Virginia Richardson’s kind demeanor and incredibly balanced lifestyle is nothing short of inspirational. As the founder of Life Edit, Virginia’s goal is to teach us how to edit and overcome our most frustrating obstacles, whether that’s helping us declutter our home, or providing us with a meal plan to boost our energy levels and overall health. Virginia believes that with a little bit of editing, we can discover a more fulfilled and abundant life. I was able to chat on the phone with Virginia one morning while she was on her way to work, learning all about the inspiration behind Life Edit, what message she wants to leave behind for her daughter, and how learning to be content can be life-changing. 

The Nashville Edit: How do you start your mornings?

Virginia Richardson: Early! I love mornings. I’m up around 5 am almost daily. I try to start with five minutes of silent contemplation while the espresso machine heats up and before I turn on my phone. I always have 2 shots of espresso [in my coffee]. Then I dress and hit the gym around 6 am at least four days a week. Exercise is the best way for me to start my day with a positive outlook.

TNE: Speaking of coffee, how do you take yours?

VR: I love my Jura Italian Espresso machine, mostly because I like [my coffee] strong. I love making a cappuccino with creamy, homemade almond milk, and I’ll usually add one scoop of the Ancient Nutrition collagen peptides.

TNE: Where did the inspiration for Life Edit come from?

VR: While working as an end of life doula, I realized that in order to help people at the end of their lives, I first needed to help people live a better life today. We spend so much energy on things that truly do not matter in the end. I created Life Edit out of a desire to help women let go of the physical and mental distractions that are holding us back from living a more fulfilled life. More than ever, we have daily pressure to keep up with so many things… the perfect diet, body, home, wardrobe, marriage, career, kids, etc. In reality, our life and our home will never be perfect, but I believe having less clutter and fewer choices allows us to be more present in our day-to-day living. Change is never easy, so the goal is to take small steps in the right direction, eventually leading to BIG changes.

“More than ever, [women] have daily pressure to keep up with so many things… the perfect diet, body, home, wardrobe, marriage, career, kids, etc. In reality, our life and our home will never be perfect, but I believe having less clutter and fewer choices allows us to be more present in our day-to-day living.”

TNE: You offer a “Health Edit” service. Tell us a bit about how you work with your clients to nourish their bodies and minds.

VR: My Health Edits are about teaching clients portion control and how to eat a balanced diet. I encourage clients to follow the 80/20 lifestyle — 80 percent whole foods and 20 percent whatever. Many women are emotional around food, so learning how to balance the good with the bad is imperative for long-term success. I’m not a fan of restrictive diets, but I do encourage my clients to take at least four weeks to journal or track exactly what they are consuming. Another key to success is teaching women the importance of changing the stories they are telling themselves. You have to understand your “why” for deciding to change your lifestyle and continue to come back to it. If the story that has held you back doesn’t change, the weight will come back or you will “give up” after a few weeks.

Photo by Lindsey Grace Whiddon

TNE: What about closet editing? Why is this important, and what changes do clients see post-edit?

VR: My goal for my client is to walk into her closet and feel like she has a well-defined style and multiple outfit choices. Women are stuffing their closets full of items and still feeling like they have nothing to wear. When we have too many choices, our brains become over-stimulated and it becomes much harder to make a decision. I always leave clients with a “shopping list” that is very specific to their closet, so they are buying items that will add to what they already have.

TNE: How do you implement the practice of “editing” into your own home?

VR: I always declutter first, and I rarely ever need to do much organizing because I’m not holding on to items that are not useful in my day-to-day life. Once a year I will add three boxes to each room. One for donation, one for trash, and one for “think about it”/storage, with the goal of letting go of anything that I no longer need or use. Even if that means letting go of gifts, heirlooms, or valuable items.

TNE: In 10 words or less, sum up what you’ve learned from life thus far:

VR: Don’t stress the little stuff, and dance when given the opportunity.

TNE: What does luxury mean to you?

VR: For me, luxury is waking up each day being appreciative of what I already have. A healthy body, a happy home, food on the table, family, friends, and choices. Really, all the little things we easily take for granted. Research shows that having “it all” doesn’t necessarily make people happy. Look at cultures with much less and look at how much happier they collectively seem. I think we all have to decide if we are going to take the initiative to “edit” our life in a way that allows us to truly appreciate each day more, or if we are going to stay stuck in always looking for what we don’t have. So for me, luxury is simply being content.

TNE: From the looks of your Instagram feed, you recently traveled to Italy. How does a healthy “editor” pack when traveling?

VR: The truth is that when I travel, my main goal is to let go of the notion of feeling like I need to achieve this “healthy status” 365 days of the year. Being healthy while traveling for me is not thinking about being healthy. I find it extremely unhealthy to always think about being healthy. Whew… how many times can we say “healthy?”

TNE: Speaking of balance… how do you implement that freedom into your life?

VR: I love a latte and pastry from Headquarters Coffee on Saturday mornings, and I love going on a date night with my husband or out with girlfriends for a fun cocktail. I’m loving Santo for a neighborhood date night, and the Pearl Diver in East Nashville with girlfriends.

TNE: Where are some of your other local go-tos for treats and dining out?

VR: I love Vegan Vee for gluten free donuts (is that healthy?) and The Old School or Epice for dinner.

TNE: How has being selective in what you own/purchase made a difference in your life? In your families lives?

VR: I try really hard to think about where the things I buy come from. Who made them? How is the quality of life of the people who made these goods? Will this add to my life? How does what I’m buying affect the planet? Is it sustainable? Can I buy it used? I know this is all sounds really heavy when you think about it, but everything we do has a trickle effect and I want that to be a good one. I hope Lilah learns that it’s important to care about people and the planet, and that caring means making an effort.

TNE: What is your current mantra?

VR: “Turn up the music!”