Monday, July 20, 2015

Cleaning Out My Closet; Clearing Space in My Mind

Fifteen years ago last month, we moved into our current house.  We added some shelves to the closet in the guest room and loaded them up with our treasures.  For the last fifteen years, we've added to that closet but haven't removed anything.  And while some things are meant to be saved, other stuff was just taking up space, so for the last week, I've been working on clearing out the clutter.  One trip to Goodwill, several bags of trash, and two piles of stuff for our kids to take (one will get their treasures next month, and we'll deliver the other pile to North Carolina later this year) later, and I can finally breathe.  It's something that needed to be done but while I was in the midst of a very tiny spot on the floor, surrounded by ALL THE STUFF, I wondered if I'd ever see my way clear to the finish.

I remember feeling this same way when I was just a few months into losing weight.  I was making progress, sure, but it was all dependent on me and how much effort I put into it.  It felt like I was always thinking about what I should be eating, or what I ate, and if what I was doing was the best way to get to my goal.  I had to make sure I kept the house stocked with the healthy foods I was eating so that I could stay on my path.  It felt like I was constantly going to the grocery store for fresh fruit and veggies - it took a concerted effort to eat right.

I woke up thinking about what I was going to eat that day.  I thought about how I would get some exercise in - back then, I was riding my bike in the evenings, so that thought stayed with me all day long until I finally did it.  I was discovering that, after a few months of weight loss, my clothes were not only getting loose, they actually didn't fit - and I had a growing pile of too-big clothing in my closet that I kept adding to every week.  Of course, seeing my clothing options diminish meant I needed to get a few new things to wear, but how long would these smaller sizes fit me before they'd (hopefully) be added to that pile? 

It surrounded my thoughts, this whole weight-loss business.  It touched so many more areas in my daily life than I initially thought necessary.  Much like that spare closet, it was something that I was in charge of - yes, I could get some help, but the real work was all on me.  I'm grateful that making my way through that closet of treasures didn't take me 18 months, like losing weight did, but it did take some intestinal fortitude to make myself walk down that hallway at some point each day and tackle another box.  And now I'm done.  Except for the photographs.  They might just take me 18 months to get through.  But I did get them loosely organized into boxes all on one shelf, so I'm calling it done for now...and I don't have to think about it any more.

Just like all the effort it took me to lose weight, the effort of cleaning out that closet had some unexpected rewards:
Straight outta the early 70s, it's my Minnie Mouse watch!

Of course, even this needed some work:
I scrubbed the band as best I could, glued it back together, and boom - Minnie and I were reunited!

I'm glad I finally made the effort to clean out that closet.  I feel lighter.  I don't have so much stuff weighing me down, and in the process, I found some buried treasures that I'd forgotten I had, and it's good to bring them out into the light of day.

12 comments:

  1. Great watch! It is adorable. Congratulations on finding it!

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  2. What a great analogy between the closet and the weight loss journey!

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  3. I love that watch!

    I think it symbolizes the little gems we discover in ourselves when truly making changes.

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  4. Oh you brought back memories of when I first started losing weight. I remember standing in the kitchen, chopping fruit or veggies, and my back hurting, and thinking how it was such a pain-in-the-butt (ha! literally,) to prepare all this food to eat.

    And also a good description of cleaning out the closets, and how good it feels when its done. Having gone through every area of my house just a year or so ago, I'm pretty good right now. But there's a couple of closets piling up, and I was already telling myself I would feel better if I spent a day working on them.

    Great post! and I love Minnie :)

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    1. I had to force myself to do food prep, knowing that I would be thankful I did it later on. And it really didn't take THAT much time; I think it was doing something foreign to me that was so challenging.

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  5. I'm right at the spot where you were then - Starting to pull out clothes that no longer fit and reluctant to buy too many smaller things because I don't know how long they'll last.
    It DOES feel good to purge and organize, though, doesn't it?

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  6. It can be overwhelming to tackle a closet - when you pull everything out it seems to explode and expand and take on a life of its own. But perseverance brings reward. Which totally fits your analogy.

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    1. I wondered, when everything was out of the closet, how in the world it had fit it!

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  7. Yep, that's exactly what I did this weekend and it felt like a little bit of weight was taken off my shoulders - I didn't need to hang on to so much paper work and after I filled a giant black bag with garbage couldn't believe that stuff was lying all around me just cluttering up everything.

    My favorite part of this post? "but the real work was all on me." Yep!

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  8. It is pretty overwhelming to tackle a job like that....but you did it. OMG...LOVE LOVE the watch!!!!!

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  9. thats the only huge benefit of moving so much lately.
    I found so many new (ok forgotten) treasures as well.
    NOW to get better at the tossing out/giving away.

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  10. I used to have a Cinderella watch exact same band, but pink :)

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