a new happy stuff series: tidying up, part 1

IMGP0071like many, many other bloggers (and women in general), i recently read the life-changing magic of tidying up and, like pretty much everyone i’ve spoken to who read this book, there were some bits of it that have really stuck with me and some bits that i didn’t find useful or found to be…. insufficient for me. i didn’t realize when i saw this little book come across the library desk that it was a “thing” and that tons of people were reading it, i was just attracted to the title and the cover (good job, book designers!). one of the messages in the book that i can’t seem to get out of my head is that she points out that you can either a) de-clutter your house and life now and enjoy living in a less cluttered space for the rest of your life or b) de-clutter later (and live in clutter between now and then) or c) live in clutter for the rest of your life and make someone else clean it up after you die. whoa.

also, she encourages you to start the process by envisioning the space you’d like to live in.  what would it be like to live with less clutter, in a calm, organized environment surrounded only by the things you love?  i feel like other books i’ve read before have sort of said these things, but for some reason, i can’t stop thinking about it now.  especially since i’ve been feeling so overwhelmed for the past few years and mr. happy stuff is, in general not happy about me bringing home purchases any time i go shopping.  not because of the money spent, but because of the space it takes up in our home and in our lives.  but it’s so overwhelming and where do i start?

imagine my utter delight when one of my friends at our annual women’s retreat said that she had just gone through her closet to create a “capsule wardrobe” and that she loved the process and would really enjoy helping other people to purge their own closets as well.  yes, please! the author of “tidying up” recommends starting with your clothes (specifically tops — shirts, sweaters, jackets, etc.), so a closet purge with the help of a friend would be perfect!  this dear friend also has a daughter just a little older than mine, so i hoped maybe they could play together long enough for us to get a bit of work done. we set a date and the morning before she arrived for the first day of reducing the stuff, i piled all of my tops onto my couch (the girls can play in our living room more easily than in my bedroom) and i wrote down how i was feeling just for a chance to pause and reflect. here is the mountain of tops i owned (plus a random cute elephant in a pirate hat peeking out from behind the couch):IMG_5964here’s what i wrote:

“I’m feeling actually heart-fluttery nervous.  A little scared (really?) — that i won’t love any of my clothes.  That I’ll be embarrassed by how many clothes i own.  that i’ll end up with 3 shirts.  That I won’t be able to get rid of enough.  It’s possible that the “nervous” feeling is also excitement.  How awesome would it be to own an entire closet full of clothes that I only love?  An entire house of only things that I love?”

after she left, here’s what i kept:

IMG_5967and here’s what i got rid of:

IMG_5968and i wrote some more reflections:

“It is SUPER exciting to see three garbage bags [*note, another bag was filled after this photo was taken] and one plastic bin full of clothes that I’m saying goodbye to.  It is very gratifying to be able to get rid of all the ugly plastic hangers and wire hangers and just keep the nice ones. [bonus side effect!]  I love how much “breathing room” my hanging clothes already have (still need to purge dresses and skirts), but the extra room in my dresser drawer where t-shirts once filled it so full that I could barely close it (I can see the bottom of the drawer in about half of the drawer) is frankly, terrifying.  What if I chose poorly?  What if I picked the wrong ones to keep and the wrong ones to toss? Why is there SO much purple? And yes, I love these shirts, they’re the ones I keep coming back to, the ones I feel most confident in, I love the way they fit, but… if I’m honest, some of them (because they get SO much wear) are starting to look a little faded. The collars are permanently wrinkled wrong. A few have teeny holes (some I’ve even mended to keep them from growing larger). I think that perhaps the only way to remedy this slight feeling of panic is to make a list of all the things I’d like to have better versions of and when I find those better versions, get rid of these formerly beloved pieces.”

My hunting list (steer clear of magenta!):

— a truly soft, comfy, flattering hoodie to wear to yoga or around the house.  Maybe with thumb holes in the sleeves?

— a flowy black cardigan to replace the one with teeny holes

— New t-shirts with the hemline and fit like my favorite grape-colored one.

— New mustard colored cardigan (maybe toss the orange one then?)

— more big comfy sweaters like the new dark teal one

my next post will include more reflections on what it’s been like to live with a reduced closet for the past few weeks.

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