by Beth Foreman
I’ve finally figured out that I love to have white space in my closet. I need to have white space. It helps me breathe.
But this has taken me decades to figure out. Seriously.
I’m not talking about those dreamy Pinterest closets where every item of clothing is a neutral color palette, grays, linens, and all that unbelievable loveliness. No, I’m talking about a real closet with sweat pants and faded jeans I wear when I’m pulling weeds or raking leaves. A real closet filled with the styles, the sizes and the colors I love to wear. No decision fatigue. No guilt. No “I should wear that but it’s really too _________.” Fill in the blank with your word — small, big, bright, old, new, fancy, sloppy.
Oh, I’ve had plenty of chaotic closets stuffed so full I couldn’t slide the mismatched hangers to get that wrinkled white blouse. It required Moses and his staff to part the roaring sea. My Christmas vest was smooshed between a pilly navy blue cardigan and a classy black shoulder-padded blazer I never wore but couldn’t bear to part with because, well, because it was such a nice blazer. And I paid big bucks for that blazer and by golly, I was never getting rid of it.
Never mind that I no longer wear white blouses or black blazers. Nope.
This closet-purging journey has been going on for decades. I really should have figured it long ago but it’s a process. What to wear? What to keep? Some of it is complicated by that up and down sizing, baby years, career changes, climate changes. I’ve read so many articles and books about organization, capsule wardrobes, and the best-selling Japanese art of decluttering which requires you to touch each and every item to see how it makes you feel.
I’ve tried it all.
How about you?
Do you long for white space in your closet like me? Or are you delighted by a glorious kaleidoscope of color and sizes and styles? If that’s you, then embrace it, stop reading this post, and dance in the rain. I love it. I admire you. I wish I could be more like that. But my brain cries for white space, and I’m okay with that.
If you are nodding your head, yes, yes, yes, I’m here to encourage you. Two small steps.
Choose a daily uniform. I know. It sounds boring. But it really doesn’t have to be boring. As a freelance writer, I work at home but I still do a ton of things outside my house where I want to look pulled together. I also feel more like showing up for work in my home office if I am dressed for work. Yeah, I can write in my stretched out sweat pants but I’ve learned I perform better when I’m comfortable but dressed.
I have two uniforms, more or less, for two seasons. Cold and hot. Pick what works for your climate and lifestyle. I’ll share my cold weather uniform since that’s what were in right now. I almost always wear black leggings or dark jeans with a tunic-length blouse or sweater in three favorite colors: navy, burgundy, and black. I add a pop of color with a scarf or a pretty necklace and I’m set. Throw on black booties, rain boots, or snow boots and I’m good to go. For you, it might be a long skirt or a dress or navy slacks. You know what you love. You know what makes you feel right. Go with it. If you are unsure, invite a friend who knows you well to help you figure this out.
I do have a Sunday uniform too. Church clothes. For cold weather, I have one black dress that is comfy, warm and cozy. Black tights. Boots. Scarf. Or I have dressy — still comfy — black pants or a skirt with a shorter sweater or blouse.
Use matching hangers. Trust me. This makes such a difference. They don’t need to be fancy expensive ones. I like these.
That’s it. Small steps. Picture that white space in your closet.
Imagine tossing out the decision fatigue when it’s time to get dressed for the day.
Tomorrow you’ll have to sort through all those items that don’t work anymore. But not yet. Small steps.
I’m curious. Do you crave that white space in your closet?
This piece first appeared here.
Beth is a nothing fancy, saved-by-grace sinner who loves to walk on the beach and write stories — her stories, her characters’ stories, and God’s stories. She has published numerous devotions, Bible studies, feature profiles, and Sunday School curriculum for various publications. Currently working on her first novel, she blogs at bethforeman.com about grace, books, closets, and more good things.