Mercury Retrograde Day 19: Clean a closet

Believe it or not, this was on my list BEFORE this morning’s incident.

This morning, my partner and I were greeted with the telltale crash that indicates a burglar… or a closet failure. Closet failure it was. For those of you unaware, I run a plus size fashion blog, and it has enabled my clothing habit – in this case, to the extreme misfortune of my closet.

So my Mercury Retrograde treat this weekend, after the requisite runaround as it’s my Doctor Who meetup weekend, will be to clean up my closet, possibly reduce what I own – despite my considerable annual Goodwill contribution last week – and to establish yet another closet system. The irony of all this is that 8 months ago, I spent nearly a month sorting through my belongings and updating our closet with the following concepts in mind:
1)I wanted to reduce “clothing waste.” I am North American, and like most of us, I only wear about 20% of my wardrobe. I wanted to make sure I used more of what I had.
2)I wanted my partner to be able to find his stuff, too.
3)I live in a 4 season environment where it can get past 100 F and below -70F in the same year. Even as a minimalist, this necessitates owning a lot of clothing and having a system where I can regularly switch items out as seasons go through transitions and extremes.

I resolved this by lining up those hanging closet shelves, but apparently the strain was too much. So in my case, I must rethink my closet and off-season clothing storage approach, big time.

Most Pagans are not clothes-horses in my manner, but I have noticed that we fall in extremes: either we’re packrats, or we pride ourselves on owning virtually nothing. I’m always on a mission to control my pack-ratting, and I try to reserve my extreme collecting for secondhand clothing, because there’s something of a political mission behind my fashion work. In my case, I start spring cleaning in January, starting with a closet-by-closet cleanup, but sometimes… closets collapse in August.

So, if you’re up for a Mercury Rx project that allows you to not need to talk to too many people today (and my AstrologyZone Droid app tells me today is NOT the day to insist I’m right about something) – closet cleaning is as good a project as any. Garage cleaning, if you have one and you’re really ambitious. I recommend you just pick ONE closet. When you go through your stuff, you have to make a decision about every single item that passes through your hands. There’s a point where you can hit decision fatigue, and that can prompt you to just not finish the project.

My suggestions to make it easier? The larger the closet, the shorter the work “bursts.” Set a timer – work for 30 minutes at a time, and take a 10 minute break, tooling on the Internet, having coffee, watching a short youtube clip, doing yoga stretches, whatever. Then go back to it. You’ll get more done, and faster, because you don’t slow down as your neurons start to bitch at you.

Also, before you take on the closet, this inventory may help
1)What does the closet store? What is the closet’s secondary function? (for example, I have a linen closet, but it also functions as the house drug repository.)
2)What can I do to make the closet “easy access?”

You can also go with the garbage can/donation box/resort it box approach. Unclutterer and Apartment Therapy can lead you to paths you might not have considered on your own. I’ve also found watching episodes of Clean House really inspiring, not for the clean up, but for the approach to it: “How do you want to use this room? How do you WANT to live here?”

The metaphysical reason for a closet clean out is this: stuff you leave sitting forever breeds stagnant energy. It also ignores that, even for those of us struggling financially, we live in a culture that allows us the privilege of having too much stuff.

The practical reason: finding your stuff faster makes life SO much easier. Did you know that not just Americans, but most westerners, waste – and by waste, I mean use without conscious purpose – time just looking for stuff?