Simplify the Extras


Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
(Leonardo da Vinci)

We process information from the moment we wake up, to the time we go to bed. Whether we realize it or not, we soak up everything we encounter. The change in seasons is a good time to consider all you take in on a daily basis—here are a few small adjustments I am making to simplify my extras.

Simplicity Culprit #1: Junk in the Inbox

The darling emails I receive from Crate & Barrel, the GAP and J. Crew have started to overwhelm me. Every morning I sort through numerous greetings from companies seeking my business in the hopes of finding a personal email in the mix.

Solution: Reduce, Reuse, Unsubscribe

If your inbox is as congested as mine, take the time to click the tiny "unsubscribe" link hidden at the bottom of your next e-solicitation. It takes less than thirty seconds to recycle your electronic trash and remove your address from their list. Soon you will enjoy an inbox that is neat, tidy and welcoming to emails from friends and family.

Simplicity Culprit #2: Messy & Overcrowded Closet

2009 is the first in the last six years I haven't had to pack up and move. While the distances have varied—from around the corner to nearly 3,000 miles—each move required that I look my closest squarely in the eye. When I moved to Raleigh last year, I brought only what fit in my suitcase. Each season since then, I have filled my closet with cheap clothes to get me by. This strategy may have been helpful in the short-term, but it has left me with a lot of junk I don't want to wear this fall.

Solution: 1, 2, 3...A Better Wardrobe for Me

1. Keep Only What Fits My friend @TweetNica recently wrote a blog post about body image and slimming down her closet. We all have a pair of “skinny” jeans patiently waiting for us. I recommend you burn these—or at least donate them to Goodwill. You will feel more confident and beautiful wearing clothing that fit your body, so start by finding those items and tossing the rest. And when you slim down, treat yourself to a new pair of sexy jeans that fit!

2. The One-for-Two Special I first heard about this concept on @frankidurbin's blog, Life in a Venti Cup. For every new addition to your closet, you must give two items up for donation. This practice of mindful shopping will quickly lead you to making better choices. Is that hot pink tank top really worth it? Maybe, if you can part with 2 other tops you already own. The one-for-two special quickly helps you build a more versatile and higher-quality wardrobe by forcing you to consider the value of each purchase.

3. Color Code & Flip Organize your closet by color to give you a better sense of what items you buy most. At the start of every season, flip all your hangers around, so they face backwards. After you wear something, hang it up with the hanger facing forwards. Anything on a backwards hanger at the end of the season is an item destined for donation.

Simplicity Culprit #3: Mindless Mornings, Hectic Days

My messy days start with me hitting snooze 3 or 4 times before getting out of bed. I rush around my apartment looking for something to wear and make a mad dash from my front door to my cubicle. When my days begin with the grace of a two-year-old elephant, I am frazzled and less prepared for challenges.

Solution: Stick to a Plan

My best days begin with a plan. Some people organize their week on Sunday nights—others like to plan their Tuesday when they’re wrapping up Monday. No matter what your style, planning out your day in advance will leave you feeling more prepared and ready to face the world.

What about you?

Recognizing which areas of your life need a little simplification is a great step towards making a change. What have you done lately to jettison your junk, coordinate your closest, and diagram your day?

photo credit: GorupKa