This week I did my fall closet clean out. But it was not just any clean out. I consolidated two closets into one and boy, do I feel accomplished! After leaving behind a professional career over a year ago, I tired of opening my closet doors to pull out the few items I actually wear these days, while my suits and career wear stared out at me from their hangers: jackets and dresses, skirts and shirts, which I have not put on in over a year. Yes, a year.
Now that I have settled into a part-time grunt work life and am spending more time doing things I love, I no longer need the beloved silk suits and wool dresses of my past life. As much as I adored those things, they no longer serve a purpose for me. They were going to waste. And so I decided to do something about it.
I spent several hours one day just pulling everything out of my closets. I looked over each item, decided if I could make use of it now, and set the rest aside. Those lovely dresses and blazers still have so much life and some woman out there can really benefit from them in a way that I no longer do. There were items that do fit my current lifestyle, I just needed to think about them in a different light and put them with the other casual pieces that have become my mid-life uniform. Most days I am in a t-shirt and capris or jeans and a hoodie. I wear walking shoes most often as opposed to heals and I have not worn a two piece suit since the day I walked out on my old office. But I can dress up a pair of my favorite jeans with my navy wool blazer and one of my much loved silk scarfs for dinner out with my hubby. And I still may want to pop on a dress now and again for church on Sunday or Christmas Eve dinner. But I certainly do not need the wardrobe I had spent years acquiring to work in a professional business environment that is no longer part of my life. So, out it went.
Over two days I de-cluttered. I set aside all those things that do not lend themselves to this casual rural life and then I gently set them aside into three large piles. Much of it will go to my sister-in-law who is still engaged in a professional career and the rest will then be delivered to a local charity. From there, I began to reorganize the pieces that will work with my new life and I assembled them into a workable order in one closet. A half dozen silk and cotton shirts that will pair well with jeans; three easy-to-wear, skirts for days on the town; five favorite dresses that can be jazzed up or toned down. I have two pair of pants and two pair of jeans, five pair of casual capris and about a dozen t-shirts, both long and short sleeves left in my stash. A dozen sweaters remain as well as my scarf collection. Shoes and handbags were the hardest things to consider parting with because I have always had a special love for them, so I decided to just leave them be for now. I will see how I might incorporate them into a casual life as I really begin to live differently moving forward. I will make a conscientious effort to incorporate all of them into my new life wardrobe and we will see how I feel about them come spring time clean out. Sometimes it takes baby steps.
I know, I can hear the hoarders now…”What happens if you go back to an office environment” or, “What if you decide you really want to wear that vertical check dress you loved so much again”? What if I do? If I ever decide to return to a somewhat professional work environment it will be easy enough to dress up what I have for an appropriate look. And I can still add to my wardrobe any time just as I did for the last thirty years of my adult life. I refuse to hold on to the old just because I invested in it and loved it in years gone by. I am in a new year now and I am a new me. And now I have an entire empty closet in which to try something brand new. I am thinking perhaps a new vanity station. Hmmmm…