and I have been looking for one that I like for several years, but there are a few things that have stopped me taking the plunge.  The biggest problem is the cropped length.  It’s just not that flattering on a fat lady, and when I have seen large women wearing tie-front shrugs and boleros over long t-shirts I have thought that it just wasn’t a great look.  Conventional boleros and shrugs often have sleeves that are either short and puffy or the dreaded 3/4 length, so this jacket I am looking at would be a bit different because it has proper long sleeves.  Normally when I am looking for a jacket to wear with a formal dress it’s because I anticipate being cold, so it would make sense to have a jacket that can actually provide warmth.  I am a tiny bit self-conscious about my flabby arms but it’s not actually my main consideration.  Many of the boleros and shrugs I have seen are made of very sheer material because their primary function is to provide a sense of coverage, rather than shelter from the elements.

Ok, so, having convinced myself that this jacket would be a suitable alternative to the shrug, can I come up with several situations in which I might wear such an item?  The obvious application is formal events.  So, would I have worn this jacket to any of the events I have been to in the last few years, when I wore a dowdy cardigan and wished I had something better?  This is a resounding yes.  This jacket would have gone very well with the grey dress and the yellow dress, and I could have worn it with a different dress altogether for J&M’s wedding and looked much more presentable.  For the upcoming holidays, it would go well with jeans and heels, or perhaps with the red or grey dresses.  I could wear it with jeans or a skirt to the pub.  It would make most of my blah tops look fancier for parties and going out.

What specific items could I wear it with?  Well, it could go with either dark blue or grey jeans and the black twist-front top.  I could wear it with the grey chiffon dress or the LBD.  I might even be able to wear it with the black jersey maxi skirt.  This exercise makes me think that I need different clothes, however.  Like perhaps a more casual dress that is still made from suitably fancy material that it can be worn to a party, and some other nice-looking but plain casual tops.  And some genuine blouses.  I suppose these are the bane of my (fashion) existence at the moment, and the primary reason for really cleaning out my closet, so it’s not surprising to find these kinds of holes.

So, the verdict? Yes, I should keep bidding on this jacket.  And perhaps set a limit up to £10.

The fashion gods smiled on me yesterday

So, my quest for a new pair of jeans has been ongoing for a few months now, and I recently got it into my head that I wanted more decent boots.  An unplanned shopping trip yesterday has finally yielded results in both categories!

I realized the other day that my flat black leather boots have really been an incredible bargain, because I wear them all the time.  They were especially good in the snow and ice last winter, and have been remarkably durable.  Probably if I had actually kept track of how many times I have worn them their cost of wear would be practically zero.  And in the last few months I have been increasingly attracted to grey stuff, and stuff with a bit of an edge.  So I have been on the lookout for a pair of boots in either of these categories. Yesterday I found a pair that is pretty much the same as my black boots in construction and material, but they are shorter, grey, and have some funky details.  In reality I could do without the studs and the chains, but the chains are easily removed and I like the buckled straps.

On the jeans front, I found a pair of grey, vaguely stripey boot cuts in a nice feeling fabric for a bargain price.  They are not quite the ideal jeans but they at least are not too big and too short like my other surviving pairs.  So that’s at least one wardrobe hole at least partially filled, and I can now get rid of the rest of the ill-fitting pairs without leaving myself with nothing to wear.

Other recent acquisitions that I am very pleased with are the “greige” heels that I got for £6 including postage which have turned out to be proper leather and have integrated Insolia insoles, and a very cute grey suede jacket for £16.  And I have my eye on a pair of nice leather cowboy-ish boots at Tesco of all places.  I had enough unused vouchers to trade in that I could get them for a little bit over half price, but I still haven’t quite decided whether to get them or not.  I’d better decide soon, though, or else they will be out of stock.

All these purchases and thinking about my closet leaves me better able to get rid of some things that have been hanging around for a while, though.  Things like the stretchy suede-effect boots, the plastic boots, the sandals that I bought in the wrong size before I realized what the right size was, the heels that are too high, the pleather jacket, the brownish blazer, the too-long suit jacket, and various tops and trousers that I never wear.  I’ve also decided that there is no reason to keep wearing socks that are not that comfortable simply because they don’t have any holes.  So I have been purging these, too.  Right now they are just piled up in the corner but the things that are worth trying to sell have been posted on eBay, and I’m going to bag up all the other stuff and take it to one of the charity shops soon.  There are one or two items that I may hold onto and see if Mom or AR can wear them, but if not I will take those away to the charity shop too.

My goals are not clearly formulated at this point, but I really would like a wardrobe that is much more effortless and causes less angst.  So I’d like to be able to get dressed for a variety of events without all the current problems that plague me, like not having the right bra for a particular dress or not having an appropriate pair of shoes for the weather conditions.  And then there are the emotional issues that are tied to various items, like feeling too fat to wear X or feeling that everything is frumpy and ugly.  I’ll have to work on refining this stuff in the next few weeks as I continue to work on my closet project.