As a Graphic Designer, from time to time I get opportunities to trade services. Recently I created a logo for Stephanie, a Professional Organizer, and in exchange she helped me with some spring cleaning - purging my closet that is!
One week post-purge, I thought I would share my thoughts on the process and how I am feeling now.
I am a clothing lover and I love shopping! There I admit it, and for many people this is true. I feel the need to buy new clothes whenever I have an event or a party to go. And! Especially when the weather changes I also feel the need to add to my collection. Yes, collection; that is how I viewed my wardrobe until Stephanie made me realize that a collection is meant to be displayed and if you aren't displaying it then it's just stuff.
Before Stephanie came to my home to help me organize my closet, she suggested that I put all of my clothing in one room so I could truly see the impact of my need-to-shop attitude and to see how much clothing I didn't really need. I was shocked at how quickly my 16x20 foot living room became consumed by my stuff. I didn't realize just how much clothing I had actually accumulated over the years.
Pile by pile we went through the clothes. Stephanie's rules where simple: Set up three bins for Donate, Sell, and Garbage. Don't hold on to an item for more than 2 seconds. Really think about if that item brings you joy. And be actionable - don't wait too long to sell or donate your items.
The process of going through the clothes was hard because I was fighting my inner thoughts and trying to rationalize why I was holding on to some of the items. I've attached good memories to my clothes; the shirt I wore when I went on vacation, the dress I wore on a date, and so on…. Having Stephanie there was extremely helpful because she was objective! She was like a coach, pointing out why my rationalization didn't make sense and encouraging me along the process.
She also made me realize that letting go of my stuff could really help someone else in need. At the end of three hours, I had six large blue bags full of clothing labeled with Donate. Stephanie suggested to donate to the Bissell Centre Thrift Shoppe. Profits from sales at the Thrift Shoppe fund their free clothing outlet at the downtown location, which provides free clothing and footwear to low income families and individuals.
Following Stephanie's Be Actionable rule, I loaded up my car right after the purge and drove to the Thrift Shoppe. It felt empowering knowing that someone else could find joy in the items I donated and that in the end it would help support a larger network of people in need.
A week after the purge, I still have some irrational thoughts like "I have nothing to wear" that I will have to get over. To snap back to reality I remind myself of the encouragement from Stephanie during the process. Here are my positive takeaways from the process:
- Purging will allow you to help others in need.
- Getting rid of things will allow new things to come into your life (not just new clothes).
- The feeling you get from organization will give you peace in your day to day life and will allow you to focus on more important things that add enrichment to your life.