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5 Lessons I Learned When Cleaning My Closet

It’s the time of the year when cleaning clothes closets becomes a necessity (certainly not a pleasure!) But this year, in particular, was a learning moment for me — actually it was over the course of several hours! I learned some interesting things which not only apply to my closet, but also to my life. In fact, I can use it as a guide to my spiritual life, my career and my wellness journey. Not to mention, my closet. So take what you will from these five life lessons.

1. I am a hanger hoarder. Yes, I admit it. I hoard clothes hangers. It’s kind of like ink pens; even though my daughter-in-law works as the VP of Bic pens, my greatest fear is walking into an appointment and not having a pen. Likewise, the thought of walking into my closet and having no hanger is terrifying. That may be an exaggeration, but it is frightening. Therefore, I hoard hangers. All hangers. Every kind of hangers. I especially hold on to the ones which are plastic and have metal hooks. I love those hangers. I also keep paper covered wire, white ones (my least favorite) and wooden hangers, both for pants and jackets.

After deleting a box of tops and a few pairs of slacks, I was left with a mountain of hangers on the floor of my closet. I sorted through them, organizing them into types and sizes and then had to make a determination of what to do with them. Keep, give away or toss. At one point I had a hand being used as a closet rod, filled with my favorite type, while I tried to grasp a hand full of white wires which had to be tossed. When both hands were full, I couldn’t open the closet door…..Finally I dropped the whole lot of white wires to the floor. Lesson One: Sometimes you must let go of something in order to hold on to something better.

2.  As I began to put my closet “in order” I began organizing my tops by color: All white shirts, sweaters, blouses together. Then light blues, pinks, corals, teals, navys, reds, browns and blacks. It was then that I realized Lesson Two: Not everything can be classified in one group.  What about that bold print top which has red, purple, black and navy? Or how about the black and white checks? What about the wild flower print with a multitude of colors? There are some things which just don’t belong in one category. They overlap in two or more groups.

3. Soon my closet began to take oncloset it’s own personality. One of neatness, organization, momentary sanity. I was getting excited about finding my vests when I envisioned looking for one; for a short sleeve navy blue sweater that was always sandwiched in-between the long sleeve black tops. Now I can see them. It was then I had the profound insight of Lesson Three: Not everything lost, is truly lost. Sometimes it is just tucked out of sight, waiting to be found.

4. Lesson Four should have been immediately obvious. Lesson Four: All things have value to someone. As I boxed up my clothes into piles of Give away, Set aside for later, donate or finally toss, there was much more in the first three piles than in the “toss” pile. Simply because someone can generally use whatever I no longer want or need. Just because the value for me has diminished, doesn’t make it less valuable to someone else.

5. With a sigh of satisfaction, I began to organize the bottom rack of my slacks, to the left and my sweaters and casual jackets to the right. Again by color and on my favorite pant hangers, the one with the cardboard tubes which keep them from getting creases in the legs.  I rifled through my worn jeans, my old wool skirt from high school (yes, don’t faint) its a mere 40 years young…or so. It was then that I understood Lesson Five: Some things are just worth saving, simply because.

My closet is now a delight of organization. Clothes I cannot wear have been removed; winter has replaced summer and too big has been replaced by just right sizes. It is a closet worthy of keeping in order. And it feels really, really good.