How Do Mothers Benefit From A Mindful Closet? | A Q&A With Dacy Gillespie

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Dacy Gillespie and I initially met through social media where her Instagram squares are loved for their window to simpler living, something I've found more and more appealing in this stage of life when time and headspace feels precious.   Offline, she is a St. Louis based stylist with a particular focus on cutting the clutter to create more efficiency and mental room for the things that give us joy and energy.  Her brand, Mindful Closet, is not about teaching her personal style but instead working with her over 200 clients to identify the pieces that make them their best self and then editing their closets to a curated set of choices. 

Dacy is starting 2018 offering Making Space, a 4 week online course to reach a broader group of us who want to work through similar goals.  I don't think I'm alone in spending these early weeks of the year thinking through all the ways I can prioritize time better and feel more clear-headed so I asked Dacy to answer my questions on how simplifying our wardrobes could be a starting point.

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Simpler living in general is having a big moment.  Why do you think that is? 

A couple of reasons. Historically, stuff in general has gotten cheaper and cheaper because of overseas manufacturing. People of all economic classes can buy a lot of it, and it's piling up out there. Our world is literally filling up with stuff. And nobody wants anybody else's stuff, they want to express themselves by buying the stuff they like. For instance, the boomer generation has been holding onto stuff to give to the next generations and those generations just don't want it! In addition to all the physical stuff, in the last 10 years, we've all od'd on digital information. After a certain number of years of physical and mental overload, I think we're all ready for a change. 

What impact does having an edited wardrobe have for a mother - on time, finances, mindset?

Such an impact! Decision fatigue is a real thing, and as a parent, we’re constantly using our energy making important decisions about food, sleep, behavior, work, etc. The last thing we need is to waste decision making energy on what we wear. When you have fewer choices, you make a decision faster and easier. When you know what purchases will actually be useful for your lifestyle, you stop wasting time and money looking at things you don’t need.

A lot of people (me included) have trouble parting with things because we "may" want it at another stage, or an occasion.  How do you tackle that emotional barrier with clients? 

Ah, one of the 7 major "stumbling blocks" to letting go I cover in the Making Space course: "I might need it one day". I think we can all relate to this stumbling block, whether in our wardrobe or in the rest of our lives. The problem with this excuse is that it very rarely happens, and in the small percentage of time when it does, there are other things that are necessary to ask yourself. First of all, ask yourself whether this is really true - is there really a chance that you might need it? If you’re currently a stay at home mom, how likely is it that you will need 5 suits in the next few years? One, maybe, but not five. When you do need that thing again, will these items be the things you want to wear? Will you look dated in these clothes? Will your style be the same? Keep a fraction of the things you think you might need, because the odds are that you won’t. Keep one suit, one pair of dress pants, one set of clothing for painting, one thing for working in the yard, etc. It’s ok to go ahead and get rid of all of it too. We have an abundance of clothing in our society, and if you need something, you can find it easily. It’s worth having an uncluttered closet and not storing things that never get used.

What are the common cuts you make for clients?  What pieces do you think are universally worth hanging on to?  

Contrary to people's fears when working with me, if something has sentimental meaning, by all means, keep it! Just don't keep it in your closet where it clutters up your decision making process for getting dressed every day. As for things I commonly get rid of: race t-shirts, clothes that don't fit, things that were gifts...all hard to let go of, and again all things we cover in the course.

Personal aesthetic is so ... well, personal.  Why do you see so many new mothers gravitating to stylists, especially with your specialty?    

Such a great question, because my style actually has nothing to do with my clients' styles. I'm the guide that helps people find their way back to what they feel best in. Sometimes people just need an outside perspective and to be asked the right questions - which is why we do as much talking as purging. I can come in and read your signs and help you articulate what you've had a hard time expressing on your own. 

Does the concept of decision fatigue resonate with you?  Does the culture of simpler living feel appealing to you too?  We'd love to hear.  Also, if you're interested in learning more about Dacy's course, pop over here. xo