“Only keep what brings you joy,” said a specialist in organization on the Today show recently. This caught my attention because I am in the process of going through the contents of my closet due to a leak coming from one of my upstairs neighbor’s condominiums. The leak forced me to empty my closet, which had not been done since I moved in almost 25 years ago, so the contractors could fix it.
The first thing I realized was that I have a lot of stuff, especially clothes. Emptying my closet made me face the fact that I have more clothes than any one woman needs. So, the question becomes what to keep? What I usually hear is keep what fits, and give or throw away the rest.
Like many people, my closet contains clothes that I once wore, but that are too small for me to wear now. Our hope is that we will get back into them one day. There are many problems with this logic.
First, that thinking focuses us on the past, not the present. I have found I am a much happier person when I live in the now. I have beautiful clothes I can wear and look good in now. I would much rather be focused on those than reminded I can’t wear the size 8 jeans in the back of my closet.I am a much happier person when I live in the now. Click To Tweet
Another problem with that thinking is that the clothes languish in the closet unused until we can get back into them, if we ever get back into them. The reality is that many of us never do. For me, it isn’t even a goal anymore. I felt more comfortable as a size 12/14, than I do at the size I am now.
So yes, I would like to shed some weight to feel more comfortable in my own body. However, as I said in last week’s post, I no longer define my beauty by the fashion world’s and/or media’s standards. I hope to lose down to where I am comfortable and the thought of that brings me joy.
That makes it easy to get rid of the clothes that I no longer aspire to wear. To be honest though, that didn’t motivate me to get rid of the clothes between my current size and my goal size. I needed more.
What motivates me to get rid of them is that they do not currently bring me joy. As directed by the organization specialist, I did not return my clothes to the closet in bulk. Instead, I am holding each individual item in my hands and asking myself, “Does this bring me joy?” If it doesn’t spark joy in me, it has to go. If it is in good condition, it gets donated. If it is in disrepair, it goes in the trash. Either way, if it doesn’t bring me joy, it goes.
However, as I held each article of clothing, I discovered clothes I forgot about because they were hidden amongst a sea of clothes that don’t bring me joy. (That is saying a lot since I have a fairly large walk-in closet that only contains my clothes and the clothes were hidden in all this space.)
I have plenty of beautiful clothes that I look good in and bring me joy. However, I haven’t been wearing them because I couldn’t see them. Other clothes that didn’t bring me joy blocked them from view. The answer is to get rid of the clothes blocking my view of those that bring me joy.
I can see into my closet as I write this. Though I am still going through clothes in search of those that bring me joy and returning them to my closet, I have to smile because there isn’t anything in there that doesn’t bring me joy. It is a good feeling. One I want to have in every room of my house.
“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”Eric Roth
So, the closet is just the first step. My plan is to empty each room of my home and only return what brings me joy. The rest has got to go. As I do this, I realize that God has given me an object lesson for my life.
It is not just my closet, or my home. As I wrote back in July, my life is a lot like my closet. Both have been given a new beginning—a clean slate. With both, I am starting over, but not from scratch. Both contain some things that bring me joy. I am going to keep those and get rid of the rest. My closet, and ultimately, the rest of my home are just steps in the process of rewriting my story, creating a new ending.
- What things are blocking what brings you joy?
- How would removing them improve your life?
- What steps are you taking to remove what is blocking your joy?