Editing My Closet and Walking the Walk

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Here’s a little secret you might not know….

Even organizers have to edit their closets, cupboards, and kitchens sometimes. Life moves quickly and stuff gets accumulated. I try to follow the one in, one out rule. If I buy a new sweater, I have to donate an old sweater. I recently bought red dish towels to make a nice pop in my kitchen, and I forced myself to donate the old dish towels. They were still in good shape, but if I’m trying to create a red theme, why would I keep blue towels? So one in, one out.

But clothes do tend to multiple in a closet. Or so it seems. I’m sure that’s true for my daughter’s socks! And I found myself last week doing the editing work on my own clothes’ closet. Walking the walk, as they say.

Just like I tell my clients, I started with my favorites. The blue dress that fits exactly like I want it to fit, accentuating the positives and downplaying what I think are negatives. The one pair of jeans I can tolerate wearing (I live in skirts and dresses, even for casual days). The sweatshirt that my Dad bought years ago in Key West and is the perfect snuggle on cold Johannesburg evenings at home. You get the picture. The clothes that I love and I don’t even have to think about. Those stay.

Next come the clothes I don’t like, the unwanted. The dress that makes me feel 18 months pregnant. The expensive sweater that I haven’t worn in 6 years that I’ve kept “just in case.” Just in case I move to the Arctic and my style changes completely.  The pants that are falling down and have to be constantly hitched up and readjusted. Again, the clothes I don’t really have to think about. Those don’t stay.

The third category is the hardest. The maybes. The clothes I might like if the circumstances were right. So how do you decide to keep or donate? Easy. Wear them. I force myself to wear them. For example, I have a dress that is probably the brightest outfit in my closet. It’s coraly-pink, if you can imagine. I’m not a pink person, but the coral part of that description saves it. (You can see the pattern in the picture above.) It’s from Anthropologie, and I loved it when I bought it. Somehow it makes me feel like I should be presenting my anthropological findings to a distinguished crowd of reporters in 1930. Well, I do have an Honours degree in Anthro, but it’s not 1930. It somehow makes me feel more intelligent, more exciting. Like I’m going to present my findings and then rush out the door to jump on a motorbike driven by Indiana Jones. Intelligent and exciting and adventurous.

So why wasn’t I wearing this miracle dress every day? Maybe the bright color. Maybe I thought it needed “an occasion“. I wore the dress last Tuesday for one in-person meeting and two Zoom meetings. Throughout the day, 5 PEOPLE complimented the dress. The color, the style, the way it made me look happier and brighter. So, it stays. 

But the second thing that happened is that because I was making an effort to wear this dress, I went all out with jewelry. I remembered that I had a Dia de los Muertos style bracelet from San Antonio, Texas that was a perfect color match (see the picture above). I hadn’t worn it in years, but I wore it with the dress, and it made me smile all day.

So, when you edit your closet, think… what do I love and want to keep, what do I dislike and want to get rid of, and what makes me feel like Indiana Jones’ sidekick?


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