Challenge Quarterly Report: Q2 2021

AKA Challenge Update Week 26

Already six months have passed since I started my Buy No Clothes in 2021 Challenge.

As I did at the end of March of this year, I want to take a few minutes to look back at the last three months and give myself an excuse to celebrate.

Where no progress was made.

As you know by now, I am addicted to progress. I love to see things move forward, and in the configuration of my life when I got started entertaining y’all here with my daily musings, it was getting pretty hard to see much progress, but for in one very very specific area: my writing.

Funny truth: this quarter, I did not make much progress at all on my novels. Once I sent the manuscript and didn’t hear back, while I continued to write down ideas and jibs and jabs here and there, I did not assign myself chapter goals per week this quarter. I felt like I needed a little break, something I hadn’t taken from my novels in more than three years. I can tell there is plenty of soul-searching I need to do about the right path to pursue for these extensions of who I am.

For some reason, finding just the right future for my novels feels more intimate to me than all the extremely personal secrets I have spilled here in the blog. (And let’s be honest…I have spilled some pretty intimate secrets.) I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

It is a thing.

Non-Rule related progress

Just for fun, here are a few random things that have happened since my Purchase No Clothes in 2021 Challenge began:

  1. I received a tacit rejection for my first submission to a publisher for the first book in the series
  2. The people in my everyday life have learned about what I am up to over here with my blog
  3. I started providing a teeny tiny bit of content in French and the response has astonished me by how very positive it is, making me want to provide more
  4. I sat down with a friend, who is going through some real turmoil in her life, with a paper and pen and we worked through the first steps of imagining her Ideal Life. All I did was take notes and reframe and listen and it felt like the most important thing I have ever done. I think the heavens got silent for a moment while this woman, who is utterly depressed, started inviting God into the details of her future

And now, with no further ado, and in order to keep my boss (that rather severe looking woman at the top of the page) happy, here is my Second Quarterly Report:

Challenge Rule One:
Purchase No Clothes and Don’t Covet

Key Performance Indicators:

O€ spent on clothes or accessories.

  • Literally, nothing.
  • Yay me.

Reduction in sum of covetous thoughts.

  • The covetous thoughts, in regards to wanting to own something new, are less present and feel less urgent.
  • There is a hormonal element to the covetous thoughts: they really are worse at certain times of the month.

Next Steps:
Learn to address the different shades of covetous thoughts in helpful ways.

Challenge Rule Two:
Complete the Inventory

Key Performance Indicators:

Wear everything at least once in 2021.

  • Done, done done!
  • Yay! Another thing to celebrate!

The Basement Bin is Empty

  • I have dealt with the worst offenders from the basement bin.
  • I did my first seasonal changeover using the empty bin for storage.

Next Steps:
Keep wearing what I already have and re-discovering things in my own closet as if they were new.

Challenge Rule Three:
Create a Go-To Catalog

Key Performance Indicators:

Three designated casual “Go-To” Outfits

This goal was originally “per season.” I ended up doing it “per month”, because it was too easy. Now, for the summer, I am back to “per season.”

Three designated polished “Go-To” Outfits

This is interesting: I feel like most of what I wear these days is a little dressier than what I used to wear. I don’t see the casual vs polished divide anymore.

Next Steps:
Keep it up. Keep trying different things, too. (Rainbow dress as a skirt, anyone?)

Challenge Rule Four:
Practice Wardrobe Mise en Place every day

Key Performance Indicators:

Do Mise en Place every evening for the next day’s ensemble

Mise en Place is slowly creeping into other areas of my life, where I felt like I could use some help. I am glad to find ways to idiot-proof my life (I am the idiot in this scenario).

Next Steps:
Build the habits of Mise en Place for myself, and encourage them for the other members of my family.

Challenge Rule Five:
Repair and Mend, Alter when Necessary

Key Performance Indicators:

Mend (at least) one item per day

  • I have failed miserably at this goal, but in my defense, there hasn’t been as much to mend lately as there was in the beginning.
  • A good number of items became “beyond repair” in the last month. I need to be okay with this, too.

Improved sewing/tailoring skills

  • I can’t say that I have improved, but I do have a new sewing machine that makes me feel like a more patient and skilled sewist.
  • I have tried tons of new techniques. Again, I may not have improved, but I have enjoyed playing.

Next steps:
I sense that, because of what I will share in the next section, I have reached a tipping point with my refashioning. Unless I get an influx of refashionable stash items, I won’t be refashioning for a while.

What’s next?

It’s been a while since I’ve written about a crafting project, and there is a reason for that: I have almost nothing left to destroy and rebuild. My stash is empty, but for one of my indulgent husband’s button-down shirts for which I have several ideas, too many ideas to get down to anything serious. I do have a few projects that I haven’t written about though, and those will be forthcoming.

This puts me in an interesting conundrum for the next six months of my Buy No Clothes in 2021 Challenge: not only can I not purchase any new clothes, but I also cannot refashion any old clothes into something new, because I have nothing left to refashion.

There was, thanks to my rage refashioning projects, always “something new” coming into the fold. I was still kinda “scratching the itch” for something new.

Thank goodness for summer

Here is one good thing: because I chose to reduce the Cost Per Wear on a few items in my Pantheon by setting up a 100 Day Challenge-type adventure, I have put limits on what I can actually wear this summer. So far, so good: Four dresses for which the CPW needs to be reduced and one little black dress that Poppy and Popeye sent as a gift seem to be all that I need so far.

This means that with a bit of determination, a raison d’être, if you will, this feels more like a challenge than a restriction.

I imagine that when September hits and I will suddenly have all of my wardrobe back for my regular use I will have a kind of honeymoon phase during which I will feel like the richest person in the world.

I sure hope that honeymoon lasts for two months because…

Late Fall and Winter

The months of November, December and January of 2022 are theoretically spoken for with a real 100 Day Challenge which Poppy, Popeye and I plan to do together, learning to love wool by wearing the same wool garment every day for 100 days.

Leveling Up

So…Actually, it might not be the end of the world that I have nothing left to refashion. It means that my challenge is hitting a new level of difficulty.

Level One: Buy nothing new, but refashion old things
Level Two: Wear four dresses (plus one) for the summer
Level Three: Add nothing at all, not even refashions. Live off the land
Level Four: Wear only one dress for 100 days straight.


So there we have it! Six months of my challenge in the bag, and a perspective on the next six months. Next Quarterly update will come in October!

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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