the simple closet challenge: 3 steps to a simpler closet that you can feel great about

Clothes. So simple, yet so complicated.

I feel fat in that. 

That shirt show my mom pooch. 

I'm too pasty for that skirt right now. 

I don't have anything to wear with that dress. 

That material is itchy. 

The simplicity experiment the simple closet challenge

is getting dressed for the day a pain point for you too? 

It is for me. I really like clothes & honestly am NOT looking to create a capsule wardrobe.

FYI..Capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called "Wardrobe" in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don't go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces. - Wikipedia

I love clothes, but it seems like I need more of a balance in my life between having the right pieces of clothing that I love & the courage to let go of ones I don't. 

3 steps to a simple closet

What to wear needs to be simpler.  I need to look at which pieces would help me to make an easier decision for what to wear that day & take a little stress of the morning routine.

I do literally have a small closet, but I know I have a lot of things in it that I don't wear & that I am holding onto for some reason: usually sentimental, possibly ridden with guilt (aka, I don't like this, but so and so gave it to me so I should keep it).  

Deciding what to wear should make me feel good about myself.  Half my clothes are aspirational for how I think I should dress and what I think I should fit into, but end up making me feel so bad that I just end up wearing a sweatshirt & leggings instead. 

What is in my closet should be helping the people that make it to thrive.  I sometimes worry about where things are made. Am I unintentionally supporting a system I don't want to support by wearing certain brands of clothing that are made in unsafe factories or by children? 

This week, I'm going to start to unpack our closet and share with you guys how I am going to address these issues that I have with it. And you can join me! WOOT! 

Make sure you are on our email list to get our free printable on how to to begin the process of decluttering your closet. I shared some on how to start this process in our community group on facebook.   

Here's a basic overview of the process:

how get started on your simplified closet challenge

  1. TAKE EVERYTHING out of your closet & drawers 

    • (you could also do this one section of your closet or one drawer at a time)

  2. sort each piece into the categories below by picking it up & asking yourself...

    • Does this fit?

    • Have I worn this in the last 12 months? Will I wear it again? 

    • Do I love this piece or is it serving an important function?

    • Is it damaged?

keep sell purge-atory simple closet categories

KEEP is your yes bin. 

SELL (or giveaway) is your "not keeping, but it has some value." For me, if I can sell an item, it leaves a little wiggle room in my budget to find an item I truly love to replace it or can lessen the guilt of getting rid of an item.

PURGE-ATORY is the indecision pile. Set a reminder on your phone to re-evaluate these items in a month. If you have not missed them, give them away or sell them. If they are really sentimental - consider making a SMALL sentimental box to put in storage. 

shirts on wooden hangers one delightful shop

Then step 3, start to put things back. I'll get more into this soon, but I would suggest putting things with like items. (ie all workout clothes go together, all tank tops go together so you can find them easily)

HANGER TRICK: put hangers on backward to use as an evaluation tool to see what you are really wearing. If in a month or two, there are a bunch of things that haven't been turned around, maybe you want to consider purging them as well. 

A simple, ethical (with some grace) closet full of clothes you can feel great in is the idea we are developing products around at One Delightful Shop.  

We are super excited to share more with you all about that soon!  Jump in on our challenge by getting on our email list & printing out the printable that we'll send you soon to get started.

In the email, we'll also give you a way to join in on the closet challenge.  If you join in, we'll have a little something special for you during our one delightful shop site relaunch!

xo, katie bowling

6 ways to simplify food

Ok guys, I am still plowing (trudging?) through this simplicity experiment. I am realizing each subject really has so much to it. I declared this was food week & while its still in process, I thought I would share some of my takeaways from this week (and things that we have added this year to make food things a little simpler.)

First off, I hate planning. I am re-reading Better Than Before and trying to understand habits, but that's another conversation....I am not spontaneous with a lot of things, but I also don’t like to being pinned down.  Does that make me an oxymoron?  Probably. 

On to the list....

1. Make a food plan! This is my life...

why do they want food every night?  kids!?

When I forget to meal plan (i.e. most of the time) I get overwhelmed thinking about what to make.  My lack of planning definitely makes things more stressful around the house. My husband, Philip, and I try to have a weekly meeting on Sundays to look at the week ahead and talk about our schedule - including food. I made a little printable if a little guidance might help you! Oh and my favorite fun pens. 

2.   Make some meals predictable. This January we decided we wanted to prioritize family time & have some predictable things in place for our kids. We have not done this perfectly, but are trying to add a couple meal theme nights every week. Philip got this idea from Simplicity Parenting. We stink at getting our kids to eat the same food we eat.  We have chili ... they have a tortilla and carrots. We grill chicken...they have...a tortilla and carrots.  This has given some predictability (because I'm not spontaneous), but with some freedom (don't pin me down!). 

Our Schedule (to give you an idea)

MONDAY // Mexican (because Taco Tuesday felt too limiting...)

THURSDAY // Pizza at church (for an event we typically have)

SUNDAY // Soup (I love soup...its one meal in one pot....and its cold most of the year in MA so this gives me a reason to make it. Plus, Sunday seemed fitting with the slower day)

3. Things always come up. You forget an ingredient, work went late, 20 min on FB became 1.5 hrs.  Come up with some ideas for easy meals to use in a pinch. Stock the ingredients if you can. Pinterest can be for LALA dreamland, but this can also be super helpful for remembering recipes you love & coming up with ideas when you are setting a weekly plan. 

pots and pans in sink with white flowers

4. Overstock non-perishables that you can afford & know you use frequently. This is such a silly one - but my kids love a few Trader Joe products like their 12 grain crackers & granola bars. Why not buy 3 boxes instead of one so you can skip the Trader Joe’s run one week. I find myself going to multiple grocery stores in a week (ie: market basket for cheap stuff, Trader Joe’s for fun healthy-ish for toilet paper or other random things....the farm stand for fresh local produce) Overstocking when I can helps avoid trips to multiple places. 

5. Two words: PREPARED MEALS. I don’t mind a good salad, but I hate the work of making them for some reason. This is why buying things that are half prepared- like Hello Fresh or a bag salad help me make a better food decision when I am tired (ie most days). Take a Trader Joes Bag Salad & put a boiled egg on top & add some sunflower seeds. Boom, lunch is served. Rachel Ray eat your heart out.

hello fresh first delivery

6. Make extras. This is like a stupid simple takeaway, but if you make extras - you don't have to cook as much. I loved this idea from the Lazy Genius...Make extra food, see if friends want to come over (BONUS PRO TIP - builds community ;) ) If they can't, BOOM leftovers for lunch or tomorrow night dinner.  

What would you add that has simplified food in your house? 

xo, katie bowling

five yard sale mistakes to avoid

5 yard sale mistakes to avoid

So this Saturday I decided to somewhat on a whim have a yard sale. We are simplifying, but I also am cheap so I don’t want things that I spent money on to go to waste. (plus, I might need some money to fill in the gaps of things I decluttered ;) )

 Maybe you are thinking about a way to clear out some clutter & making a little money would help give you a push to do that. Often, we don’t want to clear out possessions we don’t use because we feel guilty that we spent money on them and feel like we should put them to use. I have a major guilt complex about getting rid of things I might need some day or have the tiniest amount of sentimental value. Soooo if I can make a little money while decluttering, it makes me feel better about the process. 

Here are 5 things I wish I had done to make our Yard Sale more of a success

  1. List everything of value on Facebook Marketplace a few days before. Facebook Marketplace feels like the new Craig’sList to me. Its easily accessible and you can see the photos of the items quickly. At the yard sale, I had people offer me very low prices for items I could have sold a lot more for online. (i.e. someone offered me $3 for a kid's toy and I said no, listed it online for $10 & sold it!) This will give you the opportunity to sell it for more & if you do end up selling something super cheap at a yard sale, you won’t feel as bad about it because you had tried to sell it for more already. 
  2. Say no to super low prices. Yard Sale junkies are CHEAP, but you have to decide what is worth more to you...your time or getting money. I had a lady walk out the door with a bag of clothing for $20. I could have sold those clothes on Poshmark for $100 or more. 
  3. Make a Yard Sale your last resort unless your goal is really just to get rid of things & make a few bucks. Back to my comment about time vs. money. If I first listed things on Marketplace or poshmark I would have been fine selling things that didn't sell at a yard sale for cheap.  If you can't tell, I have a lot of yard sale regret that I'll need to talk to a therapist about ...
otter box phone case at the yard sale

4. Simplify Pickup from online sales by combining it with the yard sale event. If I sell something online, I hate coordinating the pickup. If it becomes complicated & I was only going to make a few bucks off it - I'd rather just skip it.  If you do sell online, see if you can have people pick up at the time of the yard sale. You are all set up anyway - much easier than arranging a pick up time. 

5. Don’t go to Target after & blow all your yard sale money. Things you buy new lose their value once they're used. If there are things you are okay with buying used, consider looking for it at a thrift store, yard sale, etc first. 



jk jk. I did have someone that offered me a lot of money for my shoes if I could guarantee they smell. Then he claimed he had a foot fetish. It will get weird. Just say no - buh bye. 

5 yard sale mistakes to avoid
xo, katie

the simplicity experiment: the kitchen

So this week I decided to start with the kitchen in our house because it is a room used everyday & also seems to be the dumping ground for other clutter in our lives. We don't have a laundry room or a mudroom or a pantry so the kitchen really is our hub for most things. The heart of the house if you will, but sometimes it feels like the armpit. Our kitchen isn't worthy of being on Hoarders, but its far from a simple, serene space to enjoy uncluttered cooking, family time ... (or a glass of wine by myself).  I have four goals for the kitchen that I am hoping will simplify our lives & make us a little happier.

#GOALS (why do I use that expression all the time?!)

  • Find a spot for things on counters in the kitchen that shouldn't be there
  • Eliminate dishes, appliances, etc that we do not use or love
  • Set up an efficient system for meal prep, snacks, baking, etc. 
  • Bonus, make it more beautiful

Here is our start...It is a beautiful kitchen - but it just needs some love & organization. 

kitchen before with all the clutter

And just for funzies - if you are joining us or just want a fun playlist - I made one for such a time as this...starting with appropriately, "my house" by Flo Rida because I'm not a real mom, I'm a cool mom.


On day one - this past Monday - I planned on emptying every cabinet in the kitchen & making decisions on what I would keep, throw away, giveaway, etc. Lol lol. Why did I think I could get that much done in a couple hours?!

I quickly realized I needed to just tackle one thing at a time, so I focused on food items not in the refrigerator. This also made me think that the kitchen might be the hardest room in the house to simplify because everything that needs to be decluttered I thought I should also clean while I was at it. I'm a hot mess.  So I gave up on my mission of total kitchen simplification in a week and just decided to get our non-refrigerated foods in order and create a system to restock them without our cabinets again exploding into a cornucopia of foods that we only use once like tapioca pellets and condensed coconut milk.  I used three questions to help my process:

What foods should I overstock so that we have plenty of them?
What should I always have in my pantry?
What are some new meals we could add?

A little inspo here.  I haven't applied most of these things yet (remember ... hot mess), but I like the idea of them.  



My plan here was

1 / to empty out our pantry cabinets. 

2 / Toss expired food & giveaway food we don't use.

3 / Identify foods I should have in my pantry (particularly ones that I could stock up on & not need to constantly rebuy)

4 / Put things back in a way that is easy to access




Put stuff back. Yay. 

Made a station for making lunch for our son since that happens every week day. 

Happy dance!

I more or less was able to finish the pantry in a couple of hours, which spurred me on to want to create a pantry list of go to things I'd like to make sure I have in stock. I also felt like we needed a space to list meal ideas because I often get into food ruts & can't think of anything to cook.

This is totally do-able for a person such as yourself.  i would recommend....

  • Pick a space to evaluate in your house (or office, etc)

  • What is the purpose of this space & is it serving its purpose?

  • What are pain points in the space? (places where clutter builds or you can't find things, etc. For us we had a couple of spaces where stuff was piling up that needed to be dealt with but they never were being addressed.)

  • Set a few small goals for the room or space (mine are listed above for the kitchen) & plan a reward if you hit your goals (can be small or big!)

  • Start with something small that you can succeed with (i.e. Empty a drawer or cabinet that is not working for you - but only commit to one at a time)

  • Take everything out of that space and put it in piles designated:
    • Keep
    • Toss
    • Giveaway (or sell)
    • Indecision Purgatory Box / I am so bad at making decisions (thus, clutter...) Your purgatory box is for things you think you do not need, but are afraid of getting rid of. Put things in this box you are afraid of missing. Set a time line and a reminder to reopen the box at that time (a reminder on a calendar would work) - if you haven't missed it during that time - get rid of it!
  • Put the things back into the space intentionally
clutter is no more than postponed decision
xo, katie