Girl's (and guy's) guide to spring cleaning your closet

About a month ago, my friend Holly Fisher and I met downtown for coffee. "Why do I always feel the need to snap a picture of my latte?" I asked, as I stood over the wooden table admiring the foam heart.

"Uh, I already took a pic of mine when you were in the restroom," Holly replied. 

We laughed as I captured the pretty table and the pretty coffee. 

I'll also mention that I was wearing jeans, a v-neck tee, and booties, which is like my uniform. Sometimes, I wear Chucks, or sandals, or flip flops, depending on the weather. This is important because Holly was interviewing me for an article in Lowcountry Parent magazine about how to create a closet of clothing you love.

Holly and I discussed how, in one year, I curated (that feels like such a fancy word, curate) a minimal yet functional closet that works for my style, my budget, and my lifestyle. And yet, there's nothing particularly fancy, or expensive, about the clothes I wear. But it works for me, and that's a radical difference from where I was this exact time last year, and honestly, where I was for about a decade (aka, the entire time I've been a mom).

Last spring, I wrote a blog series about the same topic. As you know, I typically write about matters of the heart. Feelings. I'm not the fashion police by any stretch of the imagination. But, I was so surprised by how many of you loved that series. Turns out, I wasn't the only one who felt like they had nothing to wear, even though you look inside your closet and clearly there are clothes. 

You may recall that I got help from style coach Megan Brandle, which I'll admit, sounds out of reach until you consider how much it costs to go to the hair salon. Here's the difference: I need my hair stylist all year round and always. I've tried to cut and color my own hair and the results aren't pretty. But, after shopping with Megan twice last year, I finally have a DIY attitude about my closet. The process taught me so much and will save me a ton of money, time, and energy in the long run. And now, when I need to be seen in public I no longer have the urge to hide out in my workout clothes. I just get dressed and go. 

But, to be clear, I still wear my workout clothes, a lot.

If you live in the Charleston area, the April issue of Lowcountry Parent magazine is out now. You can also read the article here. 

Part one of the blog series I wrote last spring is here. Part two is here. 

Also, the kind people at Tommy John sent over a quick guide to cleaning out your closet:

Guys need underwear, so Tommy John is offering 20% off your spring purchase! Use code TJ20Spring. Tommy John is also donating 5% of sales of their limited edition boxer briefs to help fund testicular cancer research during the month of April.

So tell me, are you spring cleaning your closet? Your house? The thousands of pictures trapped on your phone? What are you feeling the need to purge/clean out/organize/revive this spring? 

Uncommonly good things

*This post is sponsored by Uncommon Goods. The thoughts expressed and attempts at humor are 100% my own.*

My daughter loves to play hopscotch. And, I love to watch her play hopscotch. The thing I don't love? Drawing the hopscotch. It's my own fault. I insist on using every last grain of chalk as it whittles away on the sidewalk and I'm one millimeter away from scraping the skin off my fingers. 

That's why this rug caught my eye:

It's designed to be a decorative solution to a rainy day and perhaps, not the solution to my own laziness. Hopscotch all the time! 

This is one of the many reasons I decided to partner with Uncommon Goods; in addition to supporting a community of artisans, designers, and creative thinkers, their online shop is full of unique finds. Check this out:

Wait for it: It's a personalized mixtape welcome mat. *Swoon. And then cue that scene from Say Anything*

If the song In Your Eyes is stuck in your head now, you're welcome.

Uncommon Goods also offers practical things for the home. (What? A mixtape welcome mat isn't practical?)

 

This wood laptop stand is perfect for my mid-century modern home office. I adore my Macbook Air but I'm constantly battling headaches because of the weird thing I do to my neck when I'm typing on it. 

And, I'm not sure if this f-bomb paperweight goes with the decor, but raise your hand if you want it:

(Me! Me!)

Uncommon Goods offers plenty of great gifts for weddings, graduations, and anniversaries. My 17th wedding anniversary is coming up, and, as I typed that, I had to do the math. Is 17 years when you start losing count? So this card game would be nice to have around: 

It helps you recall big and small memories and access the lifetime of stories you carry around with you. 

Another way to remember the important things: Letters To My Future Self. My sister-in-law got my son this exact same gift for his birthday, and it's a great way to create personal time capsules:

Uncommon Goods believes there's a story behind every product, and the company gives you a chance to learn more about the people who made them. When you're surrounded by all that inspiration, I understand when those who work there say, "We have a feeling the future will be uncommonly good."  🖤

Related reading: What I'm watching and loving (my latest post for Skirt! Charleston.)

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This is where we are

This was the year. The year when my firstborn child, my sweet son Dillon, stopped making valentines for his classmates at school. The conversation went something like this:

"Uh, am I doing that this year?" 

"I think so," I replied. "I got an email from your teacher saying there were 24 kids in the class—14 girls, 10 boys—and if you send valentines you have to give one to each student. And no special valentines for special someones."  She included that last part because puberty is coming. Or, perhaps it's already here. 

"Yeah, but it's not mandatory, is it?" 

"Oh. Maybe not. Let me check." I sent a group text to some moms.

Me:  The 5th grade boy wants to know: Valentines or no valentines? 

Boy mom 1:  Ha! Same question at our house. I bought some for my son just in case. He asked if he really has to take them out of his backpack. 

Boy mom 2:  I keep asking my son and he said no to valentines. So we're not doing them this year. (grimace emoji)

Boy mom 3:  My son says no. 

Girl mom:  So funny! My house is all about Valentine's Day. 

Actually, even though Dillon opted out, our house was all about Valentine's day too. My middle child, Blake, who's in second grade, said he wanted to make valentines out of construction paper. He and his younger sister Cate had fun making these happy heart faces, complete with lifesaver eyes, bedazzled noses, and glitter smiles:

And, when I realized we didn't have to produce valentines for a third classroom full of kids, my reaction was part relief (because making valentines is kind of a pain) and part mourning (because I wasn't ready for Dillon to be done). 

But, this is where we are. 

 

My 5th grader, no-Valentine-maker turned 11 today. 

My children are now 5, 7, and freaking 11. No more babies. I am decidedly out of the toddler-chasing, diaper-changing stage of motherhood, the stage that has defined my life for the past 11 years. 

And, to be honest, I have trouble falling asleep at night. It's not like I didn't see this day coming. I've written about it before. And, it's not a bad day. But it's definitely a new day. My family is growing and changing at what feels like the speed of light, and I'm trying to catch my breath. 

But that's the constant state of motherhood, isn't it? Just when you think you're getting the hang of things, it's time to move on. 

I've been a mom for 11 years, and I've been blogging for nine of them. Writing helps me process the relief, and the sadness, and the beauty we experience when life is in transition. I find myself looking ahead to fall, to the new school year, when I send my youngest off to elementary school for the first time and my oldest off to middle school for the first time, and I wonder what this writing space will become.

What stories will I share? Because my children aren't the only ones changing, I am too. If I had to pick one word to describe how I feel about what lies ahead, it's curious. Because, if I've learned one thing about motherhood so far: It's never exactly what you imagine. 

Onward, my friends. 

Angie

ps: There's a construction paper heart stuck to my fridge. It says #bestmom. Although I'd question whether that's actually true, my kids (for now) still think so, so I'd call that #winning.

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