January 22, 2016

Motherhood Parables: The Walk-in Closet

Here's number three of my Motherhood Parable Series:

The Parable of the Walk-in Closet
I always wanted a walk-in closet! When we first got married we lived in an apartment. Two different apartments, actually. The closets were so tiny, I thought them a joke. (Really, they were standard small room closets, just not a walk-in). And I loved clothes! I had a bunch and I love wearing different layers and types of clothes to match the seasons. >I< NEEDED my walk-in closet.

Well, it wasn't until we bought our new house that I got my walk-in closet. It wasn't a big closet, but the fact you could step in, turn around and go back out made it it a walk-in. I thought, "This is ok, it's close enough."  But it wasn't the walk-in closet I really wanted! In fact, I still had two boxes of clothes in storage and a huge sweater box/trunk at the end of our queen bed.

Anyway, as dreams of a big walk-in closet with tons of shelves and places of all sorts of knick-knacks and such ran through my head, I started feeling like I had too many clothes. My problem was that I just kept accumpulating thrift-store clothes and donations and rarely got rid of them. I would "make do and wear them out" and then get rid of them. That is a good practice, in theory. However, I realized that I didn't wear most of the clothes, and that they were more of a burden to me in having to deicide what to wear and how to match things, than a blessing.

So, I started getting rid of anything that I felt was just "blah."
Then I got rid of anything Paul hated.
Then I got rid of things that I just had since high school that made me feel like a little kid, instead of the mother of three that I am.
Then I started going through things that looked worn, old, etc.
Then I started paying attention to colors and styles. And I got rid of colors that washed me out. And styles that didn't flatter my body type or my personality.

Four trash bags later I narrowed my stuff down to one trash bag full of clothes. About three shirts in each color, and six in the neutrals. About 6 skirts/dresses. About 8 shoes. A box of layering tees in the colors I love that coordinate with the colors of shirts I liked. I now had a basic color palette in my closet which made mix-n-matching much easier. And my closet soon wasn't looking so full.

Not only the closet, but the closet result overflowed into narrowing my jewerly and accessories down. I got rid of my jewelry box and just kept those things that were meaningful and matched my specific color pallet.

I still honestly. feel like I have too much stuff. Too many clothes. Too many shoes. Too many necklaces. And so on.... But I have come a long way. And you know what? I never even think about a bigger walk-in Closet now. I just bought a few closet organizer boxes for simple keeping of my specific clothing articles. A shelf for workout clothes. Box for socks. Box for underwear, etc. We even got rid of our night stands and dresser! And everything fits in our closet perfectly. And we have just one box for seasonal clothes that we keep at the top.

In fact, I even got rid of my lime colored shoes that I liked. Just because I'd bought them right after my mission and thought it was my spark of uniqueness back then. But I don't need that anymore. And I don't want to feel like a teenager, or in that stage of life. I've moved on to a new phase. It's so delightfully freeing!

Lessons Learned:

  • Our clothes make a statement. And since finding purpose and meaning in how I dress myself, I feel more purposeful and intentional in creating the life I desire.
  • I had too much stuff! It's easy to accumulate, but takes work to let go. Am I willing to think through those things?
  • "Wear it out and make do" works, if you are using it and like it. But if not...give it to someone who will use it more than you!
  • Better understanding my personality and what I like and want helps me choose and stick to a set look and feel that make me happy, instead of just wearing whatever is around, or trying to match other's styles or personalities. and it makes picking out clothes and shopping a breeze! More mental energy for the other things I really need to focus on.
  • More or bigger isn't always better. I frequently don't need more. I simply need to evaluate what I have and align it with what I want. The leftovers need to disappear. This creates not more stuff and greater organization. But rather, less stuff that is high quality and more meaningful and simplifying in it's effects.

So...what stuff do you just keep because it's around and you already paid for it?
Is the motivation of holding things a fear of letting go?
Are you too emotionally connected to the past and items that are holding you back in your maturing and moving into whatever season of life you are currently in?
Could you picture things you own on someone else, instead of you?

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