My wife, Kate, and I watch a lot of Food Network.
Like, a ton of it.
I’m all about Guy Fieri—I mean, who doesn’t want to watch a bleached blonde, spiky-haired dude wearing clothing with FLAMES on it, shoving food in his mouth hole?
We also love Bobby Flay, because he’s a badass chef and everything he makes on Brunch With Bobby looks delicious.
And of course, Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa), because she’s like a classy, fancy grandma… one I wish I had cooking for me every day. Her husband, Jeffrey, is a frequent “guest” on the show, meaning she’s always cooking for him, and he’s always just sitting around, waiting to be fed.
One time, we were watching Secrets of a Restaurant Chef with Anne Burrell, and right before she showed us how to cook a restaurant-quality steak at home, she took a minute to harp on the benefits of mise en place (pronounced “MEEZ-ahn-plahs”).
Mise en place: literally, “put in place,” a French culinary phrase meaning to gather and arrange the ingredients and tools needed for cooking
The benefits of mise en place in the kitchen are pretty obvious.
You don’t have to fish around for the spices when the meat’s already sizzling on the grill, or chop an onion while the rest of your mirepoix is already in the pot.
If you prepare everything ahead of time, your cooking process then becomes easy and streamlined, with little chance of error.
Applying “mise en place” to your life
One complaint I hear from readers all the time is that they struggle putting together outfits in the morning.
It could be that they don’t have the right “ingredients” to easily put something together. This could be solved via the Lean Wardrobe approach, but that’s a different story for another day.
They end up wearing the same thing over and over (outfits they’ve successfully put together in the past), or just wear their old clothing, the stuff they used to wear before upgrading their selection.
If you can relate to this, one suggestion I have is to mise en place your outfit every night.
There are a few obvious benefits to this approach, and it only takes five minutes before you hit the sack:
- You can sleep in just a few minutes longer, because everything’s already set up,
- You don’t have to think about what to wear in the morning,
- You have more time for everything else you gotta take care of before heading out the door
Make it a part of your nightly routine
You most likely have an evening routine already.
Maybe you take a shower, brush your teeth (hopefully), prepare a lunch, read a book in bed… the typical stuff you handle as your day winds down.
Mise en place your outfit as part of this routine. Simply take a moment to decide what to wear the next day, while you’re not in a rush to head out the door.
That way, you can put together an outfit you’re excited to wear, and you won’t have to think about it in the morning. Eventually, it will become a habit, just like everything else.
If you’re ultra organized and have room for one, invest in a valet. This will also serve as your daily reminder to mise en place your outfits.
Some valets have trays with compartments to store your watch, wallet, and other elements of your everyday carry. This is useful and will buy you even more time, so you don’t have to hunt down your EDC every morning. Everything’s all in one place! Here’s an example.
If you don’t have room for this—I surely don’t, although I wish I did—just reserve a small section in your closet where you can hang tomorrow’s outfit.
Grab your suit, tie, shirt, and shoes, and place them all next to each other in that section within your closet.
If it’s a casual day, grab your denim, sport shirt, sweater, jacket, sneakers, whatever you need, and hang them all next to each other, with the appropriate shoes below… you get the idea.
You can take this even further if you love the idea of ultra organization and preparation. Mise en place your whole life.
If you don’t want to go that far just yet, start with tomorrow’s outfit. It’s a simple practice that will make a huge difference in how your mornings play out.
You’ll be less stressed, and maybe even have a few extra minutes to enjoy that breakfast and coffee you usually scarf down before heading to work, like Guy in every episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
Is this something you already do? If not, are you planning on giving it a shot? Let me know in the comments.