Tools + Practices

Clearing Space: Create A Closet That Lights You Up

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Last Sunday I spent the day guiding Dan and I through a Clearing Space Session focused on our closets. I have been so immersed in supporting clients on their Clearing Space journey that I had neglected one of the most important areas of our home and was thrilled when I woke up to the perfect rainy Brooklyn day and a spark of energy to take on the project.

Just as we pay close attention to the food we eat and products we use, the clothing that we invite into our space and put on our bodies needs to come from a place of thought and awareness. That is what creating a conscious closet is all about, taking a mindful approach to choosing pieces that light you up. 

Maintaining a closet that is a curated selection of only items you feel comfortable in and that support your life and dreams makes all the difference when getting dressed each morning.

Living a conscious lifestyle has many facets and means something different for everyone, I don’t believe in a one size fits all approach. Whenever making a new purchase, I look to local, sustainable and ethical companies first to use my money in a way that feels good but I also recognize that a lot of these companies are out of reach for many people. This is why I want to emphasize that curating a conscious closet is not about going out and spending money on a whole new sustainable wardrobe (please don’t do that!) but about being really thoughtful with the pieces you own and any future purchases you make.

I typically re-organize my closet twice a year, before spring/summer and fall/winter. Over the years I have cut my shopping way down from what it once was (especially since working in fashion) but it is so interesting to see the pieces that have stayed in my closet over the years.

On a personal note

As I have been moving through my own Cultivating Inner Awareness journey, I had a huge realization a few weeks back. As I was walking around Manhattan after an appointment, I saw what I imagine to be a classic NYC woman —  perfect blow out, fitted black dress, stiletto heels, and a Celine bag. I had this flashback to watching The Devil Wears Prada in high school, over 10 years ago, envisioning myself as her when I moved to New York and what my life would be.

A wave of emotion and realization washed over me when I recognized that not only would I never be this woman, I no longer was striving to be. I connected back to the woman I am now, someone who is way happier in nature, wearing sneakers or flats and loves feeling comfortable in her clothes.

I reflected on all the many Zara and H&M purchases I made over the years, trying to become this woman, and how far I have come since this point. There is so much freedom to be found in the process of Cultivating Inner Awareness.

It is important for me to share this story because the emotional aspect of who you are and how you want to feel in your clothes is a big part of the Clearing Space journey. The question is — who do you really want to be when you wear your clothes? Not, who do you think you need to be. We all go through phases with our style but when you start to get really clear in who you are, what your dreams are and where you are going, you are able to fill your wardrobe with items that support that vision.

Your style is a way to connect, to dream and to express yourself.

We are all striving to understand ourselves. I believe personal style is a powerful aspect of this. With the right intention and understanding, your clothes can support you in stepping into your dreams and the vision for your life.

Clearing Space

I offer my Clearing Space Sessions virtually and in-person (in Brooklyn and Manhattan) but for those not ready to invest in the one-on-one support, I wanted to share my thought process for how I approach and maintain a consciously curated and organized closet.

{ Quick note: we are focusing just on your closet today, don’t get distracted by any other area of your home. You want to begin and finish your closet organization on the same day. } Ok, let’s get started!

Step One: Get Honest With Yourself 

The first step is to get honest with yourself as to how you feel about your wardrobe and why you have these items in the first place. Are your clothes a true expression of who you are? If no, why not? Bringing awareness to where you are beginning on your journey and where you want to go will help to bring perspective and a deeper understanding of yourself.

For example, I have one client who always showed up to our sessions in baggy clothes and button-down shirts. Energetically, you could feel this wasn’t what she was most comfortable in but her closet was so full of these pieces, she would just grab them out of habit. I led her through a Clearing Space Session and as we chatted about her childhood and upbringing, she shared how people would always comment on her body, specifically how big her boobs are and tell her that she should “put them away” or “her look was sending the wrong message”.

Over the years, she grew uncomfortable with her body and subconsciously believed she needed to hide to be respected and taken seriously. We got clear on what her day-to-day currently looks like (she has a uniform at work so no shifts were needed there) but that her dream is to be an actress. She put a Pinterest board together of looks she was gravitating towards and it became clear that her style was actually leaning towards more sexy pieces with plenty of athleisure mixed in.

We went through every piece in her closet, finding the hidden gems that were in alignment with her style, released the pieces no longer serving her and put together a few outfits she could start wearing now. Her energy completely shifted as soon as she was wearing clothes that she felt confident and beautiful in. I put together a list of a few key pieces to fill in the gaps in her closet whenever she is ready to make a purchase in the future and she has since maintained her consciously curated closet. 

A few questions to ask yourself before you begin:

  • How do I feel about my closet currently? 
  • What items do I wear and feel amazing in? What items am I wearing that don’t feel like me? 
  • What three words define what I want my closet to look and feel like? 

Step Two: Take It All Out

Take everything out where you can see it.

I have my closet in a separate room from my bed but you can use your bed or a clean floor. You just need to see what you are working with to be able to go through it all!

Step Three: Time To Sort

You will have four “piles” to sort clothes in:

YES: These are all the pieces that light you up. This includes your absolute favorite go-to pieces, the functional items in your closet such as socks/underwear/bras (these won’t necessarily light you up but still go through them and make sure everything is in great condition!) and lastly, sentimental pieces that you are connected to because they hold an important memory for you. I *try* to limit sentimental pieces to 2-3 but everyone is different so be honest with yourself on what you really need to hold on to and what needs to be released.

READY FOR A NEW HOME: These are items to gift, sell, or donate.

TOO WORN: Items with rips, stains, etc.

ACTION: A yes item that needs some love (i.e. to be tailored or dry cleaned).

Step Four: Find Your Flow + Keep It Moving

I know this can be hard in a small living space but if possible, move through all items before putting anything away. This way you can clearly see what you have. For items you are no longer keeping, I love the KonMari Method of thanking the item for how it supported you before releasing it.

Step Five: Get Clear On The Designated Home

This will depend on the amount of space you are working with. I chose to have my pants, dresses, jumpsuits/overalls, blouses and cardigans hanging in my closet while all workout clothes, t-shirts, shorts, sweaters, and pajamas were folded neatly in the drawers.

Step Five: Put It All Away

Once you have sorted everything, it is time to put the items away into their new home. Check out this article for an easy-to-follow tutorial on folding.

I organize all items by type and keep similar colors together, this way whenever I am putting together an outfit I can clearly see my options.

A few notes:

As you are moving through the process make sure to have a full-length mirror nearby if you need to try items on.

This process can be physically and emotionally exhausting, especially when it comes to choosing the pieces that you want to keep or are struggling to let go of. If there is a piece you are really stuck on, place it to the side to come back to at the end (just don’t do that with too many items).

Choosing items that light you up can fall into a few categories, one is 100% easy yes, another is a sentimental item and the third is functional items.  Even when it comes to the basics of socks, t-shirts or underwear, keeping items in great condition, that feel good on your skin and fit comfortably is a total game-changer when getting dressed.

Once you release the items no longer serving you, there will be pieces in your closet that have a lot of potential and just need a new perspective. Use Pinterest to find outfit inspiration and new ways to wear the items you already own.

Questions

What about weight loss/gain?

Our bodies are constantly changing, throughout this process showing yourself love and acceptance will support you in working with your body vs. against it. 

I have personally experienced a lot of weight fluctuations over the past 8 years due to illness and a few practical tips that have supported me along the way are:

  1. Selling or donating clothes that both do not fit me and are not my style
  2. Having items that fit me when I gain weight and when I lose weight
  3. The items that do not fit me but I am obsessed with have a little section in my closet. I know this might not be the most popular opinion but if you are not ready to let go of something because you truly love it, then find a sweet little home for it.

When it comes to buying new clothes:

There is an energy behind the clothes you wear and with the infinite amount of options available, choosing pieces that can be worn and loved right now vs. a future imaginary version of you will also make the process of connecting to your personal style a fun, creative experience.

Another great tip — renting clothes:

If your weight is fluctuating and you do not want to commit to a new purchase, a company like Rent the Runway or Vince Unfold is an ideal option. 

How do you know when it is time to let an item go?

There are a few obvious answers here like the item no longer fits you, is not your style, has stains or is uncomfortable. It is typically pretty clear when to let go of these items.

When it comes to not-so-obvious items that you are unsure of or are having trouble letting go of, this is when you have to ask yourself some tough questions and be really really honest with yourself.

Do you really love the piece or do you love the idea of it?

When was the last time you wore it?

Are you waiting for ____ [ insert life event here ] to happen to wear it?

Does it truly fit into your life now or where you are trying to go?

Do you love it or are you keeping it because someone else loves it on you? (i.e. your partner/mom/friend/etc.)

For example - A few years ago I went through a period of being extremely uncomfortable in my body and wanted nothing more than to cover it up. I decided that the best way to do this would be to purchase a ton of oversized vintage dresses. I wore them for a while (and am grateful for the role they played in my life at the time) but after some time realized I just didn’t want to hide anymore. I had continued to hold on to them but this last Clearing Space Session I knew it was time to let them go. They served their purpose and were ready for a new home.

Action Steps Moving Forward

Once you complete your Clearing Space Session it is time to celebrate! Take a moment to soak in your hard work, and then I highly recommend making a list of future pieces you would like to add in to your wardrobe. This way next time you are ready to make a purchase, it is done with thought and intention. Definitely use Pinterest for inspo! A few items I added to my list are: a jacket for spring, thin gold hoop earrings, St. Agni flats and the perfect pair of high-waisted Levi's.

top image via The General Store

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