George Eliot once wrote, “It will never rain roses…When we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.”
I hear from so many readers, friends, and family that they are tired. That they are weary. That they’ve spent just as much time simplifying and slowing down as they did staying busy and speeding up.
Minimalism and simplifying does not rain down on us, and neither do those roses. To have the beautiful space that we want so badly we have to work for it. We have to plant the roses.
But we don’t have to plant our roses alone.
This past weekend my kind, passionate, beautiful friend asked me to help her declutter her closet. My friend’s home is already simplified and unbusy but she still felt there was more to do.
The closet is said to be an easy place to start when decluttering and while I do believe it is a good starting point (because most of us are so used to donating clothing) I wouldn’t say it is easy.
Clothing can be hard to listen to. Clothes still hold memories and ideas we have about ourselves.
I used to have a whole closet that fit a different Bonnie Rae. She loved bright colors, cat patterns, and endless amounts of Toms shoes. That Bonnie Rae existed in college and because of the clothes she left in my closet she tried to join me in my adult life. But, eventually, I was able to say thank you to her for all the fun and the lessons, and then I let her go.
Sometimes, we need a trusted loved one to help us listen to ourselves. To help us see who we are now, in the present. To help us plant the roses.
I felt so privileged to be the one my friend chose to help her see her closet and her style more clearly. Her amazing daughter and adorable puppy helped as well!
First, we pulled it all out. Take every single clothing item you own out so that you can see how much you really have. It might be more than you think!
Next, hold each item in your hands and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it doesn’t? Let it go.
I always recommend having a “maybe” pile. This is for the items that you really aren’t sure about. Leave the maybe pile until the very end of your process, you will go through it at the very end when your joy sparking senses are stronger.
My role as the facilitator was to listen. I listened to what my friend said about each piece and reflected back to her what she already knew. If she held an item for too long saying, “But maybe…” I reflected back her uncertain words and body language- 99% of the time, she let that item go.
This does not mean that we pressure others to get rid of items, but we can repeat back to them what they already know in their heart.
Next, after each item has been held and sorted hang and fold it all. Hang the pieces that look happier on hangers and fold the pieces that need to rest.
With all of your pieces in place take a step back and look at all of your joy sparking items when they are not surrounded by other items that do not spark joy- they take on a whole new light.
My beautiful friend thought that she, “didn’t have any style.” She believed that she needed to create a whole new wardrobe/style when all she needed to do was uncover the one that already existed.
When we put back her beautiful joy sparkers, without the rest, her style was beaming at us. It was there the whole time, it was just hiding among the items that no longer make her happy.