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The Great Closet Clean Out

cluttered closetThe California wildfires took place not far from my home. Thankfully, we weren't asked to evacuate but the tragedy prompted me to take on a long over-due task and help others with the results of my purge. (Photo: 123rf)

So, when was the last time you cleaned out your closet? Yeah, me neither. But here it is, the holidays are over, the dishes are done, the leaves are out of the table, the linens are in the washer. And surprise of surprises, the house is still clean!  The mister is attacking some long-overdue household projects and really wants me to stay the heck out of his way.  What should I do?

Reading articles about the aftermath of the recent California wildfires and the people up and down the state who lost everything has been haunting me. Headlines and television reports focus on the people who were fine one minute, homeless the next.  

We were lucky. We live in a suburb of Los Angeles, about one mile away from the evacuation border for the fire that devastated Malibu, Thousand Oaks as well as much of Agoura and Calabasas. Many friends had to pack up and get out, others left without the time to take anything along.  

Even before the fires, LA already had a horrendous homeless problem.  But we have had months and months of weather that was hot by day, balmy at night. People are sleeping under freeway overpasses, and in front of supermarkets.  But now the fires are out and the weather is changing.  While rain is still at a minimum, temps are dropping into the 40s at night and will hit freezing before long. And still, thousands without a roof over their heads.

I looked in my coat closet. I have jackets that are in good shape but like most everything else I own, way too big on me. (I never had this problem before in my life!)  So now I am looking to find where these jackets may be put to the best use.

In the interim, however, I attacked the bedroom closet. I am pleased that Goodwill got three huge yard bags full of very usable clothing. Am I a little smug that those clothes are several sizes too large for me? Sure I am. Am I a little worried that I’m left with minimal choices for every day and exactly one choice for dress-up?  Not really…we lead a pretty casual lifestyle these days.

OK, get to the point, Nancy.

The  Benefits of Purging 

Why is cleaning out a closet such a weighty issue?  (Oh you knew I’d work that in, didn’t you?)  

Well, first of all, I’m eliminating the “luxury” of changing clothing sizes.  I’ve talked about the difficulty in maintaining a significant weight loss–or any weight loss, actually. It’s hard. Eating Oreos is easy. Avoiding them is hard.

But here's the thing...I no longer have anything to wear if I should start to pick up weight. That stuff is all gone. Also, the health benefits are immeasurable.

By necessity, exercise has become a daily regimen. (Enjoy your workout, they say as I check in at the gym. I reply that enjoy is a strong word. But it feels great…when I stop!) My medications are at an all-time minimum…and my diabetic meds are gone!  My A1C is actually well within the normalrange! How about that?)

So I’m not only cleaning junk out of the closet, I’m cleaning junk out of my life. The weight off my shoulders is equal to the weight off my, well, everywhere else.

The benefits are not only environmental, they’re psychological, physical and maybe even spiritual! And cleaning out my closet has allowed me to fulfill a New Year’s Resolution beforethe first of the year.  (Of course, the resolution dates back to 1986, but who’s counting?)

So consider lightening your load this holiday season. It will give you great satisfaction and, perhaps, keep someone warm who really needs it. (Meantime, next project? My office!)

Happy New Year!  See you next time!

 

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