Challenge Update: Week 48

Four more weeks to go!

Challenge Rule 1: Buy No Clothes/Don’t Covet

I bought nothing, and I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really covet much this week, either. I can’t tell if it was a function of having planned what I would wear a week ahead (which it definitely could be–more on that in a minute), or that the weeks was busy and left me little time alone to think. In any case, the no-coveting rule was not broken and that is very satisfying.

Challenge Rule 2: The Inventory

I relied on the Go-To Catalogue for my Mise en Place this week, which meant that everything was already in the Inventory and accounted for.

I did a little bit of decluttering, notably socks that were holey and removing passing on items from some of my recent inheritances that I know for sure I wouldn’t end up wearing.

Challenge Rule 3: Go-To Catalogue:

Instead of telling myself I could just “remember what worked”, I finally took to writing it down a few weeks ago. This, now that I have gotten it started, has been nearly as life-changing as doing my Mise en Place. It means that I have a palette of choices when I am feeling uncreative, which notably happened on Sunday afternoon after church.

Naturally, I like to get dressed up for church on Sunday, and I plan for that. But I don’t typically stop to think that I won’t want to wear that all day (especially not when there is a nap on the agenda for the afternoon!) Often, this means that I end up picking the first things that my hands land on in the closet, and quite often, these things do not work, but I don’t have the headspace to reconsider.

Having my Go-To Catalogue meant that I could quickly put together a few things and not have to feel (and look) fuddy-duddy for the afternoon.

Challenge Rule 4: Mise en Place/Plan Ahead:

I took my sister up on her challenge to do my Mise en Place one week ahead.

What is great about this is that sometimes, just before bedtime when I normally do my Mise en Place, I am tired or distracted. Planning a week ahead (or a few days in advance) means that I can work on it when I have the headspace to work on it.

This method starts with the calendar and works from there: what activities do I need to do on which days? Then I can decide if it is a dress-up or dress-down day. If I am disposed to being creative, I can write down something I haven’t worn in a while but want to try. If I have little creativity, I can return to the Go-To Catalogue.

Then, the night before, all I have to do is check the weather so I know what footwear to plan for, and get everything out and put it in the bathroom.

For all the times, when I first started doing Mise en Place that I said “thank you” in the morning to the benevolent, optimistic me who put out my clothes the night before, now, at night, I am thanking the benevolent, thoughtful me who planned my outfit up to a week before.

It is such a small thing, but it makes me feel so loved.

Challenge Rule 5: Repair and Mend, Alter when Necessary:

As I mentioned last week, there will be no more sock mending done by me in this lifetime. However, I had a really pleasant pair of pale pink socks which had worn clear through the soles. This made me sad, because I really loved these socks. They had just the right feel, and I loved their heathery pink color.

So after last week and I made the decision to no longer repair them, I ripped them right through the holes. (This was rather satisfying!) But I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out, nor did I want to use them for dusting. They were just too pretty.

So you know what I did with them? I turned them into a little pair of fingerless mittens. I hand sewed one little stitch to separate the thumb. I love fingerless mittens and gloves. I wear them all day at home, because I staunchly refuse to turn the heat on when I am home by myself (and often when I am not by myself, too.) Now, I can enjoy their pretty pink color and keep my typing hands warm and keep them out of the landfill. Win win win.


Mise en Place and Planning Ahead have been the breakout all-stars of this challenge. It’s astonishing how much more satisfied I feel with what I have in my closet when, at a moment when I am favorably disposed to thinking about these things, I can sit down and plan several days in advance. This allows me to take into account all the lovely things in my closet, not just the things I feel like wearing right now.

I wish I had learned this a lifetime ago.

In other news…

I had coffee with my blogging guru Izabela on Thursday. We had plenty of things to catch up on. As we parted ways, I had a flash of renewed enthusiasm for my French-language project, which had been left to languish while I bustled about being a mom in a pandemic.

This next week is going to be highly music-centric: the orchestra I sing with is performing this weekend, then next week we will be having our Christmas concerts!

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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