A dear friend once taught me that “a fashion crisis takes precedence over everything”. I think most of us– male or female– can easily relate to this; when you don’t feel good about what you are wearing, nothing seems to flow as easily as when your clothing reflects who you are today.
The stress of facing a jumble of clothing first thing in the morning (or any time for that matter!) when we open our closet doors can set us off course for the rest of the day. As long as we are hanging on (no pun intended) to wardrobe clutter from our past, we are keeping ourselves from the freedom and creativity of expressing who we are in the present moment.
Less is more
I love helping people clean out their closets. It is a task that most people dread, but it actually can be fun. It is a great way to experience immediate and measurable results in your life, and most of my clients tell me they feel a profound sense of exhilaration even as we are in the process of getting rid of much of their wardrobe!
How does it work?
Closet organizing is most often a full day job, usually one of the most exciting days in a CLARITY Breakthrough Approach visit. We roll up our sleeves, empty out the closet and then start making the various piles: keep, try on, give away, throw away, donate.
Once we have purged out those neon leggings from the 80’s and the bright red sweater your mother gave you with that cute sequined snowman on it and that expensive blouse you bought that never fit quite right, the next step is to re-organize the clothes that remain, putting them back in order based on the categories that make sense for your particular lifestyle. We then organize by color, sleeve length and length of garment, and in short order, you have a gorgeous new closet, just like on the TV shows. Add some new hangers (click to see my favorites) and the streamlined look and feel is complete. It really is that simple.
Time after time people have remarked to me that they feel like they have a whole new wardrobe, even as I am dragging 15-20 garbage bags of clothes to their car to bring to the thrift shop! I believe this is because when you open the door to an organized closet, it is no longer an overwhelming experience, and you know that everything you own is something that feels good on you. It’s so much easier to put together outfits, to choose the right jewelry and accessories and to find what you are looking for at a glance. Truly, the axiom of “less is more” applies here!
Here’s a rave from one of my beloved clients:
Jessica!! I CANNOT BELIEVE MY WALK-IN CLOSET!! It looks like the closets I’d see in magazines and would comment, ”nobody’s closet can really look like that”…”nobody can live with so few clothes and shoes.” But you CAN and it’s FANTASTIC!!!
The very next day after our session, I needed to meet my parents at church REALLY early. Usually I think about what I want to wear the night before…but I was WAY too tired for that. I woke up late and ran to my closet…I was stunned that I immediately found the PERFECT outfit, shoes, stockings and even JEWELRY…within minutes, I was completely dressed and out the door!! Why did this happen? Of course, you know the answer…I could SEE what I had!!
I cannot tell you what a WONDERFUL difference this has made for my life. I usually wear some version of the same 3 outfits to work everyday…granted, I’m not crazy about my job and not particularly motivated to “spruce-up.” However, since my closet makeover, I’ve found more outfits to wear to work and I’ve started wearing more jewelry…I wear different jewelry almost everyday now…I also wear my scarves and change bags more frequently…I can’t believe it!! I love my closet so much that I often find myself wandering in just to look around. I’ve been bragging to all my friends!! ~JB, Santa Monica, CA
Why can’t I do this on my own?
A few years ago, I watched a news clip of a professional organizer ‘helping’ someone clean out their closet. She was judgmental, harsh and bossy. This is the opposite of where we come from! We know there are often feelings stored in your stuff and we respect your wishes while at the same time, cheerleading you on to get to where you want to be.
Most people have dreaded tackling their closets because of the emotional content projected into their clothes. Issues such as weight loss/gain, sentimental attachment (why are we still keeping our wedding dress when we have been divorced for 12 years?) and a false sense of the value of our things (“but I paid $350 for that silk shirt I never wear, I could sell it on eBay!”) keep us attached and stuck in the past. Letting go is a complex process, but we at In Perfect Order have playful and effective strategies to bypass your resistance in order for you to reach your goal. I have seen people jump for joy at the new look of their closets and hug me in relief when we are done. Letting go is more difficult in your mind than it is in actual practice and we can help make it that much easier.
What about redoing the actual closets?
Because so many people have older homes with closets that have only one rod and possibly one shelf along the top which is not adaquate for today’s needs, we recommend looking into having your closet fitted out. There are several options offered by Wayfair.com and The Container Store (Elfa System). You will need a handy person to install them, but they are fairly simple.
Tax & Feel-Good Benefits
Another meaningful aspect of our work is that if there is a branch in your area, you can donate any currently-in-style women’s professional attire you no longer need to Dress for Success , where you will get the benefit of helping welfare-to-work women, as well as enjoy a tax deduction for your contribution.
Whatever is left goes to the thrift shop of your choice and you will also get a tax deduction. I highly recommend finding a thrift shop that offers the service of “valuing” your donations—assessing the value so that you can claim a much much higher donation amount. (If you just lump all your donations, regardless of how much you have given throughout the year, you can only claim up to $500 annually in “Misc. Donations” before you are required to submit an inventory of the items you have donated.) Many times, your deduction can reach as high as several thousand dollars!! (In Los Angeles, the only thrift shop I know that offers that service is the Jewish Council Thrift Shops.)
If you are interested in reading more about the most effective way to donate clothing and other household items, please see this informative post on my blog: The best Tax Deduction system for your thrift shop donations.
To schedule your own closet transformation, send me an email with your phone number: Yes, Jessica, let’s talk closets!
We can work it by phone, Skype, email, text or in person, depending where you are. Of course, Closet Organizing is usually one of the most fun days of the Clarity Breakthrough Approach, a revolutionary 3-6 day organizing blitz, offered anywhere in the US and Canada.