Quality, Taste & Style: Step 1


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I recently picked up Tim Gunn’s book at a second hand book shop, and I am finding it very interesting.

In fact, I am already stuck because there are action items in this book.  Chapter Three: Diagnosing the Common Closet – Page 62.  He asks his readers to go through their closets and sort the items into four piles.

The Soul Stirring Pile – for clothes that are fantastic and make you feel fantastic.

The Repair Pile – for clothes that you love but need attention  (he gives you 5 days only to get the job done!)

The Give-Away Pile and Throw Out Pile – are hairier situations, and he gives out some pointers/guidance

Tim brought up a very good point –  don’t keep anything that doesn’t make you feel fabulous in.  This could be that dress that you bought for way-too-much-but-doesn’t-fit-quite-right-but-it’s-so-expensive-i-am-going-to-keep-it, it could be the pants a size or two too tight but-one-day-might-fit, or it could be the awful gifts that you get and feel obligated to keep.  The point is, it doesn’t matter – if it doesn’t make you feel fabulous, then these are “closet-based sources of unhappiness” that need to be rid of.  On the other hand, even if it is a simple cotton t-shirt that you feel fabulous in – then you should keep it!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have gone through my closet many times over the last year.  But, I haven’t gone through it with this new mentality, before, and I am not sure I am ready to be so ruthless with my clothes.  I guess I still have this fear of “what if…”

I have a new challenge on my hands.

How do you define what stays and what goes in your closet purges/re-org?

8 Responses to “Quality, Taste & Style: Step 1”

  1. Jersey Mom Says:

    Gunn’s idea certainly makes sense. Once in a while I do go through my 1/2 of the closet and pick out clothes that I no longer want to wear (usually ones that I have not worn in more than a year) and donate them.

  2. Hasina Says:

    My number one rule is definitely “don’t keep anything that doesn’t make you feel fabulous”. No exception.

  3. mason Says:

    Trendy nonsense.
    This is just an attempt to make money by selling a lifestyle.

    This is the new real estate scam: selling psychological ‘guilt-free’ living.

    10 years from now all these ‘minimalists’ will be bcak to their old ways, just like the Boomers got square during the Reagan years. Right now, these yuppies are converting their reduced income into a ‘smugness’ account so that they can continue to feel superior to the ‘unenlightened’ down the block.


  4. Jersey Mom – That’s great that you do that regularly, I think I need to do that more often.

    Hasina – Great rule!

    Mason – Wow. First rude comment on this blog. First of all – all the minimalist blogs I read are free, so I’m not sure what you are referring to about selling and scamming. Second of all, no here is smug – except for yourself. We are a community and all trying to help each other live a better life that is in line with our individual priorities. If that’s not your cup of tea, then you should leave.

  5. Leo Says:

    I am very thankful for my parents for bringing us up as natural minimalists. I remember growing up, we had very few bare/basic things, shelter, food, and clothes.

    We had one bed (our parent’s) and a dining table which we got from a friend. Maybe a chair or two. Three of us kids slept on the floor on a vietnamese style mat. Vietnam has only two seasons, wet & dry. The floor was all tile and cool in hot weather. We sat on the floor most of the time, eating eakfast/lunch/dinner, playing cards, or just playing with the cat and spent time together as a family. We did not have a TV nor radio, our kitchen contained only a pot/pan/wok and only very basic essentials for the five of us and the cat.

    So our clothing and shoes were very simple but clean.

    This space was a rented 3rd floor of this brick house in Saigon in the 80s. We got the whole 3rd floor and large balcony all to ourselves. My parents, me, and two sisters and a cute tabby cat had the best time living there. During the day we had nice sunrise & sunset views, at night, we had access to the most incredible of the night sky with the moon & stars! I also loved it when it rained, we had this large clay pot that we collected rain water, after the rain, one time the water caught this incredit green bug that could swim and fly – so cool. Of course we let it go free, but the memory of experience on that balcony was a very important part of my childhood. I don’t think money could buy it. The experience was INCREDIBLE.

    The floor maybe small according to American stand, I think about 600 sq ft (include balcony) for 5 people and a cat, but it was a castle to us. The floor plan open rectangular shape, so that helped.

    Despite owning very few possession, our life was so rich with experience as described earlier. We did not go cheap on food. I remember waking every morning with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and green tea next to me. There’s also freshly bought vietnamese bread (yum I am hungry just writing this comment) next to each of us. I know my parents went out their ways to serve us breakfast/lunch/dinner with the most fresh food available in the market everyday. I felt like a princess in the surreal castle. . .

    I still carry that natural minimalistic nature with me to this day. . . . 🙂

    I enjoy reading your blog, keep up the great work!

  6. Leo Says:

    I immigrated to the US when I was 13. The only words I could utter then was “Hi, My name is Leo (not a real name though it’s my zodiac sign,) How are you?” and that was it. Of course I got enrolled in middle school, high school, and eventually colledge. By freshman, I could read and write English pretty well. So it took me 3 years from being an English dummy to a person who could somewhat caught up with my peers of native born kids. That took a lot of work and determination. I was pretty minimal until after I graduated from colledge. I started buying a house, and it gave me a reason to accumulate. Though if compared to my relatives and friends, my stuff accumulation was far from what is described as clutter.

    I accumulated
    1) a set living furnitures (sofa, chair, loveseat, coffee table and an end table.) I am not big on decoration, so I just used a few pieces (heirloom or gifts from friends and relatives.)
    2) a bed and nightstand for each bedroom.
    3) a simple dining set (no curios or china cabinet)4) various kitchen tools/accessories
    5) yard tools such as lawn mower etc.
    6) Everything in my house had to serve a purpose, I am not into decorative pieces or accent furniture that serve no real purpose other than decoration and take up space.
    7) a lamp for every room
    8) more clothes/handbags/shoes (reasonable)

    To a consumer, my house is pretty acceptable, all surfaces were clear of junk/clutter.

    Compare this to my childhood, this would have been luxury, but I was not happy. I felt overwhelmed, I felt that the stuff owned me. . . so now i am in the process of purging, more to come later. . ..

  7. Simplegal Says:

    Wow…. I’ve been following for abut an must finally post. I have decided to become a minimalists simply because I am a very organized sometimes prioritized gal and just wan a more simple way. I should have though of this years ago because it’s all perdy much already ME!! Nice articles I will stay 🙂

  8. Leo – Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story!

    SimpleGal – That’s great! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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