Do you ever have that thing when, as the season changes, you look into your clothes drawers or closet and realise you have NOTHING to wear? The weather here changed so dramatically in the space of just a few days taking us from shorts to woolly socks seemingly overnight. And there seems to be very little in the closet that will actually work for right now. If you are organised, your fall/winter wardrobe will be stored safely awaiting this change in temperature and you can just switch them around. But if, like us, you just seem to have no appropriate clothes, here’s how to clear out your closet and make your wardrobe work for you this season.
To get started, empty all your clothes onto the bed. Hold each item in turn and ask yourself these questions:
1.When did you last wear it?
If the answer is ‘Not in the last twelve months’ you should get rid of it. Unless it has particular sentimental value, in which case zip it into a storage bag and put it somewhere else. If you wore it recently but it’s too summery, put it aside into a pile for summer clothes.
2. How do you feel when you hold it?
Some garments just feel right – they remind us of fun nights out, or successful meetings, or are trusty wardrobe staples that we wear all the time. You might have a shirt that makes you feel strong and gorgeous, or some trousers that are super comfortable and always get compliments. Other things can make us feel guilty (that we bought them, or that we haven’t worn them). Maybe you’ve been holding on to something in case you can one day fit into it again. Some garments look tatty and sad, which can make us feel equally dreary – time for the stained t-shirts and bobbly trackies to go. If it makes you feel bad, get rid of it.
Remember Marie Kondo’s idea that everything should ‘spark joy’. Whilst this may be overstating things, it’s a good rule to keep only those items that lift your spirits.
3. Does it work with your other clothes?
If you follow the principles of establishing a minimalist wardrobe (go here for a great series on this), each item you own should work with the others so that you keep just a core of interchangeable basics and a few statement pieces. Whilst this doesn’t mean sticking to the same palette entirely, it makes sense to keep clothes that don’t clash and that complement each other. Navy, tan, black and grey all work brilliantly together, and you can add some blush pinks or pastels in there for spring and summer. If you find that dress in a garish print that you love but just can’t find anything to go with it, let it go.
4. Is is right for this season?
We don’t mean ‘Does it fit in with the latest fast-fashion seasonal trend?’ but rather, think about how you can wear each item over the next few months. You might have a skirt that is short but that looks great with chunky tights, or a blouse that works brilliantly with a cardi thrown over. But if there are some pieces that are purely season-specific, put these away until their time of year comes around again.
Once you’ve edited your closet contents like this you should have a good idea of exactly what you do have that you can actually wear this autumn. You could either take discarded items to charity shops, sell them on eBay, or invite your friends around for a clothes swap. Now that you can see what is there, you will also get a good idea of what is missing. You might realise that you need some lightweight jerseys to carry you over to winter, or one key tunic that will form the basis of your fall wardrobe, or some cosy pyjamas to snuggle up in as the nights draw in.
When your wardrobe is sorted, there’s no need to spend ages trying to decide what to wear, or agonising over a new purchase. Which leaves more time for enjoying the mellow autumn, whether that’s taking a walk in the late afternoon light, or baking a crumble with windfall apples and foraged blackberries.
Carefully considering what clothes you have and what is missing means not only saves you time, but you will also avoid impulse buying. Instead you can look for the ideal, long-wearing, versatile pieces that you actually need. Invest in good quality items that will keep going for several years, and look after them well.
This process is also useful for getting end-of-season sale bargains that you can add to your summer pile and store away for next year. Linen items will store brilliantly as they naturally repel moths and other insects, and just need a quick refresh when you are ready to wear them. Just make sure you store your summer clothes somewhere dry and dark.
If you need help sorting other areas of your home or life, go here. Happy clearing!
What a treat we have in store for you this month! We are picking the brains of the lovely Katherine Heath of Wild Grey Skies for her thoughts on all things sustainable and natural. Katherine is a social media manager and content creator* at (hug) London, who not only takes gorgeous pictures, but also has lots of wisdom to share about ways we can be more ethical in our consumption, and how to attain more balance in our lives.
Welcome, Katherine Heath!
1. Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
I can never quite find a ‘job title’ that encompasses all I do but the closest I’ve got is ‘social media manager and content creator’*. I have been fascinated by photography since I got my first point and shoot when I was about 14. After working in the commercial photography industry for a few years I realised I also loved the way creative imagery can be used in marketing. I went on to discover the benefits of social media when it comes to telling a company’s story, and found that that is where my interests really lie.
In my ‘spare’ time I am an advocate for all things natural, wild, ethical and sustainable. I aim to highlight the importance of reconnecting with nature through my photography, and my Instagram account of course. I have also just started blogging. My blog Wild Grey Skies focuses on finding balance between our natural and digital worlds. The more ‘connected’ we become the more disconnected we feel from ourselves and from nature. Being someone who works in digital and spends a lot of time behind a computer I felt it was important for me to find ways of connecting with the benefits of the wild outdoors as much as possible and to help others do the same.
2.If you had one piece of advice or wisdom to pass on to your younger self, what would it be?
Appreciate what you have. When I was younger, especially at school when new trends appeared every few months, it was easy to get sucked into the idea that your friends always had something better than you. Once you realise that what makes someone else happy will not necessarily make you happy the release in pressure is a huge relief. If we’re constantly chasing after more, when will we be truly happy with our lives and what we already have? One of my favourite quotes is “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”, by William Morris.
3.What is it about the simple life that you find appealing?
There’s less to worry about! Having less and living simply means fewer problems, less things that can break, less time spent fixing/replacing them and more time to spend outdoors enjoying all that nature has to offer, as well as more time to spend with loved ones. Finding joy in the simple things makes for a happy and content life by eliminating the unnecessary stress that comes from always wanting more.
4.How can we counter the pulls of content-sharing and curating images of our lives with the need for being in the moment?
Content creation and sharing, especially for me as a social media manager, has become a huge part of everyday life these days, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have its pitfalls. I admit I am terrible at leaving my technology behind in fear of missing the perfect shot, but when I can tear myself away it really is the best feeling. Knowing that I can’t mess around taking a photograph, or upload a quick addition to that day’s stories, even if I wanted to, means I can focus on enjoying the moment I’m in with the people I’m with.
Deciding when and when not to leave your camera behind is a hard decision to make but starting small often helps. Leave your phone in your bag when you’re having dinner with someone, or if you’re at a concert maybe take 1 or 2 snaps to remember the day but then put your phone away and enjoy your evening. I will never understand why people feel the need to video entire performances on their phones – it will never be the same when you watch it back through a phone screen with the audience screaming in the background and the occasional arm blocking your entire view.
It’s all about balance.
5.Who inspires you?
I must admit I get most of my creative inspiration from Instagram. There are so many talented photographers/artists out there using the platform in a million and one different ways – there’s a never-ending stream of inspiring work I could spend all day looking at. I enjoy browsing the feeds of artists who are very different to me in hope of finding new ways of expressing what I am trying to say and new ways of looking at the world around me.
For slow living inspiration, there are a lot of companies and individuals out there doing great things for the planet, like Patagonia and its founder Yvon Chouinard who inspires me to buy less but buy better and appreciate the effect each purchase we make has on the planet.
Then there are the people around me. My family, who support and guide me when I feel I’ve lost my direction and my partner who is always there to talk through new ideas with (and is fortunately very willing to help with various photography projects).
6.What are your essential homeware items/ things you couldn’t do without?
The coffee grinder. We grind our coffee by hand every morning and it’s become one of our simple-living rituals. We’ve been told countless times that ‘they do make electronic ones’ but there’s something rewarding and calming about doing it by hand. The grinder is also beautifully made and looks much nicer in the kitchen than an unnecessary, electronic machine.
I would also struggle without my wool blanket and house plants. I could quite easily while away a weekend wrapped up with a book in my natural wool blanket, surrounded by plants and drinking freshly ground coffee.
7.What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?
My plans and aspirations change so much and so fast that I’ve given up trying to even predict or plan where I’ll be in the next year! I think there will be a huge gap between what I think I would like to be doing and what I will end up doing, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I would like to still be writing Wild Grey Skies and using my photography to encourage more people to take on a nature-led lifestyle. Hopefully I’ll also be spending even more time outside myself as well.
8.What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
Well, it wouldn’t count as wild to the men and women who do it day in day out, but for me working as part of a mustering contracting team was probably one of my wilder moments. A friend and I went into the depths of outback Australia, we lived in a tent, showered outside, spent our days rounding up cattle on horseback and motor bikes and spent our days off at rodeos. Waking up to dusty, silent sunrises, working outside until I had no energy left in me and cooking dinner in the low evening light whilst enjoying an ice-cold beer – a way of life that couldn’t be further from what I do now but a time I will cherish forever.
Thank you so much for your time, and sharing your thoughts with us!
Find more A Simple Path interviews here.
Many of us strive to slow down and lead simpler, slower lives but just don’t know where to start. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by things-to-do, work, family and all the other things that can trap us into what feels like an endlessly revolving door? Do you browse social media or magazines and end up feeling envy at other people’s seemingly perfect homes or holidays or relationships? Sometimes we need a bit of help to bring ourselves back to what really matters. These 6 books will do just that. From ways to radically change your life to simple steps towards feeling freer and happier, these books have something for everyone seeking to live better, with less.
1.For a major life-overhaul
This month we are delighted to be joined by Heather Hall from thesiftedlife.co. Heather has developed a programme to help people ‘sift’ their lives – to get rid of clutter, to find simplicity and create more time for the things they love. She lives, and works, by this mantra: “There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less” (G. K. Chesterton). Her aim is to support and guide people who are feeling overwhelmed by ‘stuff’ and help them live better, with less.
Sit back and enjoy her insightful, thoughtful interview. We think you will love her ideas on carving out a simple path through this crazy world.
With many of us heading off on vacations this month, we have a special secret to share with you. When planning for a two-day drive across Europe in an over-packed car with four children (aged 5-12) we devised a simple yet sanity-saving way to keep the kids happy on the long journey. And because we know how difficult travelling with kids can be, we thought we’d share it with you here.
Introducing: ‘The Bag Of Fun‘! (And you need to say this as if you are introducing a celebrity on Strictly Come Dancing or America’s Got Talent)
What is the Bag Of Fun (BOF)?
We are super excited to be joined on A Simple Path this week by Dorian Bowen of The Welsh House. You may already know Dorian from his gorgeous Instagram account, but if not, or if you’ve always wanted to know more about the man behind the pictures, read on.
You won’t feel quite as rested as if you had just woken up to a dewy morning on a Welsh hillside, but his words will bring solace and respite from the busyness of your day. Savour this one.
1.Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
With the ever-increasing pace of modern life, many of us are turning to the outdoors as a way of slowing down and enjoying simpler pleasures. Wild swimming is becoming an increasingly popular way to connect with Nature and enjoy a different way of being outside. We thought we’d see what all the fuss is about.
What is wild swimming?
The loose definition of wild swimming is any open water swimming, whether a lido or an ocean, but different people have different takes on the precise requisite for a stretch of water to be classed as ‘wild’. Basically, if you are under the sky, not a roof, you are wild swimming.
We are so pleased to be joined for our A Simple Path series by Julia Smith, creator of Humphrey & Grace and taker of stunning photographs over on Instagram as @humphreyandgrace. Julia has an eye for beautiful, natural wildscapes and sumptuous florals, all with a gentle aesthetic and underlying belief in cherishing the simple moments in life. She works with brands to create photographic content and on social media strategies, and is an all-round Instagram superstar, so we are very grateful to her for sharing her wisdom and thoughts here.
Julia has great advice for connecting with each other and disconnecting with our screens, on teaching children to be compassionate and measured about their online time, on how to manage Instagram, and on carving out time for simple pleasures amidst the hurly-burly of everyday life. Her website is a treasure trove of creative inspiration, practical photography and social media advice, and inspiring conversations.
Read on, this is a true treat.
1. Thanks so much for joining us Julia Smith, we are beyond excited to have you. Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
I am a photographer and Instagrammer. For the most part I create content for social media both for myself and for brands, sometimes I share this content in my gallery and sometimes it is simply work for my clients. Either way it is a job I adore.
In the summer you want easy-to-wear, comfortable linen clothes that work with lots of things in your wardrobe and that don’t need lots of special care. Simple, unfussy, hard-wearing items that you can throw on for a trip to the beach or a picnic, or just for pottering around the house. Linen really comes into its own in the warmer summer months. It’s lightweight, cool (it regulates your body temperature so you stay comfortable all day), easy to pack for vacations, easy to care for and looks great on its own or layered on chilly evenings.
If you are looking to add some linen garments to your capsule wardrobe, or need some beautiful linen clothes, linen dresses or linen tunics for an upcoming holiday, here’s our edit of essential things you will love this summer.
Amanda Saurin has been on our radar for a while now. Not just because her beautiful flagship store is in our hometown, but also because of her joyful and inspirational approach to her business, A.S APOTHECARY – and indeed to life. Infused with Amanda’s love of plants, her organic skincare products are exquisite concoctions aimed at promoting not just beauty but wellbeing. Her range is carefully curated and each plant is hand selected to ensure only the highest quality ingredients find their way into a product. We caught up with Amanda between a trip to Cyprus sourcing plants for her skincare range and installing her new Alembic Still (a mighty-looking copper contraption for distilling), and picked her brains about what she does and why she loves it.