It is just over a year into my journey creating REID MILLER Apparel, and the breakneck pace to bring IT into existence has given way to a more patient and longer-term diligence. With this shift, I came to the realization that it was time for some dedicated space for my work. Like a turtle carrying it’s home, I have been packing REID MILLER Apparel into bike bags and pedaling like a nomad to different work locations. As I attempted to polish up the branding or spoof up the website I realized that I was working without any inspirational images to guide me. As a boot-strapping entrepreneur, moving into a fancy studio space is not one of my options, so I decided to look for a live-work space.
I’m sure most all of you have experienced the exhilarating and heart-breaking quest to find the right spot. To maintain some feeling of control over the crazy and often arbitrary lottery that is the search for a place to live/work, I turned my attention to a major purge of my belongings. I realized, here I am, writing to you about stylish wardrobe staples, with a closet packed with random assortments of items that I don’t wear, don’t go with each other or with any version of my current self. The more I think about this, the more I see it play out, in my desk, in my jewelry, in my pantry, wherever I look. I am a person who CANNOT STAND throwing things away, so I instead carry around outdated, broken, useless bits and pieces, which unbeknownst to myself have been weighing me down.
I imagine my new space, beautifully decorated with lots of light & plants and a modest number of well-organized, high quality, personal and professional items. As I plotted how to transform my current situation into the beautiful, balanced space which is to serve as my launch-pad, I remembered that my mom had told me about Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”. At the time I was resistant to what I assumed was sugar coating a miserable task: facing all my crap and figuring out what to do with it. And oh man, am I now on the bandwagon. This process has blown my mind. It asks you to take real dedicated time to connect with what you own and determine whether it is still serving you, whether it brings you joy and if it represents the person you want to share with the world each day.
For anyone feeling stuck in their life, this is hugely energizing. To briefly review Marie Kondo’s concept, you spend quiet, focused time with each item you own to determine whether it brings you joy and serves you. I could go on a whole tangent on the questions this brought up about who the heck am I and letting go of old, outdated concepts of myself I’ve apparently been holding onto. But I will spare you this navel gazing and instead share an unexpected revelation I had. When I removed from the clothing pile the things that no longer brought me joy (or maybe never did) I realized that in holding onto them, I had allowed my beautiful, high quality things to be buried and ill cared for among them.
I was startled by this. Here I am making beautiful things for people to treasure and I am completely neglecting the beautiful things that others have made that have faithfully clothed me for many years. They have been in balls on a dusty shelf, shoved in the back of a dresser, or permanently cycling in and out of laundry piles. And it shows. So my major take-away from this whole process: I am vowing to love and care for the belongings which bring me joy and accompany me through life. As part of my weekly writing, I am going to include tips I pick up on how to love the hell out of your quality, extremely lovable clothing, so it lasts, and brings you joy for years to come. Stay tuned for Part II of the Sweater Series: Loving the hell out of your wool sweater.