For the next four weeks, I’ll be writing about Feng Shui fixes I’m implementing to set the stage for new growth and positive energy boosts in my home and (home) office environments.
Let me say at the outset that I am not a trained Feng Shui master. I’m not even an expert. But, for the past five years or so, I’ve played around with Feng Shui’s “art of placement” and clutter-clearing recommendations, balancing elements in my home to improve the flow of positive energy. I’ve seen real results, even without getting overly woo-woo (in most cases).
My Feng Shui February reboot started in the master bedroom closet. I had to go through my clothes to pack for a trip anyway, so why not kill two birds with one stone by clearing out what I don’t wear anymore?
Step 1: Be Honest with Yourself
I once heard someone say that we wear 20 percent of our wardrobe 80 percent of the time. In my case, a more accurate estimate would be 10 percent of my wardrobe is worn 90 percent of the time.
It’s not only because I work from home. I also hate clothes shopping, and always have. That’s why God gave me boys (for which I am eternally grateful). I’d much rather be outside digging in the dirt than trying on shoes at DSW.
But earlier chapters of my life didn’t let me get away with jeans, t-shirts, and workout clothes seven days a week. Tailored jackets, out-of-style dress pants, and even a few evening gowns hanging in my closet harkened back to former versions of myself, none of which I missed.
My lifestyle isn’t the only thing that’s changed. My body has as well. My chest is bigger since my mastectomy and reconstruction, but so are other parts of me.
In an unfair turn of events, when my five years on Tamoxifen (the drug that keeps some cancers at bay by blocking estrogen production) were up last summer, I immediately gained 7 pounds. My oncologist said that happens sometimes when estrogen is allowed to flow again. I’m not sure which is the lesser of evils — the hot flashes that Tamoxifen induced for five years or the extra weight that accrued once I was off it.
Six months later, even while eating a healthy diet, minimizing alcohol, exercising most days of the week, running a ten-mile race and training for an upcoming half marathon, the weight is still there. Those clothes hanging in my closet that don’t fit anymore make me crazy every time I see them.
Step 2: Scrutinize Each and Every Item
I knew the general advice from clutter-clearers was to get rid of anything you hadn’t worn for a couple of years, but this had seemed wasteful to me.
Carol’s recommendation, as outlined in her Feng Shui Quick Guide for Home and Office, is more specific. Shoes that cause blisters, ill-fitting pants, suits from that office job you haven’t had in a decade–let it all go.
And as for those clothes that are a little too tight but you’ve held on to in the hope that you’ll lose that weight? Carol says:
“When you hold on to things that don’t fit, you hold on to old energy and symbolically hold on to excess weight.”
If there’s one thing I can no longer abide, it’s old energy.
Step 3: Make Four Piles
Following Carol’s advice, I designated space for four piles–1) keep; 2) donate; 3) sell; 4) throw away.
I pulled one section of clothes out of the closet at a time, keeping the job a little more manageable. One by one, I held up a hanger and considered how I felt about the piece. If I felt good when wearing it, it went into the “keep” pile.
If, on the other hand, the sight of something made my stomach tighten in annoyance, it went to the donate pile. If I wasn’t sure, I tried it on. Most of the “not sure” items were too tight.
I just had to accept the reality of that, remembering my favorite Eckhart Tolle line: “There are no problems, there are only situations.”
My situation is that my body is bigger than it used to be. It’s also healthier than it used to be, with more muscle under the extra padding and a set of lungs that can power me through a ten-mile run, and hopefully 13.1 miles in a few weeks.
If (more likely, “when”) I undertake a reasonable nutritional program to shed the weight, I’ll reward myself with something new to wear.
Some things I tossed with great relish — especially the conservative outfits I acquired for social functions during our three-year stint in Germany. It was hard for me to behave myself in the company of U.S. military officers and German dignitaries. Getting rid of those costumes–including the frumpy dresses and gowns I wore to military balls–was liberating.
The robe and pajamas I wore while recovering from my cancer surgeries were easy give-aways, bringing a deeper sense of closure to what had been a very difficult year.
I donated the bathing suit that my 70-something-year-old mother-in-law also owned. (I love my mother-in-law, but I was mortified that I had purchased the same bathing suit when I was in my 40’s — discovered too late during a multigenerational family vacation).
And so it went.
Step 4: Let it Go!
At the end of the day, I had three big bags of clothes to donate, several hangars of fancy stuff to consign, and a wastebasket full of ill-fitting or torn-at-the-crotch panties and socks that had shrunk in the wash or had holes in them.
Looking at the space I’ve created in my closet and drawers, I feel lighter and somehow more hopeful. Instead of dreading rifling through my clothes, I know whatever I find on the hanger or in the drawer will fit and make me feel good.
It’s like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Now maybe some of it will come off of my ass. 😉
If you enjoyed today’s entry and are not yet a subscriber, sign up above for free delivery of new posts to your email inbox. (I promise to never share your information.) Social media likes and shares are always appreciated as well!