Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Purging My Closet (and My Struggle with Cleaning)

I am not someone who likes to clean. I am not someone who is good at cleaning. Yet I am someone who feels very happy when my house is clean, and not so happy when my house is a mess. That is why I am very drawn to the idea of having less to clean. 

Cleaning has been a struggle for me from day one. It started with my bedroom as a kid, and the bedroom issue continued into my teenagehood. Now I know there are people out there who live in a super messy room and it really doesn't bother them a bit, and there are people out there who really like to have their room extremely clean, so they keep it that way. I was not either one of these people. I was someone who hated when my room was a mess, but it was usually a mess because I was honestly terrible at cleaning it!

It is hard to explain this strange struggle of mine. I guess it could be compared to the way someone wanting to lose weight wants to exercise, but doesn't go out and do it. It may sound like I was lazy, but if I was then it was a very strange kind of laziness, just because of the extent that I cared. I wanted to clean my room so badly. I would get so frustrated with myself for not cleaning my room, and I would catastrophize and come to the conclusion that I could never get married and have a house or do anything really, because how could I expect to do big things when I couldn't even make myself clean my room? This is how dramatic a struggle cleaning was for me. It is laughable looking back at it, but I really can't laugh, because this is still something I struggle with to some extent.

Over the years I have developed strategies to make myself better at cleaning, and I'm just a generally less stressed out person than I used to be, so things aren't as dramatic as they were with my bedroom when I was a teenager. However, I still really really care that my house is clean, but it usually isn't and my mood is affected by it.

I think one thing I can do to help myself on this journey to having more peace about the state of my home in the long term is just have less things to clean. As far as clothes goes, this means less clothes covering the floor of our bedroom or piling out of the laundry bin.

Rosie posing in front of the laundry I need to do :)
So this desire for an easier job of keeping my house clean has motivated me to start executing some purges. I decided to start with my clothes, because I thought that would be an easy place to start and a place where I could very quickly see progress.

I know this is not a place that would be easy for most people, but what this little purge has revealed to me is that I really did not like most of my clothes, and that is why it was actually very easy for me to get rid of a lot of them.

I'll start at the beginning. The very first thing I did was I got inspired. Allie Casazza is the most inspiring blogger out there when it comes to simplifying, in my humble opinion. I love her blog, her podcasts, her facebook page, and ya, I'm just a big fan. I find her so inspiring. I also read a bit about something called Project 333 which is basically a challenge to dress with only 33 items for 3 months (not including PJ's and "loungewear"). I revised this to be 44 items (that was a coincidence, but it does sound good) - with no set time. I think I will try to do a little purge every season because I like to store my summer clothes during the winter and vice versa, but I also just plan on trying to be more mindful about what clothes I buy as well as whether I still like/wear certain items. I'll donate them once I don't anymore!

So I took everything out of my closet and put it all on my bed. I was careful not to take anything off hangers, because then I would have to hang it back up if I was keeping it (haha so lazy). I didn't worry about my pyjamas or sweats (as per the "rules" of Project 333) because I only have a few of those anyway. Then I just went through it all quite ruthlessly and decided if I wanted to keep it or not. With each item I just kind of thought about whether I even liked it, if it was embarrassingly worn out, stained, stretched, unflattering or didn't fit me well (I had to try a few things on, my body changed a bit when I had a baby!), and how often I wear it (if ever). Mostly I just thought about whether I liked it or not though. Turns out I didn't like half my clothes! I counted at the beginning and I had around 80 pants and shirts, which I personally didn't think was a lot, but when I was done I counted and I was at 44.

Complete with my podcast playing on my laptop and my coffee right next to it :)
I really love the mentality that if you're going to have something taking up space in your home, taking your time (whether it's washing it or picking it up off the floor or whatever), and having to look at it often (in the case of clothes you have to look at them on your body...), then those things should make you happy. You should like them! They're taking something from you, so they should be giving you something in return ;). I wouldn't say I'm great at living out this mentality because it's much harder said than done, as are most ideals, but it's a way of thinking that I want to slowly implement into my home and life.
The finished product!

So after this little closet purge, I had to pack to go visit my family. This may sound dramatic, but I seriously felt such a surge of relief as I looked at my closet for what to pack! For one thing, there wasn't an overwhelming amount of choices that I had to sift through. For another, the clothes I chose to keep were all fairly simple and for the most part matched each other (because those were the ones I liked- my taste is obviously fairly specific), so it was so easy to grab a few off the hangers and pick a couple pairs of pants. There was a sense of lightness as I looked at my half empty closet and saw a nice amount of choices, all of which I liked. What it really comes down to is that it wasn't overwhelming to look at my stuffed closet and to have to decide what to pack. This goes for picking what I wear in the morning as well.

I wouldn't say I'm an overly fashionable person (I wish I was!), so maybe that attributed to the ease of chucking half my clothes. However I think the actual hard part is just starting. Getting around to it. Making time. Basically the thing that is hard about making progress on all my to-do projects in my house! So in conclusion, I'm glad I made the time to purge my closet :)

This is how Rose was entertained through this whole process. Once
she had jumped 1000000 times in her jolly jumper, I set her up with
the mirror which was equally entertaining...
The tongue that is always out.

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