Maximize your closet space
Look at that. How beautiful is that? Admit it. Haven’t you looked longingly at those ads offering to help you build your very own perfectly organized and perfectly perfect dream closet? The ones that say you, yes you, can maximize your storage space – buy and install this system, step back and behold. Gaze into the face of your new flawless life. Once your clothing, shoes, and accessories are organized in this impeccable fashion, everything else in your world will effortlessly fall into place.
But hey, I bought it. Not the actual closet system, damn those are expensive, but the idea that if I contain all that I own in the proper organizational systems, boxes, labels, and feng shui appropriate places that my daily routine would be more efficient and my life would be automatically better. This was my dream. My tiny, tiny, big dream. And I had a plan. I would get some clear storage boxes for now and then save up to finally create and install the “closet of my dreams”. I was on my way to Stepford. If I had the perfect closet, I could be the perfect woman. Never again would I complain I had nothing to wear, because my new closet would show me the way. Never mind that more than half of my clothing was now either too small for me or never got worn anyway. Not because I didn’t see it, I knew it was there, I just didn’t want to wear it. I was holding onto it all just for sentimental value and all the what-ifs. What if I started going out dancing again 3 nights a week like I did in my 20’s and need all this clubbing gear that doesn’t really fit me anymore? What if I decide I want to start wearing mini skirts again like I did that one year someone gave me all her minis and I took them and thought I’d try changing up my style even though I look terrible in mini skirts? What if I lose all that weight I gained and want to squeeze back into that ironic tee shirt I’d cut into a belly shirt and wore to a rave once last century? What then? What ever would I wear without this stuff then???
And then I took a closer look at those dream-closet ads and realized why my closet would never look like that no matter how much I spent on a system. Go ahead, look at a few of them, I’ll wait here. Try The Container Store or California Closets or Closet Maid. You’ll probably notice a similar theme. No, not the premium birch option, cromed bars, and adjustable height shelving. Look again. Do you see it? Yup, most of these closets are half full. (Or half empty, depending on how you like to look at things.) Behold all the space between the dresses, the room on the shelves, the open spot at the bottom depicting the shoes you have on your feet right now. These closets look so airy, inviting and organized because you can literally see pretty much everything in there at first glance… because there is not much in there in there first place.
Think about it. Sure these companies are banking on selling to people who need to contain the overflow in their over-crowded lives. That’s their main customer base. But perhaps unintentionally and definitely subtly, they’re displaying how organized you can be not by moving your things around and putting them in the right box but by simplifying your life in general. If you have less stuff, you’ll know where it is regardless of whether you bought the premium package and opted for the extra in-home installation fee. If you have better stuff it will last longer and you can keep using it so you won’t need more stuff. And if that really cute and sassy dress which was once your favorite but is now two sizes too small is staring you right in the face every day as soon as you open your closet doors, you can either choose to give it a new home and replace it with a new favorite dress or try it on once every couple of weeks and see if your new exercise regime is working for you. You’re probably hiding a lot more than clothes in your closet. I was.
Next time I will post about how I let go of 40% of my things. In some ways it was a heck of a lot easier than I ever imagined it could be, and in some ways it was very difficult.