I was given a very vivid lesson on the topic of releasing last week that I feel compelled to share today. This lesson began when I hired Dawn Waldrop www.best-impressions.com, a professional image consultant to come to my home and evaluate the contents of my clothes closet. This process promised to eventually result in a specific plan for shopping to improve and update my professional speaking attire.
Before the visit I was apprehensive about letting another person peer into the dark recesses of my closet. I realized that my closet would be subjected to judgment and that many items would probably be rejected and released. Was I ready to let go of stuff she said must go? If I hadn’t been able to do it myself, could a professional really help release my grip on stuff that didn’t flatter me? Could I trust this woman to guide me?
As promised, the process in the closet took about 2 hours. In that short time, over half of the contents were removed, taken off hangers and placed in a pile for charity donation. At first the sheer quantity of this pile was quite painful. What if I need that some day? Does that really make me look frumpy? Dawn confirmed what my daughter had been telling me for years – many of my outfits looked “boxy” and I could use some more fitted styles to flatter my figure.
Yet somehow along the way I also began to see the beauty of what I was choosing to keep. The clothes that remained were the ones I loved, in my favorite colors and fabrics, and which make me look my very best. What took me so long to see this?
The process of purging with a professional resulted in release of 25 belts, 4 pairs of shoes, 10 dresses, 10 formal/bridesmaids dresses (why was I keeping these?), 10 skirts, 26 sweaters, 14 suits, 4 jackets and 15 blouses. Some of these items dated back to when I was in school. How could I have ignorantly let them take up all this space and energy in my closet? Just because I had room for them didn’t make it right.
The image consultant left me with a shopping list and a closet full of empty hangers – which was the best part. Now that I had made room in my closet, it was time to fill the gaps with the perfect new items. I was delighted to find some gorgeous bargains this weekend in rich fabrics and colors that fit me perfectly. I am enjoying the luxury of knowing less is really more as I deliberately choose my new wardrobe.
The metaphors of closet cleaning apply well to life changes too. Here are a few lessons I learned in the closet that may help you too.
Deep inside, you know the truth, but sometimes you have to pay somebody else to help you act on the truth.
When you let go of something that doesn’t work, you truly open the door to attracting something much better.
Bargains that don’t fit are not bargains
It is easier to find important things when the clutter has been removed
An open space has more room for the light
Donating to charity feels good
Old bridesmaid dresses will never come back in style
And to quote the words of Joan Crawford “NO WIRE HANGERS!”