Cleaning Out The Closets Of Life

“Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
— Albert Einstein

Once upon a time, I was organized. I was neat. There was a place for every thing, and everything was in its place. My house was spotless. I controlled (or tried to) my world. I was a wee bit unhappy and had no idea why.

I am no longer organized, or neat and tidy. There is still a place for almost everything, but many things are not in their places. I have let go of control, and surrendered to the chaos of life. And I am happy. Go figure.

Sometimes, I miss my OCD days. Sometimes, I miss organization but not the stress of keeping things that way. I am enjoying spontaneity. Living deeper than a pristine surface is both scary and rewarding.

One of the items on my “to do” list was cleaning out closets and drawers. I made a small attempt at a few of them this past weekend. I purged with fierce determination. I let go of some of the clothes that I held hope of fitting back into one day. I decided that if I slimmed down enough to fit in them again, I certainly deserved to buy new ones! I ended up unloading six large garbage bags at the Goodwill. And that was only my clothes. I’m afraid to tackle my fabric stash. And I don’t even want to think about some of the other closets or the storage loft.

How have I managed to accumulate such a mass (mess!)? No, I am not a hoarder or even a pack rat though my kids might say otherwise. I’ve parted with many things over the years that I would have loved to have kept. It has become a matter of prioritizing, just as I have done in other areas of my life. As I pulled things from the back of my closet and stuffed them in bags, I realized I’d recently done the same thing in my life relationships. I’ve purged myself of manipulators, users, and toxic people. I only deal with them as is necessary. Just as I’ve outgrown some of my clothes, I’ve outgrown petty drama.

I’ve come to understand that not every thing in life is going to fit perfectly. If I feel stretched, I need to make a few adjustments on my end. Or I have to stop whining and accept the situation or move on.

If I can’t zip up my pants, I need to opt for the elastic waistband. My skin still fits me just fine.

56 thoughts on “Cleaning Out The Closets Of Life

  1. I was just writing about this topic this morning. We must have been virtually linked. I am like you, once had my socks in rows and tears rolling down my cheeks. Now there are messes everywhere and laughter flows freely. Isn’t that ironic? Is this how it goes? I wonder.

    I’m so very, very happy for you. Life feels rich at your home. I’m so glad you tell about it.

    • It seems like we’ve been on the same wavelength for the past month or so! I do wish I hadn’t been so regimented when my children were small. Some of the memories about myself that make me cringe, my children don’t recall…I am thankful.

  2. This is great and I can so relate. I use to be a little too neat but I decided to relax a little. But know I wonder just how much stuff is crammed into all of our closets, drawers and other places. I’m not sure if I have the energy to tackle it all.

  3. What a great philosophy. I know sometimes just worrying about what needs to be cleaned or organized can contribute to a huge amount of stress.

    I recently had a friendship end for some of the same reasons you mentioned. It was a hard decision, but it really was about accepting it just didn’t fit me anymore and was making me more unhappy than not.

  4. Loved this post, especially:

    “As I pulled things from the back of my closet and stuffed them in bags, I realized I’d recently done the same thing in my life relationships. I’ve purged myself of manipulators, users, and toxic people. I only deal with them as is necessary. Just as I’ve outgrown some of my clothes, I’ve outgrown petty drama.”

    When we clear clutter in one area of our life, it often spurs us to action in other areas as well.

    You go, girl!

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  6. A great post which has given me food for thought. Most things in my house have a place and many of them do occasionally even grace them, but my personal relationships are a mess. Perhaps this is where my sorting out should start.

  7. I too cleared out my closet right after the New Year. When we moved into our house, I took a room and had a contractor and my husband remake it for me as a closet. That was about ten years ago. The closets in our Victorian house are small. The room was a much better choice. Over the last 10 years, I’ve gone from a size 4 to a size 10. I finally took a good look at my bulging at the seams closet and figured enough is enough. There is no way my fanny is going to fit into a size 2 pant again. I needed to borrow a neighbor’s truck to take the stuff to Goodwill.

    I also have cut people who tire me out of my life. It was not a pretty break, but a necessary one.

  8. I’m still a type A organizer. I have a husband that lives the same way. I just feel better when things are in proper order. I do though also realize that this marriage with order can also stifle creativity. I could definitely be a little more go with the flow. Thanks for the reminder Suzicate.

  9. My husband is more of a neat freak than I. I have a habit of wanting anything I might want to use right near me. We’ve managed, over the years, to work out a compromise – I keep most of the house neat (but not necessarily dust-free) but my desk is mine. Eventually it gets to the point where I file things where they belong and start all over again. As to closets? When we painted a year ago many many bags went to Goodwill. I think I need to do another purge, but I must be in a ruthless mood to do it effectively. In the olden days, I cleaned closets every six months, and anything I hadn’t worn during that period went into a bag for CHOC (Children’s Hospital of Orange County, CA) – they’d pick up if you called them.

    • Funny, we went from me being the neatnik and driving the husband crazy to now he probably wishes I was that way at times…I’m sure he just wished I was a little more organized.

  10. “I’ve come to understand that not every thing in life is going to fit perfectly. If I feel stretched, I need to make a few adjustments on my end.”

    Flawless, Suzi!

    ” Just as I’ve outgrown some of my clothes, I’ve outgrown petty drama.”

    Thank you!

    I too (with age) am starting to let go of my OCD tendencies (which I have many). There are just some things not worth getting OCD about.

    Wonderful post, my friend! Thank you for sharing it because it’s something we all need to be reminded of.


  11. We just “cleaned” out the lower level now the all the kids are officially gone. Oh my word, sixteen bags/boxes to Goodwill, 6 x-large Rubbermaid bins for memorabilia and 3 lawn and leaf bags of trash later, the closets and cabinets are finally free! Most of it was “stuff” they left when they left. Entrepreneur thinks I’m a pack rat. Maybe so, but I’ve come a looonnggg way in 30 years.

  12. It seems like many of us had aspirations to clear clutter this January. I started with the bookcase. I felt ruthless. Four big boxes of books no less.! Books, my wonderful books. OH , how could I?

    Yes I have boxes of books that I want to read on the shelves now. But is that solace enough?
    I think clothes are easier.

    I haven’t moved in forty some odd years and my house is small. I’ve never given so many books away at once. I’ve kept them in the loft or basement. This was strange. But needed. It came straight out of ‘The Happiness Project’.

  13. I’m organized in some parts of my life and messy in others. The main living areas of my home are quite neat. That’s mostly because I’ve tired of “stuff” and eliminated most of it from my life. My home office, on the other hand, can get cluttered pretty quickly with bills to be paid, mail to be opened, writing projects in progress, corporate taxes, etc. Every couple of weeks I go through the stacks and declutter, but within a day it’s building up again. I’ve made peace with that. I’m a victim of the volume.

    When I’m cooped up indoors or when I need to work stuff out in my mind, I tend to organize my closets. Towels are neatly rolled, soaps are carefully arranged, and all is well with the world.

    I regularly go through my things and donate items I don’t use anymore to charity. It makes me feel lighter and it brings me happiness to think of someone enjoying things that are no longer “me.”

    • The desk is usually my messiest area. I usually go through and donate about three times a year…but some of those clothes, I’d truly held on hope of wearing again.

  14. Good for you! I’m (unsuccessfully) working on de-cluttering myself. It’s painful for me to do it, but it feels better than a workout when it’s done. I love to see table tops with hardly anything on them, too…

  15. Very Nice SuziCate, Isn’t it so easy to get bogged down with the clutter of life so to say, our closets fill with things we will never use again and we try so hard to hold onto or restore relationships with people who can never be reached, it’s good to clean out and remove the clutter that is bringing us down.

    You have to love and respect yourself to be happy, Thanks for the reminder.

  16. I was never the best at being neat and organized. Then I had kids and fffft, forget about it. I do try to keep on top of the clutter — which only barely results in the clutter not being totally on top of me. But generally I prefer a cluttered life. And yoga pants.

  17. I took the move as an excuse to get organized (put all like things together vs all over the house) that lasted about a week. I’m a clutterbug and I accept that. You should too!

  18. LOVED this. You say it so well. And I’m glad you have gotten rid of people that hurt you. No one deserves that. Thank you for this post, Suzicate. (Also, guess what I found? I found the card I supposedly sent you weeks ago…it was stamped and unmailed. WTHeck? LoL Anyway, I rewrote you a card, and it should be there tomorrow or the next day.)


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