I'm certain, when I review this past year, that I will look back on "The Great Purge of 2015" as one of the best things I ever did for myself and for my business.
(...and I'm not done yet. But funerals and vacation and life have taken over, as I knew they would when I first decided to purge our "stuff". So, because I knew that ordinary life would fight against my goal, I made my intentions as firm as possible. The result? I got a lot more accomplished than I expected, but less than I wanted to, if that makes sense. Which means....I succeeded. Because all big plans turn out that way: you split the difference between perfection and reality.
I made a plan, and I stuck with it no matter what...within reason. Reason says you attend funerals, and you don't forgo vacation plans with your Preacher, just to stay home and keep throwing stuff out.)
One of the areas - trust me, just one - that got purged was my walk-in closet. And, true to the nature of purging, once I got rid of all the superfluous, and was left with this blissfully clean slate, I was then able to make over the whole space - adding back only those things that support my goals and who I am.
Yeah. Clothes and spaces can do that.
Clothes and spaces can absolutely help you crystallize your best intentions, and get clear on where your next glory is. (We are all going from glory, TO glory. Because I live in the truth of that, I am always walking the balance-beam of learning from the glory I am presently in, while finding out what my next level of glory is to be.)
I told my besties (which, by the way, I hate that word...and by the way, my besties will always and forever be my church ladies - "Shout out to my Harvest gals!") that I wanted to sell tickets and give tours of my closet. And so, it is with great, obnoxious enthusiasm that I present you with just one of the results of "The Great Purge of 2015"...my new inspiration closet:
I truly wish I had "before" pictures.
First and most important point: I went to a modified capsule wardrobe...
...meaning, I took every stitch of every piece of clothing I own, and pared it down to right around 50 seasonal items...including Tshirts and tanks (which are folded and tucked away in drawers).
What this means is, when I began this purge back in late summer, I chose around 50 clothing items to be in my spring/summer capsule. (Some capsule wardrobe-ers go with 20-something, some go with 30-something.) Every jacket, every vest, every T-shirt, every pair of jeans, every-everything counts.
I found that it helped me immensely to just go with an arbitrary number, and force myself to pare down to it. To keep giving away or tossing clothing until I reached under 50 items, I had to go through my shirts, pants, dresses, etc. not once, not twice, but multiple times....and make hard choices. Do I like this shirt or this shirt best? Do these pants fit better than these?
Here is what had to go: whatever wasn't my favorite and best fitting and most reflective of who I really am, right now this moment - which is an artist-entrepreneur...who occasionally has to dress beautifully for art shows and the random hot date. Other than those occasions, and weddings and funerals, my wardrobe gets to be this casual, semi-bohemian mix of what I like best.
(This week or next, I will have to pull out all my fall/winter clothing, and go through the exact same process...pare it all down to my 50 or so pieces. It won't be easy, but now that I know how transformational it is to actually have fewer but better choices...I will gladly do it.)
I added back a tiny slipper chair, on clearance at Target. It was actually meant to be a little girl's chair. A tiny-tot-chair. But I've had a couple of months, now, to use it for putting on my shoes, for putting on tights (yes, our weather actually got chilly enough to do that for one, and only one night recently), and for prayer. And I am in love with the idea of having a tiny chair in one's closet.
If you can at all fit one in your closet....do it.
I added a small sheepskin rug. Clearanced at my local Ross for under $10.
I added a watercolor sign that spoke to my heart.
I took all my earrings out of the plastic ice trays they were in (!!) and purchased two $7 velvet compartment trays from Hobby Lobby (using my coupon).
...the tiny "Paris" tin was a gift from a dear prayer-partner friend, who just so happens to know that I dream of going to Paris, while not actually wanting to go to Paris. Travel isn't my thing...but beautiful places are still fun to dream about. She filled that tin with images of Paris...
...and, of course, no closet is complete without a few of the pebbles you have written on, over the years.
Last, but totally not least, I added a...
Oh my dear, sweet heavenly goodness. It was a complete splurge.
And so worth it.
When this most intimate of spaces was complete, I shut the door (said door finally has a full length mirror on it. I had to choose between all my shoes, keeping only those that are the "hardest workers", giving away the rest - so I could ditch the behind-the-door ugly shoe rack, and replace it with a full length mirror):
...I shut this door, sat down on the tiny-tot chair...
...and cried my eyes out.
See, this closet was built just for me, way back in 2004. We renovated our house, and I got the walk-in-closet I had always wanted.
And it took me over ten years to make it special.
And all total, I know it didn't cost me $200 to create something that will bless me every single morning and night for many years to come. It took me ten years to decide I was worth the investment.
People. I told you. Self-care is not my superpower. And that might be the understatement of 2015.
I immediately texted my daughters (don't judge...it's the new millennium, and its how everyone rolls) and admonished them, "Do as your mother says, don't do as she does. Self care matters."
And now...as we leave my closet (where I now want to live)...the first thing you see is my inspiration wall - which is an instigator and has been a huge part of every level of glory I have hit in the last 3 years:
Wearing your praise matters. When you are well put together, and the effort to be well put together no longer takes a ton of time, or too many decisions (we all only have so much mental bandwidth) - we are more likely to say "YES" to things that matter.
I am more likely to say "YES" to a mentoring breakfast, when I know my clothes are ready for me to jump into.
I am more likely to say "YES" to eating out with Tim at someplace besides O'Charley's, when I can take one look inside a beautiful space, and choose something a little more special to wear...and it is pressed and waiting for me.
Simple issues of self care and self respect.
And I hope you are better at all of these things than I am. I'm still a work in progress, but I'm happy to share my reality with you. Thanks for listening.
Is your most intimate of spaces - your closet - a special space? Even if all you have is a tiny closet (that is all I had for almost 20 years) you can scale down and pare back and make it special.
How are you at self care?