For many, the goal of the New Year is not to shape up the body, but to clean out the home, a problem only exacerbated by Hong Kong’s unfortunate combination of maniacal shopping habits and tiny homes.
“My motto is KISS- keep it simple, sweetie,” says Eve Roth Lindsay, a former fashion designer and founder of Savvy Style (firstname.lastname@example.org), a beauty and wardrobe consultancy. When Lindsay moved to Hong Kong in 1979, she began offering a unique service- she helped clients go through all of their shoes, clothes and accessories and then simplified and re-organized their closets. Since then, she’s worked with countless men and women, not just gong through their sweaters, but also dishing out fashion, organizational and shopping advice, so that clients can keep their wardrobes well-ordered in the long-term. She also gives suggestions on how to prevent compulsive shopping, which, she says, is the root of most messy, overstuffed storage spaces.
When working on a client, Lindsay begins by following in the footsteps of Bridge Jones’s mother and “Having your colours done,” using the colour me beautifulsystem. She also takes the client’s body shape, age and personal style into account and decides what that person should be wearing. (“I know that it’s in this year, but maybe you shouldn’t be spending so much money on orange clothing.”) Her theory is that any clothes that don’t fit your colour or shape profile are probably unflattering and should be thrown out- or better yet, left on the store rack to begin with.
Unfortunately for those seeking her service, Lindsay is changing careers slightly. After more than 20 years, she is giving up hands-on closet cleaning and concentrating more on beauty and fashion consultation, instead. However, she will begin teaching closet organization classes at the Frederique Academy (4/F Wilson House, 19-27 Wyndham Street, Central 2522-5054) this spring.
For those who want to tackle the closet themselves, here’s Lindsay’s advice: The first step is to secure floor space, a full-length mirror, big plastic garbage bags and several uninterrupted hours. Pull absolutely everything out of the closet. Then, piece-by-piece, divide the clothing into three piles: “Must Keep,” “Not Sure” and “Definitely Out.” Immediately discard the last pile, even if it means taking a taxi down to the Salvations Army right then and there. Similarly, anything that is ripped, stained or broken must be brought to a tailor or repair shop right away.
The second and rather painful step is to then try on every article in your “Not Sure” pile and stare at yourself in the mirror. “It’s welcome-to-reality time. But it really works, “Lindsay says, adding that people shouldn’t hold onto the expectation that you are suddenly going to lose 20 pounds and look good in a mini again. “Anything that you haven’t worn in two years should not even be in your house.” By the time you’re done, your “Definitely Out” pile will be full again, and “Soon, you’ll be so sick of the process that you’ll just start throwing stuff out.” For Lindsay, going through this process will accomplish more than just clearing ten square feet of space. “Once you’ve figured out what to buy and not buy, a big part of your life will be organized. Everything from getting dresses in the morning, to planning your clothing budget will be easier and more efficient,” she concludes.