Saturday, February 4, 2017

Closet Cleaning 224

If you are already a little skilled in closet cleaning and or would just like more of a challenge, welcome to the second level class. Another benefit is this class assignment will actually take a lot less time to get the job done (because 101 takes several months up to a year!) but will take more effort. Are you up for it?

One of my most favorite books on the subject of dejunking is "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo. Have you read it?  (If not you can see it here).

I really enjoyed reading this book, even though I have a couple of small objections to it. As I read it I came to realize that Ms. Kondo has a very limited life perspective. She is a young single woman who has not been married or raised any children so she has not had to "tidy up" or deal with any other person's stuff other than her own. In my mind, we could all be as neat and tidy as she describes her life to be if the only person we had to deal with and worry about was ourselves. It just seems like a very limited perspective to me. Another objection I have with her book is the simplified approach she took to asking "Does it bring me joy" when deciding whether you keep something or not. Part of my objection with this simple question is because there are many, many things in my house that don't bring ME joy but they might bring someone else in my family joy. Or they might do the job that needs to be done and need to be kept but they don't bring me joy of any kind. I just think the question 'Does it bring me joy?" is too simplified for a big, full, noisy house like mine.

But I can appreciate the concept. Especially when it comes to cleaning out a clothes closet.

That's why I'm recommending it, in this way, for our Closet Cleaning 224 class.

Putting it simply, you will go into your closet on a day when you have a couple of hours (schedule it in and write it on your calendar just like I taught you here) and start at your left and work clockwise or to the right. Pick up one hanger with one item on it and ask yourself "Does this bring me joy?"

This question is so simple and yet, so profound.

And is so easy to answer....if you don't think about it too hard.

When you ask the question "Does this bring me joy?" if there is an immediate YES, it stays.  But if you answer no or if you hesitate and try to start justifying a purchase or the keeping of an item, then it goes. And if you're honest with yourself, you will FEEL it right away.

There are lots of different reasons an article of clothing can bring an answer of "no" or a hesitation. Let me show you a few examples from my closet.

When I came across these two shirts in my closet, JOY was not the first emotion I felt. At first it was... when I bought them. I bought the white shirt at Goodwill for $3.99 and when I tried it on in the dressing room I loved the way it fit. It was also a unique style which I liked but was modest and comfortable which are a must. A win-win, yes? And only $3.99. Triple Score! And I actually came home and wore it several times. About 3 months later I was shopping at the same Goodwill and could NOT believe my luck when I found the exact same shirt in reverse (the black with white). Oddly enough they have completely different labels but...come on. They're the same. And I was ecstatic.

Then this happened.
I wore one of the shirts to my Aunt Marilyn's funeral and pictures were taken (this is me with my 3 siblings--love them like crazy!). And later, when I saw those pictures I realized how unflattering that top was!

Look, I know we all have to come to grips with our bodies and thinking we are smaller and skinnier than we really are. But the truth of the matter is different clothes are more flattering on us than others. There is a certain science to dressing with your body type in mind and it makes a big difference. In Closet Cleaning 354 I will show you some great examples of this.

Anyway, so the above mentioned scenario might have happened to you too at some point. You think you look great and then you see pictures that tell you something different. And that is what happened here. I have given birth to six kids, have turned the ripe old age of 47 recently and I still want to eat like I'm 27... and my stomach area is not exactly my best feature. This picture helped me realize that my stomach is not my best feature and that I need to wear shirts that don't remind me and everyone else of this fact.

So, when I went through my closet and asked "Does this bring me joy?" this picture and the feelings associated with my body came to mind and NO was the resounding answer. Thus, adios amigos!

How about this black flowered shirt?
This shirt was bought at a yard sale in Boise while visiting my sister. It was a screaming deal and really cute, or so I thought. Being it came from a yard sale, I couldn't really try it on but it was only $.50 so I'll take my chances, right?  Not only was it cute but I could think of a red pencil skirt I had that would go perfectly with it. A few Sundays later I slipped on the red skirt and put the blouse on. It was then that I realized that the style of the blouse was that it was longer in front so as to have the bottom lapels be tied together in a knot. "Hmmm...that's a little different but OK" I thought.  I tied it up, thought it looked cute with the red skirt and headed off to church. AFTER church (bad timing really) my husband decides to tell me that that blouse with the knot right over my stomach area wasn't very flattering at all. [Gah! You waited until after church to tell me this honey? Seriously? I can't blame the guy--it's an awkward conversation to have and he was probably trying to get up his courage for the past few hours]. Any-hoo....the blouse looks cute on the hanger and in my closet but I can't ever wear it again. Even if I lose a few pounds, which I'm always hoping and planning on, I don't think it's going to suddenly be flattering on my aforementioned badly shaped stomach area. So it's gone too. Sometimes we find out these things from pictures and sometimes from other people. Either way believe them and only keep things in your closet that are truly flattering.

Here's another example.
When I went through my closet and pulled this shirt out to ask "Does this bring me joy?" my immediate reaction was no, not really. Then the discussion started inside my head. I like to at least ask the question "Why?" and do you know what the answer to this one was? It has a very wide neckline so every time I wear this shirt, my bra straps show on one side or the other. I'm always reaching up and adjusting the shirt and trying to hide the straps. Do you know what I mean? Ugh. it's aggravating, especially because it's a great shirt in a lot of other ways. But come on...that is annoying and I knew it the minute I asked the question...this one had to go.

 Need another? Let me tell you a story....

Once upon a time, a couple of years ago, I had a mustard yellow sweater from Target that I loved and wore all of the time.  That sweater wore out after a couple of seasons of so much use so last fall I started looking for another one. Bingo. Target had the same color. Problem was....I need at least a medium and sometimes a large and all they had at either of my two local stores were smalls and extra larges. I waited for them to get more and then eventually got "brave" and just tried on the small. Sure enough it was a bit too small but on that day in my local Target store I said the typical "I am going to be working on losing a few pounds anyway so this will work soon enough." And "Look at that. It fits pretty darn good! I'm close to a small?!" And thus lied to myself enough to buy the cardigan. Since then, I've tried to wear it a few times but especially after washing and without losing any of those pounds, I ended up feeling grumpy every time I tried to wear the sweater. It was a little tight on my arms and shoulders and didn't fit too well around my chest so it was constantly needing to be tugged at to make it come around and fit all the way. When I saw this cardigan, during my search for JOY, it was a pretty immediate NO. Bad decision to buy a small but it would be a worse one to keep it.

 Another item I had at one time and was trying to replace was a blouse in this beautiful sea foam green color. I had one that I loved and I seriously don't know what happened to it. I have a sister and a couple of daughters that I share clothes with so I thought for sure it was in one of their closets. However, all of them have assured me they don't have the blouse! I loved the blouse and even have a necklace that goes perfectly with it but it, the actual blouse, is GONE.  So when I saw this blouse that was the same color I got excited and bought it. The problem is that while it is the same exact color of my beloved lost blouse, it is not the same style. It has the funny opening at the neck and really doesn't work with the matching necklace I have or the couple of jackets I used to wear the old one with. In short, it was a nice try but doesn't cut it. Do you know what I mean? It doesn't work, thus it doesn't bring me joy. Good-bye!

Last but not least, that I will mention here anyway, is an example of something that you really do like and it fits fine originally but then shrinks in the wash. That is what happened here. I bought this at Ross Dress for Less for $8.99 but I am pretty sure I got what I paid for. It fit great in the dressing room and on its first wearing out of the bag. But it doesn't fit now. First lesson learned is I am gong to be more careful when I buy something at Ross because I really do think you "get what you pay for" all the time but also I'm going to be more careful about just putting any old thing in the dryer. In the end, lessons have been learned and life must go on. And this sweater must go on too--to someone else who is a bit smaller than I am.

In the end, I hope this little mini visit to my closet and my search for cleaning out helps you in your quest. Your homework assignment now is to do the following:

1- Look on your calendar and find a 3 hour block of time where you can go and eliminate the items in there that don't fill you with joy. Write it in as an appointment, and when the day comes, keep it!

2- At the appointed day and time, turn off your phone and lock your front door and go to your closet. Start over in the left corner or end of your closet and work to the right or clockwise. Pull out the first item and

3- Ask yourself "Does this bring me JOY?"

4- Listen to your FIRST and immediate answer. It's there on the tip of your tongue, even if you don't want to say it.

5- If i'ts a resounding "yes!" hang it back up or put it back away. If it's a "no" or if you hesitate and try to rationalize, give it a one way ticket out of there!

The goal is to keep ONLY the things that you really, really love and wear.  And when you do it, all of a sudden you will LOVE everything in your closet and I promise you will feel like you have twice the clothes to wear.

You can do it!

Next class:  Closet Cleaning 354

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