Paris To Go

Everything I Own

 

Before last year, I never understood why women stayed in abusive relationships. I thought, why don't they just leave? Now I know. Sometimes it feels less painful to stay. After years of feeling like I finally belonged somewhere, it was a shock being back in a place and way of life I never understood or felt comfortable in. I felt like a foreigner in my own country, whereas every door was open to me in Paris (I know it's a rough and unwelcoming city for most people, but that was never my experience). I came back to the US with two suitcases somebody else packed; I had no credit score or job prospects. I secured several positions in my field, but these companies eliminated their sustainability departments before my scheduled start date in late November 2016. I have a new appreciation for people who come to this country with nothing and no one. At least I had good friends and my grandma, uncle, and aunt in the US, though I left most of my support system in France.

I finally get why people feel such an attachment to material things. It's not always about stuff. It feels good buying things with your own money that you alone chose after never having a say for however long. It feels powerful having something somebody else told you you'd never have or deserve. And it feels safe hanging on to something, when everything you had was lost before. I shouldn't feel this way, but I understand a little better now. The everything I own posts are my most popular ones, and people say it's because they can't believe I have so little. It feels like a lot, especially after these past few years.

 


Clothing


  1. Levi's Wedgie high rise 
  2. Levi's 517
  3. Levi's Wedgie cuff shorts
  4. L'ecole des Femmes Oui shirt
  5. Black H&M tank top (similar)
  6. Black Re/Done bodysuit 
  7. Reformation Lozita bodysuit navy 
  8. Reformation Piper top 
  9. Reformation Axel bodysuit 
  10. Dior black dress 
  11. Dior navy dress 
  12. Dior gray dress 
  13. Louis Vuitton black wool skirt
  14. American Apparel grey henley dress
  15. Three Doen t-shirts
  16. Louis Vuitton raincoat and London Undercover umbrella
  17. Camel Dior coat
  18. A Wool Story socks, hat, and mittens 
  19. Pact Organic socks (nine pairs)
  20. Christian Louboutin Simple pumps  
  21. Ferragamo Vara pumps 
  22. Stuart Weitzman boots (similar)
  23. Nike Wedge Sky Hi's 
  24. Nike Air Force 1's 
  25. Longchamp Pliage
  26. American Apparel swimsuit
  27. Gucci sunglasses and Rayban glasses 
  28. Dior Oui ring sz 7 
  29. Pansy sets in rose and black (two bras plus enough briefs for the week) 
  30. J Crew vintage cotton pajamas


 
 

Bathroom / Toiletries

  1. One bamboo carrying case, one bamboo toothbrush holder, and six organic Brush With Bamboo toothbrushes
  2. Razor and blades
  3. Cup and carrying bag
  4. Two Gladrags pads
  5. EcoTools bamboo travel size blush and bronzer brush
  6. Elate cosmetics blush and bronzer in bamboo compacts and Urb Apothecary lip and cheek tint
  7. Ilia Beauty mascara
  8. Eyelash curler
  9. Tweezers
  10. Who Gives a Crap rolls (box of 24)- I still don't use toilet paper at home, and haven't for six years now. I didn't have a bidet until two years ago, but soap and water is fine if you don't have one- I don't think we're supposed to wipe that area actually (and actually you're not really supposed to use too much soap around there either). Gentle cleansing just feels so much fresher and cleaner and I don't like the idea that conventional toilet paper is bleached and causes microtears. I know people like family cloth, but I never tried it. My family and guests need toilet paper, so I buy it, it's just taken me two years to even go through one roll.
  11. Tushy bidet
  12. Six bars palm oil free Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve castile soap

 

Electronics

  1. IPad
  2. iPhone
  3. Goal Zero nomad solar charger
  4. Conventional charger 

Appliances

  1. Vitamix
  2. Vintage GE iron

  
  

Furnishings

  1. CNC cut platform bed with two pillows, wool duvet, and mattress
  2. CNC dining table
  3. Knoll Bertoia white chairs, secondhand (four)
  4. Modernica white shell chair (I think I don't want this anymore, I really like the Knoll chairs)
  5. Plywood sofa and mattress
  6. Five Caroline Z Hurley cushions 
  7. Floyd side table, white legs
  8. Copper pipe garment rack and 12 wooden hangers
  9. DIY copper pipe coffee table
  10. DIY copper curtain rods (with Caroline Z Hurley throws as curtains and copper clips)

  


Linens

  1. Four Fog Linen bath towels
  2. Four Fog Linen hand towels
  3. Seven washcloths
  4. 1 set linen sheets- secondhand Fog Linen flat sheet with duvet cover and two pillowcases
  5. Six Ambatalia bento bags, various sizes
  6. Two Turkish towels (for the beach, picnics, travel, throws)
  7. Four Fog Linen dish towels
  8. 12 Caroline Z Hurley napkins
  9. Two Redecker cleaning cloths cut into twelve 
  10. Three recycled linen rugs / mats (Fog Linen and Caroline Z Hurley, the Fog Linen one might have to go) 
 

Kitchen / Garden

  1. Eight sets Arne Jacobsen Georg Jensen cutlery, secondhand (fork, knife, spoon)
  2. Arne Jacobsen salad serving set (fork and spoon), and cake / pizza server
  3. 1 All Clad (I chose All Clad for all my pans because I could buy them 40% off from the factory in Pittsburgh and talk directly to the people who made the pans) long handled saucepan
  4. 1 long handled pan
  5. stock pot
  6. 1 Duralex glass baking dish (these are indestructible, I brought mine from France)
  7. 1 Duralex mixing bowl
  8. 1 set measuring cups
  9. 1 colander
  10. Sori-yanagi metal ladle, metal spatula, metal spoon
  11. 2 Opinel knives (1 chef, 1 paring)
  12. Maple cutting board-  mine is handmade by a friend - and Jacob Bromwell baking sheet
  13. 36 glass Ball jars- 8 for drinking, the rest for storage, all secondhand. I break glasses, so I prefer drinking from jars
  14. 2 mini Weck jars for my travel toiletries
  15. 8 Helen Levi mugs / cups, various models - I bought one every time I went to New York during her seconds sales
  16. 3 reused kombucha dark amber bottles, used for propagation / clippings
  17. Settle Ceramics plates and 4 each Settle / Colleen Hennessy bowls
  18. Redecker dish brush, pot brush, and veggie brush
  19. Glass sprayer bottle (reused kombucha bottle and black sprayer)
  20. 1 bamboo dish rack
  21. Stainless steel Ecolunchbox bento
  22. Terracotta planters, made in the US from a local shop (I have a lot of plants now that I don't have cats, all grown from cuttings or seed sharing)
  
  

Other

  1. Wooden ironing board
  2. Wooden clothes drying rack from the Amish in Pennsylvania (local wood)
  3. Twelve vintage handkerchiefs
  4. Four large art pieces (maybe I'll do a post on this later but not right now- I was happy to be friends with amazing artists in Paris whose names you'll recognize)
  5. One passport with holder, three credit cards, one debit card, one driver's license, one AAA card lol
  6. One Kerfcase phone case and wallet (thanks Kristy)
  7. Cork ipad case (similar)
  8. 30 books and magazines (vintage books and some books and magazines I'm in, yes I organize by color)
  9. One notebook (Lamali makes the best ones)
  10. Redecker snow brush
  11. Redecker cleaning brush
  12. One folder from when I was Cavs Full Court Press
  13. One black Caran d'Ache refillable pen (mine was not this expensive- I got this pen when I was in France and have just been using it for years, but there are American made ones)
  14. Two Rimowa suitcases
  15. Two textile wall hangings
  16. A dozen needles and vintage spools of cotton thread
  17. Personal set of keys and spares
  18. Wooden trunk
Starting over this time, I vowed there would be nothing in my home I didn't love or find useful and beautiful. Everything is a joy to look at- there's nothing from my wardrobe to my cleaning supplies and toiletries that I wouldn't mind people seeing- and I enjoyed choosing each item, because everything told a story about me alone. These are just things I use personally. For a master list of zero waste recommendations, click here.

In the end, it was only stuff I lost. My friends are still my friends, many of them are just farther now (I will never get over the cats). It’s still strange when I wake up and see I’m not in Paris, but I’m grateful for what I have, even if it doesn’t always come across that way online.

Paris to Go

Zero Waste Bed


Whereas American mattress stores recommend replacing your mattress every seven or eight years, French mattresses age like a Big Mac, lasting a lifetime. After sleeping on a thinner, temperature regulating wool mattress for years, I don't understand America's obsession with overstuffed ones. It's crazy we have no clue what's inside, from largely unregulated chemical layers to dust mite / mice-attracting springs and flame retardants. Despite purported technological innovations (and high markups to match), most people buy the same mediocre mattresses they did twenty years ago, with only nominal differences. My family in Korea sleep on yo (shikibuton), and don't have snoring or sleep apnea or back or allergy problems, unlike my American family. When I found a kit online, I decided to make one myself and was immediately sold. Organic cotton, with pure wool and cotton filling, and six inches thick, I love my bed the way Scott loves Kourtney- in an unstable, yet enduring way. Unlike traditional mattresses, this has a life span of at least twenty years, I just need to air it in the sun occasionally and rotate it on the frame.

 

While I don't recommend making your own mattress (it's exasperating), you can buy a natural futon or wool mattress online. I like the concept and minimalist design of the Floyd bed, but since I didn't want to roll up my mattress everyday, I needed a frame it could breathe on. Years ago, I saw the Trestle CNC bedframe on Pinterest. Its sturdy slot together construction acts like a skeleton, requiring no tools or screws for assembly, and it's portable, packing flat (I can fit all the pieces for my queen size bed in my car- see my Instagram story highlights for video). To make one yourself, download and take to a makerspace, fab lab, or woodworking shop with a CNC big enough for a 4x8 sheet of plywood (the folder consists of a bunch of files for each size- these are layers- and what's essentially a drawing- that's the CAD file). 


 

My bed requires two sheets of 3/4 inch plywood, which run around $150 new at big box stores. Instead of FSC certified or formaldehyde free plywood such as PureBond, you can buy salvaged sheets at a Habitat Restore or something similar. In Cleveland, Metro Hardwoods mills lumber from fallen city trees. You'll probably have to purchase a membership at a makerspace or fab lab to rent time on the CNC machine. A month membership at the Columbus Idea Foundry, for instance, is $65. To rent the ShopBot, they require a $47 orientation class (this particular bedframe was cut with a Goliath CNC, which is easier). Renting the machine is then $25 an hour. At a minimum, then, a queen size bed frame would cost about $337, although mine was cheaper since it's made from cabinet grade plywood leftover from somebody else's project.

 

I use a white Fog Linen flat sheet and H&M linen duvet cover and pillowcases (secondhand from eBay), because I think fitted sheets are barbaric. My pillows are old cotton fill I took from my family, I just washed them in the machine and air dried in the sun. I bought my wool fill and organic cotton duvet in Paris at a mattress shop near Ledru Rollin, and I knew how the sheep were treated (they weren't castrated or killed or cut or anything, the couple that owned the shop were plant based and owned the farm where the sheep lived), although I don't need to justify myself. Synthetics are crueler to animals and people alike. 

 

It’s nice that the corners are rounded, because in Paris I was always stubbing my shins on the sharp corners of our Habitat bed. The platform leaves just enough room for a glass of water or book beside the mattress, and has plenty of storage space underneath. This frame is unfinished, but you can use linseed oil or Bio Poly Earthpaint to protect yours. Shikibuton and yo are pretty firm, so if that's not for you, the Futon Shop has more traditional mattresses, and on the higher end, Coco Mat or Avocado mattresses are eco-friendly options. I don't really know many sources for sustainable furniture, but West Elm and Ikea make relatively responsibly sourced materials widely available at accessible price points, and strive for minimal packaging (a presumable cost cutting measure). Pajamas, secondhand J Crew.
Paris to Go

Zero Waste Wardrobe

   
   
   
  
   
   

If your entire wardrobe doesn't fit in a carry on, what are you even doing? I'm kidding, because numbers don't matter much. Everyone's ideal wardrobe size is different, and we need to step away from one size fits all approaches in favor of individualized ones. A person's wardrobe is one area where the paradox of choice and law of diminishing returns applies, however, so sticking to signature pieces (trench coat, sneakers, camel coat) and simple styles I love (bodysuits or scoop necks with a pair of jeans, tailored dresses) instead of always chasing the newest or latest is actually freeing. It also kept me creative, forcing me to figure out how to combine pieces in new ways (although all I really did was wear skirts over my dresses) and breathe life into old clothing. I learned how to shorten jeans while keeping the original hem, how to take in garments, darn socks, patch items, and knit in my quest for the perfect wardrobe. I think I can still express myself through my clothing because each piece shows that I value practicality and minimalism, but also that I live in the same city as Khloe Kardashian.

A well constructed closet is useless without proper foundations. I sold my Agent Provocateur sets because one day I looked in the mirror and was like, my Pansy sets are way cuter (FYI Agent Provocateur is something you buy for yourself, because men can't handle it). You can wear them with fully recyclable silicone Nippies to make them office appropriate. Most of my clothes are secondhand, but I like Pansy, Dôen, A Wool Story, Re/Done, and Reformation for new items because they're sustainable and ship plastic free. On Etsy, I like Rawson and Shopfuture. Poshmark is typically where I shop for brands like Re/Done and Reformation, but eBay is better for specific items, like my secondhand Dior Oui ring. Violette Leonie is pretty much the only place I ever bought clothes in Paris, apart from the long closed Vintage Bar, where I found my Louis Vuitton coat. Most of my Dior and Louis Vuitton items were from The Real Real, but I don’t recommend them anymore- their stuff is always dirty and they no longer ship plastic free. It's still better than Vestiaire Collective.


While buying secondhand seems like a no brainer, consuming too much of anything is never a good idea, and even donating responsibly sourced items can have far reaching impacts. Americans donate over 4.7 billion lbs of clothing each year, only about 1% of which is suitable for sale in thrift stores. The rest is sold to commercial used clothing dealers and textile recyclers for export. Thrift store clothing has a limited shelf life - about a month before being sent to clearance centers and exported. The influx of used clothing in destination countries impedes local industries and further burdens communities with the problem of disposal. To limit turnover in my wardrobe, I stick to shapes and colors I won't get sick of years from now, only replacing items as my size and lifestyle changes, which is why it took me all year to buy a second pair of jeans. 

  1. Levi's Wedgie high rise, Coyote Desert, 26 
  2. Levi's 646 bell bottoms, indigo wash (orange tab from the 70s), 26 in modern sizing
  3. Levi's Wedgie cuff shorts, size 25 
  4. Equipment cotton shirt (heavily tailored- cropped and taken in, it's still very loose and I might get rid of it idk. How do French girls wear such large shirts?) size XS petite 
  5. L'ecole des Femmes Oui shirt, sz M (similar)
  6. Black H&M tank top sz XS 
  7. Black Re/Done bodysuit sz S (very high cut- if you buy it new, buy from Barneys or the Outnet- they ship plastic free) 
  8. Reformation Lozita bodysuit navy sz SM 
  9. Reformation Piper top sz S
  10. Reformation Axel bodysuit sz S 
  11. Dior black dress sz 36 
  12. Dior navy dress sz 36 
  13. Dior gray dress sz 38, taken in 
  14. Louis Vuitton black wool skirt, 38, taken in 
  15. American Apparel grey henley dress 
  16. White American Apparel tank top 
  17. Salt Dôen Brigitte t-shirt, size S
  18. Tawny Dôen Brigitte t-shirt size S - these are the perfect t-shirts. The fabric will never get little holes and the colors don't fade. They're completely opaque, and hide my back fat  
  19. Louis Vuitton raincoat sz 40 
  20. Camel Dior coat sz S 36 (as you all know, I got this at a thrift store in NYC)
  21. A Wool Story socks, hat, and mittens 
  22. Nuria Couturiere espadrilles (I've had these for years- Sezane makes similar ones) 
  23. Pact Organic socks (purchased new... I hate them. Their branding and packaging are so obnoxious, but they were at Whole Foods so I thought, why not) 
  24. Christian Louboutin Simple pumps sz 37.5, 100 mm
  25. Ferragamo Vara sz 7C, stretched at the store, although now they're a little loose since I'm not walking all the time
  26. Stuart Weitzman boots sz 38 
  27. Nike Wedge Sky Hi's sz 37 
  28. Nike Air Force 1's flyknit sz 37 
  29. Longchamp Pliage- medium shopper in grey. These bags have a lifetime warranty, so if the corners wear out and the bag can no longer be repaired, they will replace it 
  30. American Apparel swimsuit XS 
  31. Gucci sunglasses and Rayban glasses for me to wear while looking at the computer at work 
  32. Dior ring sz 7 
  33. Pansy sets in rose and black (two bras plus enough briefs for the week- and these bras do work for larger than a D cup) 
  34. J Crew vintage cotton pajamas, secondhand. The reviews say they look like scrubs but frankly they're very cute on me 
I plan on buying leggings and a sports bra because I have to face facts and start working out, but I’m in no hurry. For the time being, I can just swim and hike and carry sheets of plywood around (and if you’ve followed me a while now, you know I mountain bike in my grey dress). Every season I wash my coats and sneakers with castile soap and air dry. This year I didn't need to take anything to the cobbler or tailor, but I let some seams out because of my new sedentary American lifestyle.

I tend to buy in store because of my strange body type, but not everyone has decent thrift stores in their area. Shopping online isn't necessarily worse for the environment- studies from MIT, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon indicate online shopping tends to have less environmental impact on its own. Brick and mortar facilities require energy, and driving to shops creates emissions, whereas delivery services have incentives to optimize and streamline routes for efficiency. Packaging accounts for 22% of emissions when buying online, whereas customer transportation accounts for 65% of emissions when buying in store, according to Carnegie Mellon.


This doesn't account for consumer behavior. People often supplement in store shopping with online shopping, and opt for faster shipping times or returns, resulting in increased emissions. So the best thing to do is buy less, plan ahead, and bundle shipments; research purchases to avoid mistake buys, refuse express shipping, and take public transport when shopping at stores whenever possible.
Paris to Go