After a week of living with my newly edited closet, I realized something: my clothes were much better organized, but I still had nothing to wear.
I’d stand there hoping for some sort of revelation; when none came, I’d put on the same jeans and shirt I’d worn the previous day.
It was frustrating. Sure, I’d gone shopping before and come home empty handed, but it seemed ridiculous that this was happening at home — hadn’t I already hand-picked all this stuff?
I knew I needed to shop my closet, but I didn’t know how.
So I decided to use some of the time I was saving by not shopping to figure out how to actually wear the clothes I already owned — and discovered two easy tricks.
The first order of business after deciding not to buy anything new for a year was making peace with my closet. Over the years I had read books, saved articles, attended — and even taught — classes on organization, but somehow never managed to extend what I learned to my wardrobe.
Every so often I’d tidy everything up and attempt to organize it, but after a few weeks the chaos would return.
Part of the problem was too much stuff — hangers crammed so tightly and stacks of sweaters piled so high that it was impossible to see what I had — but mostly it was laziness. Since I basically wore the same 10 things every week, my ‘uniform’ of jeans and some type of knit shirt languished on the closet floor until I felt enough mercy — or shame — to wash them.
But realizing that I would have to rely solely on the contents of my closet for everything I would wear over the next year was the wake-up call I needed: time to start practicing what I’d preached.
Where to begin? With a little motivation. Closet organization is not rocket science, and there are a bajillion resources out there — books, magazines, blogs, talk show segments — to help.
All basically come down to some form of three basic principles: Sort, Edit & Organize. Read more…
Back when I started this blog, I wrote about how my experiment with not buying anything new for more than a year greatly influenced the desire to edit my life in other ways.
Although it’s now been several years since my self-imposed moratorium ended, that experience continues to influence how, when and why I shop, and what I shop for.
This is not intended to be a condemnation of shopping, nor a judgment on what others choose to do. Rather, it’s something I tried that had a profound, lasting, positive effect on me, and I share it with the hope that it might help someone else.
So here goes…
Why I did it.
Last Saturday we hit up the annual Labor Day weekend International Street Fair in Orange. The Yelp reviews were mixed so we weren’t quite sure what to expect, but we arrived early — pretty sure this is key — and had a great time. Lots of good music and food (all proceeds go to non-profits), but it’s really the people-watching that makes every street fair a goldmine for my photographer husband.
It was hot, even by Arizona standards, so after a couple hours I sought refuge in the shops that line the streets of the charming downtown. Turns out it was my lucky day — in the Antique Depot on Glassell Street, I found a brand new Banana Republic leather jacket for $24.
A black leather jacket’s been on my wish list for years (inspired by the iconic Francoise Hardy), and although this one wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, the price, quality and classic shape were too good to pass up:
But after just one night, my entire closet was filled with an oddly sweet, musty stench not unlike the guy at my gym who thinks cologne an adequate substitute for showering. Read more…
Most days the mail routine at our house is on autopilot — pick up at mailbox, drop off at recycling bin — interrupted only to deposit the rare piece of real mail on the kitchen counter.
But last week was different. As I absentmindedly leafed through the back-to-school flyers headed for recycling, it occurred to me that for the first time in nearly 15 years I have no need for school supplies.
Out of nowhere, I am reduced to tears. Read more…
For years I bought beauty products by one simple rule: whatever magazines told me to buy. While some things I actually liked and used, much of it I ultimately gave — or threw — away.
Since the process of editing my life means streamlining routines and reducing clutter everywhere, I decided it was time to tackle my overflowing makeup stash, keeping only what I use on a regular basis. Read more…
I discovered the original Saveur recipe for this tart on a friend’s Pinterest board. Bacon AND caramelized onions? I’m in. But the “slab” of bacon, bacon fat and butter the original calls for seemed like overkill.
After substituting oven-baked turkey bacon and olive oil, the result still tastes decadent but is a little more calorie friendly — even with a toss of freshly grated Parmesan. And despite the 10-minute preparation/rest times, it comes together pretty quickly since you can mix the batter while the bacon’s in the oven and the onions are caramelizing.