Flip This Closet

It’s been a few weeks since last I posted. My energy has been stalled. Confused by the warm weather, I couldn’t quite rumble. I truly am a Seasonal Girl. On Wednesday, it was 75 degrees. And it was early April. I was still in jeans, sweaters and suede.

Last weekend, lulled into the sense that winter was really over and I’d best get with it, I “flipped my closet,” a  ritual since childhood. For me, there is something about cleaning and organizing my closet that brings me out of the hibernating cycle of dark winter days, or guides me back from lazy summer weeks into the longer eves of Fall.

I confess, I am also still guided by “no white before Memorial Day and no linen after Labor Day.” Rumor has it that as the climate changes, so goes the rule. For me, it remains steadfast.  It is my touchstone to an era gone by. An era I miss (a blog for another Monday).

Limited by space in this new old house of ours, I now have to thoughtfully assess each item. In or out? If I have to justify something about the article, “out” it goes, into the Goodwill bag.

It seems as if other women in my area see Goodwill as the repository for “out” as well and Goodwill “gets it”. Just up the street, in a fashionable and expensive neighborhood of upscale restaurants and boutiques, Goodwill opened DeJaBlue’. One peek through the colorfully arranged windows revealed summer skirts I swear I had seen before in the flanking shops of this new concept store.

It’s like trading clothes with your girlfriends.

Such was also the concept of the Goodwill Exchange that my daughter and I attended at the Exhibit Center last month. For a fee of $25, attendees were invited to bring 10 items to swap post a fashion show of Goodwill items re-purposed into new and exciting outfits. They had lavish buffet tables, cocktails, pounding music and a runway, graced by the designers of Goodwill fashion pieces and judged by Mondo Guerra, a Project Runway runner up and local celeb. Great concept, until after the show when all 1,500 attendees were let loose to “pick 10 new pieces for the 10 they brought” from 100’s of racks scattered around the rooms. It was a stampede and all of a sudden old clothes took on a new sheen. It was as if everyone feared being naked the next day if they didn’t grab something in the frenzy. It was mayhem.

Lucky for me, I found one new denim shirt, which truth be told, I haven’t even worn yet. If it doesn’t make it off the hanger by the end of summer, I will have to live by my own rule and pass it back to make room for Fall’s new finds. Sure hope it fits.

How do you MindFULLY mark the changing of the seasons? Let us know!

Ooops, I Did It Again

A few weeks ago, I once again got caught up in my “downsizing/cleaning out” mode and ripped through my closet. 14 trash bags later, I rushed to GoodWill before I could change my mind.

Darn! In the bags were 3 things I wish I had kept. Red suede loafers that I bought to celebrate my Masters Degree in ‘95, high heeled loafer work shoes that were made for “working women” and a gold lame’ sweater set that gave me a silly sense of elegance. It also made me look like the “Mother of the Bride.” It had to go. The loafers had been re-soled four times and the insides were peeling onto my feet and socks. The high heeled loafers were hard to stand in for more than 10 minutes. Still, I miss them.

I sense a freedom in letting go and also a bit of sadness.

Such has been this sense, after last weekend when my daughter and I spent a rainy and cold Yum Kippur afternoon in the basement, working on journals and talking of atonement and insight. Rather than attend holiday services in the same old way, we lit a candle, turned on the lava lamp and created a new Pandora station. As we cut and pasted into our New Year Intention books, I couldn’t help but think about all of the different ways we had celebrated holidays in years past.

I had the same mixed bag of feelings when I looked inside my closet.  Stuffed with clothes that no longer fit, I took them out and gratefully passed them on to a place that would ensure someone would enjoy them. I realized that an old way I used to celebrate the Jewish High Holidays no longer fit, and gratefully let it go with blessings for the community I used to be part of. I felt that sense of freedom and sadness.

Change is hard. We hold onto things and people, thinking we should; we will wear it again or we will “see them soon.” And for some, that is true. I’m not advocating giving it all away. Heavens no! I have a few wonderful items that I carefully keep tucked on a shelf and many friends/family who live here and around the country that I truly hope to “see soon,” in spite of the time that separates such good intentions.

No, no, no…I am talking of the long brown satin dress that I wore to the fundraising Ball two years ago. The one that a friend held up and quizzically snickered, “How long ago were you a bridesmaid?” Or the group I used to work hard to be part of and now realize that I had given my best intention/love/loyalty/creativity to and  for a variety of reasons, some theirs, some mine, I am no longer part of. For me,  the thing about clearing out is that I make room to add in – the friend I made by being on a new Board, the memory I created by giving an old tradition a new spin, the new clothes I bought that are appropriate for my age, but still make me  look fun.

As my friend Vesna says, there is great peace in Gumzalatova – a Yiddish saying that means “Its all for the best.”

It’s hard to know that when your heart hurts or you long for those old comfortable shoes.

But there is some ease for me in knowing that what I have is what I should have, Today.

A funny, hip and straight shooting friend of mine, who used to be in retail, says the new color combo for the season is gray with brown, taupe or black and that if you add a scarf for zip, you will no longer look like the “Mother of the Bride.” So, I  splurged and bought myself a great scarf at Nordstrom’s last week. It was my metaphor for wrapping myself in something that fits and that I delight in. I wear it, draped around my neck in a new knot, as I look across the table and see my husband and daughter —  and in that moment I know that all of the choices I have made in my life, to let go or to hold on, are right. And that knowing is worth keeping.

Now if I can only clean out the “what if” voice in my head. Where is that trash bag?

What can you MindFULLY clean out of your real and proverbial closet? Let us know!