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11 week challenge: week #4 let it go

I am a big believer in starting as much as we can in a clean space when beginning the purging process for myself. That's not always possible when I work with clients, but sometimes it is. For me, I cannot get started with any big task if there is a disaster in the way. For example, today, I am giving you what might be for some a very hard challenge and it may take more than one day. 

I want you to go through your clothes. 

Sort them by a few categories. (see below)

Hang up or fold what you are keeping.

Put into the trash anything in too much disrepair to wear.

Put the rest into the Goodwill (or other organization) bin.

Drive to Goodwill today.

Drop off.

Scroll through my bedroom Pinterest page for bedroom closet ideas and have fun.

Repeat if needed.

In theory, you have made your bed, put away your laundry, cleaned off the bedside table, picked up items off the floor and cleaned any remaining areas that you can. I know for many of you that the laundry part of the beginning of the week was a challenge. There are a lot of folks that I have come across who literally sleep with their laundry due to not having the energy to put it away. When I say a lot, I mean A LOT. This is not to shame you. 

Maybe you are exhausted due to a demanding job, kids, health, whatever. Maybe you are in the throes of depression (unfortunately this is often the case), maybe you have developed bad habits and maybe, just maybe, you have too much stuff.  TOO MUCH. 

I get it.  Sometimes you are in an older home with little or no storage space and sometimes you have enormous closets and are so tied to every piece of clothing that you are drowning in cotton.  Let's work together to come up with solutions. 

When I was in high school, I was really into clothing - and my parents supported my habits. Then, I became an adult and had to purchase my own. And then...I went into retail. The discovery came that most clothes, from most stores were identical and I really didn't need all that was being sold. Another realization came when I realized that instead of keeping up with the laundry, I was simply wearing everything until there was nothing left but 5 loads of laundry that I did not have time to do. 

This. Is. Ridiculous.

Furthermore, for most of us, we wear the same things OVER AND OVER OVER AND OVER AGAIN. Yes, occasionally something changes, but really, it's just the same. 

I have a friend with an enormous closet. When they moved into their 4,000 square foot home she proudly showed off her closet which was approximately 8x8 or just under the size of a small bedroom. The closet was so full and I asked her why she needed so many clothes. They might come back in style some day. They might. But, will your 50 year old self wear the same outfit your 17 year old self wore?  Maybe. All of the outfits your 17 year old self wore? Probably not. 

Is there someone that could benefit from that clothing? Are you emotionally invested in a Christmas sweater that you wore in your junior year of high school? Can your energy go somewhere else? Is there something missing in your life that creates the need to hold on to so many items from your past? Have you lost your way in finding peace with where you are now and need to hold on to who you were? Would you rescue those items from a fire?  Just curious.

Let's get down to business. The categories. (Bet you thought I'd forgotten.)

1. Wear daily (ex. for me - this is anything that rotates on a regular basis meaning every one to four weeks in my daily routine. yoga pants, jeans, leggings, a handful of sweaters, tunics, dresses and I do mean a handful.)

2. Wear weekly or monthly (church, special meeting, special task. this could be a special outfit i wear when meeting new clients or in home organizing. can also be my gardening or painting clothes.)

3. Special occasion wear (these are the dresses that you pull out for a wedding or gala.)

STOP:  Looking at number 3, only you can determine how many special occasional dresses you need. I need 2. You may have a busy social calendar and need 10. Ask yourself if you have worn those dresses in the last 5 years. I know, 5 years is a long time but if it is a classic dress, then it's not that long and may be used again. If it is a sequined gown from your sorority ball in 1998, put it in the Goodwill bin or take it to consignment.  I know it's hard. Take a photo of it if you need to and hang it in your closet, but like the song says, LET IT GO!

4. Items in disrepair. (ex. my husband has white shirts that need new buttons. not happening. not even kidding myself. they are going to goodwill). If you are successful at putting an item in disrepair aside and actually repairing it, then you are excused from this and can keep these items. But, keep them out and actually repair them. However, if this is not an item that fits into one of the top 3 categories, it needs to be released.

5. Items that you are holding on to in case you lose weight. If I had a dollar for every article of clothing from every friend or family member or client who has a closet full of 10 year old clothing that they might fit into again, I would be a very wealthy lady sitting by a pool sipping a margarita right now. 

This is serious. Maybe you are pregnant and are holding onto pre-baby clothing. You are excused. Moving on. Maybe you are in a health crisis or temporarily on a medication that has caused bloating or excess weight. If this is truly temporary, then again, you are excused. However, in regards to both of those, if this is your 3rd baby and your pre-preggo body was 7 years ago, let's release the clothing or if your health crisis has been ongoing for 3 or 5 or more years, let's consider releasing those clothes.

I have had a weight problem since my mid-twenties. I used to say that I have had a weight problem my entire life. Then, I saw a photo of myself and my girlfriends from our senior year of high school. I saw the photo about 2 years ago. Can I tell you I was stunned? My waist was tiny. I had my classic Double D's and my well-shaped bootie (yep, I own this one!) by my arms, my legs and my waist were quite small. Then, I remembered that I used to have a difficult time finding pants because my bootie was big but my waist was itty-bitty. All I knew was that I was 130 pounds while a couple of my friends hovered at 100 or 110 which in my teenage mind made me fat. It never occurred to me that we were genetically different or that anyone may have envied my well-developed body. Can I also tell you that seeing that picture shifted something for me and moved me into a crazy acceptance of myself that I have never experienced?

I may never be that small again. I don't know, but truthfully, even if I were, I would NEVER EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE wear those high waisted, acid washed, tight roll jeans again.  EVER. Why would ANYONE hold onto that? 

Are you holding on to those clothes or that person you were? You are NOT that person now. You are MORE. You have grown and expanded. Embrace where you are now. Hold on to a few items of sweet dreams if you need to. But, not an entire closet full of them. 

A few years ago, I worked for Eddie Bauer. I have always considered myself to be good at outfitting women and have done so at several companies. A woman came in with her husband and children. She was so quiet and shy. Her husband pulled me aside and said his wife had lost a tremendous amount of weight but could not see herself as she was (this still makes me cry, btw). I spent most of my day that day bringing her item after item and she tried them all on and as the day went on she became more outgoing and joyful. All she could see was this person she had been and quite frankly, seemed to despise. She had no idea that she was a vibrant, attractive woman and that her husband appeared to adore her. He spent nearly $1,000 that day and she left our store smiling ear to ear. I can tell you 10 stories like that over coffee one day if you like. 

For those of you like me, who really need to take about 5 items to Goodwill (I really don't tolerate my closets to be cluttered), give yourself a latte at your favorite coffee shop as a reward.  But, for those of you who are truly doing this work, who are going to draw your line in the sand and say goodbye to the old baggage of decades old clothing and shoes (yes, do the same with your shoes), if you need to, either go and purchase one or two items (only one or two and they must make you very happy) to to back into your closet or go on a trying on spree. Spend some time at your favorite shop and simply try on the items that make you happy and bring you joy.

You can do this. 

If you need more support for this, I'm here. You can hop on the closed FB page or email me at


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