Confessions of a Personal Organizer
I have a confession to make, y'all. I'm a personal organizer. Many people entrust me to come into their homes (some of them are you, reading this right now) to wave a magic wand and clear clutter. I come in with a mission and a plan to help our clients clear their closets, bedrooms, garages, cabinets, home offices of physical clutter and subsequently, the often subconscious emotional baggage that comes with it. Clients don't realize how much they were holding on till until it's cleared out. I love seeing that sense of relief on their faces.
But, I've been holding onto a dirty secret...
I'm a hoarder myself...a hoarder of athleisure! Just in case you haven't seen Kate Hudson's wonderful Fabletics commercials or walked by a Lulu Lemon store, athleisure is athletic wear that you can wear to brunch because it is presentable and cute. It is meant to not look like the standard old school shorts and t-shirt gym uniform. Or, in my case, athleisure is my work uniform. It helps me feel comfortable when I'm in the trenches of your storage areas but it's still presentable enough where I can be taken seriously as an organizer.
However, with the new moon entering Virgo or the solar eclipse - I don't quite know because I'm an organizer not an astrologer - I recently had this personal shift to purge the athleisure. For me, it is easy every season to do a closet assessment of my more "dressy" clothes. Donating more on-trend items that go out of style quickly is fairly cut and dry for me. But, I can't seem to get rid of my leggings, sports bras or my ankle socks...even the ones with holes in them.
I have a feeling it is because I have told myself the more athleisure I own, the more I will want to work out. I know all the magazines say to get super cute clothes to work out in because you'll want to exercise more. However, I hold on to the stuff that's gone from cute to...crusty. I am talking holes, paint, rips and tears. What's the point in getting rid of something I'm just going to get sweaty in? But, do I really feel good wearing clothes that are past their prime? Even if it is "just" athleisure? Sometimes us organizers have to ask ourselves the difficult questions, too.
So, I have decided to rip off the Band-Aid not only by purging my favorite type of clothing but by sharing my dirty secret with all of you. I wanted everyone to know that having a perfectly organized home isn't a destination, it's a journey. Even for professional organizers sometimes, or at least this one.
Some tips that go into my purge process include:
Identifying what type of clothing/accessory it is you hold on to the most. Is it outerwear? Shoes? (A common one) Favorite t-shirts? Or is it athleisure like me?
Tell yourself you will only focus (for now) on purging items of that type. Doing a whole wardrobe at once is overwhelming and it will become less productive if you take on too much at once.
Line up similar items all together. Make piles. You may find out you have 10 pairs of black yoga pants, 15 pairs of Capri pants and 22 pairs of leggings (I am not kidding y'all) and yet you only wear the same few pairs all the time.
Start with a mission and objective as to why you are getting rid of those articles of clothing. Mine was, "I only want to wear clothes that make me feel good." So, in my case, goodbye to anything off the bat with paint, rips, holes tears. If you want to keep "one junky outfit" just in case, fine. But leave it at that. If you find yourself justifying keeping an item too long, it isn't worth holding on to.
Make piles for donating and then piles of "no one would want this". You can turn the latter pile into potential wash rags by cutting up the clothes. Also, here is a great article about recycling old clothing and some stores that take textiles (in any condition, bless their hearts!) CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE
Pay attention to items that you love, are loved so much they are worn to bits and why they are hard to get rid of. Why do you love this item so much? What about it worked for so many years? I am talking about the black t-shirt from Target that is nine years old with a fun little rip (or so you tell yourself) by the neckline. It fit me so well for all those years because it was a little longer in length and has a bateau neck. Bingo! This means you should look when buying new shirts in the future (and I don't mean tomorrow or next week) that are similar in cut, texture or color to this shirt. You are more likely to wear it than the five other shirts in different styles that have price-tags still on them. While we are at it, get rid of those clothes with the price tags still on them too! (If you've had them 6 months or longer.)
To store your "keeper clothes", roll them up! I'm a fan of rolling casual clothes instead of folding to prevent wrinkling, for ease of viewing and to save space.
Make sure you actually do get rid of your piles to donate and your piles that no one would want that you'll be taking care of at a store / drop off (see #5). Don't just leave them sitting around.
Take a deep breath. Seriously.
Notice how you feel after getting rid of these items. How will you feel to now have clothes in your closet that meet that objective? In my case, it was to only have clothes that made me feel good. Now, I feel that I have a rockin' athleisure wardrobe which gives me a bit more confidence and pep in my step. (Notice, this was all by getting rid of existing athleisure, not amassing five new pairs of Lulu Lemon leggings.)
You may feel inclined to start organizing more areas while you are working on this particular area. But I encourage you to do it by section and to not start another section until you've dealt with the purged items. Not only do I feel better after clearing out my closet, I feel better clearing out my literal closet and coming clean with all of you about my dirty secret. Accountability helps. Feel free to add comments below. Feel free to grab a friend or family member as an accountability buddy.
And, hey, I offer remote and in person coaching for organization as well. If you mention you read this blog post, you'll get 20% off your first session. I'm always here to help with love, never any judgments.
Best wishes for feeling our best from the outside in and inside out!
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