Winter 10×10 Challenge and My Word for 2017

by starleewhite

After many eye-opening experiences in 2016 I decided that in 2017 I am fasting from shopping for clothing. This is a very personal decision (and kind of a big deal for this recovering fashion-blogger) that stems from my desire to understand more fully where clothing originates…down to the soil it’s grown in to the hands that weave it and construct each article. My sewing journey has taught me that making clothing isn’t as easy as you might believe and someone somewhere is working very hard to fill our closets.

This decision is one I believe was Spirit-led as was the word I envisioned for 2017…LESS. The latter half of 2016 was like this whirling revealing storm in my soul that brought me to this word, less. I needed to slow down and reprioritize what I was giving my energy to. I think having children does that to you…causes you to re-think your ‘norm’ and ask the harder deeper questions.

As I started to engage in a more ‘capsule’ lifestyle in 2016 I found several people who inspired me along the way…

The 10×10 Challenge was created by Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee (a blog I greatly enjoy reading). After following several rounds of her challenge, I decided it was time to jump into this micro-capsule as it seemed very fitting given my 2017 goal of not shopping. (To read more about the basics of the 10×10 Challenge start here.)


Last week I wrapped up the challenge (which I shared on Instagram) and thought I’d share my thoughts on this small but meaningful practice…

  • Just like my thoughts on a capsule wardrobe, the 10×10 challenged allowed me the freedom to have less choice. I think we often believe that more choice equals more freedom but I am learning that isn’t always true. By staying within these 10 items I had less to wrap my mind around and consider. I put a little effort into planning my outfit the night before (a practice I already do) but that was about the extent of it. I found a lot of freedom during these 10 days.
  • While I was living in Haiti under extremely limited resources I met a very special person named Katie Day who taught me that creativity loves constraint (something she learned when studying graphic design). This notion impacted me greatly during a time that was quite difficult for me. It has always stuck in my mind but contintues to sink in more fully the more I live life. Allowing myself only 10 items to wear caused me to put together pieces in ways I never would have before. By putting constraint on my wardrobe I was forced to reimagine what seemed like the most basic of pieces.
  • Speaking of basics, doing this challenged has more fully reiterated to me the importance of quality basics in a closet. We are able to have much less when we invest in workhorse pieces that can live up to more wear. Now, I’m not in a place where I can overhaul my entire wardrobe with pricey quality clothing, but I’m exploring what I already own and taking note for future purchases (as well as ethical companies).
  • I recognize that I am very blessed and have never wanted for much. But doing a challenge like this, to live under a constraint where the world wasn’t at my fingertips…it really made me appreciate what I had and inspired me to take better care of my property. The cream knit sweater I included is one that had started to pile and had a few stray snags. Instead of giving it the heave-ho or allowing it to continue to collect dust, I decided to pull it out and take a few moments to snip off the fuzz along the front, under the arms, and down the sleeves. It was amazing how simply spending 5 minutes to care for this garment brought it back to life. Suddenly I was excited to wear it again and imagine all the layering opportunities it offered. I’m learning in all things, a little time and energy to care properly for what I own will prolong the life of said item.
  • The 10 days of this challenge had a different tone for me. I think part of it was being able to participate in something other people were doing…being part of something and connecting with others (search #winter10x10 on Instagram). What also stood out to me…less laundry. Because I needed each item in such frequency, there wasn’t time to launder every piece like I might normally do. I found myself smelling my clothes and looking them up and down to see if they could make it another day.  I would even scratch off the small piece of food my child flung onto my jeans and what would happen….good as new! Doing this challenge caused me to engage my senses and instead of just throwing my clothes into the laundry basket after 1 wear.  I slowed down, examined them, made a decision, and ultimately consumed less water (go environment!). I spent less time doing laundry which meant more time directed on other things that are more life-giving to me (like sewing…I actually got to sew this last week!).


2017 has already had its challenges and being a mother of such young children…nothing feels like it’s in my control (like.ever). But this #ayearofless is something I’m holding onto. Something that is oddly grounding to me. A journey that is just starting in my life and one I plan to examine fully. The lesson God continues to teach me over and over (especially in recent months)…less of this world and more of Him.
Filling my closet to the brim won’t satisfy.
A perfect capsule life won’t satisfy.
Paying off all of our debt won’t satisfy.
Finding our ‘dream home’ won’t satisfy.
A curated schedule for my children will inevitably fall apart and thus, not satisfy.

I have to HAVE TO keep clinging to my Savior even when my tendency is to cling to anything and everything else. By having less, I am more able to give my energy and presence of mind to what matters the very most…listening to my Father, obeying him, enjoying this life.

Cheers to 2017.