Category: life advice

How To Pare Down Your Closet Without Losing Your Mind

Want to pare down your closet but not sure where to start? Are you painfully aware that you don't wear 70% of what you own?  Click through for one stylist's tips for decluttering your closet!
Want to pare down your closet but not sure where to start? Are you painfully aware that you don’t wear 70% of what you own? You are not alone, my friend! Thankfully, Sally McGraw is here to help us clear out our closets


Even if you love to purge your closet, chances are – you also hate it.

Clothing is imbued with emotion, steeped in memory, and parting with it can be downright painful. As rewarding as it feels to jettison long-languishing items, it can be stressful to part with pants that will never fit again, gifts from long-lost loves, expensive duds you never wore.

I’m not gonna tell you to invite your girlfriends over, open a bottle of wine, and make a party of it. You certainly can, but for many women, closet purges are extremely personal and most effective when undertaken alone.

Regardless of whether you tackle the task on your own or with help, promise me you’ll make time for it. Real time. Do not purge your closet in between other tasks over the course of a month. Set aside a full weekend day, hire a sitter, banish everyone. It sounds like overkill, but you will not regret carving out the space and time for this task. Promise.

How To Pare Down Your Closet Without Losing Your Mind

Start with your neglected, underutilized, languishing items

Try them on. Yes, all of them. Including shoes and accessories. Yes, I know it’s going to take ages. Remember, you’ve got all day. Try them on in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror.

If an item never fit in the first place, donate it

You should begin dressing for your Today Body as soon as possible. Clothing that never worked with your figure damages your body image. Donate it to a worthy cause.

If an item shames you for your body shape or shopping habits, sell it

If an item has negative associations, recouping your losses can soften the parting blow. Consign, sell on eBay, or find some other way to make a few of your bucks back.

If an item’s value is emotional, store it or document it

You can keep the shredded jeans from your carefree days in high school, but you don’t need to store them in your active closet. If you can’t bear to part with them, find an obliging corner of your basement. If you don’t have much storage space, photograph or journal about the item before you send it along to a new home.

If it is damaged, repair it 

Some items are neglected because they’re broken. Replace buttons, have shoes resoled, take ill-fitting items to the tailor.

If you love it but don’t know how to wear it, display it prominently

Many items remain neglected simply because they’re hidden from view. Move challenging items to the front of the closet so you can see them.

Don’t feel obliged to jettison everything that is currently too big or small for you

Bodies fluctuate. Many women’s bodies fluctuate on a monthly basis and having some size options on hand can be incredibly helpful.

But consider these two important things before deciding to hang onto any article of clothing that doesn’t fit your Today Body:

Are you being honest?

It makes sense to hang on to jeans a size or two away from your current size in case of weight changes. But beyond that may be pushing reason. While you may return to a previous size someday, remember that you can replace virtually all clothing. You should donate items that are far smaller or larger than you are now. Letting them go can help you accept your body and move toward loving it.

Are you hurt by their presence?

Memories of other body shapes and sizes can be painful for a multitude of reasons. Any items of clothing that prompt feelings of disappointment, shame, or self-loathing don’t belong in your closet, or in your house. Find them new homes for those pieces and focus on the clothing that inspires, beautifies, and energizes you.

Now that you’ve sussed out your least-worn items, let’s move on to your most-worn pieces. Try them on. Yes, all of them. Now ask yourself:

What is their relationship to your current style?

Some frequently worn items may fit into your current style but feel stale or tired. Consider jettisoning those or placing them into storage until you’ve made more decisions about where your style is headed. Keep anything that feels classic or quintessentially “you.”

Do they make you look good and feel good?

Ideal garments will work with your body. That means they’ll highlight your favorite attributes without causing you acute discomfort. Items that feel great but look awful should be reserved for sick days. Items that look great but feel awful should be ejected from your closet.

Some garments will fall more on the “look good” or “feel good” side of the fence, of course, and that’s fine. But always consider your compromises. Carefully.

If they’re keepers, do they need repair or replacement?

Wardrobe staples are among the items most likely to show wear and tear. How are yours holding up? If they are items that you know will endure beyond any style revisions, make sure they’re in good shape.

That probably took a while. If you were as thorough as you should’ve been, you’ve just tried on and evaluated everything in your closet. If you’re on the brink of exhaustion, call it a day. If you’ve got any energy left, take a moment to evaluate your closet itself, including organization and storage.
Your wardrobe should be clean and organized. No piles on the floor, no wads in the corner. Do what you can to keep everything tidy, as it will keep your clothes in wearable shape for longer.
Make sure your clothing, shoes, and accessories are visible and safely stored. Again, you won’t wear what you can’t see. Do your best to create a wardrobe space with few hidden corners.
Eyeball your available storage for future purchases. You will, eventually, go shopping. Do you have room for any new items? If not, can you reconfigure your current storage?
Now feel free to collapse into an exhausted heap. You’ve earned it.
Do you actively purge your closet or wardrobe? Any tips to share?
P.S. 9 ways to avoid buyer’s remorse so you don’t have to do another closet purge in a year!
Photo by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash

How To Fight Fair With Anyone

Want to fight fair? With anyone - co-worker, roommate, romantic partner? Click through for 11 tips! // yesandyes.org

Whether you’re living with friends, strangers or your (usually) sweet and good-tempered lover, disagreements are part of life. Most of us hate confrontation, but it’s pretty unavoidable – much like taxes, reality tv, and your cousin’s boring wedding.

Here are 11 tips that will help you fight fair

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You’re Smart. So What?

more important than intelligence
This guest post comes to us from Michelle!  She helps creatives move from innovation and ideas into action and implementation. She lives in sunny Austin, TX, loves funky glasses, and writes about taking your business and life to new heights at Bombchelle.

By most peoples’ definition, “intelligence” has a very narrow meaning. I am intelligent in several ways, some of which are “typical” intelligences (very fast reader, good memory) and some of which are not (good at arts and crafts).

However, my parents drilled it into my when I was a child that there were so many more important things than being intelligent, and that being intelligent does not make me better than anyone else. At the time, I just found the repetition annoying. And then, I simply didn’t think about it for several years.

Since becoming an adult, though, I’ve come to be intensely thankful for being taught this at a very young age. I’ve come across a few people who clearly think that their intelligence is their single defining attribute, and treat anyone they perceive as less intelligent with condescension and a hint of contempt. Aside from being really obnoxious, it’s effing sad.

I feel like saying to them:

Do you really think that being intelligent is more important than being a good person? Click To Tweet

and

Do you really think that being intelligent means anything if you do everything by the book?

and

There’s nothing else you love about yourself more than your intelligence? Your smile, your laugh, your ability to give a great compliment, or to look on the bright side of things, or your dogged perseverance? Because I see so many more important things to you than intelligence.

What’s more is that these people go by the standard definition of intelligence – that it’s something inborn, you have a certain amount at birth, and that that amount is set for the rest of your life. It never gets any higher or lower. So they’re so proud of something that they had absolutely no control over (as far as they’re concerned). To paraphrase Anya, “That doesn’t make you better. It makes you luckier.”

Redefining Intelligence

What is being smart, anyways? Most people today will say, oh, that’s having a high IQ. Newsflash: having a high IQ means you’re good at taking an IQ test. Does it have any meaning outside of that? Even this says “While they do not lend themselves perfectly to some views of intelligence, they have historically been fairly good predictors of school achievement (expected “ability”).”

So…what about being good at school? That mostly measures your ability (and patience, oh gods, the patience required) for memorizing information by rote and then repeating it exactly the way the teacher instructs you to. Not to mention, most schools today focus on math and science, leaving other subjects by the wayside.

What if you suck at math, but you can paint like Picasso? Chances are, you won’t be considered intelligent. Even within math and science, there’s different ways to fail. I hate chemistry with a fiery passion, but love biology. I’m fabulous at geometry (visual-spatial thinker here), but not so hot at advanced algebra.

What counts and what doesn’t? All the rules are arbitrary when it comes to intelligence. I would argue that “intelligence” should be redefined as “curiosity and the will to learn”. Your curiosity and will to learn will get you much farther than any inborn trait. And these traits can be fostered and grown throughout your life. (For more interesting reading/listening on the subject, check out this TED talk and the theory of multiple intelligences.)

5 Qualities That Are More Important Than Intelligence

1. Creativity

Creativity, as an attribute, suffers from some of the same ideas that intelligence does. Creativity is not something that some of us are born with, and some of us aren’t. It’s the ability to have original ideas that have value, and it’s something everyone is born with. (If you don’t want to or can’t watch the video, the pertinent information is that a vital part of creativity is divergent thinking. Sir Robinson mentions a study in which 1,500 kindergarten age children were given a test for divergent thinking, and 98% of them scored at a genius level for divergent thinking.)

2. Gumption

Defined as 1. “initiative, resourcefulness” and 2. “courage, spunk”.

3. Kindness

And…

4. Compassion

I would hope for obvious reasons. The world would be a better place if we were all kinder and more compassionate. Can the same thing be said for intelligence?

5. Adaptability

Being a genius by mainstream standards won’t get you anywhere if you can’t adapt to new situations, environments, and people, and adjust your responses accordingly.I don’t care how smart you are. It doesn’t interest me. I want to know why you do what you do, I want to know what makes you happy, I want to know what your goals and ambitions and hopes and dreams are, and how you plan to get there.

Are you ‘by the book’ smart? And/or intelligent in other ways? Do you think there are qualities that are more important than intelligence?

photo credits: eli samuelu // jazmin quaynor // cc

Let’s Stop Pretending It’s Always Easy

Downplaying the effort we put into reaching our accomplishments serves no one. It creates unrealistic expectations AND you deserve praise for all your hard work! >> yesandyes.org

 Pop quiz, friends. Have you ever been guilty of any of the following?

a) hurriedly cleaning your house before friends pop round and when they compliment your spotless space you get all “Oh this mess? No!”

b) perfecting the art of ‘I’m-not-wearing-makeup’ makeup. And then wearing it to the gym.

c) attempting to win every potluck you attend by bringing an overly-involved and impressive dessert. And then acting like it’s something you just threw together with the ingredients in your fridge.

d) removing carbs, cheese, and joy from your diet so you can look amazing in your swimsuit. And then when someone says you look great, you wax modest.

Sound familiar? No? Just me. Awkward.

I spent the better part of my twenties (and maybe the first year of my thirties) engaging in competition level Effort And Accomplishment Downplay.

All those countries I visited? Oh, it’s no big deal, you just book a ticket and go. That MA? I didn’t write a thesis, it’s just an MA through coursework. These jeans that still fit? I just got lucky and inherited a fast metabolism.

Downplaying the effort that goes into our accomplishments serves absolutely no one. Click To Tweet

Not.one.single.person.

Why?

If somebody wants to follow in your footsteps, you’ve just completely misrepresented the amount of work that goes into what you’ve done.

You’re (inadvertently!) creating totally unrealistic standards for others.

Most awesome things aren’t particularly easy. If you tell me that training for a marathon was “no bigs” for you and it’s been crazy hard for me? Well, now I have a complex.

You deserve credit for all the hard work you’ve done.

When you tell a friend that it’s not a big deal that you just got into your first choice grad school, you’re removing her opportunity to praise you and make the fuss that you deserve.

Now, I’m not suggesting that every time someone compliments you, you announce “Ohmygod, you won’t believe how much work went into this winged eyeliner!” But next time someone notices the beautifully decorated room/six pack abs/impressive resume that you’ve slaved over – why not say “Thanks so much! I’ve worked really hard on it.”

Are you ever guilty of downplaying your accomplishments?  What do you say when people compliment you?

P.S. 21 things you don’t have to do

photo by charlie harutaka // cc

6 Loving Ways To Broadcast Body Confidence

Body confidence is about self-esteem, self-love, and self-care. Also: how good your bra fits and how good your posture is. Click through for 6 easy ways you can show people you have body confidence today!

This guest post comes to us via Sally McGraw of Already Pretty fame.  She writes about style, body image, and self-love every single day.  

In a culture that encourages women to engage in trash talk about their own bodies, in which body confidence is an act of bravery, it can be daunting to consider broadcasting pride in your own physical form.

But you CAN do it, even in the face of an oppressive environment, reluctant peers, and your own hesitation. I swear! It’s true!

Broadcasting body confidence doesn’t have to mean wearing an “I Love My Body” tee shirt or responding to every compliment by say, “Oh, I know.” There are a million tiny ways that you can tell the world you love your body, just as it is. Click To Tweet

And in doing so, you may just encourage other women to follow suit.

6 Loving Ways To Broadcast Body Confidence

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7 Successful Women Share Their Stories Of Life At 22

What was life like at 22 for some of your favorite successful women? If you're having a quarter life crisis, you're a recent college grad, or your just struggling with your 20s, this post will help!

When I was 22, I was working for a horrible, horrible boss in an office without windows. Between rent and college debt, I had $15 (yes, really) of disposable income per week. Even though I knew my life wouldn’t be like that forever, I had a really hard time imagining a future that didn’t involve ramen noodles and Sunday night oh-god-I-have-to-work-tomorrow stomachaches.

In an attempt to show you guys that really, it gets better, I asked some of my favorite, most successful ladies to share their stories of life at 22 versus their life now.

Life at 22

Christina Holm-Sandok, Style Architects

At 22: My boss would take credit for my work, had unrealistic expectations and made me cry weekly. I spent every chance I could hitting the town with my girlfriends…crossing our fingers that guys would buy us drinks – we certainly couldn’t afford our lifestyle. I lived with my best friend in a tiny yet adorable apartment that was in a shady part of town.

Now: I own my own business yet still manage to put unrealistic expectations on myself. Now I spend every chance I can traveling or relaxing on our patio. My cocktails no longer require flirting although my husband appreciates it! We live in a 1920’s home in a quaint neighborhood. Life is simpler…and most importantly, happier!

Rachel Hills, Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

At 22: I knew I wanted to write smart things about gender and social issues, but I didn’t have the foggiest of how to go about it. I took a day job doing communications work for an NGO and spent my evenings running a youth media organization with a bunch of friends, including the guy who would later become my husband.

Now: I’ve written a couple of hundred articles for most of my favorite magazines, newspapers and websites. I live in London, and have traveled to 12 countries in the past two years. Right now I’m working on a book on sex, power and identity for Simon and Schuster and Penguin.

What was life like at 22 for some of your favorite successful women? If you're having a quarter life crisis, you're a recent college grad, or your just struggling with your 20s, this post will help!

Ana Alexandre, Life coach + nutritionist

At 22: I was working in a bar for a gross boss who would hit on a different waitress every shift. Although I made decent cash, I hated waitressing and never having a weekend to myself. I lived in a tiny bachelor apartment in a neighborhood I wasn’t crazy about.

Now: I love what I do! I can put in a lot of hours but it doesn’t feel like WORK. For this I am super grateful. I live in my favorite neighborhood in a city that I am at most 20 min away from the sea.

Karina Cousineau, dress designer + business owner

At 22: I was living on Bali in Indonesia working for S.L.I.I (space island light industry) My job was head of production for a small apparel company. Not speaking Indonesian was challenging, but slowly slowly I learned. The people were generous and joyful. It was a wonderful learning experience!

Now: Some years later, my life is similar in many ways. Heading design and production for my company Karina Dresses entails many of the same type work. Our Brooklyn production house does not require me to ride a motorcycle through streets filled with cows, chickens and village activity: Similar tasks are required and the streets of Brooklyn can be equally hectic. I lived at the beach on Bali and now live in a jungle in Brooklyn – both are full of life and exciting!

What was life like at 22 for some of your favorite successful women? If you're having a quarter life crisis, you're a recent college grad, or your just struggling with your 20s, this post will help!

Dr. Danielle Dowling, life coach Los Angeles

At 22: I was working as a buyer for Bloomingdale’s in NYC. And it really wasn’t my bag. The cubicles, constant number crunching and corporate pressure choked my soul. I remember running out of money on the Wednesday before payday and rummaging at the bottom of my purses and desk drawers to find change for a coffee!

I lived on the 5th floor of a 5 story walk up with 3 other roommates and a dark bathroom that was clearly was once a hallway closet. I also distinctly remember loving a boy who despite his best efforts, broke my heart.

Now: I am 35 years old with a Master’s in Psychology and graduating this December with a Ph.D. I own my own company, Danielle-Dowling.com, where I help women leaders balance professional success + love. I am part relationship expert + part spiritual ass-kicker. My spacious one bedroom is bright + airy and all mine! Although many a day and night I share it with my gem of a boyfriend + loving soulmate, Jose.

Julie Merriman Wray, Olivine Atelier

At 22: I was working at my Dad’s office as a receptionist. Boring! Don’t tell my Dad, but while I was sitting there answering the phones I was secretly doing all the research and making plans to open my first business. I lived in a basement studio apartment that had the most adorable pink depression glass knobs. I loved that kitchen. Oh yeah, I also got dumped by my first love. That was heartbreaking.

Now: I work for myself and I run four different businesses! I have the most beautiful 2 year old son who makes me laugh constantly and a husband that I am head over heels in love with. We go on fun beach vacations every year for my birthday which I love. I own a real house now! No more basement! Although I do still think about those pink knobs…

Carly Jacobs, Smaggle.com

At 22: I was living with my parents, working in a well-paid but not overly stimulating university job. I’d just started dating a gorgeous boy, I was acting in a few plays and had just started a blog called Smaggle.

Now: I’m a freelance writer, presenter and actor. I live in a bigger city, I’m still with the gorgeous boy and we now live together in a funky loft in a trendy suburb. My blog contributes more and more significantly towards my regular income and I’m dangerously close to being 100% self employed. I’m also slightly taller.

Readers who are older than 22! Share your stories!

P.S. If you want 1-on-1 help and support making your life look + feel the way you want, I do that!