Why I stopped wearing patterns


As I pruned my wardrobe down to the clothes I wore most often and then reflected on why I wore some things more than others, I realized I had gotten rid of almost all my clothes with patterns.  Patterns are exciting when first purchased but after a few wears, I tend to get sick of looking at them.  And because they stand out in people’s memory, I feel that I can’t wear the same patterned clothing over and over again.

Continue reading “Why I stopped wearing patterns”

beauty: capsule

beauty capsule

A capsule beauty kit contains only essential cosmetics.  Think of the products that you repurchase when empty; the ones you just have to squeeze into your carry-on bag when you travel.  What if you only kept these products and got rid of the rest? …  By the time I reached the big 3-0, I felt like I had a better sense of myself, and knew what products made sense for me and had done enough research to know what products were the very best.  The end result is a hard working beauty kit with holy grail standards for every item.  I’m lucky enough to no longer have many blemishes (one of the many benefits to becoming semi-old~!) and on most days go without make up entirely, so it makes sense that my beauty kit only contains 6 items.  It was definitely worth the effort to ruthlessly edit my beauty kit down to a few products, for an easy morning routine, and a look that feels authentic. Continue reading “beauty: capsule”

clutter is how far away you are from your present self

charcoal rikumo.png

What is clutter? Webster defines clutter as a collection of things lying about in an untidy mess. But what about the things themselves? Clutter neatly arranged is still clutter, isn’t it? In learning more about minimalism, I’ve begun to learn to recognize clutter in new ways. This is the first step in removing it and preventing it from re-entering our lives.

So what is clutter? And how does it enter our lives?

Clutter reflects how far away you are from your present self.

It happens in 3 ways: Continue reading “clutter is how far away you are from your present self”

good reads: on the decluttering message and old cars.

pauline chardin beirut car

This edition of good read is a bit random.

After tasting the freedom of riding in a friend’s vintage car this summer, I’ve been thinking about buying a car myself; why not live it up during my final years here in NYC?  These photographs of old cars on the streets of Beirut got me thinking.  They are taken by Pauline Chardin (travel blogger who runs the Voyageur) and was featured on the NeedSupply blog.  I love the sun-scorched urban landscapes she captures; feels like a a surreal 80s apocalypse, the scenes are cinematic, but the reality of the state is much more dire.  Still these junky cars are appealing for my minimal needs.

You also have to check out a great post that will get your head nodding by the minimalist woman on the decluttering message and how it went from “topic du jour into perennial concern.”

[image credit:  Pauline Chardin]

wardrobe: the space between

ikea hangers(No, I’m not talking about that Dave Matthew’s song)

One thing I’m loving right now is the space between my hangers.

It was hard to believe that I actually had one of those magazine wardrobes where there’s an inch or two of space between each hanger, but after weeding out all the clothes I don’t wear, it happened.  It was achievable with just a 4 foot wide closet, two parallel rods, and 50 garments on wire hangers, which isn’t too extreme in my book.  The space between let’s us view all our clothes at once, and makes getting ready noticeably less stressful.  This makes something we spend time doing every day just a little bit easier.  If we add it all up, we’re talking about much less total stress in our lives.

[image credit: ikea hangers]

good read: understanding why we hold on to clutter

good reads

Understanding why we hold on to clutter helps us make better editorial choices when decluttering.  Linda Sand, a commenter on the bemorewithless blog’s great post on “how to get rid of clutter you care about”, wrote that the trick for her was learning that “I keep things for who I wish I was instead of who I actually am.” The meaning of this took a few moments to settle in but when it did, it resonated with me.  It’s worth repeating:

“I keep things for who I wish I was instead of who I actually am.”

I am so impressed by how inward and honest she is with herself.  This wisdom can extend beyond decluttering and informs general life decisions as well.  Her comment helped me realize I was doing the same thing.  Now I feel like I can look at that burnt sienna blazer collecting dust in my closet and finally let it go. It’s not me, it was an image of a girl I admired, but it isn’t me.  I think this subconsciously happens to all of us…  are you holding onto something that isn’t ‘you’? 

considered living: wardrobe downsizing experiment

joinery jumpsuit

My closet is now reduced to 60% of what it once was, but there still remains clothes that I don’t wear because they are meant for special occasions, or a number of other reasons. It is frustrating to see them linger in my closet, taking up space, getting in the way of what I wear all the time.  So I’ve decided to do a little downsizing experiment.  I’m going to remove all the items that haven’t been worn in the past year and stow them away out of sight.  I want to know what it feels like to work with a closet that only contains my essentials and pretend for a while that this is my entire wardrobe.  After 3 months, I will re-assess what I’ve stowed away with the idea that the experience of having less will help me decide what really can be removed permanently.

[image credit: joinery]

Continue reading “considered living: wardrobe downsizing experiment”

considered living: criteria for an essential wardrobe


Imagine waking up in the morning to get dressed, you open the doors to your closet, and you feel calm and serene because:

You love every item of clothing in your wardrobe.

You have many outfits to choose from,

but you don’t have too much.

You have something to wear for every occasion.

You are satisfied in the quality of your clothes.

Everything fits well

and you feel chic and comfortable in every outfit you own.

These are the ideals of an essential wardrobe.  I’m certainly not fully there, but since editing/reducing my wardrobe I’ve noticed my morning stress level has significantly decreased.   I’m no longer panicked about what to wear and running late in the mornings.  Now I can start my day feeling relaxed and ready to face what lies ahead.

Creating an essential wardrobe requires one to be more thoughtful and selective.  To make it in, an essential wardrobe piece should meet the following 6 criteria: Continue reading “considered living: criteria for an essential wardrobe”

considered living: minimalist-in-progress report

toilet brush joinery

I will probably only ever be a ‘mild minimalist’ or a ‘minimalist in progress’.  I’ve been trying to let go of things that don’t add value to my life, to ‘declutter’, so to speak.

My progress so far has been good. I’ve donated/recycled 5 bags of clothing and reduced my wardrobe by 40%.   I donated 8 pairs of shoes, reducing my shoe collection by half, I only have 3 shoes on heavy rotation now, while the others ones are for winter or special occasions.   Continue reading “considered living: minimalist-in-progress report”

considered living: 2 good reads

good reads

These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of traveling and a whole lot of partying.  It sure is nice to finally be home and get back to my normal routine again.  Yesterday I felt inspired to finally get rid of 4 bags of old clothes that were just taking up space in my closet.  In these bags were 5 brand new shirts/dresses with the tags still on them, as I put them in the donation bag, I just kept asking myself “seriously, what was I thinking?!”.  I’ve come a long way from my old shopping habits though, I no longer buy things simply for cheap thrills and because it looks uber cute in that moment.  I’m more thoughtful now and really have to be convinced that I will wear something over and over before I commit.  Proud to say that my last 5 purchases have been on heavy rotation.  So, if you need help getting rid of all that junk too, check out these instructions from mnmlist.com.  Another life issue I’ve been struggling with is how to invest my time in doing only things I truly enjoy.  With so little time in my schedule, I can feel pretty overwhelmed by invitations from friends.  Sometimes I feel guilty and feel like a broken record that says “no, no, no” over and over again.  But one of my mentors at work once told me “you are the only one who can protect your time.”  And he was right.  I needed to read this article on how to protect your time to rationalize my guilt away.  Now looking forward to a more productive month ahead, cheers!