The start of a new year is a fitting time to take a bird’s-eye view of how we’re doing in life. It’s a chance to celebrate our accomplishments, while also being honest with ourselves about things we can improve. For example, there may be areas of our lives where we’re not being as efficient as we could be, or we’re making choices that compromise our chances of attaining true fulfillment.After some deeply personal soul-searching, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is something that has been holding me back and draining away my energy.
When I look at the tasks that dominate my time and bring me stress on a daily basis, many of them have to do with clothing selection, organization and upkeep. Maybe the people who have chosen a nudist lifestyle are on to something. If I didn’t have to deal with clothes, imagine all the free time I’d have! (And, the wind burn!)
Risk of chapped skin aside, this could still be an ‘a-ha’ moment for me. Let’s review some of the categories where the need for clothing is a drag:
Fashion. Admittedly, I’ve never been much of fashion plate, and I struggle to keep up with the trends. I was just starting to get the hang of boot-cut pants when skinny jeans arrived. I once nearly choked myself in an attempt to put on an infinity scarf. I tried to embrace the flannel-shirt craze, but instead of “outdoorsy chic,” the result was more “unemployed pyjama-wearer.” Truth be told, I lack the time and inclination to follow the latest fashion fads. A life of nudism would free me from this burden.
Obligation. People frequently give clothes as gifts, but what are you supposed to do if the item you receive (a) doesn’t fit, (b) doesn’t match your personal style, or (c) is so unappealing that you wouldn’t put it on the family pet? This is also an issue if your child receives an outfit from a beloved relative, thus making it important that said outfit is worn when visiting the home of said relative. This arrangement, however, may not align with your kiddo’s clothing wishes, resulting in an unpleasant showdown. Nudist parents 1, clothed parents 0.
Laundry. Each and every item of clothing requires washing, drying, folding, sorting, matching, hanging, ironing and placing in the correct closet or drawer. No one has time for this. Also, the process of laundering clothes is fraught with disaster, as garments are liable to shrink, rip, discolour and be generally ruined. No word of a lie: as I was typing this article, my husband called me over to our laundry room, where a load of clothes sat freshly washed in the machine, now all strangely covered in a fine light-brown powder resembling brown sugar. Sigh.
Maintenance. Some clothes have special instructions on the tag, with science-fiction terms such as “hand wash” and “dry clean only.” Others need to be pre-treated with club soda or omega-3 fish oil or whatever it is that removes stubborn stains. Still others need a bit of tender loving care to reattach a lost button or close up a small hole. News flash: my sewing skills are abysmal. I wouldn’t have lasted half an hour in the days of the Early Settler people I keep reading about in my older son’s Social Studies duotang. Still, I try (and fail) to repair the ripped-up knees of his pants.
Tracking. It’s hard enough to keep tabs on which clothes belong to whom and what goes where inside the confines of your home. Inevitably, though, the people in your family (and the clothes they’re wearing) are going to leave the house. Thankfully, I worry a lot less about lost and forgotten clothes since I discovered Mabel’s Labels Tag Mates. At least I’m saving a few minutes that I would otherwise spend rooting around head-down in the Lost and Found bin.
Sizing. I don’t know about you, but I have noticed that every store seems to have its own random sizing specifications, particularly for babies and kids. A “6 month” sleeper isn’t the same length in every brand. I never knew if I should introduce a “12 to 18 months” item at 12, 18, or 15.5 months. Finally, aren’t “24 months” and “2 years” the same amount of time? If yes, then why do we have clothes marked “24M” and “2T?” (Asked no nudist, ever.)
Storage. I have two boys and the great fortune of a generous hand-me-down network. I keep the clothes in giant bins in the basement and try desperately to keep them organized, but I still live in fear of missing a size or a season. My kids are built differently and have distinctive preferences, so I hang on to everything, even if it borders on hoarding.
All things considered, I’m thinking that joining a nudist colony might be the answer to this laundry list of problems. On the other hand, maybe January – with its wind chill, frostbite warnings and extra-horrifying “feels like” temperatures – isn’t the month to make this transition. Maybe we can ride out the first half of the year and consider a changeover in the summer. I have a favourite pair of fuzzy socks that will help me get through the winter. Well, I did have a pair, until one of them mysteriously disappeared during a wash cycle. Game, set, match to the nudists.