“Do you remember the day when your pocketbook color was supposed to match the color of your shoes?
How can this burnt orange pocketbook EVER match a pair of MY shoes?“
Question from a woman in her late 50’s/early 60’s, standing in the pocketbooks aisle as I shopped for a Springtime pocketbook.
I do remember those days. And I don’t own a pair of burnt orange shoes. I settled on navy blue, no surprise if you know me. And it won’t match, but I’m thinking that’s not so important anymore.
And last night, I learned from someone at Black Forest (took myself out to dinner) … her daughters and their friends didn’t know what mom meant when she suggested a color of “hose.”
So our clothing. Why is it so hard to keep it to a manageable amount and organized so we can find what we know we have? And what to do?
Also see my post earlier this week on 10 tips to let go more easily.
Why is it so hard — and what to do about it.
You can’t get started.
Consider why it might be hard. No time? Seems overwhelming to go through the whole closet?
Ideas that work: Set a timer for 30 minutes and just do that much. Choose one category, like shirts and just do that much. As you put away clothes at the end of the day, look at a few hangers to the right or left and just decide on a few at a time. Invite an organizing buddy to support you; work together for a few hours and see if that motivates you to continue. Create a deadline, such as “I’ll get the closet done by the time Mary shows up next week for her visit.”
You spent good money for it.
Ideas that work: If you’re not wearing it often, then are you really getting your money’s worth? (I’m not talking evening wear, New Year’s even, once-a-year clothing here.) Do you have a friend who could get your money’s worth out of the item? Be great to see it on her, so you’d get value from giving away something precious and seeing it. Or go the opposite way — if it fits, and you want to wear it more often, what could you buy to go with it so you’d increase the chances you’d wear the item. And is that worth the money to you?
It’s hard to give up on the last chapter and move on.
Ideas that work: Who are you today? What lifestyle do you live? Compare your lifestyle to how you want to look. What’s the gap and why is there a gap? Have you moved onto a new chapter of your life and are just realizing the difference in clothing you need? Maybe you don’t want to entirely give up on the last chapter of your life yet? You don’t need to. Organizing and simplifying is not about getting rid of everything. It’s about reducing not eliminating. So keep some of your favorites from your last chapter. As you go through them, you’ll figure out which are the favorites to bring forward into your new chapter. You can also keep photos of your in those clothes, particularly if they are from long ago memories.
Too much laundry.
Ideas that work: Questions to ask yourself: Do you have a system for doing laundry: the sorting, certain days of the week, how everyone in the household can help, where the folding is done, who puts away their clothes. Do you keep the cycles going or forget about them? Use a timer you bring with you around the house to keep the cycles moving along and not dragging on forever.
Do you think you might have too many clothes? “Too many” is a subjective term, so ask yourself if the time you spend IN your clothes is in balance with the amount of time you spend dealing with your clothing — dry cleaning, laundry time, looking for things, ironing, etc. It’s a balance.
When was the last time you weeded out? Look honestly at what you have; do you wear most everything fairly frequently? For some people, it helps to choose a number of items. Give yourself a boundary: One woman chose 12 for the number of shoes for the season. Another client used drawer space as a physical boundary: the drawer was for the work-around-the-house, kick around and work in the yard clothes. She’d allow one drawer for his/hers.
Ah, the messages we hear, whether from media, family, friends or ourselves. You get to some age or stage or mindset when you decide what your size is going to be. You decide on the type of lifestyle, eating and exercise habits you want in your life.
Ideas that work: But the easiest way to give away the other sizes? Invite a friend or family member who is that size and ask her to help you go through your closet. You both benefit. You get the whole closet done. She gets new clothes and maybe a lunch or glass of wine at the end of the day! If you don’t have a friend that size, please check into local organizations where you can donate. choose the organization before you start going through your closet. It will be far easier to let go if you can picture where your clothes are going to. Some clients will visit there first, and then go home, all fired up!