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Cleaning Out Your Closet

Helping people clean out their closet is something I love to do. It helps me understand them by seeing what they have collected and what they hold on to. I find it satisfying to make order out of chaos. I sit on the bed as garments are brought out and displayed before me. The first few outfits I comment upon, declaring either, "Looks great, keep it." "Needs repair, is it worth it?" or "Get rid of it". After that, I find myself saying little else.

Once into the swing of thing, the closet owner begins decisively weeding out the garments single-handedly. "I never liked this!" she cries. "Why have I been hanging onto this?" she exclaims, tossing it aside. I lean against the headboard and watch the discard pole grow. Earlier in the day, this vanquisher of closet clutter was, no doubt, fearful about our appointment. Would I be abrasive? Would she be embarrassed? Would she have to give away things she loved? What would she have left to wear?

Fear might keep her from getting started, but with a little encouragement, she throws herself into the task with gleeful abandon. One client commented: "When we were going through my closet, I had two reactions - shock and relief. I realized you have to tear down an old building before you can put a new building in its place. It is called, 'constructive destruction.'

The reason I enjoy cleaning out closets so much is because it is such a positive thing to do. The state of your closet is more related to your attitude that it is to your general untidiness. You need to consider everything in the present time, from the shape of your body to the needs of your lifestyle. Your closet must be a reflection of your commitment to the present. The only items hanging in it should be thing you like and feel good in. Not only should your closet contain only current favorites, but should be arranged in a way that you know what is available to you. Updating and organizing your closet is important; don't skip it.

A stuffed closet is falsely comforting. If the clothes do not look good on you or do not meet the needs of your lifestyle, then you will be faced with the daily frustration of having nothing to wear and not understanding why. Even if the next time you go shopping you are determined to buy something that expressed your spirit, adding a few new outfits to the existing clutter is not a good practice. Buying something wonderful will not make up for a closet filled with things you feel unhappy about.

If you think all the clothes hanging in your closet that you never wear are not hurting anything, think again. Every time you see pants that do not fit or the dress with the price tag still on it, you get a little electric shock of negative energy. The 'skeletons' in your closet undermine you; they tear down your confidence. The only solution is to get rid of them.

Clothes in your closet that are too small are the most destructive skeletons of all. You might push them to the back of the closet determined not to try them on until one morning, convinced that feeling this good can only mean you are thin. You try them on and your cheerful mood deflates like a balloon. Or, rushing to get ready to go our, your become so totally frustrated at nothing looking right that you put them on, anyway, and spend the evening feeling pinched and miserable. Even if you do not wear your clothes that are too small, every time you see them hanging in your closet you will be reminded that you are 'too fat". It is time to get them out of your closet!

Take everything that does not fit you right now out of your closet today. What you do with them once they are out of the closet is not as important as the act of freeing yourself from dealing with them on a daily basis. Trying on or wearing tight clothes will not motivate you to lose weight: it will only demean you and tear down your self-esteem. If it is too painful for you to get rid of them, put them in a second closet or in the garage. If you do lose weight, you can retrieve your clothes from your hiding place.

The second kind of 'skeleton' in your closet is all the bad purchases you have never worn. Just as wearing something too tight will not motivate you to lose weight, the guilt you feel when you see a mistake hanging there will not prevent you from making that mistake, again. Getting caught up in the excitement of purchasing something, only to discover that you do not really wear it, happens to everyone. There is no need to feel like a failure because eof it. When you are ready to face the fact that it will never look right (or fit your lifestyle) clear it out of your closet and make way for something better. Anything hanging in your closet that makes you feel guilty when you look at it, has got to go.

Another, even more insidious form of sabotage is allowing your closet to stay in a perpetual state of disorder and confusion. It guarantees that getting dressed will be forever difficult and frustrating. Imagine trying to pain a masterpiece with a dirty paintbrush, dried up tubes of paint, and a messy workspace. If your objective is to look wonderful in the easiest and simplest way possible, then give yourself a break by getting rid of the clutter and cleaning up the chaos.

When you are psychologically ready to tackle your closet, the only way to proceed is to plunge right in. Set aside several hours and be sure to have a good, full-length mirror in place. Your task is to take out every single item in your closet and return only the ones that you truly like and enjoy wearing. This means you have to try them all on. Be honest with yourself. Is the fit flattering? Does the color make you feel healthy and alive? Have you worn it recently, and if so, did you feel good in it? Go through everything and make a decision.

Whether you choose to have help or decide to got it alone, there will be certain stumbling blocks that you should be aware of. Some items are going to me more difficult to decide about than others. The types of clothing which are the toughest to be objective about are sentimental favorites and clothes you once enjoyed that no longer look as wonderful on you as they once did. Only the most sentimental items are worth keeping. I will never part with an original crystal and mesh 1920's flapper dress, as an example. If you feel terribly attached to something made or given to you with love put it where you put your other memorabilia. Do not leave it hanging in the closet. On the other hand, there is no reason to hang onto every outfit you ever had fun in. You can retain the memories without keeping the clothes.

Clothes can only look good in the present time. Even something you enjoyed last season may no longer suit your spirit, figure or lifestyle. Former favorites are often more difficult to be objective about than mistakes you have always hated. I recall a client clinging to several designer knit outfits, telling me how wonderfully they traveled and how ideal they were on her last vacation. I pointed out that the color and fit were no longer flattering and asked her to thing about the overall enjoyment of her next holiday if she were dressed in them. If you love something about an outfit but it no longer does your face or figure justice, mentally file away what you liked about it and when you can, replace it.

IRC Reproduction of the is material without prior permission is prohibited I am sorry to say that, after a certain period of time, nearly every outfit starts to look dated. Take a long, hard look at some of your older classics, especially if they were purchased more than five years ago. Without noticing, you might have replaced then with something you like better.

Going through your closet is an excellent time for learning more about yourself. As you try things on, consider the qualities of your favorite garments. What is it about the style, cut and color that make them so beloved? In the clothes you enjoy the most, notice which of these assets are evident. Pay attention to what is wrong with the outfits you are discarding. I recently decided to let go of a jumpsuit that I never liked because I always so massive in it. I assumed the oversize shoulder pads were the culprits. When I looked at it more closely, I realized it was not only the shoulder pads that made the garment look top heavy, but also the combination of epaulets, breast pockets and lapels. Without guilt coloring our observations, we can learn from our mistakes.

Clean out your closet as well as you can before your next shopping trip. After you have returned from purchasing something new, do a little closet fine-tuning. It is easier to get rid of anything you were undecided about when you have something better to replace it. You also have the added incentive of making more room for your pretty new things.

Keeping your closet in shape is an ongoing process. If you change wardrobes seasonally, go though everything before you put it away. If you did not wear an item all season long, it is likely you will enjoy it next year. When you take out clothing that has been stored, try it on to be sure it still fits and you still like it.

When you are deciding upon which clothes to save or discard, do not concern your self with the fate of a reject. Base the decision purely on your enjoyemnt the garment. After you have set aside all the clothes you are ready to remove, then you can choose what to do with them. There are many positive ways in which your old outfit can be put to good use. If they were recently purchased and still stylish, you can sell them at a used clothing store of consignment shop. Donating clothes to a charitable organization helps others that are less fortunate and provides you with a tax write-off. There are several women's organizations that sponsor 'slightly worn' sales, with the proceeds going to charity.

A creative alternative is a clothes-swapping party. Invite a group of friends over and ask them to bring only their best cast-offs. The only requirement is to be firm about people taking only the items that look wonderful on them.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that what happens to your old clothes after they are out of your closet is not really all that important. Try not to put too much energy into finding them a new home. They are not stray orphans in need of shelter. Beware of burdening your family members with items you feel would be 'just perfect' for them. They will thank you for this, believe me.

Now that you are free of all kinds of skeletons in your closet, it is easy to organize what is left. Set up any type of system that works for you. Some people group their clothes by color, but I prefer to arrange my clothes by category. Moving from left to right, I hang my slacks, then my blouses and lightweight jackets, followed by my skirts and, finally, my suits. I don't wear dresses or heavy coats because I wear separates and live in a temperate year-round climate. But you may consider an alternative if you have distinct seasons. My sweaters, exercise wear and lingerie are all folded. If it helps you to keep complete outfits hanging together then, by all means, arrange your closet that way. Any approach that makes sense and is convenient to you is fine with the exception of allotting one quarter of your closet for the things you currently wear and three quarters of the space for the items you don't!

Your accessories should also be organized and easily accessible. I fold my scarves and hang my belts over the scarves. Seeing my accessories hanging in plain sight often inspires me to try something new. Accessories do not take up much room and they need to be kept current like all the rest of your clothes.

I might sound like a fanatic about my closet but I have developed an appreciation for the benefits of an organized and up-to-date-closet. Getting dressed is not longer a chore now that I clearly see all my options hanging before me. I can feel confident knowing I need only to choose an outfit based my mood, the occasion and the weather. I never have to wonder or speculate about something fitting or looking great that day.

Getting dressed in the morning sets the tone for the entire day and you owe it to yourself to make it as streamlined and positive as possible. Getting dressed is your time to look in the mirror and positively interact with yourself, confirming your attractiveness and appreciating your beauty. It is a waste to spend those few precious moments throwing garments over furniture, frantically trying to pull yourself together.

In addition to the daily benefits of an organized closet, the act of cleaning it is itself emotionally satisfying. A surge of energy takes hold when you free yourself from an unhappy past and more towards a more promising future. Like any intimate relationship, we create emotional bonds with our clothing. When you act decisively you will discover a sense of relief akin to quitting a job you hated or ending a relationship that is no longer working. It is a wonderful feeling to take control by letting go of past failures and by making positive choices in the present. Your closet is a great place to begin and a great place to return to whenever you feel the need to do something good for yourself.

I have found the following three exercises to be the most successful approach to tackling your closet-cleaning project. Exercise One offers tips for going through your garments one at a time. Exercise Two guides you through arranging your clothes in an orderly way. The final exercise encourages you to evaluate what you have learned and not any important observations you have made.

Step one - GET TO IT

There is no shortcut to trying our every single item, so get to it. Put on good underwear, pantyhose if you wear them, your favorite music and start with your favorite clothes. Be sure to wear all the appropriate accessories, including shoes and jewelry. Admire how nice you look in them. Then take them off, hang them up or put them somewhere out of the way until you complete the project.

Continuing to move from the best to the worst, try on everything else. Make whatever you have on look as good as it possibly can. If you feel inspired and come up with a new combination, terrific.

If you are not thrilled with the way something looks, put it in the discard pile. Do not start a 'maybe' pile. Make a decision. Tell yourself if you change your mind you can always retrieve it later. This act of decisiveness helps you break the emotional bond with the garment in question. Once you see it in the reject pile you will probably be relieved rather than sad. Let me make this very important point: Making a 'yes' or 'no' decision is the key to successfully cleaning out your closet.

You are probably getting stuck on all the odd pieces you have been saving, hoping to find the 'perfect' thing to go with them. Ask yourself if you really and truly love them. Is it worth spending the necessary time, energy and money to find them suitable partners? If you would rather spend the time and money on a totally new outfit, then let them go.

Do not feel guilty about getting rid of something that is still 'good'! Box up all the rejects and get them out of the house!

IRC Reproduction of the is material without prior permission is prohibited

Step two - ARRANGING YOUR CLOTHES

Put back all the clothes you have decided to keep. Before you do, make sure everything is on a plastic or padded hanger. Nothing ruins the shape of a garment faster than letting it hang on a metal hanger. If you do not own enough appropriate hangers, take a break by going out and buying some.

Before you return any clothing items to the closet, however, make sure there are no rips, tear or missing buttons that need to be repaired. If you can't repair these items yourself, take them to a good seamstress or put them in the discard pile.

Once you have gone through all your clothes, organizing what is left is the fun part. Enjoy the feeling of order you are creating. Arrange your clothes in whatever way works for you. Be sure there is enough space between each hanger so your clothes do not get crushed or wrinkled. Your hangers should be able to move from side to side relatively freely. If your clothes are still jammed together, making it impossible for you to see what you have, then you did not get rid of enough. Take a second look.

You should be able to approach your closet each day knowing you like and feel good in everything in it. Once you have done a major closet cleaning, it is easy to keep your closet up to date and current.

And, speaking of your closet, you have gone to all the time and trouble to organize your wardrobe and you want to be able to see the clothes you have returned to the racks. If you don't have adequate lightening, you will unable to identify the color of the garment. Without going to the expense of rewiring your closet you can accomplish this by purchasing battery operated lights. Place them in strategic and dimly lit places in your closet and you will be able to view your masterpiece with pride!

Step three - OBSERVATIONS

When you are going through your closet you might want to start a notebook to keep a record of what you are doing. Keep it and a pencil handy for jotting down any observations you make. When you discover a style that looks good, make a note to refer to before your next shopping trip. Also not the unflattering styles you want to avoid. If you discover any new assets, add them to the list.

The more you know about yourself; your color season, style, body type and lifestyle, the easier it will be to create a working wardrobe that continues to work for you and your needs.

Have fun with it!

Bunny Vreeland is a registered, certified Clinical Hypnotherapistan can be reached at 805-984-1237/800-755-4083 or http://www.BunnyVreeland.com

Bunny incorporated Hypnotherapy into her image business over 10 years ago and specializes in Weight Loss and Smoking Cessation, offering a money back guarantee.

In addition, she has successfully helped clients with: Fear of Flying... Heights ? Fear of Dentists ?Doctors and other phobias. As a Medical Hypnotherapist, she specializes in Irritable Bowl Syndrome problems. IBS responds remarkably well to hypnotherapy, showing an 85%-92% improvement.

She is a member in good standing with the Camarillo and Ventura Chambers of Commerce, a Hall of Fame member of the Better Business Bureau, National League of Medical Hypnotherapists, American Hypnotherapy Association, The American Board of Hypnotherapy and the International Hypnosis Federation.

Bunny has been interviewed on radio and Television and written numerous articles on the subjects of HypnoTherapy, Image and Self Esteem.

In The News:

University of Oregon scientists have found the first confirmed dinosaur bone in Oregon, Fox 12 Oregon reports.
Sometimes it is just better to just let nature run its course, that's the message from officials in Colorado
NASA is joining forces with US defense giant Lockheed Martin to build a state-of-the-art test plane that could pave the way for the return of supersonic passenger travel.
A teenager was mauled by a shark while spearfishing off the northern coast of Australia on Sunday, authorities said.
Extremely rare artifacts that belonged to Alexander Hamilton have been loaned to the Museum of the American Revolution by the Founding Father’s fifth-great-grandson.
Researchers have created a new device that can trigger partial limb regrowth in frogs. The findings could lead to limb regeneration in mammals somewhere off in the future.
Forget solar panels. Researchers are eyeing mushrooms to generate electricity.
A major new climate study in the journal Nature got worldwide media coverage for finding that the oceans warmed dramatically faster than previously thought — but now the researchers have retracted that conclusion after a man in the United Kingdom blogged about flaws he discovered in the paper.
A long cold winter could hit space in months bringing record low temperatures, NASA has warned.
Keep your eyes peeled this weekend.

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