- Open your closet and your drawers and dump all of your clothes, coats and accessories onto your bed. Shoes come out into the open nearby.
- Pick up each item. Only keep it if you love it. And I mean love it, like it brings you lots of joy. Put anything you don’t love into a discard pile.
- Bag the discard pile and just for fun, weigh it!
Today I lost 21 pounds and I feel pretty amazing. As part of my year of Extraordinary 40, I have said goodbye to anything in my closet that I feel is holding me back. If it’s dingy, damaged beyond care to repair, cheaply made, uncomfortable, or sentimental but not useful, it was thanked for its service and let go.
Last summer I read the #1 New York Times Best Seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, and decided then and there, even though I was already a minimalist, that I would take some of her magical advice and change my life. I also decided I’d wait until my special year of turning 40 so that I could add the spice of changing decades to changing my wardrobe.
The time has finally arrived and I’m truly elated!
First off let me tell you that everything I have left is A-Game stuff. My best most powerful dresses, the most comfortable pair of boyfriend jeans ever, a few versatile tops and only shoes that are the shoes and not placeholder shoes. (Come on, you know you have them; that ugly pair of black pumps you keep around until you find the real most perfect pair.)
Now I kind of have to wear these great outfits because I have nothing left! No comfy sweats that make me feel lazy and under-dressed, no skinny jeans that look great but torture me, no worn out old undies that say, “I may look put together, but underneath my awesome skinny jeans is a pair of underwear that is so old I should probably insert a drawstring to replace the non existent elastic.”
I don’t agree with all of Ms. Kondo’s methods (mostly because I’m a little lazy), but I have to say, using “joy” as a compass for choosing what to keep really gave me permission to let go of sentimental things. Sure, I loved the item because I’ve had it for a while, or someone I really love gave it to me, or it reminded me of some lovely memory, but sometimes all of these feelings can weigh me down. Picking up each item and seeing if it “sparks joy” as Kondo suggests made it pretty obvious that some lovely things just had to go.
My challenge for myself is to see how long I can go without buying anything new. (Except for underwear. Really, friends, I only have five pairs now.) I want to see if I feel different now that I have to whip out my power dresses because, gee, what else do I have to wear? This is definitely not an exercise in deprivation. I already have plans to buy the most beautiful and perfect pair of summer sandals, but I don’t want a placeholder. I’ll wait and do some research and know exactly what I want and then pounce! This has everything to do with how I want to feel in my 40’s. I want to feel AMAZING, FREE, DELIBERATE and JOYFUL! That means no more placeholders or castoffs.
I want you, too, to feel AMAZING, FREE, DELIBERATE and JOYFUL!
Your Extraordinary 40 March Challenge should you choose to accept it is to see how much weight you can lose in one afternoon using the three closet-purging steps above. Can you beat my number (21)?
Be sure to Tweet your weight loss success stories to @jameyhood and @projectwomen and use #ex40!
Next month…what is this nearly 40-year-old body capable of? We’ll find out in April!
Recycled clothing art installation by Guerra de la Paz