Last week was pretty crazy. Between the flu running its course and attempting to return to regular routines, I wasn’t sure how I had managed life before the holidays. The reality is that what last week was, was not my life at all, it was some sort of purgatory. I feel like we’re back now. Our band is again playing together…for the most part. But to keep it in perspective, I feel that a few sour notes every once in a while help you to recognize beautiful music when you hear it!
I was recently mulling over how last week turned into this week. Clearly, the hours ticked by, but what made the difference? Why are we all of a sudden able to fall into rhythm with each other? I always tell my children that the only person they have control over is themselves. I took a lesson from my own advice, and I have decided (perhaps narcissistically) that the change all began with me. I feel strongly that my mood anchors our home. Last week, I was emotionally uncentered, which seemed to cause a distinct wobble in the spinning of our days. I was defiantly reactive rather than responsive. I felt the clench of old habits return, feeling overwhelmed and not knowing how to turn things around. After some thought what ended up helping me to break free from my cycle of self-defeat was seemingly unrelated. But systems thinking prevails, and I recognize that it was not an isolated event at all. I spent a day cleaning my closet.
It seems like that task should have had little effect on my overall well-being, but the effects were in fact quite the opposite. Apart from having some time to get to a project I’ve been wanting to start for a while now, the process of clearing out my darkest space was not just physical. I got rid of many clothes that no longer fit since the arrival of my third baby and cleared out many clothes I have worn in the past that now hold only outdated purposes. With each piece discarded, I felt a bit more free. I believe the stories that accompanied the clothing were bagged up and sent to the basement along with them. Looking at those items in my closet that no longer fit who I am, or my purpose in life was weighing me down in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
I used the following guiding questions I used in my culling process. If the answer was no, the item was bagged:
1. Do I like it (fabric, colour, style)?
2. Does it fit well?
3. Is it comfortable?
4. Do I want to wear it? (if I’ve pulled it out of the closet and put it back, that’s a clear sign I don’t!)
5. Have I worn it in the past year?
A big part of letting items go was recognizing that mistakes happen. Time to let it all go. I tried not to feel guilt for things which are now done. What I can do is accept this feedback and self-regulate for the future. I can also spend time observing and interacting with my current wardrobe.
I consider my journey to be one of holistic management. As such, I feel I am far from finishing my closet overhaul. I have been reading and talking to friends about the 333 project, and aim to create a minimalist wardrobe of mix and match pieces. My approach will be a bit different than what’s offered on the websites I’ve read, since I am committed to buying used, and see the overabundance of clothing that I already own. I am considering the building of my ‘capsule wardrobe’ phase two of the process. For the time being, clearing my closet of what no longer fits me has left me feeling renewed. The process so far has been like opening the windows for the first time in spring. I have begun to air out my closets.