Picture this scene – you’re looking pretty amazing in a WAY cute outfit, getting compliments left and right as you walk the halls of work, feeling like a million bucks because you LOOK like a million bucks. You sit down to lunch, still riding your “cute outfit high” and go to take a bite of that equally good looking pasta salad when – BAM - the pasta falls in slow motion and bounces off your chest and lap.
What was your reaction right then? Did you cringe in pain because you can relate or did you shake your head in agreement and think, “Been there, totally sucks!”?
I know that this has happened to all of us. When it happened to me I was wearing a new top for the first time! I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I was physically upset. I grieved the loss of that top because it had such VALUE to me.
But WHY did it have value?
Value is a tricky word/idea. Sometimes it’s easy to find the value of something because we know what others might pay for an item, but other times the value of something is only seen by us. Want an example?
Look at your fridge. Is it covered in hand drawn works of art by your kids? Are they valuable to you? Would anyone else pay you for them? See…value is tricky and subjective.
Value has been on my mind a lot lately when I think about our closets and clothing. At one point every item in there had real value because we paid money for them. Flash forward a month or a year and we are GIVING them away. Why? Because they have lost all value to us.
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if we could start to see the true value of a thing before we ever purchased it? What are you paying for anyways? A brand? A logo? A material? A feeling?
There’s this amazing cashmere sweater from J Crew that I’ve wanted for years. I first saw it in the store about 3 years ago but it was priced at around $200. Yeah, no way I’m spending that! So I watched and I watched hoping it would finally go on sale. But it never did! And when it was no longer in the store I started searching eBay for it.
Even on eBay that sweater was going for over $100! Dang!
So years go by and then suddenly one day I decide to search for that sweater again. And there it was on eBay priced at $25. I was SO excited and happy! I was finally going to purchase the sweater that would define me as a person!
And I bought it. I wore it. I liked it. I put it in a drawer and it became just another sweater in my drawers. You know where that sweater is today? In a bag going to Goodwill.
It has lost all value to me.
I say all this so that hopefully one of you will walk to your closet and see the TRUE value of it. If all your clothes burned tomorrow would it be the end of the world? Aren’t they all replaceable anyways?
I want to finish with something I heard from The Minimalist podcast in January on clothing. Joshua Fields Millburn tells a story of someone asking him the question, “As a minimalist, what is your favorite shirt, pants, and shoes?” Joshua was traveling on a book tour and had his suit case with him. He pulls out a shirt, a pair of jeans, and a pair of shoes and says, “These are I guess.”
Joshua said he had never thought of them as his favorites but he did realize that he wore them over and over and felt good in them. But by the end of the interview Joshua gave all three pieces of clothing away. Why?
Because when you give away your favorite thing, something else will step up to become your new favorite.
That story made me think of the constant cycle of “favorites” in my closet and that the term “favorite top” was a temporary status. So instead of giving away an item when it has lost all value to me, maybe I should give it away while it’s still my favorite. Wouldn’t the value of it be greater so the act of giving it away hold more…value?
I know this post a bit longer than normal and I should be ending now, but I really wanted to share something personal with my regular readers (all 30 of you). J
I’ve recently been dealing with a scary health issue, the scariest for most women actually. The fear of breast cancer. Two masses were found in my right breast and I required two biopsies. The test results were good and bad. The good news is that no invasive cancer cells were found but some questionable precancerous cells were.
So I’ll be having surgery soon to remove the area and have more testing done. I’m not overly worried because everything has been caught very early and I know I’ll be fine. My doctor is being very cautious because of my family history of breast cancer. My mom (a regular reader – love you mom!), my aunt (who passed away two years ago), and my great grandmother (who passed away in her early 30’s).
Going through this right now is probably why the idea of value is on my mind so heavily. Isn’t it funny how quickly value can shift from one thing to another once our own perspective changes? Maybe that means true value is like beauty “in the eye of the beholder”.
What is valuable to you? Go to your closet and find something valuable. Is owning it adding value to your life? Would giving it away add even more?
I told you value was a tricky thing.
My name is Misty Day (yeah, that really is my name) and I'm a normal every day person. I'm a twin, I work as an analyst, I take my daughter to Girl Scouts and swim team, I play bass guitar in a band, I love food and wine, I like new clothes, and I'm trying to be a better person.