Fashion

How One Facebook Exec Streamlined His Life, and His Closet

When style writer (and Facebook's eighth employee) Matt Jacobson moved into a smaller place, it kick-started a whole new Spartan lifestyle.
IMAGE Dave Lauridsen
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After an amicable divorce, I moved next door to my ex-wife and kids and downsized from a 4,200-square-foot house to an 850-square-foot bungalow. The storage realities of my new home mandated some serious editing: retaining the things I loved the most, ditching the duplicates, and giving away the rest.

That’s when I adopted a “one in, one out” policy, meaning whatever I acquired had to replace something I already owned—from shirts to shoes, from cars to surfboards. My then-girlfriend, and now-wife, Kristopher, is a stylish pragmatist whose design discipline favors curation over consumption. Her editorial rigor when it comes to“stuff” became the Tao of our household.  A decade later, even after moving to a bigger place, I still stick to this rule. Whatever I buy has to replace something else. Because of that, I’ve been able to build a tighter and better wardrobe, surf smarter with fewer board choices, and curate a selection of watches and cars that simply would not have been as interesting without the requisite pruning. 


In practice, my surfboard quiver is tiny for someone who has surfed most of his life. I keep the “magic” boards, from legendary shapers like Skip Frye, and avoid the draw of the next big thing. From a collector’s standpoint, I don’t have a lot of vintage watches, but I have refined the collection to the very best examples by trading up for better pieces instead of merely adding more. The same goes for suits, shirts, ties, and sneakers. I take good care of my wardrobe, and things rarely wear out, so when I see something I want, it’s always weighed against what it might replace. 


These days, what’s left in my house has survived the allure of the new just for the sake of it. I don’t pine for the things that got away, because I’ve been thoughtful about every acquisition. I own my things, rather than having them own me. And so far, I’ve had zero regrets.

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This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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