Project Simplify: the Minimalism Game and Organizing My Closet by Categories


Thank you for all of your comments and the great discussion on the last post! The more we talk about it, the more the subject of personal style fascinates me. Today let’s switch gears slightly and discuss closet organization since we have to do something with those clothes once we’ve nailed down our style, right? As I mentioned before, I won’t be getting to my closet for another week or so but I have a plan figured out.

The obvious first step to organizing anything is to get rid of any extraneous things. For years, I have purged my closet at least once a year but it’s still out of control. So I clearly need to do more and yet something always holds me back. I know I’m not alone and some common obstacles to a really big purge seem to be the sentimental value of certain objects, the I may need that someday way of thinking and guilt over the money spent. I’ve gone through all of these and that last one in particular. But I’ve reached the point where I’ve had enough and am ready to let all of that go. (Yes!) And what I need now is some sort of push to help me along.


The Minimalism Game

This is where the 30-Day Minimalism Game comes in. Have you heard of it? It’s kind of crazy and kind of brilliant. It was started by the guys at the Minimalists and the way it works is you get rid of one item on the first day of a month. On the second day, you get rid of two items. On the third, three items and so on and so on for 30 days. That ends up being 465 items if you make it through the 30 days! Technically you play with another person and whoever lasts longer, wins. Most people do this for their entire house but I decided I’m going to try to apply it to my closet (which tells you how bad it is)!

As I’ve said on numerous occasions, I’m under no delusion that I could ever be a minimalist. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t borrow minimalist ideas to help me simplify as much as I can. And I think my closet is begging for something drastic like this. I’m a little trepidatious but also really excited to give it a try.

Have any of you played the game? I’ve heard from several people that it changed their lives. Does anyone want to play with me? 😉 If you do, leave me a comment and we’ll figure out the best way to check in with each other. Maybe we can do it via Twitter or Snapchat or something? I’m open to ideas!


Organizing by Categories

Something that is going to help me with this big purge is that I’ve also started to reorganize my closet slightly by dividing it into different categories instead of by article of clothing. My schedule looks different from day to day so I sat down and made a list all of my activities and what I wear for them. Then I grouped the items together by these categories (casual, out and about, formal, etc.).

Categorizing all of my clothes this way is helping me to see very clearly which areas need the most purging and which do not need any more additions ever again (hello, five thousand pairs of colored denim)! So this is going to go a long way when I start the Minimalism Game.

It is also just making much more sense already. On any given day, instead of looking at all of my clothes, I can just go to the section of my closet that holds the category of clothes I need for that day and choose an outfit from there. I’m sure there are people who have been doing this for years but it’s a real revelation for me!


So that’s my plan of attack for the closet come October! I have high hopes of a beautiful, streamlined wardrobe that will make getting dressed less stressful and actually enjoyable. Again, let me know if anyone is up for playing the Minimalism Game with your closet or your house!

I’ll be back on Wednesday to give you my thoughts on capsule wardrobes. Hope to see you then!

(Photos: the Coveteur)

Project Simplify: Personal Style


Hi, friends, two posts in one week! What in the world is going on, you ask? I’m so invigorated from my decluttering challenge (it feels so good to be rid of so much stuff!) that I just want to keep the momentum going on Project Simplify! Today, I want to talk about a huge topic that has been on my mind that has a big impact on the project: personal style.


As I mentioned, I’m going to devote October to my wardrobe and personal style is going to be the key to simplifying my closet. I’m determined that anything that is not me or my style is going out the door! I’ve been using this same idea this month as I’ve been decluttering the house too. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. The topic of style is actually quite complicated and something that really fascinates me.


Personal style is not a priority for everyone and that’s absolutely fine. Live your lives, I say. But for me, I consider it one of the major ways we express who we are in life and that is something I want to cultivate and refine. Chances are if you are here, reading this blog, it is important to you too.

Ann Demeulemeester

There are lots of style tests, books and articles devoted to finding your personal style and they can be useful places to start. But following someone else’s ideas about what essential pieces you should have in your closet or what to wear this season, etc. ultimately won’t get you there because we are individuals with individual style.


Having talked to many people about this, I’m convinced this is the reason so many of us are frustrated with our wardrobes and feel like we never have anything to wear. There’s nothing wrong with exposing yourself to this type of advice (I read magazines filled with them!) but just following formulas isn’t the answer. Ultimately, what it boils down to being open and paying attention to what resonates with you, what makes you feel your best and what is most comfortable and suitable for your lifestyle. All of this applies to home decor as well and it all takes time, experience, trial and error.


That is why I think finding your style is also just part of the larger process of getting to know yourself. As you become more certain of who you are, the clearer you become on what you like and what works for your personality and lifestyle. You stop following the herd and buying into all the noise on social media (there’s so much selling!) and you just do your own thing. 

Styles also evolve and change as we do and that’s all part of the process. Over the years, I experimented a lot and I feel like I finally have the broad strokes of my style down. I still experiment but for the most part, it’s just a matter of fine tuning my style a little more every year.

The Row

What I figured out for myself is that I’m most drawn clothes that would fall into the man repeller category: usually oversized, sometimes androgynous, generally more boxy cuts, slightly odd shapes….. (The looks from the current season I’m loving most are strewn throughout this post.)

I love the beautiful Carolina Herrera gowns this season as well but if I had to describe my style, these are the looks I would point to. I’m fully aware that these are not everyone’s cup of tea and that is okay. By definition, personal style is personal; it is subjective. Not everyone is going to like your style and vice versa.

Ivan Grundahl

I admit that I didn’t always have the confidence to wear anything that would make me stand out too much; I didn’t want to be conspicuous or draw attention to myself in a negative way. But over the years, as I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin, I’ve also become less concerned with other people’s approval or disapproval. How boring would this world be if everyone liked everything everyone did all of the time?  To paraphrase that old song, we’ve gotta be us.

I’ll stop here for today but I’m really fascinated by the topic of style and want to keep exploring it. Next week, I’m going to discuss how I’m organizing my closet. (I told you I’m really cranking out the blog posts these days!)

(Photos from except 1.Architectural Digest 6.Elle Decor)


Lately: A Tropical Resort, Painting Central Park, Serenbe Showhouse & More

Good morning, friends, I’m sharing about a million good things with you today as we say goodbye to summer and usher in fall. #favoriteseason

From our summer vacation, I wanted to show you a few snaps from Sala Phuket Resort because I loved everything about it from the design to the food. I was especially obsessed with our villa with its outdoor bathroom (and shower!) and plunge pool…..  (For the record, this is a completely unbiased, unsponsored post!)

I highly recommend it if you’re thinking of vacationing in that part of the world. I was also happy to learn the Sala group owns a number of properties throughout Thailand and I’m definitely going to be keeping it in mind for future trips!

At home, we’ve been watching Rectify and it is one of the best shows on tv hands down. Heartbreaking and shocking. Happy Valley was really suspenseful and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is just plain hilarious.

I’m also kind of addicted to podcasts these days. I’ve been listening to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, the RobCast, Unmistakable Creative, and Good Life Project. I’m looking for others so please let me know if there are any you’d recommend on the topics of spirituality, creativity and especially style.

This time of year, I tend to suffer sensory overload with new product launches, the new season of arts and reports from fashion week coming at us from every direction…..

A September ritual. I look forward to this section every year.
A September ritual. I look forward to this section every year.
Just a couple of my favorite fashion campaigns this season.

There is so much visual stimulation!

There are new books to inspire us too and Vendome Press kindly sent me an advance copy of Painting Central Park by Roger F. Pasquier which is doing just that.

Central Park has inspired so many painters over the years and bringing them together in this beautiful book is a brilliant way to tell the story of this iconic space. Works by George Bellows, William Merritt Chase, Edward Hopper, Milton Avery and many, many others portray the park beautifully as the backdrop for social life and urban history. If you love New York, American history or landscapes, Painting Central Park is a treat.

You can find all the details and see more of the book here.

serenbe designer showhouse

Last but not least, the community of Serenbe and Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles unveiled the dreamy 2015 Designer Showhouse. I went to a preview this past weekend and as you can see, the designers just knocked it out of the park! There is much, much more so if you’re in the area, go and be inspired! The showhouse is open now through October 4, 2015 and you can find all the details here.

I’ve also been writing up a storm related to Project Simplify so expect many posts this week and next!

(Photos by FROM THE RIGHT BANK except for the fashion campaign spreads and podcast logos)

Project Simplify: 30-Day Declutter Challenge

coffee table FTRB
No matter how much I simplify, this coffee table will always be layered!

Thank you so much for all of your helpful comments on the last post! I really appreciate all of your input. I would love to continue the discussion so please keep them coming.

So as I said there, I want to look at five different areas as part of Project Simplify and I’ve decided to break it up into monthly subprojects as follows:

September: House
October: Wardrobe
November: Financial/legal/business (I want it to encompass anything that needs regular updating and maintenance such as online accounts/subscriptions, emails, scheduling house/car maintenance, etc.)
December: None – time off for the holidays!
January: Creative projects including studio/office space
February: Health and spirituality

My goal is to tidy up the rest of the house like the kitchen!
I’m starting in the kitchen and the goal is to get the part you don’t see to be as tidy as this side!

So beginning with the house, the one strategy I like best (and suggested by Aimee and Haley) is tackling one small area at a time. I found a 30-day checklist on PopSugar and adapted it to better fit my needs. With today being the first of the month, I’m starting on the list today! #soexcited

FTRB 30-Day Simplify and Declutter Challenge
1.  Fridge and pantry
2.  Kitchen cabinets and drawers
3.  Medicine cabinet
4.  Makeup and skin care items
5.  Bathroom drawers
6.  Linen closet
7.  Storage
8.  More Storage
9.  Holiday decor, gift wrap, etc.
10. Coat Closet
11. Media (DVD’s, CD’s, etc.)
12. Electronics and gadgets
13. Travel items
14. Receipts and mail
15. Desk
16. Digital photos
17. Computer data
18. Books and magazines
19. Fabric stash
20. Laundry room
21. Dog items
22. Garage
23. Outdoor areas
24. Cars
25. Files/documents
26. Stationary/office supplies
27. Samples, swatches and misc.
28. Art supplies
29. Old journals and artwork
30. Photos and memorabilia

A couple of things to note. I’ve left out all clothing-related items since I will be addressing them in October when I will deal with my wardrobe. I have a different strategy for that beast(!) so please check in next month for that. Also, I’m going to be traveling at the end of this month so I’m going to handle items #25-30 in January when I tackle creative projects and studio/office. (That’s where all of these things are located anyway so it kind of makes sense.) So this will technically be a 24 + 6-Day Challenge. If you want to use this list, items #25-30 are also the ones that you could switch out for things I left out like clothes, kids’ rooms, etc. or for things related to your own hobbies and activities.

I’m going to post my daily progress on Snapchat if you’d like to see how I’m doing (username FromTheRightBnk) and I’ll also report back here at the end and share any insights.

So are any of you up for the challenge? If you are, please share any thoughts and updates!


Living La Belle Vie: Project Simplify


Lately, I’ve been completely consumed with the idea of simplifying my life.  If you’re a regular reader, this may sound entirely antithetical to my love of all the pretty things. Initially it did to me too and I was embarrassed to even talk about it with anyone. But when I obsess over something in a thinking-about-it-almost-every-waking-moment kind of way, I know there is something there to explore and I have most certainly been pondering this nonstop.

So the first thing I want to examine is: Can maximalist tendencies coexist with minimalist concepts?

They sound like diametrically opposed ideas but I have to think there is a way for those of us who just aren’t cut out to be minimalists but who still want to live more simply and I’m determined to figure it out once and for all. I think I was on the right track in this post (from more than 3 years ago!) and it’s time to revisit that approach!


The other thing I want to examine is: Aside from physical possessions, what else can be simplified to decrease stress, increase peace of mind and leave us with more time and energy?

I’ve broken Project Simplify into five main areas: 1) home (the obvious one); 2) wardrobe (also pretty obvious); 3) financial/legal/business; 4) creative projects; and 5) health and spirituality.

I want to take a look at these five areas in the coming months and share what I’m learning and tips I find useful. I’d also love to get any insights and advice you may have. I feel like there’s a big shift happening right now and more than ever, many of us are yearning to edit, pare down, organize…..  Maybe we can help each other along?

So I’ll be contemplating this – and not doing much else – on vacation next week in Thailand. I’ve been counting down the days! The past month has been really stressful on many fronts so this vacation is coming at the perfect time. The inevitable coconut and palm tree images will be on Instagram (@fromtherightbank) and Snapchat (@fromtherightbnk)!

Hope you’re all enjoying these last days of summer. See you in September!