Clean closet, clear future

Cleaning out a closet isn't just about the physical stuff. It's also about clearing out space for old feelings to make room for new ones. Here are some ideas on how to make that process happen for you.

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  • Written by Joanne Williams for Hope After Divorce

  • Summer is now fully upon us. If you are behind on your cleaning, do not fret. This is the perfect time to clear the cobwebs in your closet.

  • For those of us who have been through a divorce, closet cleaning can take on an added dimension of reliving the past and digging up old memories. It may seem easier to forgo the risk of delving into the emotions that may flood through you. I encourage and challenge you to resist the procrastination temptation. Instead, be brave and embark on the adventure of ushering out the old and preparing for the new.

  • Please stay with me as I offer some ideas on how you can be successful and efficient in cleaning out and revamping your closet.

  • Mental Preparation

    1. Take three days before you begin to deeply ponder two questions. First, who are you? Secondly, why do you matter?

    2. Write down the thoughts (negative and positive) that might come to your mind.

    3. Start with the positive thoughts and feelings. Focus on your top character traits and strengths. You might be wondering what this has to do with cleaning out your closet. It has everything to do with it, and we will talk about this a little bit later.

    4. Write down three goals that you would like to achieve in the next five years.

    5. Take a deep breath and fill your mind with future hopes, dreams and desires. Close your eyes and imagine yourself achieving your goals. Make a mental note of how you look in your mind as you accomplish your goals.

  • Working in the Closet

    1. Begin by sorting your shirts, tops, bottoms, dresses, suiting etc. into separate piles. Lay hands on every garment. Do not skip over things.

    2. Make a separate area for sweats, workout wear, grubbies, etc. Do you really need that many grubbies?

    3. Go through each pile and set aside ALL items that do not fit you NOW. This is very important.

    4. Divide the pile of things that don't fit into things you REALLY LOVE and things you do not like. Place items that don't fit and that you don't like into a donation bag. Place the things that don't fit but that you REALLY LOVE into a storage box.

  • Ask yourself: Would I invite people that I do not like to come to my house for dinner? Think of the terrible feeling you get when you have to be around people you don't like. Look at the things in your closet that you don't really like. I propose a thought: When you walk into a closet filled with things you don't like, it is similar to surrounding yourself with people you don't like. What a terrible feeling.

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    1. Go through each of the things that do fit and ask yourself the following questions: Do I really LOVE this item? If not, WHY am I keeping it? WHY did I buy it? Take notes.

    2. Next set aside the things you really don't like that do fit you. (you don't have to get rid of them — yet) repeat step number 5. Place them in a "keep for now" box.

    3. Hang the clothes that fit and that you REALLY LOVE in your closet. If you have double barred closets, put the tops on the top and the bottoms on the bottom.

    4. Arrange by category. Such as, short sleeves, long sleeves, sweaters, etc. and then colorize each category going from light to dark.

  • These steps are important because it is next to impossible to chart out a game plan when your closet is filled with lies, deceptive appearances and "people that you don't like." This "closet deception" blocks the mind from seeing and thinking clearly.

  • By following this process you will have an honest picture of your wardrobe reality. This true picture of what is happening in your wardrobe will offer clarity from which to troubleshoot and devise an efficient and effective wardrobe budget and acquisition plan.

  • Now, look at the items in your closet that fit and that you really love.

    • Do these things represent you well?

    • Do they speak to who you are and why you matter?

    • Will they help you feel confident enough to reach and achieve your goals in the next five years? If not, what items do you think will help you feel confident and ready to achieve your future goals?

    • What items do you need to help you project a true picture of who you are?

  • Authenticity is key to fostering honest and enriching relationships. It is key to your ability to clearly communicate and be understood.

  • The seasons are changing. What a perfect time to take stock, review and rework your wardrobe so that you can move forward in the changing seasons of your life with confidence and clarity.

  • Joanne Pittman is a contributing expert for HopeAfterDivorce.org,

  • FamilyShare.com, CupidsPulse.com, and LAFamily.com. She is president of Pittman Image and creator of IMAGE authenticity Trainings and Workshops. Joanne has two sons in college and currently enjoys tennis, beach volleyball, and the study of neuropsychology.

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