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The Lesson I Learned Cleaning Out My Closet

Photo Credit: Ann Richards / B105.7

Sometimes we find inspiration in the oddest places...  I found some while emptying my closet!

I had to remove everything from the closet so that the people from California Closets could come in and replace the wire racks with a fantastic closet system — drawers, cabinets, shoe cubbies and of course places to hang clothes. 

The closet was filled with clothes I never wear — I mean it was overfilled with clothes squished in together.  Gratefully, I found some items I’d been looking for, like running pants that had “disappeared” (AKA: been buried in the mess).  As I took things down, I worked on getting rid of items I had not worn in 1-10 years.

After removing one whole side of clothes that were hanging at the back of the closet, I spied a dress that I hadn’t seen for a very long time.  I remember the first time I saw it at the store.  It was so pretty that I had to buy it even though I wasn’t planning on going anywhere soon that I could wear it to.  It didn’t matter.  I wanted that dress for a special occasion.

Have I attended a special occasion since I bought that dress years ago?  Yes, but nothing special enough for THAT dress.   Somehow over the years it just disappeared from sight and memory.

And there it hung now. Never worn. Still beautiful. 

It took me the longest time to remove it from the closet.  I didn’t want to.  I felt bad that I hadn’t enjoyed wearing it. 

I continued to empty the closet... leaving the dress out in the open still hanging where it had been buried for 2 years at my present house and for many more years than that at my old house. 

Finally, the dress was the only thing left in the closet.  I stood staring at it and thought what a waste it had been.  I could have worn it so many times but hadn’t really thought to. 

The good news is that I did learn something, and that is that we don’t need to save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion.

Maybe that’s why I needed that dress, so that I would learn this valuable lesson!

 

TIPS FOR GETTING ORGANIZED

Remove everything one item at a time. Check each item as you go! If you're going to really wear it, put it in a KEEP pile. If you don’t know if you’ll wear it, put it in a DONATE pile. 

It’s a good idea to put donation items in a dark bag or box and don’t look back or remove the item from the bag or box. Really, if you haven’t worn an item in the past year you’re probably not ever going to wear it.  So, give it to someone who will, or sell it.  I always opt for donating items because I like to. But nothing is wrong with trying to get a little money back.  But whatever you choose to do, just please save space and don’t hang on to things that haven’t worked for you. 

Organize by sections. Tops, pants, dresses, running clothes, etc. It gives you a better idea of what you have and how many of those items you have. Then when you go to put everything back in the closet, organize it by color (that way it takes less time to find the top/pants you want in the morning)!

Sit back and enjoy a glass of wine. After it's all done, it's time to admire your work with your favorite wine. You’ve earned it. 

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