If you feel overwhelmed looking into your closet, Dacy from Mindful Closet knows firsthand that you’re not alone. She pared down her wardrobe to be much more manageable and far less stressful. Now, she helps clients do the same.
Today I have another edition of the Modern Parent Series, a collection of interviews with everyday moms who practice intentional living in a variety of ways. I love hearing from other moms who are taking life a bit more slowly, really digging into their priorities, and focusing on what matters most to them.
As a mother, small-business owner, and so much more, Dacy from Mindful Closet has a lot on her plate. She uses the principles of minimalism, however, to influence her life and help alleviate the stresses that could otherwise pile up.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, where you live, etc… What is the Dacy 101?
I’m a personal stylist. I help people work through the overwhelm they’re experiencing with their closets so they can feel good in the clothes they wear. I encourage a mindset shift from thinking we need more options to shopping mindfully and building a wardrobe that functions better with less.
I’m married to the most supportive husband, David. We have a 4 year old named Matteo and a baby on the way. We live in a small mid-century modern ranch house in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri. My personal life is a large reason why I started my own business. I wanted work that fit around taking care of myself and my family first. I have many clients in St. Louis, and I also work with clients virtually and through my online course, Making Space.
You focus especially on slow fashion throughout your online presence. Do you have a background in style or fashion that led to this niche? How did that become your “specialty”?
This is such a great question that really made me reflect! I don’t have a background in fashion. I was trained as and performed as a classical musician for most of my life. When I decided to move to a less stressful way of life, I thought about how I help others and like to spend my free time. I found that was fashion.
Once I started working with clients, it was clear that most of the confusion and overwhelm with their closets came from having too much. We have so many clothes because they are so readily and cheaply available, which isn’t actually a good thing. The more I worked on my own style and wardrobe, I realized that buying ethically (as much as possible) was the next step for me. Many of my clients are still struggling with more basic wardrobe issues, so slow fashion isn’t something I always introduce, unless they’re really ready for that step.
You practice many aspects of a minimalist-inspired lifestyle. Is this something you do primarily on your own or does your family actively subscribe to these practices as well?
I’ve slowly converted my husband over the years. We try to be frugal with our money, which has helped keep us on the same page, because minimalism supports that goal. We think carefully about all our purchases and try not to buy things we don’t need. I’ve also slowly introduced the idea of one in, one out with my 4 year old, and he’s getting pretty good about practicing that when he receives new toys. I’m definitely the driver of the minimalism bus.
Are there any particular products or resources that make living a minimalist lifestyle easier or more accessible for you?
More than a specific product or resource, I find it’s helpful to have a constant stream of reminders that we don’t need everything society tells us we need. Most often, I look to other bloggers, like Cait Flanders, Mr. Money Mustache, Courtney Carver, and The Afro Minimalist, for inspiration and reminders about this.
Through your styling services, you help other women find their style and build a closet that genuinely and simply reflects their desired style. Can you share one or two of your favorite or most rewarding experiences working with your clients?
Almost every time I work with someone on a closet cleanse, I hear back a couple of days later how much just clearing the excess has helped the daily process of getting dressed, without even adding any new clothes to the mix. I often get messages from friends and clients saying that they thought of me when they were out shopping and it stopped them from buying something they didn’t need. Those two things alone make me feel like I’m making a difference.
Can you tell us about one or two things you’ve learned about yourself or your own style through helping other women?
I’ve applied everything I tell my clients to myself. If something doesn’t feel good when I put it on, it’s gone. If I am unsure about a purchase, I pass on it. The more I see these things work for clients, the more I’m able to put them into practice myself. I also know that no one is perfect and we all make buying mistakes, myself included, so I just learn what I can from the mistake and move on.
Can you share a bit about some of the challenges you’ve encountered in your pursuit of minimalist living?
Having kids has forced me to double down on my minimizing efforts and been a real wake up call for me. Shopping was always something I did when I was stressed. Since having my son (and finding out I was pregnant with another), I’ve used their need for new clothing as an excuse to buy more than I need. Shopping for myself was under control, but not shopping for the kids. I only buy secondhand for them (there’s such an abundance of kids’ stuff out there), so it’s technically “ethical” shopping, but regardless, no child needs 19 shirts. Once I realized what I was doing, I forced myself to start keeping an inventory of what they have. Same goes for toys.
Anything else you want to share with readers that might help them transition to or pursue a simpler and slower family life?
Try not to see minimalism as an all or nothing game. You don’t have to get rid of everything all at once, or ever. My rule for being minimalist is that everything you own is either loved or useful. It’s the stuff that doesn’t get used or that you hold onto unnecessarily that can go first.
Every habit you change slightly makes a difference. Stop keeping or buying things for “what if” scenarios. Our current society is overflowing with excess, and if you need something, you’ll be able to easily find it then. Try to practice “quality over quantity” in everything. The bargain is not always the cheapest option in the long run.