Mise en Place Cliff’s Notes

Before we continue our ode to Mise en Place this week, which we will be doing with intervention from my sister again on one of her favorite topics, that of pretty undergarments, and one of my favorite topics, wardrobe theory, I want to take a moment to give a quick overview of what we have seen so far.

I’ve included the link to the full article, in case you missed something and want to go back and read!

Part 1: Make Magic with Mise en Place

In the first part of our series, we define a lot of things. Mise en Place, for one. Headspace and heartspace for another.

Cliff’s Notes version: Mise en Place is a term that comes from the restaurant industry which describes the process of collecting and “putting in place” (which is what the term means in French) all the ingredients for a recipe in advance before getting started.

I have borrowed this term as a way to define the magically simple act of deciding in advance what I am going to wear and putting it in the place where I am going to get dressed in the morning.

When I began my Buy No Clothes in 2021 Challenge, this step was one of the rules: I must pick what I am going wear in the evening for the next day, thereby saving myself the trouble and stress of doing it in the morning.

Headspace is a real word that, as you know, refers to someone’s state of mind and ability to think clearly, as in, “At 8:00AM when the boys are buzzing around doing Ollies on their skateboards inside the apartment, I am not in a good headspace to decide what I am going to wear. and will probably pick something boring out of panic to just get it done than to take the time to put together an outfit that will make me feel good.”

Heartspace is a made-up term which, in parallel to headspace, refers to someone’s emotional state, as in “When I see that stupid sweater which reminds me of a painful season of my life, it clouds my ability to feel joy about the season I am currently in, putting me in a heartspace where everything feels off.”

Part 2: Our Closets, Ourselves

In Part 2, I exposed my Closet Theory, which stated that our clothes are just like any other object that we keep in our house for sentimental reasons: they represent memories and seasons of our lives. Because they are useful, in that they clothe our body, and clothing our body is one of the foundational needs according to Maslow, our relationship with these souvenirs is decidedly more complicated.

Because our clothes are so laden with other meaning besides being what we actually need, we can have a full closet and still feel like we have nothing to wear.

Part 3: Stories from Poppy’s Closet

My sister Poppy exposes how she discovered Mise en Place by accident and how the process of preparing her outfits for the week on Sunday afternoon helped her go from feeling overwhelmed to finding peace.

This article is a must-read.

Part 4: Daisy’s Secrets to Rolling with the Rest

My stepmom, Daisy, reminds us that there was a time when working moms were not the norm, and that in order to justify their place both on the work and the home fronts, they had to make it look like they could pull off both careers and motherhood flawlessly.

Having watched her do it, I truly believed that she had perfection in her blood, when, what I learned through her article is actually that she had determination in her heart.

This article is a must-read also.

Part 5: The Boudoir

In Part 5 we get into the nitty-gritty of making Mise en Place work for you. It starts with the actual space of your closet, which I encourage you to give a name. I call mine Le Boudoir, which means literally, the room in which I go to pout (although to call it a “room” is to exaggerate its proportions.

I argue that the space where you keep your clothes matters, and that no matter its size or how many people you have to share it with, having it be a space in your home which brings you joy will go far in feeling more satisfied with the clothes that you keep in it.

Part 6: The Inventory

In Part 6, I dissect the KonMari Method for doing a closet joy-check (spoiler alert: not a great option for the easily distracted or parents of small children), and suggest other, less soul-crushing ways to perform a purge, seasonal change-over, culling or closet inventory.

Part 7: Mental Health and Mise en Place

In Part 7, I expose how I discovered Mise en Place in the depths of post-partum depression, and how this one little tiny act of self-love: putting my clothes out the night before for the next day, helped me start finding my way back to myself. It wasn’t magical, it didn’t happen overnight. But it was a small act of self-care that made a gigantic difference in how I saw myself.

Part 8: Life Transitions

In Part 8, it’s all about self-forgiveness and letting go of seasons of our lives that we will never get back. When our clothes become nothing more than souvenirs of sizes our body has been, jobs or colleagues we loved, or one single awful, horrible day, then it is time to start thanking those clothes and saying goodbye to them.

Holding on to those clothes that remind us of past seasons keeps us from from embracing where we are today, and if I have said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, what I want for you and for me is for us to be content with what we own and where we are in our lives today, in this very moment.


All right! Go get caught up!!!


Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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