closets

Sparking Joy...for less stress and more positive energy

Have you ever stood in front of your closet and thought, “I have nothing to wear?” You are in good company if you answered yes. I have a theory about why this is so prevalent. And, I must thank Marie Kondo and Chriselle Lim for this epiphany and argument in favor of asking, “Does this spark joy?" Adding to that question, “If not, why not?”

Less-Stress Organizing Solutions Blog Spark Joy

This morning I was re-reading an article in Darling Magazine-Issue 7 written by Chriselle Lim. Her article, “Paper Doll” inspired a circuitous thought bubble as I contemplated my own challenges with curating my closet and outfits over the years. Chriselle notes a few key guidelines in her article. Her second key point, “Focus on your favorite object,” was meant to inspire the reader to begin building an outfit with a favorite item.

My ADHD brain went into overdrive considering the connection between the pitfalls of retail therapy and curating a closet of clothing we love to wear.

One possible reason many garments, shoes, and accessories don’t spark joy for some of us, is connected to our reason for making those purchases in the first place. Think about it. If you initially purchase something to soothe or validate yourself, is it possible you hesitate later to continue using that item, unknowingly, because it triggers negative feelings?!

I know this to be true for myself. I used to LOVE shopping! But my closet was filled with many garments that were just a little bit snug because I would only purchase clothes when I felt good about my body. Those clothes mocked me every time I saw them. And, I would no longer feel good about myself. I felt like I had almost nothing to wear in a sea of beautiful garments. Retail therapy as a reward system has its drawbacks, as I learned. At the end of the day, I still need clothing that is comfortable, fits well, and suits the body I have right now.

Purchasing something when I feel angry or sad is almost always regretted. Admittedly, retail therapy, feels good, but only in the moment. Later, I am reminded of the negative event and usually return my purchase unworn. If it cannot be returned or a small part of me really does like this item or finds it useful, I spend time reframing reasons for keeping it so that it brings me joy going forward. If I cannot find a positive spin, I give it away and consider this episode of retail therapy another difficult lesson learned.

If we are making purchases without considering the financial implications, even when we love something at the time of the purchase, it may become a negative reminder of an impulse that added to our financial woes. And, that is a good enough reason to reconsider the purchase and reinforces my theory that retail therapy doesn’t always bring the lasting joy we seek.

In my twenties, I LOVED earrings. Since, I wore scrubs to work every day, earrings were the only accessory I could wear that brought a little whimsy or personality to my outfitting. I treated myself to a new pair every month or so and enjoyed wearing each and every pair! My choices were mindful and deliberate, and their cost fit my budget. There was no negativity attached to them.

I don’t wear earrings as often any more. My style and taste have changed. So, letting go of most of my earring collection was really quite easy. It served me well for a long time and is now making someone else happy.

Perhaps, Marie Kondo really IS on to something when it comes to curating the contents of our homes from a place of joy. If we make mindful choices, choices that are needed, wanted, and/or bring us joy, then seeing and using what we bring and keep in our spaces will be more likely to foster less stress and more joyful living. And, that includes a curated closet that lifts us up.

I say, Amen to that!




Closets...when it comes to getting dressed, less is more

Is your closet bulging with clothes that you no longer wear, clothes that you might wear given a different life, clothes that no longer fit, clothes that have seen better days, clothes that have lost their appeal or just bring a frown to your face? 

If you answered, "Yes," then I understand because I have been where you stand...just outside the closet door, dreading it even though it holds an abundance of beautiful things. Why? Because they are crowded by the other "stuff,"  the stuff that needs a new and grateful home. 

Spring is just around the corner and wouldn't it be nice to open the door to your closet and love what you see? How much time would you save having just what you need to get dressed quickly and in a style that suits you? Wouldn't it be refreshing to have room in your closet for that something new that makes your heart sing?! 

If you have been following me on Facebook, then you know I have been exploring  closet organization strategies. My reason for doing this was two-fold.

First of all, a personal closet review was long overdue. Second of all, several people have asked my thoughts regarding Marie Kondo's Konmari Method.

So, I began there, utilizing "The Magic Art of Tidying Up," by Marie Kondo. How convenient that she asks that you begin your "tidying up" journey by sorting and purging your clothing. 

I admit that I was tentative at first which only served to slow down the entire process. But, once I embraced her "pull-it-all-out-and-only-keep-what-sparks-joy" methodology, it worked. I honestly love everything in my closet, well almost everything. There are still a few pieces that I am holding in reserve.

That said, less is definitely better! But what to do with it all?!

My mother will tell you that she loves my style. But, she has to say that though 'cuz she's my mom. I LOVE styling others. As for myself,  I struggle a little bit unless I adhere to my must-have trifecta: Cut, Color, and Comfort.

Enter my second closet strategy: reading and studying the content in "The Curated Closet," by Anuschka Rees.  Such a useful book filled with beautiful visuals and practical ideas regarding building a wardrobe that reflects what you need for the life that you lead. 

closet organization

I spent an entire weekend reviewing my pared down closet, studying colors and shapes and patterns, thinking about where and how I spend my time, and remembering what I love about clothing. I know, I can hear you laughing or scolding now, wondering how you are going to find an entire weekend to devote to your clothing and closet overhaul. Sadly, or as luck would have it, I had a nasty virus and needed something to keep my cabin fever at bay.

As they say, when the student is ready, the teacher will come. I was a captive audience. 

So here is my take away from my weekend of closet review, reflection, and revision:

1. There is no shame in having nice things in your closet. After all, we cannot run around naked. Feeling good in your clothing allows you to get on with your day in a confident manner.

2. Less IS more. It takes less time to put outfits together when everything you own suits your style and your life. 

3. Play with outfitting and take notes and photos for later. Really! 

4. Keep a few go-to outfits ready for those times that you are rushing or are over-scheduled (who me?!). You will thank yourself later, trust me!

5. Sharing feels good. Let go of the garments that you no longer wear, need, or love while someone else can still benefit from them.

6. My three personal criteria for clothing must be met or I am throwing money away. If a garment is not comfortable, not a good cut for my body,  or not a color that I feel confident wearing, then I say, "No!" 

7. I am clear on what I like and on what I need , but am in no hurry to add to my wardrobe unless I LOVE it.

8. I have a good foundational, neutral wardrobe. Adding pops of color is where I will focus my efforts next! I see shades of red, raspberry, and greens in my future.

9. Strategic placement of my garments has streamlined the time it takes to choose an outfit. As I returned garments to my closet, I considered how and where I would be wearing them. Work clothes are together, clothing for outings are separate from what I wear when I do heavy organizing jobs. You get the idea.

10. Time spent planning and organizing saves you time in the long run!  

My advice to you as I close this chapter is this: Take time to review, reflect, and revise what you already have in your closet before adding anything new. Be honest with yourself and let go of what is just getting in your way. You may find that you already have what you need. If not, you will definitely have a clearer picture of what is missing to make getting dressed easier.

Cheers to finding less stress and more joy in your closet. 

Much love,

Jen

 

 

Closets, and cupboards, and shelves, oh My!...What to do with15 minutes.

It is raining and cold today, or should I say, "It is cold for Southern California?" We have been known to complain if we cannot wander barefoot in March.

Dare I say, it is a perfect day to tackle a project that you have been avoiding? 

Do you know what lurks behind your closed doors? Those doors hide the yet-to-be-discarded, might-use-it-someday, will-get-to-it-later, someone-dropped-by-and-I-needed-to-hide-it-quickly stuff of life. And those things crowd out what is important to you by making the space tight and less functional. 

These are spaces that can be tackled one shelf, one cupboard, one box, one closet at a time. One rainy day at a time. One, I have 15 minutes and I want to finish something useful in this time, time.

Being the remove the band-aid slowly kinda girl, I am okay with slow and steady wins the race. You have my permission to set a timer, or set a boundary to the physical space that you are going to tackle. Gather bags and boxes for sorting, and begin!

Choose the space that nags at you the most. A sweet reward awaits you.

I suspect you have a closet that fits this parameter. Why? Because, in my experience, and yes, this is anecdotal, closets are a great place to push things and easy to avoid. We all have them, and they tend to fill up as if by magic.

And because they nag at you, decluttering and reorganizing an overstuffed, no longer easy to use closet feels richly rewarding upon completion. It is that simple.

Know for certain the purpose of this space. If a closet is for cold weather gear, then that is all that belongs there. Designating spaces for "like things" makes finding them easier, makes upkeep easier, and makes letting go easier.

You can see that you have 15 red sweaters when you keep your sweaters together in the same space. Maybe you LOVE all 15 and will choose to keep them. Maybe you didn't realize that you have that many. Maybe you just realized that you do indeed have the sweater you sister insists that she loaned to you.

Remove things that no longer fit, that are damaged, that no longer serve a purpose in your current life. Remove what belongs elsewhere. Remove the items that make you cringe. I know you have them. We all do. And remove what doesn't belong in that space. 

Admittedly, the space that has been nagging at me, is my son's closet. I can hear you all laughing. Upon my request that he do some spring cleaning, he begrudgingly agreed to "work on his closet." He had good intentions, and has removed six tee shirts over the past two days. Sigh!

Since he is an adult and it is his room, there are boundaries and limits that he and I have agreed upon. So while I was just delivering laundry to his room today, and listening to the hailstones pelting his window, I spent 15 minutes sorting through the shirts in his closet. That's it. I quickly reviewed two, two foot sections of his closet in 15 minutes. He has already discarded what he no longer wants in that section, at least for now.

And then, like anyone who has ever worked retail, I lined up everything by color, sleeve length, and material weight. The space is calmer and I expect he will remove a few more pieces when he sees how many, many, MANY gray and black tee shirts that he owns. Ultimately, the decisions are his, but will be less overwhelming because I have removed heavy coats to the coat closet, empty coat hangers to the laundry room, and dirty clothes to the hamper. 

Personal Organizer - Residential


As I write, the El Nino rains have resumed. And, since it is my day off, I think I will stay inside and tackle another closet. Happy Monday!



Decluttering...let clearing the clutter open up space for healthier living

Wouldn't it be great if decluttering could lead to better emotional and physical health? If you thought that clearing your homes and offices of the things that no longer need you and that you no longer need could be a catalyst for healthy changes that go beyond a productive workspace, a tidy little kitchen, or a streamline closet, would you be intrigued? 

Clearing clutter and making changes that streamline homes and offices have had benefits that extend far beyond what I imagined when I first embraced the idea to share my experience and knowledge with others. No, it has not cured cancer or osteoporosis or the myriad of mental and physical health challenges that people struggle with daily.

But it DOES lead the way to  calmer, more grateful, authentic living, by making it easier to access what we truly need in our environments. By simplifying our surroundings and living with less, we have more time to savor what is most important to us. And that feels great amidst the struggles of what ails us.

Here are three places to begin this process:

YOUR KITCHEN 

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then it should inspire and invite us to prepare healthy food that nourishes and loves us. If you are tripping over 40 things to get to something way in the back of a cupboard, how likely are you to reach for this item on a regular basis?

Time is precious, so keep what is truly important and vital within easy reach. This means purging the old, perishable (way, way, way past its best by dates) foods, the overflow of free stuff that you never use, and the broken pieces that clog your cabinets.  This also means getting rid of the "turned out I didn't use it, want it, or need it" things. For me it was a pasta maker. I used it once or twice, and then it took up valuable real estate. It was a wedding gift from a dear friend; but, it had already served its purpose. Was a fun toy in the early years of marriage, but I learned that I prefer easy, packaged pasta...or eating out.

For you, it might be your ice cream maker, your counter top mixer, or a four-slice toaster. I LOVE my mixer and use it often enough that it has a special place on my counter. My family eats toast daily, so that is an EASY decision. But, hey, some people don't eat toast. So a toaster could be a dust collector. My ice cream maker is in a cupboard for once in awhile. I cannot remember the last time I made homemade ice cream, but it's 95 degrees today, so it might be a good day to bring it out. There is nothing quite like homemade, frozen yogurt or ice cream.

Bottom line, if you have tools of the trade that you don't need, love or use, share them, donate them, let them go.  You may find that cooking and eating at home is more enjoyable with less clutter; and let's face it, you have a lot more control over what you feed your body when you eat from your own kitchen. As you clear the clutter, you will have more room for mindful, healthy choices that suit your current lifestyle and needs.

Your Closet

Why would decluttering your closet make a difference to your health? Think back to the last time you traveled and didn't overpack...or maybe, you came pretty close because you had choices and everything that you needed with a little overflow for unexpected weather and activities, and it worked.

Having a closet that is streamlined and works for your current life can feel so liberating, and reminiscent of vacation that you want that feeling all of the time. Seriously! Who doesn't love that feeling of having just what you need and then getting on with your day? Do you see where I'm going with this? 

It is a great time of year to review what hangs in your closet, purge what is worn out, stained, no longer fits, or that you no longer feel good in. Just get rid of it. I promise, you won't miss it. 

Some of us see a sea of black, white, and grey. And that's okay. For some of us, keeping it simple makes choosing an outfit painless. I love knowing that everything in my closet looks good together and that I have the accessories that I need. A mostly neutral wardrobe allows me to pop my favorite colors or those that the fashion color of the season dictates. Just be sure you are not adding clutter. Only add what makes your heart sing!

If you tend to be a little more adventurous with color, and shapes when you travel, perhaps, your true self is calling out to you. Listen to her. Maybe this is the year to get rid of the excess and styles that you no longer need, use, or love (sound familiar?) and, to add more color. 

I have a friend, you know who you are, who rocks color everyday. It matches her personality; she is a joy to be around. And her style suits her. And that is the point...be true to yourself, keep it simple, whatever your style. Then getting dressed every day will no longer be a chore. You won't be digging through the over abundance, to find an outfit. You will get dressed for who you want to be today and can get on with living authentically and with less stress. And, isn't that the point of all this.

 

Your Quiet Place

Finally, as you clear the clutter, look for one space in your home or office where you can carve out a quiet place. As you rid yourself of what no longer serves you, you may find the perfect space opens up. It could be a chair by a window that has soft light in the afternoon, or a table overlooking a hummingbird feeder.

Whether you dedicate a whole room, space in your backyard, or a little corner of one room, isn't as important as the act of allowing yourself this space at all. It is there to remind you to pause and stress less.

My quiet place is the sofa in my front room with a table next to it holding books, a candle, and a few throw pillows . It is away from the television, has a view of a pretty tree, and lots of natural light. I love being in this space and feel the tension of the day melt away any time I pause there.

Whatever shape it takes becomes a haven to center yourself, to feel peaceful and calm. Healthier. Keep it simple and in your style, so that you feel inclined to linger.

And, promise yourself that it will not become a place to deposit detritus. Find a way to create a space in your office as well, even if only a corner of the room, as a visual reminder to center and calm yourself during the stresses of your day, and to reassure you that more of this waits for you at home. 

Creating uncluttered spaces that work well for you open you up for a greater sense of health well-being, and this is a good thing.

 

As always, I thank you for stopping by my website and for reading my blog. I hope that you find inspiration or a single idea that makes a difference to your health by leading you toward less stress and more joy.