Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Suitcase Closet Clearing - How to Organize your Closet

No matter how often I clean out my closet, I always seem to accumulate more clothes than I ever need.  Some old, some new and most that I know I will never wear again.  

I have tried so many different techniques – trash or treasure, what I haven’t worn in 6 months and even turning the hangers in the opposite direction, all with no luck. 

There have been several times when I have moved out of state and even out of the country for up to a year at a time.  During these trips I stay in hotels, B&Bs, holiday homes etc., all with very little to no storage.  What I discovered is that, even for my longest trips, I didn’t need much more than what my largest suitcase would hold. 

When I pack to go away, I usually take the same basic items and only what is absolutely necessary.  I do like to be comfortable and flexible for the conditions so I always take that into account. 

If I think about clearing out my closet in the same way as I think about packing for a trip, it should help with some of those iffy items that I always end up keeping instead of getting rid of. 

Part of this will require severing the emotional attachment I have to so many items.  I love the pattern or how I looked or what I was doing when I last wore it, are my typical excuses for keeping something that no longer suits me.  

I used to try to pack away seasonal items as the weather changed, but I live in Colorado and we can have 90-degree temperatures one day and snow the next, so it’s not practical.  I need a year-round wardrobe that I can keep ready anytime for home or away.

Aside from actual clothing items, I have amassed a tremendous collection of shoes and undergarments that rarely if ever get used.  Packing is a great way to minimize those things as well.  I wouldn’t think of taking 15 camisoles when I need one or two.
 
I always begin my packing process by planning my itinerary – where will I be going, what are the weather conditions and what activities will I be doing.  For me, that usually involves a variety of situations – wet, dry, hot, cold, work, dinners, dances, dates, casual loungewear and outdoor activities. 

Next, I pull out the main items that I think I will want to wear for each of the scenarios.  Then I begin grouping by color and separate the tops from the bottoms, making sure all items in a color group match each other.  I usually stick to solid colors for bottoms (black, blue, brown) and add 3 - 4 print tops that go with each color bottom.

Then I add the shoes, sweaters, scarves, jackets and accessories for each group of outfits.  Looking at this all laid out really helps me to see what I have and how they go together. 

The last step is to pack it in my suitcase.  Depending on how far you want to take this, you might decide to use several suitcases or containers for what you are keeping.  I'm now using packing cubes as additional easy storage for those items I don't use very often but want to keep.

So, there it is, my new suitcase closet organizing system.  I’m getting started on it right away and see just how low I can go and free up my time and space from all of this physical and emotional clutter. 

Is decluttering and organizing a pleasure or a pain for you?  What methods have you used that work well for you?  I would love to hear your comments and whatever tips and tricks you may have to share with others.

Published on SixtyandMe.com


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Give Peace a Chance

Today is the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s death.  It's hard to believe that so much time has passed and how much has happened.

I was 24 and remember vividly the cold December day that it happened.  It sent shock waves through my family.  

It was 1980 and as I walked through my neighborhood, there was a large poster hung on a front porch, trimmed with Christmas lights, sharing John’s message “Give Peace a Chance”.

It All Begins with Gratitude

We've all heard it many times and many different ways during our lives. Count your blessings, give thanks, feel lucky for what you have, think of people who don’t have as much.  We understand the words but seldom do we stop to think what they really mean.   
 
I'm not sure exactly when it occurred to me, but one day, I began to really understand what it means to be truly grateful.  Not just for the good things but for everything. 

When I started looking at my life in a new way it was very revealing.  As much as I thought I had been a grateful person, I realized I had been taking a lot for granted.  Not just the big things, but all of the small, seeming insignificant things that make up my life.

I started focusing on very specific things to appreciate, like my morning cup of coffee.  I wondered, what did it take for me to enjoy that simple pleasure?  It had to be grown, picked, processed, distributed etc. by others who made it possible for me to sit at my kitchen table with little to no effort on my part.

Pouring a glass of clean water, sleeping in a comfortable bed, turning on the lights - the list goes on forever.  There is so much to appreciate and be grateful for.

What about when things go wrong?

The big shift occurred for me when I began to see problems as opportunities.  Something that would have upset me in the past, like an issue at work or something going wrong with my vehicle, became a challenge for me to find the best in the situation.

This was when I had to be more general and not so specific.  I was happy to have a job or a car, I felt fortunate to have the resources and ability to figure it out.  

Every thing became a game to try to find the best possible way of looking at an otherwise uncomfortable situation.

I applied this philosophy to everything I could think of.  If it was a good experience, I thought about how much I appreciated having it.  When it didn’t feel so good, I thought about how grateful I was for the lesson and what positive aspects of it I could find. 

In the beginning it was a little difficult to always find the silver lining but with practice it became easier and I’ve learned that even when I slip back into my old habits, I can quickly recover by simply remembering all that I have to be grateful for. 

What things are you most grateful for?  How does being grateful affect your life?  Share your stories and join the conversation.