The Great Closet Purge



Some of you may recall that months ago I said I’d be minimizing the amount of clothes in my closet and transitioning to a Capsule Wardrobe. It’s taken me a while to post an update on this project because I didn’t quite achieved what I set out to, and I was dealing with a weird sense of failure. I didn’t want to report back that I couldn’t do it!  But I’m realizing now that I have no reason to hide in shame.  I’ve accomplished a lot since I’ve committed to live a more simple life.  Furthermore, it’s good for me to be transparent about the areas that I struggle with. It’s about the journey, not the destination, right?  :)  So here goes…  My somewhat failed capsule wardrobe story.

Before we moved from California to Oregon in September 2015, I got rid of half my closet. It was an exhilirating experience, yet even after that I felt that I STILL had too much, which is why I attempted to do a capsule wardrobe.  That, and I like a challenge.

My goal was to have fewer than 60 items of clothing (including shoes and accessories but not including undergarments.)  I pulled out EVERY SINGLE THING from my closet (sometimes you have to make a mess to clean a mess), counted every single item of clothing I owned (I had somewhere around 130 items) and then created two piles: KEEP and DONATE.  The key questions I asked myself when going through my clothes were:

  1. Does this fit?
  2. When is the last time I wore it?
  3. Does this accurately reflect my style today?
  4. Is it damaged, and if so, will I actually make the effort to repair it? (Be honest!)
  5. If I was shopping RIGHT NOW, would I buy this item?
  6. Do I feel comfortable and confident wearing this?

As I mentioned, I wasn’t able to get my closet down to 60 items (most capsule wardrobe keepers have even LESS than this… incredible) but I was able to pare it down to about 80 pieces.  I should probably run through everything again – I’m 99.9% sure positive I hung onto some things I don’t really need.

If you missed my post earlier in the year about this whole thing, here are just TWO huge benefits of downsizing your wardrobe:

Owning fewer clothes makes your life easier.

  • Every day we make thousands of decisions, and the more we can pare those decisions down, the more mental space we have to go about our day, the more productive we can be in other areas. (Google “Successful people wear the same thing every day” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.)

Fewer clothes = Less clutter, Less laundry

  • This has been a huge benefit for my life!  As a busy mom who works from home, I can’t express enough how nice it is to have a MANAGEABLE amount of clothes.  (I mention the “work from home” thing because when I had piles and piles of laundry to deal with, it made focusing on work a lot harder!)

Now as you can imagine, downsizing my wardrobe means I wear a lot of the same clothes all the time, and that’s something I’ve become completely okay with.  I proudly have 3 pairs of jeans and a handful of t-shirts that are in constant rotation.  Sometimes, admittedly, I feel a little bored with my limited options, and I crave something new, but I have a solution for that.  If I’m going to buy something new, I need to bid farewell to something old.  (Following this rule of thumb is a great way to prevent having an excess of clothing.  It can also help with impulsive purchases.)

When it comes to getting rid of clothes, I like to donate them to charity, or participate in clothing swap parties. And when it comes to shopping for new clothes, I try to shop from second hand stores to promote the recycling of clothing.  I still buy stuff from other retailers, but I’ve been trying to make stores like Buffalo Exchange and Crossroad Trading Company my first stops when I’m in search of something new.

The biggest challenge I had when purging my clothes (and a continued challenge for me now when I shop for new items) is keeping my style more simple and streamlined, getting rid of (and not buying) a lot of patterned items.  My heart beats for a beautiful vibrant pattern but I found that it’s easier to mix and match outfits when I embrace a simpler look.  I did keep a few patterned pieces (mostly dresses for special occasions) but there was definitely a slight shift in my day-to-day style, and it was absolutely for the better.  My closet’s more like the In-N-Out menu now, rather that of the Cheesecake Factory (oofta!) Every item in my closet fits me well and is a style I love and would buy today.

If you’re interested in purging your own closet but don’t know where to start, let me know – I would love to help you!  Trust me, it’ll feel like a weight has lifted off your shoulders.  It’ll at least make your laundry baskets lighter.

Minimizing Negativity

YOWZA!  It’s been a while since I last posted!  I’ve been missing my little blog so much, but I’ve been swamped with work and motherhood and other life things that have taken priority for the past few months.  Now it’s time to get back on track.   The easiest way to do that is to just jump right in… so here we go!

When it comes to a living a simpler, more fulfilling life, I believe that we not only need to deal with the tangible objects that take up space (which is what I usually blog about) but it is equally crucial to purge mental and emotional clutter which can weigh us down and get in the way of some great life experiences.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is negativity, its impact on our lives, and the importance of getting rid of it.

I want to address THREE primary areas in which we need to fight and banish negativity.  A decluttering of sorts, and I welcome you to join me… if you’re brave enough to take on the challenge!

  • NEGATIVITY IN YOUR OWN MIND.  When you allow your mind to be run by pessimism and putdowns, you’re setting yourself up for a miserable, unfulfilled life.  I’m serious.  Think about the most complain-y people you know.  Do you think their minds are more full of positive or negative thoughts? And do they seem happy??   Think of your mind as a car, or a house.  Get rid of the junk and fill it with the things that truly matter.  I don’t know about you, but I only have a certain amount of mental energy each day and I don’t want to waste it on negativity.  There are no benefits of having negative thoughts about yourself or others.  It’ll slow you down, prevent you from focusing on your true values, and it could even prevent you from achieving goals you have set for yourself.  Kick the pessisism to the side and fight to be a more positive person every minute of every day.  When you start to feel negativity creep into your mind, BREATHE, and let the thought quickly pass. Overcome the moment by telling yourself something GOOD.  There is always something good to tell yourself!
  • NEGATIVITY IN RELATIONSHIPS.  Something I have learned over the years is how crucial it is to say goodbye to toxic relationships and friendships. Refining our lives ought to be a top priority.  We need to chip away at the negativity so that the beauty and brilliance we are meant to experience can be seen, felt, and shared.   As I said above, we only have so much mental energy to give to people.  Choose wisely who you are spending it on.  I understand for some situations this is way easier said than done, but I still encourage you to try.  Focus on making your inner circle of relationships one that energizes you, one that makes you believe in yourself more and more each day, one that brings you joy rather than stress.  Decluttering in this area may not be easy, but it is absolutely doable, and you will thank yourself when you do it!  Maybe you need to stop making excuses for someone.  Maybe you need to stop doubting yourself.  You do not need to make room for someone who constantly causes you pain or makes you feel small, and you don’t need to feel guilty for saying goodbye to a relationship that continues to bring you down.  Realize that you deserve to be happy.
  • NEGATIVITY IN SITUATIONS.  So many people feel stuck.  They feel that they’ve been dealt certain cards in life and have no option but to accept them.  Nose to the grind, don’t complain, be strong, “it could be worse”, yadda yadda.  I’m not sure why so many of us take on an attitude of martyrdom.  Maybe it’s because there’s a sense of community in it (the whole “misery loves company” thing.)  Maybe it’s because we don’t believe enough in ourselves.  We feel helpless, and fearful about the idea of change.  Don’t get me wrong, I completely advocate for looking at the bright side, counting your blessings, and pushing through adversity… but I’m not talking about tough times.  I’m talking about our lives, and the ways we choose to live them.  Each day that passes is a day we can’t get back.  Every moment spent on negativity is a moment that could have filled you with joy.  Ask yourself what would make you happier, what would bring you more peace, and think about the steps you need to take in order to get there.  Talk to someone you trust about it. (Definitely talk about it, it becomes more real when you do, and the more real your goal is, the more likely you will try to achieve it.)

I hope this post speaks to someone, even if it’s just one person.  I felt like I was supposed to write it.🙂

REMEMBER… When we focus on minimizing the negativity in our lives, we clear the way for goodness to come pouring in.  I dare you to try it!





The Power of Unsubscribing

One of the things I bring up from time to time on this blog is the notion of mindful shopping.  I’m convinced that many of us could stand to be more careful about how we spend our money.  Shopping is a serious addiction for a lot of people, and the rise of e-commerce has made bad habits even worse.  Since online shopping is what you could call an “anonymous experience” and doesn’t involve physically putting cash in someone’s hand, it’s easy for people to feel like they aren’t really spending money.  With a click of the mouse or swipe of a finger, we can buy, buy, buy… It’s far too easy these days to shop with nearly zero mental power.

I have so much to say on this topic, but for this post, I’m going to focus on emails and talk about how we can resist the temptation of online shopping.

A lot of the emails that hit our personal email accounts are promotional advertisements.  Open anyone’s inbox and you’re bound to see things like:

  • Deal of the Day!  Save up to 63% off all electronics!
  • Summer Kick Off!  All children’s shorts $4.99 and under!
  • Buy One, Get One FREE – only through Memorial Day!

(and my personal favorite)

  • Exclusive Club Member Deal JUST for YOU! 20% OFF EVERYTHING!

They’ll try to make you feel special… like you’re the only one they need… but those empty promises will only lead to an even emptier wallet, and more stuff in your house.  And I’ll say this until my face turns blue: About 99% of the time, we do not need more stuff.   (Say that underlined bit out loud in a robot voice, it might sink in better.)

Simplifying your emails helps in so many ways.  For one, it limits all the temptation to buy impulsively, or buy at all.   Out of sight, out of mind!  How many times do you see some kind of deal in your inbox, click through to read the details, only finding yourself surfing the company’s website and filling your online cart with goodies?

Or maybe you don’t actually purchase anything, but you mentally bookmark the items and add it to the list of things you “need”.  (I can’t be the only one who does this, right?)  We really don’t need much in this life, and the best way to stick to that truth is to simplify what you expose yourself to.  Unsubscribe.

Think of it this way:  If you decided to change your eating habits in order to be healthier, would it make sense to keep your pantry stocked with sugary pop tarts and greasy potato chips?  Wouldn’t it be easier to eat healthy if you didn’t even SEE the junk?  Same idea with email advertisements: Avoid the temptation and UNSUBSCRIBE.  Get rid of the junk.

Of course, if you’re the kind of person who never checks their emails, then this process doesn’t apply as much to you… which reminds me of this hilarious meme.


I assume by now it’s obvious and I don’t need to say which side I’m on.😉 Seriously, that one on the right is making my eye twitch right now.  But to each their own I suppose… *twitch*

Anyway back to the matter at hand: Unsubscribing was a game changer for me.  I’ve heard of some companies that make the process easier for people (one is called Unroll Me), but I have no experience with them.  I went old-school and took 5 minutes here and there to just scroll through my emails and clicked to unsubscribe to the various email lists I was on.

As you probably know, companies love to make unsubscribing tedious and nearly impossible because they don’t want to see you go.  It can a virtual obstacle course sometimes… but stay strong!! Keep clicking, keep saying “YES, I’m sure this is what I want.”  Eventually you’ll reach a web page that’s equivalent to sad puppy eyes and you’ll just have to close it out, knowing you did what’s best for your life.  It’s basically the “It’s not you, it’s me” approach.


I’ve gotten my emails to the point where I get maybe 5 day, and of course, I go through them regularly (responding, deleting, archiving, what-have-you) because I’m on the left side of that meme.   Most of the emails I get are from non-profit causes that I support.  I also get one or two a week from The Minimalists, I follow their blog and podcast.   I still have a few companies that email me promotional material, but I don’t feel tempted to purchase.

If you’re having a hard time with online shopping and you’re brave enough to take the unsubscribing to the next level, here are some other things I’ve found helpful when it comes to simplifying my life and combating “stuffism“.

  1. Remove the apps on your phone that make purchasing even easier.
  2. Consider minimizing the number of business accounts you follow  IG and Facebook.
  3. Utilize Facebook’s option to hide / block advertisements.  There are advertisements in the middle of the feed now.  So annoying.  I always click to hide them… Subsequently different ads will show up, but I won’t go down without a fight!

On that note, I feel this clip wraps up this post perfectly.  :-D  Seriously, though… FREEDOM!