1.26.2011

Honor Your Stuff...



I don't think you are defined by your stuff.

(Although, admittedly, my fondness for peeking into a stylish person's closet/home/drawers via The Selby or Jeana's genius series to try and get a better sense of them is pretty strong.)

But I do think your stuff is a significant component of who you are. It has to be recognized. I think there's something good in having a (healthy) reverence for the things that you own. You, after all, spent hard-earned money or time acquiring or making those things. They should be treated well, respected...honored.

You know one of my resolutions this year is to purchase fewer things. And (because I'm a girl that likes structure and rules) I hope to do that with two "guidelines" in mind.


  • End 2011 with less stuff than I started with.
  • Buy only things I know I will have for at least five years.

See, I'm not sure I've been honoring my stuff in the past. I have impulse shopped (a lot), tossed things that were slightly downtrodden, purchased essentially disposable shoes at Target ad nauseam just because I was jonesin' for something new.

I believe when you buy only the things that you really love, things that are made with integrity, things that are high-quality, beautiful and meaningful...you will have them for a very, very long time. I believe these types of things are worthy of display (I'm not sure I'd necessarily put my new Celine wedges on my bookshelf, but that photo above has me seriously considering it).

Most of the time it costs more to buy these types of things (quality and our rampant discount culture are generally incompatible), but not always...I have found many of my most special, most lasting things on the cheap, at estate sales or thrift stores. Similarly, there are things in my closet that, with the proper care, have lasted years despite their lowly providence (i.e. a Banana Republic skirt that I've had for 10 years (!), have had tailored three times, and still wear every.single.week.)

I am digging this new site the Coveteur big time, because it reminded me yet again of the specialness of the things you own...especially when you acquired them with purpose. It gives those items a story. That's a good thing, an essential part of our own personal histories, a little archaeological exploration of our lives.

...and barring all of that, the site is just really freakin' cool, yes?




all photographs by Jake Rosenberg via The Coveteur...

40 comments:

Lovin That! said...

A great reminder! I also get caught up in bargain shopping with no real purpose. I've been saying buy less for years and better quality but it's a hard one to do. Thanks for the reminder...

Jenn said...

I'll be working on the same principle this year: only buy what I love. Seems like it should be easy, right?!

Also, Emma at Marionhouse Book is doing a series that features the possessions that tell the story of her life. It's a great read: http://www.themarionhousebook.com/?cat=619

erin said...

i agree through and through. admittedly this agreement has led me to develop what i call "my shopping phobia." but while sometimes meddlesome, i do think having an impulse that forces me to stop and think about what i'm purchasing isn't half bad. it also makes me realize just how much out there is indeed crappy and disposable. sigh.

Joslyn said...

Jenn -- I love Emma's series. fantastic!

Erin -- I think a shopping phobia is a good thing...maybe I need to adopt that ;-)

theglossarie.com said...

i found you through karey's mackin ink and i am loving your posts! i have similar goals for 2011 and desperately need to pare down my things (and my love of things...). look forward to reading more!

elizabeth said...

that is always my goal - to buy things I love that I think I absolutely can't live without. it's tough, sometimes I make mistakes (ok a lot of times), but I still strive to get there. A post like this is always a great way to re-inspire that feeling, so thanks!

Erin said...

I love this resolution! I've been trying to practice it for a long time, but it has been hard to stay committed, especially when resources are tight and you can't buy the higher quality version of a thing, even though you know it makes sense in the long run.

My Cydwoq shoes are a perfect example of this resolution at work. I found them on sale five years ago and they look like new whenever I get them fixed up by my shoe guy, even though I wear them regularly. Cheap shoes can wear out within a year! It helps that I love my shoe repair shop...

paula said...

too a little break from my clean out and found myself completely inspired by this post. I was growing weary but you most definitely came to the rescue!

the 30 girl said...

i love this post. frankly, it can be so hard not to purchase frivolously, endlessly for the sake of having something new, trendy, etc, etc. consumerism is truly part of our culture, and having a well-curated life takes serious discipline. i think what you are doing is a such a great idea...i think i'm going to follow in your footsteps (btw, you have great shoes to follow:))!!!

Lauren said...

excellent post. i will take the challenge! i acquire things at an astonishing rate, AND want to display them all. as a result i am drowning in really cool things.

Ana Degenaar said...

I need to go on a spending hiatus. I haven't been spending irresponsibly but I need to admit I can very well live with all that stuff. I always love your posts about mindful consumption. Genius.

Rachel said...

I like your rules! I have similar goals this year - probably won't even do the shopping hiatus, since I'm trying to make my spending plan a year long effort. Will get something posted on my strategy as soon as I can write it up without making it the world's longest and most boring post!

allison said...

what a great post! i do think you are right about spending less but making a conscious effort when i do spend for it to be on a quality item that will last through the years and not some forever21 trendy top just because i want to buys something:) thanks for the reminder- love the shiny piggie!

la la Lovely said...

This is why I like you so much... you're blog is pure beauty but SO SMART, like you! I was in target today and wandered by the shoes.. trying to find a pair that looked nicer than they were and then finally continued on putting my urge of the moment to rest. I have to agree that there is something far better about waiting and buying something very special that will last a very long time and mean something to you rather then getting a whole bunch, a whole lot of the time.
I love this post and am coming back to re-read when i can focus a little more (w/o kids asking for snacks)!
and yes... yes.. coffee next year for sure! xo

Caitlin said...

Totally agree with Trina - all of your posts are so smart. I love that you stick to your guidelines . . . I need to do that.

The Coveted is one of my favorite sites. If I want to look at something beautiful I automatically head over there because let's face it - it's amazing! Wish my closet could look like all of the ones featured :)

elisabeth said...

I absolutely try to abide by this philosophy. I love how if you only buy things that truly speak to you, they all seem to fit together effortlessly.
It's strange though how every once in a while I realize that something I snapped up on a whim because it was on sale has become a beloved object and something else that I longed for and purchased with intent just kind of languishes there unused. If I understood how/why that happened, I'd be all set.

Joslyn said...

elisabeth -- i have the same experience re: the whim purchases...i think maybe sometimes we have a gut reaction to an item and just buy it...no agonizing. there's something to that too!

The littlest said...

i am solidly with you on this. while living in france i met a lot of europeans who followed this and i always try to visualize one of my friends from there to think if they would buy something for the sake of having something new or if it's really is a 'must-have' timeless item. it helps to think, what would ____ do!

TC said...

i've been trying to do this for so long, but keep failing at the task... miserably. thanks for the inspiration...

hedonista said...

I couldn't agree with you more! Last year when I got pregnant I kept asking people not to buy too many toys to clutter my apartment. Of course I want him to have toys, but not so many that he doesn't appreciate any of them.

That's when I realized that if I want to limit his consumption, I ought to do the same for my own. It's worked out well!

Kate said...

Thank you for reiterating my own personal resolutions, it is such positive reënforcement!

likestowander said...

This is something I need to keep reminding myself. Especially now that I'm unpacking...and finding it difficult to figure out how everything is going to fit in our one-bedroom apartment (when we used to live in a two-bedroom house with a garage). I need to make sure I stop buying things randomly--because there's just not enough room.

Emom said...

I love my stuff....and when I don't love it anymore....I sell it...or donate it...or simply give it to someone....smiles.

r's adventures said...

you always find the best websites! what a gorgeous curation of beautiful things :)

Pretty Mommy said...

always so wise! I try to think about where things come from when I buy (esp cheapy purchases that were probably made in sweatshops/bad for environment,etc) not that that's always a deterrent but a little global guilt never hurt ;)

emma@themarionhousebook said...

Mindful purchasing indeed! I do think if you buy quality it stands the test of time and that whether we like it or not are objects do say something about who we are. I love what they are doing over at The Coveted - very smart!

kid collective said...

you always impress me with your conscious efforts and goals. i'm so with you right now.

Courtney said...

I want to like The Coveted if only it weren't a knock off to The-Coveted.

--courtney

artandlair said...

Not only do I feel like a sucker when I buy mindlessly, but a huge sense of shame. I am ready to move on from mindless anything, and that is why I am reading your very MINDFULL blog...:) Nice post...Thanks..

Frédérique said...

thank you for the "lien" to the fantastic blog !!
also love your photos !!

http://modeinkiosque.blogspot.com/

Michelle said...

Totally! I hate how commercial we all are, it makes my tummy hurt (for real, sad, I know.)

DeAnna said...

I once read a book on clearing your closet and how to purchase going forward. I loved her one comment that stayed with me and it continues to be my mantra when shopping. Look at the piece and ask "is this equal to my favorite piece in my closet today"? If it's not put it back. If it's not up to that level you don't need it. She also notes that if you have't worn it in a year it should go. Your only exceptions may be high end special occasion pieces or collectibles.

Sitting In A Tree Kissing said...

Really couldn't have said it better! Thank you!!

Emily said...

love you girl. love your wise words.

JWK said...

Love this post. And love the Coveted too! Maybe I will just revel in other people's stuff rather than buying more for myself...

carolyn said...

i just discovered the coveted too... love love love! someone described it to me as the selby for closets - cute.

Melissa de la Fuente said...

I love this....it is so spot on...I have missed visiting here ( I've been under a rock :) You looked gorgeous at alt AND I am off to check out the coveted...I think YOU are freakin cool, how bout that? :)
xo
Melis

sixtet said...

This is the original "The Coveted" website: http://the-coveted.com/

The new one you linked to has stolen her name and used it to direct traffic from her very successful and long-standing, established site (she is also the founder of Independent Fashion Bloggers) to their new one. Though I find their content interesting, I find their business practices unethical and disappointing.

Joslyn said...

sixtet and courtney -- thanks so much for the link to the-coveted. that site is GREAT as well. so sad to see all the naming conflict happen. that's never a good thing!

warmest
joslyn

Kim in the Cove said...

I struggle to resist a "deal" to hold out for something I truly love. This morning, I was in Marshall's thinking that everything is so cheap you can grab something on a whim whereas if I was in Europe I'd nearly need to marry it. Maybe I can solve my shopping weaknesses by moving back to Europe? Hmmm... I like the idea!