Like many people in the US – and around the world – you may have run around your house, asking yourself if an item sparked joy, and spent time making piles of outgoing items. In the name of Marie Kondo, you may have practiced folding your t-shirts until they stood at attention in your drawer. And you hopefully ended up with a home that felt more spacious and less overwhelming.
I “KonMari-ed” my house several years ago, long before you could gawk at other people doing this on Netflix. Indeed, I did it in stages, taking much of the summer to do the physical pieces. The “emotional” pieces – the memorablia, photographs and trinkets took me until close to Christmas. But still, I do feel that I “finished” this.
That being said, homes are dynamic. Special needs homes change at the speed of light. One minute your floor is (relatively!) spotless, the next it is coated in a layer of active dry yeast. One moment you are sitting on the couch, the next minute you – and the couch – are covered in the contents of an entire jumbo-sized bottle of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, surreptitiously stolen from the refrigerator and “fountained” all of you, your couch, your carpet, and your – gleeful – child. Or that time that bottle of school glue for your other child’s project was left unattended for just a moment, and resulted in an entire room being “spatter-painted” in white, sticky drizzles.
That’s #autismmomlife – you can’t control everything, but I am a firm believer that a calmer, more organized physical space can help reduce negative stress and make you more productive.
As a special needs mom, however, maintaining a house as neat as a pin is often an uphill battle. So I put my first focus on my space – and do the rest of the house to a point of supporting health and safety, but not to a point that pushes me to a breaking point. For example, my bathroom, which we keep locked using something like this. If you are looking for tips on how to refresh your bathroom, check out some ideas here.
My closet in another area of the house where I am able to maintain (nearly!) one hundred percent control. Here are six simple steps to help you refresh your closet:
- EMPTY: Take everything out. If you have recently “Kon-Mari-ed” your house, and your closet is not overflowing, then you can do this by clothing type – dresses, skirts, tops, etc. If your closet is out-of-control, then clear a few hours in your schedule and take it ALL out. I often do this in the evening, with something low-key on TV, usually when my husband is working late. That way I can spread everything out all over the bed and the floor and the dresser without being in his way.
- TRY IT ON: If you haven’t worn it in the last year, try it on. Really, if you haven’t worn it in the last few months, try it on, but focus on the items you have had the longest and worn the least. You may be surprised – by a hidden treasure that you have been ignoring, or by something you can’t believe you have held onto for so long.
- ATTITUDE: Be realistic. If you have five formal dresses and haven’t been to fitting event this decade, then it’s probably time to share a few. Ditto suits if your job is business casual, and those excess sweaters if you live in a temperate climate and rarely travel to colder ones. Get them out of your closet – for now.
- STORE: For me, this is a key step. I take the items that I think I’m ready to part with and store them out of sight, but not out of the house I have a box in my laundry area that I use for this. Then, when I get a card for a donation pick up (in my neighborhood, they seem to come every six weeks or so) I go through the box ONE more time before putting it out on the curb. It is rare, but every once in awhile I do change my mind on one or two items in the box – but I am mindfull of actually wearing them if I return them to my closet.
- REGROUP: After I am certain of what I’m keeping, I place those items back in my closet more thoughtfully. I group them according to type of item, and also, to some extent by length, placing longer dresses and skirts to the sides. And, most importantly, EVERY single hanger I place back in my closet, I do so “backwards.” In other words, I hook the metal part of the hanger over the bar from back to front. Each time I wear a garment, I return the hanger to the closet facing the typical direction. Which means, in six months, I can see EXACTLY what I’ve worn.
- REPEAT: Wait six months and repeat, focusing on the (non-seasonal) items that still have hangers facing the other direction. Once you have done this a few times, the process becomes faster and easier, and you are able to thank more and more items for their service to you.
How do you refresh your closet? Let me know in the comments!
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