About Melanie

Melanie is a stylist who adores bold prints, local farmers markets, and getting down to 90's music.  Her mission is to make women feel confident through their clothes.  This native New Yorker currently resides in the Bay Area with her fantastic husband, adorable, chubby baby and her impossibly cute puppy.  

Sunday
Apr122015

One Stylish Mama: Emily Scott

I am often asked to talk about personal style.  How to achieve confidence in personal style is one of the most important factors when it comes to feeling confident in your clothes.  In my opinion, if you don't know your personal style or you don't feel confident in your ability to create an outfit you love, it can become pretty impossible to love your clothes.  In the upcoming weeks we are going to be talking about ways to make your closet uniquely your own, how to make sure you don't wait to have the style you've always dreamed of, and  organizational tips for having a closet that showcases your amazing wardrobe.  It's my goal to inspire you to start asking yourself questions when you go into your closet that start the wheels turning.  Always remember to ask yourself: "Do I really love this?"  If the answer is no, get it out and find something that does!  Life is too short to be in clothes that don't represent you!

That's why I am SO stoked to have Em from Em the Gem and The Refined Woman here today.  She truly is the epitome of "owning your unique personal style".  She knows how to keep it real, while having an effortless, chic, and timeless sense to her clothes.  She mixes sneaks with fur coats, lace with denim, and bold red lips with t-shirts.  Her combination of function meets high fashion is what makes her unique.  

Em is an incredible photographer whose ability to capture dreamy, well lit moments is unparalleled.  She is half of the dynamic duo behind the fashion blog The Refined Woman.  She's totally a mama who you look at and think "Wow, she can do it all." while still managing to be honest and real.  Em is also the mama to a one year old baby girl who seriously could charm the socks off of anything that crosses her path.  She's just too much!  Check out my interview with Em below.  Can you handle how amazing her style is?  She's also QUITE the photogenic subject, don't you think?

Introduce yourself and your business:

My name is Emily Scott, my photography business is Em the Gem but I also am a co-founder of a blog called The Refined Woman. 

What is the biggest difference in your style from before you were pregnant, to pregnancy, to mamahood?

I can no longer sacrifice functionality in anything I wear. I used to make sacrifices for style but now I am always looking for ways to not only find stylish clothing but clothes that make me happy to wear them - good fabrics, flattering cuts, and classic pieces. I am looking now to pare down my wardrobe to tried and tested items, and less fast-fashion or super trendy pieces. 

Was there an item of clothing or turning point where you can distinctly remember thinking... things are changing with my style?

The last time I went through my closet I threw away a lot of short cutoff jean shorts and I haven’t looked back. 

How has your business influenced your style?

I love the challenge to find polished and refined pieces, and I find myself mixing them with my distressed jeans and hi-tops. It’s been a fun way to blend of being a boss lady and a real mom and woman. 

Where do you get your style inspiration from?

I love thrift store shopping and I’m always inspired by older items that are really well made and stand the test of time. I love playing with different silhouettes that have come and gone throughout the years and remaining them on myself. I also love fashion magazines and editorials and love seeing how they interpret different designers. 

What style icons do you love?

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are the bomb.com

What item of clothing or brand are you currently loving:

I currently can’t get enough of my pieces from Everlane, AYR and Stylesaint. 

Favorite item of clothing or brand that you love for your kids:

I am always surprised by the cute things I find a BabyGap, but I also love everything I’ve ever bought from Bobo Choses. 

What is one thing you love about being a mom?

When she laughs. 

What is one of the hardest things about being a mom?

When she cries. 

If you could describe your style in 3 words what would it be?

Fun, fancy, free.

Anything else about being a mom and style that you'd like to mention?

 I’m still trying to have fun with it and experiment and take risks. 
I'm truly inspired by mamas who find a way to blend their love of fashion and their need for function into amazing style.  To me, that's what REAL style is all about.  While I love a good fashion mag or runway show; real fashion is about clothing that you can wear and feel incredible in.  Em does this seamlessly and I'm pretty sure I'll be stepping outside my comfort zone a liiiiittle more after this interview.  haha
To personal style, confidence and finding the balance between crocs and stilettos... cheers!
With love; from my closet to yours,
Melanie

 

Tuesday
Mar312015

The Hair Product Statistic That Blew My Mind

If you follow along regularly on my blog, IG or FB (aaaaand you should… obvi) you know by now how important I consider The Beauty Basics.  That’s why I created this monthly series that demystifies some of our daily beauty practices. 

I have curly hair that isn’t very easy to manage.   Some days it looks dry and other days it looks oily.  It really needs specific products or the curl is not my friend.  Because of this, I know I have to take the time to do my hair and do the research to make sure I’m using the right thing.  Otherwise I ended up feeling insecure, which is the exact OPPOSITE of how I like to work.  I’m all about the confidence baby!

A few weeks ago I found a statistic online that blew my mind.   According to Allure Magazine, Unilever conducted a study and found that a whopping 89 percent of women don’t feel satisfied with their hair products.  Whaaaat.  That’s crazy.  You want to know why?! It’s because there are TOO MANY OPTIONS.  There are over 600 drug store hair products.   How are you supposed to choose?  All hair and products are not created equal.

I’ve done a ton of research for my upcoming closet course The Confident Closet (comin at ya in just a few weeks) and wanted to share with you some exclusive recommendations straight from this amazing course. 

Before we get started, I want to point out that all of the products suggested in this post are purely being mentioned because I’ve either used them myself, have had clients use them, or have glowing reviews.  I took the time to research and take recommendations just for you!  I however, am not a hair care professional and none of this is endorsed in any way. 

 Fine and Straight Hair

Your hair is thin and gets oily fast.  You have to be careful because products tend to weigh your hair down, but without them your hair has no life.  Stick with me girl, I’ll steer you in the right direction.

 1) A Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner – This is key for hair that is as fine as yours.  I’m a fan of products that do their job without weighing your hair down.  Here is a shampoo that does just that.

 I've also heard great things about this shampoo which is known to thicken and strengthen with ease.

 ** HOH tip – Only use conditioner on the ends of your hair and make sure to rinse thoroughly. 

 2) A Lightweight Mousse – Adding body and control without weight is what we are after here.  We want to add some life into your hair without weighing it down.  This one does the trick without parabens or any of that bad stuff.

3) Dry Shampoo – This is great to add to your hair if you find it’s too slippery and fine when dry.  I love the body this product adds.  Don’t over use though because eventually it will build up in your hair and create heaviness.  Some dry shampoos come in the color of your hair, so make sure to get the right one!

 Avoid – Oily Serums

Extra Credit – Add a Heat Protecting Spray to help your hair from getting too damaged and to avoid breakage.

 Thick and Straight Hair

  Your hair is like this if the Kardashians hair was real.  It’s a mixture between the girl in the Pantene Pro – V add and a Mermaid.  Your only downfall is that your hair takes time and love and attention.  With the right products your hair really shines.  Pun intended.

 1)Leave in styling oil – tames frizz, strengthens hair and adds shine.  Look for a light weight one that locks in moisture such as this.

 2) Styling cream – Tames frizz, adds bounce and detangles.  Make sure not to use too much!  As my dad always says “A little dab with do ya!”.  I’m a fan of this one.

 3) Light Shine Spray – It’s the last piece to your gorgeous hair puzzle.  Make sure to only use from the middle of your hair down.  Adding that extra shine from a spray like this one makes you look like you just walked out of a hair commercial.

Ultra Kinky Hair

  Your styling products are super important for making your kinks curl not frizz.

 ** HOH Tip – Instead of drying your hair with a towel, try a t shirt.  It helps to control the curls without causing frizz.

1) Ultra Rich Hair Shampoo and Deep Conditioner – You need a shampoo that hydrates without stripping the hair of what it needs. This shampoo is known for doing just that and works great on all hair types including African American.  I’ve heard even better things about the conditioner

 2) Leave In Conditioner – Your hair looooves moisture.  Sometimes you may find you need a leave in to do a little extra work. I mention the Living Proof products a few times in this style sheet because I genuinely love their products!  Check out their leave in conditioner

 3) Styling cream for curly hair – You want to make sure you don’t use a spray since sprays tend to leave certain spots more concentrated than others.  A good cream like this one can add definition and controlled curl.

 This product is known for “transforming frizzy fros to soft curls”.  I’ll take it.

 ** HOH Tip – When you get out of the shower, wrap your curls around your finger immediately after towel drying to start the controlled curl right off the bat.

 4) Oil serum – Oil is the name of the game.  You need your natural oils and added a little extra will help keep that shine in tact while taming frizz at the same time.  This serum is known in the hair world as a game changer. 

 Dry  and Over Processed Hair

 Your poor, poor hair has been through the ringer.  Don’t worry; we can bring it back to life. 

1) Ultra Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner – This product restores and rejuvenates chemically processed or weak hair in a flash.  I’m a big fan of all of the Morocan Oil products since they really do the trick and are safer for the environment as well.

 2) Argan Oil Treatment – Sometimes your hair just needs to be revitalized and pumped with moisture.  This product does just that.  It also helps with damaged hair and with hair growth.  This product works great for all different types of hair including African American hair.

 ** HOH Tip – If your hair is really brittle and falling apart it might be time to get a trim.   

Wavy and Dry Hair

 All your hair is really asking for is frizz control and a little loving.  The point is to smooth out the wave without overpowering it.

 1) Frizz Fighting Shampoo and Conditioner – Tame that frizz and tame it good.  Keep in mind that since this is a heavier shampoo and conditioner, you should keep your styling products lighter (and that have natural oils in them).  This shampoo and conditioner gives you all the moisture your hair craves.

 2) Styling Cream and Wave Enhancer – You should look for a product that focuses on promoting the waves but not weigh them down.  This product works wonders but is really strong.  Use the tiniest bit and your hair is transformed.

 3) Salt Spray – This product really helps to control the wave without overpowering the hair.  This one in particular really adds texture and a super beachy wave.

 4) Serum – Once your hair is dry, feel free to add a serum to add shine and a smidge of moisture.  Definitely stay away from the roots with this product though.  The tiniest little bit of this product works wonders.

 Avoid gels – they are too crunchy and won’t give you that natural beach wave you crave.  That rhyme was intentional.

Curly Curly Curly Hair

 Your hair is C.U.R.L.Y.  and the only way to make it work is to embrace it. 

 1) Sulfate Free Shampoo and Rich Conditioner – You want to look for a shampoo that won’t dry out your hair.  Curls really need moisture to survive and thrive.  Your conditioner should seal in moisture but be careful that it’s not too heavy.  This shampoo and conditioner also restores moisture from color treated hair but works wonders on any hair type that needs to be revitalized.

 2) Leave in Conditioner – Keep that moisture in tact!  After applying the leave in conditioner (such as this one) make sure to comb it through.

 3) Curl Definer or styling cream – Provides hold, defines curls, and locks in moisture.  This one really does the trick without being too heavy.  It also smells good and is affordable.  Win Win Win! 

 You can also try a curls amplifier such as this one

 4) Curl Refreshing Mist (not hairspray!) -  Once hair is dry apply some of a product like this one, to enhance, revitalize and hold that curl just a little more.

 A few more tips:

 Extra Oily Hair – Make sure not to over wash hair. I know it seems like you should but washing it every day will dry out our scalp which causes it to produce more oil.  It just exacerbates the issue, which is not what you want.  When you do shampoo use a gentle one like this

Weighed down hair – Once a month, use a clarifying shampoo to remove all that build up.  This product gets rave reviews and is affordable to boot.  Make sure if it’s too strong for your hair you mix it with your regular shampoo.  A great way to remove all that pesky product build up and start fresh.

Flaky, Dry Scalp – Try using an all-natural oil shampoo such as this one to hydrate as needed.

 Soooo I think that covers it!  At least most hair types!  I would love to know in the comments section below if you've used any of these products or have a product you adore.  This post is meant to inspire you to start to play with different products to get the most out of your hair.  There is tons more where this came from.  Sign up here to be the first to know about The Confident Closet.  All will be revealed in a few weeks and you definitely want to be "in the know".  Can't wait to share all the deets!

With love; from my closet to yours,

Melanie

Photo Cred: Melanie Duerkopp / Hair and Makeup: Melissa Hoffmann

 

Wednesday
Mar252015

Do You REALLY Like That?

Two nights ago, I went to get dressed for date night and I grabbed an item that I used to call “my sexy dress”.  It got this amazing nickname for obvious reasons.  I felt sexy in it.  So when I put it on, I was surprised to realize… I don’t like this anymore.  That’s when I had the epiphany… Ummm I don’t think I’ve liked this for a long time.

Why was it still in my closet?!?

The answer may surprise you.  Sometimes we have things that we used to love and even if we stop wearing it, we don’t always remember that we don’t like it anymore.  I know that sounds funny, but it is SO true.  Trends change, your lifestyle changes, even your body changes… your favorite clothing items will change too.  You have to ask yourself:

“Do I really like this NOW, or did I just USED to like it?”

Now, there are going to be pieces that stand the test of time over years.  We call these items staples or investment pieces.  These are non trendy items that are well made and are often in our closet for years.  Even if you have a lot of classic, well made items in your closet, you may still decide you are “over it”.  

So, how do we know when it’s time to let our OLD favorite items go, to make room for our NEW ones?

  1. If it’s worn.-  Sometimes, it’s time to let one of our favesies (as I like to call it) go.  This can be a challenge when we REALLY love something and we know it’s no longer made in the store.  Chances are, if your favorite sweater has holes, stains and pills, no matter HOW much you once loved it, you are gonna need to find a new favorite sweater.  Sigh… I know it’s hard but it’s gotta happen girl!

  2. If every time we try it on, we take it right off. - Your favesie is supposed to be something that is tried and true.  Something that you KNOW you love and look good in.  If it no longer is “doing it” for you, you have already found your replacement.  You just need to look at your old favesie as a memory not a current go-to item.

  3. If it feels dated. - I have these two shirts… they are from college and I loved them.  I used to think they were THE COOLEST.  One is vintage McDonalds and talks about filet o fish on the back.  Um… I have never eaten a filet o fish.  Actually, I havent eaten McDonalds since college.  So, I know the reason I’m not wearing it.  But why do I still have it?  I think for awhile I thought it was worth something.  Who knows!?  All I know is I had to make the decision that it wasn’t worth anything to me!

The hardest part of purging clothes is this feeling that we are never going to get anything like it.   That replacing it is impossible.  Here’s the deal, you don’t need to replace it with the same thing.  You need to replace how it makes you feel.  The goal is to feel hot, sexy, confident, amazing, wonderful and fantastic in your clothes.  These old favesies are not doing the trick anymore.  Instead of viewing it as a bad thing, try viewing it as an exciting thing!  I’m giving you an excuse to go shopping!  Woot Woot!  

If you’d like to hear more about how to purge your closet with ease, sign up here to receive all the deets on my upcoming closet course The Confident Closet.  It’s so good!  Can’t wait to share more!

With love; from my closet to yours,

Melanie

Photo Cred: Camille Stallings / Hair and Makeup: The Glamourist



 

Thursday
Mar192015

One Stylish Mama: Sarah Jenks

Hey girl!

Man are you in for a treat today.  This month's stylish mama is the inspirational and stunning Sarah Jenks.  Sarah has been featured in Redbook Magazine, Huffington Post, Life and Style, Martha Stewart, Mind Body Green aaaand more.  Sarah is one of those ladies who manages to make creating an influential lifestyle movement and being a mama look effortless and stylish.   She also has this way of influencing and pushing you without even trying.  I can speak first hand to this since Sarah and I are close friends.  We also happen to be completely aligned in our mission to help women. As Sarah's personal stylist for events, video and photo shoots, and anything fabulous that comes her way, I love working with her to accentuate what a fantastic style she has.   I feel equally grateful for our professional relationship, but even more so our personal one.   This makes me extra extra excited to share this interview with her today because I KNOW you are going to love it.  

One of my favorite things about Sarah is her ability to reinvent herself.  She'll say to me "I have been feeling more 'sophistacted mama' lately and want my style to reflect that. " Boom now her style is more 'sophisticated mama'.  She always makes it seem so easy.  She is completely confident, completey truthful and completely brilliant at making women love themselves.  

Sarah recently put out an incredible video series called Real Talk: Women and Our Bodies.  In it, a dozen women, of all ages, sizes and situations, get real about what’s it’s like have a body they hate, what they did about it, and where they are now.  The rawness, vulnerability and honesty of these women blew me away.  I feel like this conversation needs to be happening WAY more often.  Not only are these videos beautiful but completely necessary in order to change the way we talk about our bodies.  You can see them by clicking here. And if you are moved to, please share them with a woman you care about.  The more we talk about this stuff and heal our own body image issues, the more likely it is for the next generation to grow up without this challenge.

Furthermore, Sarah’s created an incredible Lifestyle Video Program to help you get out of the diet/binge cycle by creating a fun, meaningful and romantic life so you can finally reach your ideal weight.  And she’s offered it to you for free.  You can click here to get instant access to her free training.  I’m so excited for you to be a part of this training, because Sarah is all about putting down our obsession with weight and getting back to what really matters, like our relationships, our purpose and having a ton of fun.  The icing on the cake is that focusing on these areas helps us to naturally shed that extra weight. Bonus.

Now to our fantastic interview where Sarah opens up about her style favs, challenging mama reflections and what has been influencing her look.  I feel like we also need to talk about her effortlessly incredible hair.  For reals...  Also.. how adorable is it when she talks about her son Marshall's style? Of COURSE he wears flannels like dad!  The cutest! 

Introduce yourself and your business:

Hi! I'm Sarah Jenks, Founder of Live More Weigh Less (livemoreweighless.com). I believe that the only way to learn to love our bodies is to stop "weighting on the weight" and start living our dream life now, not twenty pounds from now.  I'm from Boston, consider myself a New Yorker, and live in San Francisco with my husband and son (and we have one on the way!).

What is the biggest difference in your style from before you were pregnant, to pregnancy, to mamahood?

Before I got pregnant, I dressed like I was going to fancy picnics all the time. Lots of floral dresses and flowy shirts and the occasional tight, short dress, cause you know, I could! When I got pregnant, I wanted to grow up my look a bit and I got a little more edgy - more jeans, simple shirts, more accessories, leather and bomber jackets.  Simple, clean, pulled together, very little patterns.  Now that I'm a mom, I'm struggling to find my style to be honest. The body and emotional transition after babies is hard, not only did my clothes fit funny, I didn't really know who I was.  I think I was just getting into my groove of combining a clean urban look with chic wise mom hippy (hard to pull off, I'm working on it) and then I got pregnant again when my son was just 9 months old.  Now I'm really into dressing up sweat pants and leggings ;)

Was there an item of clothing or turning point where you can distinctly remember thinking... things are changing with my style?

It was definitely when I bought stud earrings.  I used to wear really intricate dangly earrings, and not only were those impractical with a baby, they weren't my style anymore.  Opting for simple gold jewelry made me feel more like an adult.

How has your business influenced your style?
 
When I started working and blogging again after a long maternity leave, I wanted to make sure the world knew I was a different person, more mature and wiser with more to say.  Because of that I wore more black, white and grey.  Now I'm loosening up a bit and feel like I have less to prove so I'm bringing in more color and patterns.  

 
Where do you get your style inspiration from?  What style icons do you love?

 

So funny, I don't really have any!  In general, I try to go for a timeless look that I feel great in.  

What item of clothing or brand are you currently loving?
 
I'm very dedicated to Madewell and Anthropologie but I just recently discovered Club Monaco which has so many incredible, well made beautiful clothes.  Clothes I feel like I will have in my closet for years.  

What's a favorite item of clothing or brand that you love for your kids?
I get a lot of Marshall's stuff at Target.  It doesn't break the bank and they have the cutest stuff!  Marshall wears a lot of plaid flannels (just like his dad) and Target has an endless supply.

What is one thing you love about being a mom?
Coming home from work and seeing Marshall waddle towards me with his arms stretched out and huge smile on his face. Kills me every time.

What is one of the hardest things about being a mom?

 Since my husband is a surgery resident he works late, and I am alone with Marshall every night from 5-7:30 when I get him to bed.  Although part of me loves that time together, being solo for bedtime is hard.  I have to try really really hard to be patient with him.

If you could describe your style in 3 words what would it be?

 Clean, Cool, Comfortable

With love; from my closet to yours,
Melanie
Assorted Photography: Danielle Fletcher / Bess Friday
Hair and Makeup: Melissa Hoffmann

 

Wednesday
Mar182015

The Epic Kluger Purge of 2015

Ladies, this past week was rough. In preparation for our big move from a house to an apartment with much less storage we decided to do what we have been avoiding for YEARS.

We went through everything in our entire house. From the big stuff like the kitchen and closets to the nooks and crannies we've been letting get too messy.  We even went as far as to go through all our childhood boxes in the garage.

Yep! You heard that right... We went through everything.

Please excuse all these fuzzy photos and shleppy "I'm purging and my hair is gonna suffer) look.  I wanted to be totally real and show you how much we got rid of!  I'ts crazy talk!!!!  The whole experience was really intense and long (I'm pretty sure we said "This is never ending!" about 40 times) but so worth it.

Both my husband and I own all our college and childhood memorabilia. While a lot of my friends still have a lot stored at their parents, that just isn't the case for us. We have it all, and up until now we've never had to go back and look at it.

I learned SO much throughout this process. I almost didn't write this out of fear that people would judge me. Judge how much we had, judge our attachment to certain items or judge how we got rid of certain items. Also, I know my family will be reading this, and while I know they support me, I was worried they would hear something that they wish I hadn't gotten rid of.

After giving it a lot of thought, I decided that none of that really mattered. My goal is to inspire you while giving you practical advice and useful tips and that's what I'm going to continue to do!  We are all in this together, and as someone who loves being there to hear you open up about your closet woes, I realized it was time for me to get real with you.

Here are some of the major things I learned from "The Epic Kluger Purge of 2015".

1) Its perfectly OK to be attached to our items, and it's also OK to let it go.

As someone who helps people clean out their closets for a living, I was constantly shocked at how emotionally attached I was to so many things!

As a former costume designer I still had several boxes of my sketches, paperwork and research from every show I’ve ever worked on. Ummm... That's a lot of plays. In the moment, I knew I didn't need these anymore so I dumped them all (minus some favorite sketches). The next day, I found even more.

 This time it wasn’t as easy.   I instantly felt panicked.  I had this feeling like I had thrown away a huge chunk of my life.  I realized I had never really processed the fact that this was no longer a part of my life. While I absolutely love what I do now, it was still sad to think that a chapter that I truly adored was over. I allowed the feelings to come and I moved passed it. All while going through these boxes.

2) Designate an area for memorabilia.

Since we had SO many boxes to pare down, I told my husband when we started that we each could have one storage bin of memories. This was great because it allowed us to know we COULD keep things that were important. It also made it so we had to be selective and really think it through. It REALLY worked. I went from 8 boxes to one.

3) Find new ways to connect to memories.

We sometimes fear that if we let go of an item we won't have the memory anymore. The memory is always there. If this is something you worry about, take a photo and write down the story. The actual item doesn't need to be sitting in a box you don't look at in order to be real. Promise.

4) This is seriously hard and rewarding.

It's ok to be both. While I preach that cleaning out your closet can be a party, I don't want you to think I don't get that it's hard. To me, when we say out loud "Man, this is hard" and acknowledge it, it allows us to not beat ourselves up. When we stay positive even when it's hard, our outlook helps to keep us focused and see the light at the end of the tunnel.

5) It can have a better home.

My dear friend and colleague (and the lifesaver who came over to help us purge) Rebecca McLoughlin always says to think about the items that you are donating having good homes. It can either sit in a closet that you never touch, or it can go somewhere and get used all the time. It is much easier to let things go when you know it's not the end of their life.

6) Family guilt is strong. 

 Especially NY Jewish guilt. Haha! Both of us were holding on to items because we thought our parents or grandparents would be upset if we got rid of it. NOT because we liked it or it was our style.  Here's the thing, your family didn't want it. If they did, they would have kept it. How can they be upset if you donate it, if they gave it away too?

I have to say, your family will try to convince you otherwise. If it's avoidable, do NOT talk to them about these items. Every time I called my family to ask them about something I no longer wanted they (subconsciously) tried to make me feel bad about the fact that I wasn't keeping it.  I love them all to pieces but I realized I had to make these decisions on my own.

Both my husband and I both found ourselves in much healthier places when we made the decision on our own, telling ourselves that they would understand. Of course, I did make boxes for my family of sentimental things I thought they would like, cherish and use more than me. So you have to find the middle ground that feels good for you.

7) Giving to your friends is the best!

A week after sending a package of goodies to one of my best friends from college, I received the best message. Not only did all the clothes I sent her fit her, but she genuinely loved them. She also seemed really touched that I thought of her, and really liked all the things I sent.

It was the BEST feeling. Sometimes in the moment, getting rid of an item that once gave you joy can be gut wrenching. If you think someone else you know would genuinely love it, this is a perfect opportunity to give it to them.

That being said, don't take it personally if they say they don't want it. For example, I've been trying to give the entire Hunger Games trilogy to a number of friends and no one wants them. Not sure why I think this is something my friends need, but clearly I need to let it go and realize I'm a few years too late.

Also, I gave a huge box to my best friend full of my daughters old clothes. She's about to have a girl and I loved the fact that I was giving Zoe's amazing and barely worn baby clothes new life. I may have cried pregnancy tears about the fact that my little girl isn't a baby any more.... but it still was SO the right move.

8) Seek out resources to help you out. THIS ONE IS HUGE.

There is no way we could have been as productive as we were in such a short period of time without some seriously incredible companies and apps.

Top three: Move Loot, Offer Up and varying consignment stores

*** We are also planning on sending out our photos to be transferred to digital files. Since we haven't completed this task yet, I don't want to recommend anyone. But, it's important to know these companies exist!

9) Find ways to keep organized as you go.

By designated boxes, areas, and folders beforehand, we were able to put everything we were keeping into its rightful place instantly. Huge time saver.

It also helped to do one section at a time. Instead of thinking about the huge chunk of work you have to do, focus on one drawer, one box, or one section of your closet at a time. It makes it all seem much more manageable.

***I talk about this more specifically in The Confident Closet, my upcoming online course to help purge, organize, and build a wardrobe for confidence and personal style.

10) It can bring you closer together with loved ones.

This was true for me in two ways.

First of all, it was so wonderful to feel like my husband and I were an amazing rocking team of super heroes. I mean, we worked so well together and supported each other in a really fantastic way. It felt good to be productive and working together towards a common goal.

Secondly, by going through all my old memories, I essentially took a crazy trip down memory lane. I was reminded of the weekly letters from my dad, the way my mom taught me to love art and what an amazing twin I have.

11) Procrastinating makes it worse.

We always knew we had boxes we needed to go through, junk drawers to organize, baby clothes to sort through... It was just SUCH an overwhelming thought that we put it off for years. Or we'd start and not complete the project because we didn't allot enough time or give ourselves a deadline.

All I can say is DON’T put it off. For you this could be one room, a junk drawer or closet. This post is not directed only at people who need to purge their whole home. For example, spring is here and it's the perfect time cleaning out your closet. Wink wink.

In all seriousness, I don't want you to end up waiting so long you have an even bigger issue. The time is definitely now.

By doing this purge, it actually became more of a cleanse for me. Even though I'm not fully packed yet, I feel lighter and more focused. Everything feels more manageable knowing where everything is. If you ever start to think you can't do it, that it's too big of a process, just remember that you CAN. It'll feel SO good when you are done.  Focus on the end goal, girl.  You got this.

With love; from my closet to yours,

Melanie