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Dear Mushka,

Capsule Wardrobe: How & Why I do It

Why:

I don't drink alcohol, in part, because addiction runs viciously through my veins. For years, I fought a sugar addiction and just when I thought I had it mastered (face palm) God showed me a new one: Add to cart, add to cart, add to cart. An addiction to new, to the anticipation of something fun in the mail, to fleeting sparkle this world has to offer.

And so one April I gave up buying clothes for the month. It sounded easy, but proved to be embarrassingly hard, and left me changed. I've been trying out this "capsule wardrobe" idea for the last year, not to limit the amount of clothes I have in my closet, but to limit the amount of impulse buys I purchase for a quick burst of joy.

It's been challenging and rewarding and really really sweet. God is so ready to step in with his deep fulfillment as soon as we leave room, y'all.

What I do:

1. As we're exiting a season, the first thing I do is go through my clothes to remove anything I didn't wear or don't see myself wearing again. Pilling sweaters, jeans I couldn't sit in (because please), cute jackets I never once put on, etc. I also make a mental note of what worked and didn't work this season. Stretchy jeans and warm tops were a win, cardigans without buttons actually got in my way. I'll remember this for next year. Check.

2. Then I look at my clothes for the upcoming season. Are there items I know I won't wear? (Donate). What gaps do I realistically have?

We seem to have a tendency to buy clothes for an imaginary life. For example: "I'll wear this at Spring weddings or out walking on the beach!” Which is great if you actually have weddings to go to this Spring or plan to be walking out on the beach frequently. But for me, I may attend one wedding? And we have a total of 7 beach days planned this year. So one appropriate outfit will do it :)

3. With my actual clothing gaps, I make a list and set out to find those items within a week or two. My goal with a capsule wardrobe isn't to have this tiny little closet where only 31 pieces are allowed; it's to cut myself off from freely purchasing whenever the urge strikes. 

So March 1-15 I can grab what I need for Spring. And then, unless something vital rips over the next few months, no more clothing purchases. Which is so freeing! I don't need to glance at Target's new pieces, I don't need to pursue fashion bloggers Instagram accounts, which constantly beckon me to buy more.

I. Am. Fine. 

My Seasons: 

Spring- March through May. I focus on tees, loose bottoms (linen pants are a favorite of mine), dresses, and warm weather shoes. 

Summer- June through August. I focus on tanks, shorts, and bathing suits.  

Fall- September through November. I focus on long sleeved tops, jeans, and cold weather shoes. 

Winter- December through February. I focus on sweaters, outerwear, and things like leggings.

Where I shop:

I get 99% of my clothes from one of two places.

The first is ThredUP. I love ThredUP for a few reasons (not sponsored, by the way). 

I value ethical shopping, but I have a hard time finding companies within my price range or style. So an alternative way for me to ethically shop is to buy secondhand. I used to shop at Goodwill, but this isn’t practical with two little ones and honestly, it was getting harder for me to find pieces I really loved there.

But on ThredUp I can search specific brands I know I love, and then narrow down by item type, color, size, price, etc. It makes the search really easy! "Madewell chambray tank." Check! 

Prices are usually a good deal, though occasionally I’ll think “I could definitely get this item for less money at the store on a big sale.” But then, of course, it wouldn't be secondhand :)

I’ve learned that it’s just not worth it to keep pieces I don’t love so when my products come, I try them on with a critical eye. If it isn’t a 100% fit, back it goes. They now have a $2 restocking fee per item, but that’s worth it for me not to have an item hanging in my closet I’m not ever going to enjoy wearing. Just this month I ordered 6 things and returned 2 because they weren't perfect. 

Overall, it's a great experience. I definitely recommend at least browsing if you haven't before! 

Pro tip: If you like an item, add it to your cart ASAP and then decide if you want to buy. Items can stay in your cart for 24 hours before someone else has a chance to snag it! 

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The second place I shop is an online clothing boutique called August Cloth.

I originally began shopping from August Cloth because my friend, Crystal, started the company. And I'm always going to support my friends :) But I quickly saw the value of buying from a clothing boutique vs a big box store.

For one, the clothes are beautifully hand picked by one girl. If I like the first five things she releases, I'm probably going to like it all because the same eye is approving of and offering the items. It’s like a specially curated closet to choose from!

She's a real life mom of three (almost four!), business owner, wife, church goer etc. Her life looks like mine in many ways so we’re looking for the same type of clothes. Easy, modest, versatile, comfortable, cute. I don't have to sift through a lot to find a winner... I love almost everything. 

Additionally, the clothes are just a higher quality than what I was grabbing from Target or Old Navy. Their detailing is just a little extra, the materials are luxurious, and the fit is more flattering. People always comment when I wear a top from August Cloth. "That sweater is adorable, where is it from?" Because the products are noticeably special. And if I'm not going to be shopping all year long, I want my buys to feel like wins. 

Bonus: Everything comes packaged in a way that makes me feel special. The whole experience feels like a treat and I love knowing my purchases are supporting a family running this Kingdom race as hard as they can! 

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Okay, one more extra place I shop... Dear Mushka. Ha! But truly, I only choose and design tees for the shop that I actually want to wear. I always make an extra for myself; they layer well and point me back to Jesus. 

Want to hear me talk more about this? Follow along on Instastories where I'll show you my Spring picks! 

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VERSES FOR GOSPEL-CENTERED GOALS

Have a lifetime or short-term goal to love God, His people, and His mission more deeply?  

Here are some pieces & verses to help encourage your heart along this year!

For Prayer:

Assist

Daughter

Eclipsed

Encounter

For Bible Reading:

Dawn 

Honey

Seed

Storm

For a Purposeful Life Dedicated to Christ: 

Aim

Crescent

Goodness

Puff

For a Controlled Tongue:

Cheer

Salt

For Marriage & Children:

Harvest

Gentleness

Self-Control

Knot

For a Mindset Shift:

Befitting

Conqueror

Lantern

Timber

Verb

For a Reminder to Look to Jesus in Hard Seasons:

Among

Ladder

Laden

Net

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LIFETIME GOALS: HOW TO MAKE & WORK TOWARDS THEM

So often, we make short term goals for our new year without looking multiple steps ahead to see where those goals are going to take us. Five years ago, at the encouragement of a spiritual mentor, I made ten lifetime goals instead. Rather than thinking about what I wanted to have done by the end of the year, I started looking back on my life from the very end. What sort of woman did I want to become? Which accomplishments mattered the most to me? What did I want to be known for? What was God directing me towards?
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After all, the Bible is full of encouragement for us to live intentional lives.

In Proverbs, King Solomon gives us encouragement on making plans: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance" -Proverbs 21:5 & “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure." -Proverbs 4:26

Jesus came with a clear goal in mind: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." -Luke 19:10

After Jesus, Paul was one of the most intentional men we see in scripture. He says, "I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control…” -1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Paul also tells us in Ephesians 5:15-16 to “look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time….”

The same goes for us! We don’t want to be women who drift along year to year, spinning our wheels, running aimlessly. Instead, we want to plan noble things (Isaiah 32:8) & run fiercely towards Jesus and His Kingdom.

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To help us do this, we can pray, ponder, plan, and participate :)

#1 Pray: Ask God for specifics on how to live your days, ask him to highlight your strengths, to give you clarity as you move forward, etc. He is a God of order, intentionality, and plan; He will help you as you long to offer each day to Him!

Don't skip this step-- without it, you'll be tempted to make goals just for yourself instead of for God's Kingdom and glory. 

 

 #2 Ponder: Think through things like:

  • What dreams carry you from day to day?  
  • What gifts/ resources have you been given?
  • What excites you most?
  • At the end of your life, what do you want to have accomplished?
  • If you could listen in at your memorial service, what would you like to hear people say?

 Start brainstorming-- you'll probably start to see some themes!

#3 Plan: Create goals that fall under three categories- God, God’s people, & God’s mission.

God tells us that the greatest command is to love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (God), and then to love our neighbor as ourselves (God’s people). He also tells us to make disciples of all nations (God’s mission).

Remembering these three topics keeps us Christ-focused. It’s not that we can’t have a goal to, say, lose twenty pounds… we just want it to stay intentionally under one of these categories. Otherwise, we start making self-focused goals, which will always fail us. Losing weight just to look better? Vanity. Losing weight because we want to use the resources we've been given for God's glory (which includes caring for our bodies)? Absolutely.

Make a few goals for each topic and give each a what (the goal), a why (a verse or motivation- this part is so helpful!), and a how (an example or short-term goals).

Here's an example:

What: Become a woman of prayer, trusting that God hears & works through my prayers

Why: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." -Mark 1:35

How: Set up a prayer journal, research fasting, find time to pray out loud five minutes each day, etc

Here's another:

What: Train up my children in the ways of the Lord, joyfully pouring the gospel message into them often & actively teaching them the character of God

Why: "We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done… so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments" [Psalm 78:4,7]

How: Read the Bible during dinner, sing hymns together, pray together often, etc

We can have goals for God, the Bible, prayer, our marriage, our children, our homes, discipleship, missions, etc

Which topics jump to mind immediately? Press in there! 

 

#4 Participate: We can’t just write the goals down, we have to actually take steps forward. As one of my favorite quotes by Mary Oliver goes: "How you spend your days is, of course, how you spend your life.” 

This is where we begin to write short-term goals. Maybe this year, you want to work towards your prayer goal and your marriage goal. In January, you decide to set up a prayer journal (this might help) and go on one date with your spouse. 

Because these are lifetime goals, it's okay if you don't focus on all of them all the time. Take one bite each day, week, month, year at a time. If you continue to keep your long-term goals in mind, you'll get there. No pressure, just God-focused direction!

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I challenge you to take time this month to create five lifetime goals. If you do, e-mail me at katie@dearmushka.com-- I'd love to hear them!

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