The Edit

We talk about downsizing our home and clearing out our wardrobe, but what about editing other things. I’m talking about books we’re not overly fond of, television shows we watch out of habit or boredom, hobbies, and experiences we repeat that gives us no joy, and yes, people.

Current circumstances have forced an edit of the people we spend time with. This has me wondering if this isn’t a great time to re-evaluate what you keep in your life?

I’ve had plenty of time to go through some boxes in my garage, and while I love books, I’ll be donating monstrously large piles of them, once the donation centers are back open. There’s no need to keep a book I read years ago and had to force myself to finish.

My wardrobe is getting the biggest edit because I’m in the process of getting my colors redone again by several experts and expect to need an update. I want higher quality garments that I will wear with delight rather than mere pleasure. I’m hoping to fine-tune my things to own less but of higher quality.

I also don’t want to needlessly waste time on activities and people I really don’t enjoy. Life is so much more than the things we own and if nothing else, this time at home has reinforced how precious our time is.

Editing out what isn’t important gives you more time for the things that are.

What have you edited from your life lately?

Be well and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.


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  1. Roberta M Smith
    February 22, 2021 / 8:27 am

    Wow! Every one of these comments struck a cord with me. I really need to put some serious thought into my need to surround myself with things. I love to shop but just because it’s cute or on sale doesn’t mean it should be mine. Lots of work to do! Thanks for the inspiration Ladies.

  2. Cindy
    June 6, 2020 / 5:58 am

    My husband & I downsized drastically several years ago. But since we’ve been on lockdown, I’ve realized that even when you live in a small space you can still accumulate unneeded items! So we’re done another purge. Now that my area is reopening, we can donate these items that we put into bags a few weeks ago. I enjoy the feeling of releasing what no longer serves me, especially when someone else might be looking for the exact item I’m donating!
    Jennifer, how do you find someone who can do your colors? My wardrobe is small now so I’d like to have each piece be perfect for me.

    • Jennifer
      June 6, 2020 / 7:31 pm

      I am trying out several online colorists right now and will share my results very soon.

  3. Marce
    June 6, 2020 / 5:00 am

    Thank you so much for this post. So many of the comments resonate with me, such as: Too much stuff, what am I shopping/gathering constantly for, saving things for my kids that they don’t even want, sick of looking at it all (cleaning, maintaining, organizing and reorganizing it all), desire to enjoy things more instead of thinking about what I need to “get to” someday, too many choices, lifestyle has changed and don’t need certain things, and on and on.
    And as for the topic of people, after moving clear across the country 10 years ago, I found that few friends were willing to stay in touch beyond social media… which makes me ponder these relationships. Social media seems (for some people) like a way to “collect” more and more friends with less and less real relationship. So I’ve also been paring down there too.
    I know I’m not saying anything new here in my comment… but I just want to say that I also think we’re on to something, gals. Each in her own way and in her own time… but we are all reaching for our best life!!
    Lastly, thank you Jennifer for your wonderful articles on style. It has helped me shape my view of clothing/fashion beyond my “it’s on sale so get it” mentality to thinking about the important factors such as does it look good on me, does it fit my lifestyle and budget and more.

    • Jennifer
      June 6, 2020 / 7:25 pm

      Thank you Marce. I’m so glad you’re part of our community here!

  4. Pat
    June 5, 2020 / 4:10 pm

    This is such a timely topic. Last August, I started the process of downsizing my parents household items so they could move into an apartment that is attached to their home. My brother will renovate their house for him and his wife over the next 6 months. I am visiting them this week to move them into the apartment. This taught me that we accumulate a LOT of stuff, much of it unused. When I returned home, I took a hard look at my house and realized that I need to start working on downsizing now so that when I retire in 10 years I am not overwhelmed. I also decided I did not want to spend time caring for and maintaining stuff I don’t need or use. I did start with wardrobe and accessories. I started selling the stuff that was in good condition on Poshmark. It has been gratifying to know that it is not going into a landfill. I watched the documentary, The True Cost, on how fashion is the second most polluting industry behind oil and gas – it was eye-opening. Several folks who purchased items from me on Poshmark wrote nice notes that they were starting their first job and purchased the item as part of their work wardrobe. I have worn out some items and thrown those and stained or torn items away. And I have donated some items that are in good condition, but get little wear or don’t feel like me any more. I am more discerning in what I do purchase. I continue to edit. I am preparing for a move in August back to Southern California from Las Vegas – this will be my last job before I retire. My goal is to reduce my book collection over the next few years by reading and donating to libraries. Household goods will continue to be edited. The ultimate goal is a home that is welcoming and inviting, clean and free of clutter and has only items used and loved. Once I do retire, my last move will be easier with fewer possessions. I have enjoyed all the comments and love this community.

    • Jennifer
      June 6, 2020 / 7:21 pm

      Thanks for being part of this community Pat

  5. Elaine @ Following Augustine
    June 4, 2020 / 6:54 pm

    Thank you for an excellent and thought provoking post, Jennifer. Like many others, I’ve done some much needed “editing” while sheltering at home. I started by cleaning out and reorganized my kitchen cabinets and our storage room. The items that were culled are waiting for our local thrift store to reopen so that they can be donated. The bookshelves are next. I know that I’ll find them more challenging as I hate to part with a book, but you are so right! What is the point in keeping books that we’ll never read again? People are even harder to edit than books, but the divisiveness that I’m seeing online these days makes it very clear to me that there are a few that I need to cut ties with. That brings me to the final area that I know needs some editing in my life… social media! I’ve come to realize that it eats up too much of my time and often leaves me totally frustrated. I’m currently reading Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport in hopes that it will help me figure out how best to edit this part of my life.

    • Martha Edmundson
      June 6, 2020 / 12:23 pm

      Thanks for the book suggestion, Elaine. This sounds exactly like what I need. I have been thinking about Facebook lately and get discouraged and sad. I have so many beautiful, wonderful friends and family that I hate to give it up entirely. I’ll order this book today.

  6. Bella1910
    June 4, 2020 / 4:38 pm

    I was overwhelmed 10 years ago and sat down and made a long list of everyone and everything that wanted or demanded my time and attention. It was a ridiculously long list. I spent a weekend compiling a list of essential people in my life and work priorities (I’m self-employed) and was amazed at how much was left “unprioritised” on the list. I made some harsh decisions that weekend, but I have never regretted those decisions. Moving house after an earthquake solved my dilemmas about what stuff needed to be saved and what could go! Upshot? Keep kind and loving people around you and less “stuff”. Go well Jennifer

  7. Sandy
    June 4, 2020 / 2:14 pm

    My edit? It’s going to be my yoga class. Why? I found that I like attending the class online better. I can pick the time I want to watch it plus it saves me gas. With regard to books, I’ve discovered the library’s app where I can borrow books on my Kindle, so there aren’t books in my house I need to give away. With regard to clothes – well – I really still like to browse through catalogs and have new things to wear. My trick is that I look through the catalog, write down every thing I want and then come back to the list in a few days. By that time I’ve changed my mind and usually don’t even order anything. But it was fun to look!

    • mimi
      July 17, 2020 / 6:00 pm

      Sandy, Would you be so kind to explain how to use the library app and if I can borrow books to read on my” kindle for pc ” ? I would love to be able to go this route…. I just moved to a different state bringing 9 boxes of books (some hardcover & some paperback) and am wondering now if I can locate my desert island favorites (2 shelves full) digitally, then let’s sell/donate/put in little free libraries the books! *****OR if Jennifer knows how to do this– can you please post soon?

      For my most recent edit– I sold my 10 year old vehicle to Car Max end of May when I decided to move to a pedestrian friendly city.

      • Jennifer
        July 18, 2020 / 7:16 am

        I moved far too many books last time. I did donate tons to my library when they were accepting them. The rest went to Goodwill. They love getting books and I’m more than happy to donate.

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