Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Instant Gratification Takes Too Long

In a world of instant gratification, I would ask us all to take a breath and wait. I have found that if you can push past the urge to purchase, you will find yourself saving money by making fewer purchases. Today I am wearing a new pair of shoes. Shoes that I waited for four months to purchase. Since I purchased them two weeks ago, I have worn them five times. Last month I bought another pair of shoes that I bought because I wanted them. I wanted the rush of having a cute new pair of shoes. I bought them within minutes of trying them on. I wore them the next day for exactly two hours and I have not had them on since. They were a bit too high and I walked like a newborn giraffe in them. They were an instant gratification purchase that I now regret. 

When my boys were little they watched the release dates of video games. I implemented a wait and see policy on the purchase of the games. I created obstacles to prevent them from purchasing on the release date. I have used the "save your money" philosophy to get them to realize the cost of the item. Often when they had to use their own money, the desire decreased. 

I also have straight out told them we will wait for a few days after the release of the game. I used this delay most often for my oldest son who had a fixation with a particular line of games. I knew we could go out and buy the game for him. But I also knew he needed to learn to wait. We are the parents. In a world of instant gratification, we have to strip that urge away.

I watch this unhealthy obsession with the newly released Pokemon Go game. The amount of downloads this game created was record breaking. I am all for playing a fun game, but at what expense? People are getting physically hurt as people are becoming distracted in their walking while playing this game becoming slowly addicted. Law enforcement officers are warning people to not drive while searching for Pokemon. Wait a few weeks and see if the obsession goes away. Delay the instant gratification that society is telling you to download and play and not miss out on the fun. 

Before we tell our children they need to wait, we ourselves need to learn the lesson. Try waiting days, weeks, months or years before making a purchase. I did this three weeks ago with a shirt I tired on at one of my favorite stores. It was full price and I didn't want to pay full price for it. I came back two weeks later and it was marked down by half. Waiting in this case saved me money. 

With larger wants and desires for our children, we like to have them come up with half of the money. My youngest wants a car and this summer, I told him we would match his funds in order to purchase a car. As of today he has saved zero dollars and we are out zero dollars. When my oldest wanted a new viola even though he already had one, I told him we would match his contribution. He mowed lawns for the summer and came up with a nice sum of money that we matched. He purchased the viola and cared for it and never left it on the bus and as a senior in college he still plays in its orchestra.

So the next time you get an urge to purchase something, wait. See if you are purchasing because of instant gratification or for some other reason. Believe me the voice in your head will try to rationalize with you needing the item. You will play games telling yourself that this purchase is a necessity. But just pause. Wait the days, weeks or months and see if that purchase is really a necessity. 

To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,

MS. Simplicity

Melissa is a Productivity Consultant and author living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things! 

Melissa's e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Becoming A Minimalist

Hi, my name is Melissa and I am a mom of three and a wife of one and we have clutter. I now only have one child left at home so the clutter has decreased greatly. While my kids were never messy, we just always had a lot of stuff. Having a kid comes with stuff. There are birthday parties. There are holidays. Society says on these occasions to buy your kid more stuff. So having celebrated 59 birthdays (the age of my children added up) you can imagine we have accumulated some stuff.

But I am happy to report that you do not need to live like that. You can start to say no to consumerism and keeping up with the Jones's. Will there be an overnight answer to living with less? No. But I am all about gathering information and coming to an informed decision as to what works for me and for you.

The more I work with clients I am convinced that I am working with tired people. They are not lazy, they are simply tired. They do their best. They want to live with less but they just don't know how. Often it is a voice that is stuck in their head telling them that the secret to happiness is to have more stuff. But when I dig a little deeper by asking important questions I usually find out there is some mental clutter from years ago they are still carrying with them.

When I ask the client with a huge board game collection that is out of control and needs organizing why she has so many. At first she doesn't know why and then I probe a little deeper. Suddenly she is crying as she talks about playing Monopoly as a child with her dad who has passed away. Or the client with enough wrapping paper to wrap presents for the rest of her life. We discover that she never received many gifts as a child and so when she gives ones she wants to make sure that they are beautifully wrapped.

One place that I look to for my inspiration is with The Minimalists. These are two guys who are spreading the word of living with less. I have heard them speak on two occasions and have watched their documentary. When I am with them my wheels start turning in my head. They ask provocative questions about our possessions and really leave us with a lasting message of living a meaningful life with less stuff.

I have written posts about some of my favorite bits of advice from them like the 20/20 rule. The rule is simple: if you can replace something for less than $20 in less than 20 minutes you can get rid of it. This goal with this rule is to really focus on what you actually use. It is fun to walk around your house with the 20/20 rule in your head. And believe me your will have some funny conversations in your head about what you can get for $20 in less than 20 minutes from your home. Please keep your spouse!
Another favorite of mine is the 90/90 rule. Another seemingly simple rule that gets my mind working. If you have not used an item in the last 90 days and you are not planning on using it in the next 90 days, get rid of it! Like my prom dress with the big bow on the butt. Like I am ever going to wear that in the next 90 days! Adult prom is not my thing, ever!
Right here these two powerful rules will generate some serious purging.

So I invite you to start to ask yourself the right questions by getting to know these guys as they screen their documentary in Fargo on July 19th. Joshua & Ryan will be at the screening and will be hosting a Q & A for the attendees. I will be there cheering everyone on to live a simpler life.  The movie is full of singles and families living a minimalist lifestyle. These people exist and are real. They are showing how living a life with less can actually be a life filled with so much more.

To snag a ticket to what will be a sold out show, go here. You can also search Eventbrite website by looking for the Minimalism Documentary tour Fargo.

To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
MS. Simplicity

Melissa is a Productivity Consultant and author living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things! 

Melissa's e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

More Ways to Organize that Mental Clutter in Your Life

For most of us we understand the concept of being more organized. We can comprehend that everything needs to find a home. But do we ever stop and think about the mental clutter that is blocking us from our best life. There are things in our life that are like roadblocks stopping us along the way. I call them squirrels or psychic clutter. If you have seen the movie “UP” you understand the concept of having squirrels in our lives; the distractions that keep us from being focused. The psychic clutter just nags in your mind taking up space.

Here are some questions with some examples to help you figure out what is your mental clutter:

·       What isn’t working? I have friends who hate to do laundry. They get to the point that they have so much dirty and not enough clean that they go and buy new socks and underwear. Clearly this is not working.

Solution: Figure out why it isn’t working. Is it an issue with time? Do you hate the laundry room because it is dark and in the basement? Do you dislike your washer and dryer? Do your kids go through too many outfits in a day? It will take some time to get to the bottom of why things aren’t working. Start asking questions and get to the bottom. Sometimes the solutions are easy and sometimes they will be more difficult. Keep pressing forwards.

·       What is broken? When I had three little boys at home I would often have a pile of mending to do. Holes in jeans that needed to be patched or a button that needed to be sewn on. There they sat, in their pile in my bedroom on my bench. Taunting me each time I passed it. Making me say to myself that I have got to get that task done. I often would catch myself shaming myself and wondering what was wrong with me. Wondering why I couldn’t get these simple tasks done.

Solution: Make a decision. Either decide to mend or don’t, but the shaming isn’t getting you anywhere. Figure out the next step to get the task done. Do you need to call someone for help? Sometimes it is simply finding the right person to help you. Or it might even be just removing the broken item orm your life entirely and knowing how to properly dispose of it. I think of the broken pair of glasses that I have in my drawer. They are not doing anyone any good in my drawer. But I know of an organization that takes old glasses and repairs them and donates them. In fact there is a drop box for the glasses at my grocery store.

·       What makes you cringe? I remember owning a set of furniture that I didn’t love. It was in our family room and every time I went in my basement I saw the torn hole in the cushion. Even though he cushion was upside down I still knew it was there. Then one day I got a wild hair and took my furniture down the street to a neighbor’s garage sale and sold the set. I didn’t have the money for the new set, but I was willing to have an empty room that no longer made me cringe.

Solution: Fix this as soon as possible. That energy from the cringe would eat you alive. As soon as I realized what made me cringe it was so much easier to deal with the issue. It is was not until I took the time to figure out could I find the solution and stop having it take up mental clutter in my mind.

·       What is a commitment you made but have not fulfilled? This is the kind of mental clutter that can eat me alive. I will say things like every Wednesday is family meal night and then something comes up and I cancel. I do that enough and let down the members of my family and they see me as someone who makes empty promises.

Solution: Only commit to things that you know that you can accomplish. It is good to push yourself but don’t bite off too much. Think about taking baby steps. Start with fulfilling smaller commitments and move forward from there, pushing a bit each time. So if your goal is to get healthy and go to the gym, a commitment of going to the gym 7 days a week is not realistic if you are not going even one day. Create ways that you can succeed and have forward momentum. Find pockets of time.

This week take the time to focus on what is taking up residence in your head. Don’t just ignore it and push it aside. Clear out that mental clutter and make room for what is important. Now where did I put the car keys?


To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,

MS. Simplicity


Melissa is a Productivity Consultant and author living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things! 

Melissa's e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Parenting An Adult Child with a Chronic Illness

When my middle son was diagnosed with Crohn’s in October of 2012, I really was clueless about what it was and its lifelong implications. Crohn’s is one of those illnesses that you have maybe heard about or know someone with it, but until you have a loved one diagnosed with it, you don't really understand. It is a chronic illness, something that he will have to think about for the rest of his life until they find a cure. Something that as a young man has forced him to already think about the path he is going to go in life.

He now realizes how important having good health insurance is. While his friends complain about having a cold, he becomes frustrated that they are complaining about having a simple cold where his immunity is now compromised and a simple cold is no longer a simple cold to him. He now is very interested in political elections and how a candidate’s view on healthcare coverage is the most important issue when it comes to whether or not he supports the candidate. He now is concerned about student loan debt and whether he can afford to have student loans and be faced with a pre-existing medical condition and possibly no health care coverage.

Years ago when I was trying to wrap my head around all of this, I received words from a friend who also has his own chronic health condition. These bits of wisdom was what I was searching for as we go on this journey. Often I feel powerless and I do not know what actions I can take. I am the mother, I am supposed to take away all of my child's obstacles. But what I am reminded of is quite simple; I can't take the obstacles away, only guide him on his path with love. We all have something in our life that we struggle with and grapple to get answers for. Our struggle isn't unique to us and the advice we were given also is not unique just to us, as I think others would enjoy the same advice. I like to get advice that I can sink my teeth into. I like knowing that I am not powerless, and there are in fact things that I can do to make this easier for my son.

I had to revisit the advice that I received as I was faced with the difficult task of letting go of my son when he was in the midst of a health crisis. He was less than 12 hours from boarding a plane to Hong Kong for the summer and we were in a strange city in an unfamiliar ER seeking relief for an issue he was having. I had to watch him get on a plane, against medical advice, and just believe in all my heart that he was going to be ok. This advice was timeless and still holds true today.

Be real and not too positive, so that he knows that you know that it sucks. I am one of those moms who has always been real with my kids and I don't hide the truth from them. I always want them to know the facts and what their options are. When I was in that ER that night I kept exhaling deeply and my son looked at me and asked me what was wrong. I told him I kept forgetting to breathe. Besides one look at my face and you would be able to tell how stressed I was. I would be a horrible poker player as the tell is right in my eyes. I realize I can't hide my own feelings about how much this sucks. And sometimes when things in life suck, we just want someone to acknowledge that this is one of those times that sucks.

Be positive and not too real, so that he knows that you are there for him and that you have his back always and that you will him to a better place. There is a fine line to walk with the information that we have and the information that we could potentially have. We are in a society where Web MD is at our finger tips 24/7 and sometimes having too much information is a bad thing. There are so many sources that when he was first diagnosed it was so overwhelming. I would freak myself out and that was doing nobody any good. Instead I have put my faith in our medical care and in doctors that we trust knowing that we are being seen by doctors with knowledge of cutting edge research that is coming. We were reminded when he was first diagnosed that many Crohn’s patients struggle with holding a job. We push that out of our head. We know of people who are very successful with careers who have chronic illnesses and we plan on him being one!

Be happy, even when you’re not, so he can see that it is possible to find the silver lining no matter how hidden it is. I realized early on that there is always someone who has it much worse than us. When you spend time in a medical facility you are reminded of that. We see a child with no hair asking the nurse over and over to promise not to hurt him. I see a pregnant woman in the ER who was just beat up by her boyfriend taking pictures of her bruises and I remind her to take pictures every day as the bruises get worse over the passing days. This is life and death up close and it can get ugly. Instead of us being sad, you will probably find my son reading a Dora the Explorer book with a bad Spanish accent while waiting for his IV to start. Not only making me laugh, but the other caregivers around him as well. He is the young man with the nurse making me an anniversary card with crayons while he waits for a procedure to begin. We are the ones asking the surgeon if he could have any TV celebrity be president, who would he choose and why? These are the important questions. My son and I have had some incredible moments together. He is the one who is usually making me cry tears of pride and joy and often of laughter.

Be sad, that you can't take his pain away, but be happy that you gave him the strength and the will to persevere. I am sad. This is hard to have someone you love struggle with this. I have sat in hospital rooms and hotel rooms while he slept and I had tears silently running down my face. I so want his pain to go away. I want him to get his energy back. I want him to gain weight. But I know that he is strong, often stronger than I am. I watched him make the decision to get on a plane against medical advice with painkillers and antibiotics in his bag to sit for hours on a flight to Asia. I didn’t do the ugly cry as I watched him walk through TSA with $20,000 worth of his weekly prescription. I saw my toddler learning how to walk, not a young man leaving the country for the summer. He knows that he will get through this by creating his own path. He rarely mentions to his friends when he is not feeling well. However he does not hide it. He is very open when he needs to be. Never using it as an excuse. He knows that he is strong and that I am there to hold his hand, both physically and metaphorically along the way, to cheer him up when he is down, to reassure him when he is in a place of doubt.

In the time that he has had this medical issue I have learned a few tricks of my own. This is what I know I can do to make this easier for him. As a professional organizer/lawyer/mom I want to make sure that he has the best documentation. We talk about how his smartphone is his best tool for tracking of his symptoms and how important it is to keep track of things as they happen, not looking back and trying to remember. Here are some tips that we have started using to make this easier for us:

·       Have an excel spreadsheet on your phone that you use for tracking medical issues or other side effects. An excel spreadsheet is easy to search and navigate.

·       Use the alarm to set reminders of when to take medications.

·       Use the calendar for reoccurring reminders like ordering medications so that you never find yourself in the Gulf of Mexico in a house full of fraternity brothers waiting for your medication to arrive while on Spring Break (yeah that happened.)

·       Take pictures of the bottles of medicine to refer back when asked what kind of medications are in use and the dosage.

·       Carry a doctor’s letter when traveling to show to airport security or customs agents if needed.

·       With the ability to zoom in and focus on even the tiniest of writing, the camera on a cell phone suddenly turns into a magnifying glass.

·       Pictures of health insurance card with policy numbers and contact information for easy access.

·       Contact information and names for the health care professionals that you are working with saved in your contact list.

·       Clinic ID numbers saved as a note.

·       Taking medical information and scanning it into your computer and storing it in cloud storage so that you can access it when in a doctor’s office from your phone.

·       If the clinic or hospital has an app for you to access your medical records, make sure that it is downloaded.

I go back to this, because as much as I want to take this illness and make it mine, not his. I know that he is the one who will have to learn to navigate with it. So I now sit with him at doctor appointments and I let him do the talking, often in the waiting room. I watch him go up to an admission desk and explain why he wants to be seen. Watching him grow into his own advocate, I am proud and in fact those tears now are ones of pride and joy with only a touch of sadness. And as he reminded me after he read this post that he stays positive regardless of the situation because he would rather be happy and feeling physically bad instead of sad or mad and feeling physically bad. The choice is his.

To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,

MS. Simplicity

Melissa is a Productivity Consultant and author living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things! 

Melissa's e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Making a Summer Wardrobe Capsule


There are days that I wish someone could wave a magic wand over my closet and make it all perfect. I am a simple girl with only a few wants. I want to open the door and know that I have the perfect outfit to wear. I don't want to spend a lot of money to make it happen. I want to work with what I have. Even as a professional organizer I continue to look for solutions.

About 9 months ago I divided my closet into seasons. Before that my closet was organized by color and sleeve length. And very organized! But living in the Midwest I really used only half of my clothes in the winter months and the other half in the summer months. I had a spare closet in my house so I had some flexibility with the space. I found out that there is a fancy term for dividing clothes into seasons and you can now use the fancy term too. It is called a capsule wardrobe. If you have never heard of a capsule wardrobe type it in the search bar of Pinterest and you will be flooded with images.

Capsule Wardrobe can be defined as a set of clothing, typically around 30 items that are considered essential pieces to create a wide variety of outfits for all occasions created seasonally.

I do mine twice a year, I do not create ones for all four seasons. Because of where I live, it is difficult to do it four times a year. In May I could be wearing a dress or a sweater depending on the weather. The swing of temperatures can even happen in one day.

Here are things I have used to help me figure out my capsules:

1. Clothes that make me happy. I am done wearing clothes that don't bring me joy. I usually gravitate towards things with color and patterns. Needless to say I am tall and can be found in a crowd with my vibrant clothes.  I want to grab a shirt and be happy when I put it on.

2. Clothes that make me feel beautiful.  Last week I put on two different tops that fit me but were not flattering. Just because it fits is not reason to keep it as part of your capsule. I truly need to feel beautiful in it. I am old enough that I don't need anyone to tell me what outfit makes me beautiful. But just in case I have my best friends that keep it real for me.

3. Focus on timeless pieces. I have one sweater that I have had for maybe four years. In fact I loved it so much I bought a second one as my first one got a hole in it. My closet now contains two basic black dresses that I love. I can put on a different necklace and a different pair of shoes and it looks like a different outfit. True capsules focus on the versatility of the basic pieces.

4. Focus on a number. The blogs I follow on this topic use the number 33. I just counted my clothes and I have 46 items. I do not count shoes, purses or jewelry. The hardcore capsule people do. My goal is to just get my clothing to 33. I know I could easily get rid of 13 items right now if I had to. I have found with my organizing clients that they like have a number as a goal. Pick you number and see what you come up with.

5. Give yourself permission to not be perfect. Going hardcore with 33 pieces is a daunting task for most of us. If you work in a professional setting and go out in the evenings it can be even more difficult. My life is pretty flexible so I don't need to worry about wearing the same thing to work everyday. In fact you will find me wearing some clothes two days in a row because I only wore them for three hours the day before. As long as I am not seeing the same group of people I am ok with that.

The goal in all of this is to realize that you have enough clothes already. We really wear our favorite pieces over and over again. Why not take the time and focus on the ones you wear and removes the ones you don't. I moved the ones I don't wear to another closet. I had already pulled the ones to donate and consign. Some people box them up and donate them after a few months of not wearing them.

Take some time this week to have a look at your closet and start putting your summer capsule together. And don't forget the most important part in all of this, to have fun. Call your friends and make a party of it!

To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,

MS. Simplicity

Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things! 


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What if Hurry and Stress Went Away?

Here is a really bold statement: one day I decided that hurry and stress were no longer going to be a part of my life. I knew that I function at a high energy level. But I am tired, like bone dead tired. I have people tell me that they don't understand how I can get so much done in the regular 24 hour day. Yes I get a lot done but what was the sacrifice? If you looked at picture of me in the last year you can see the stress on my face and body. You could see the weight creep back on my body and the worry in my eyes. I worked hard four years ago sheading more than the weight. But over the last few years it has settled back on my body.

I allowed the stress to come in and take over my day to day operation. It caused me to not have family meal time. It allowed me to fall into bed exhausted every night. It had me awake at night filled with worry and dread. It didn't allow me to go and exercise and sweat out the stress.

But my brain finally said enough. It told me to stop and to start paying attention to what was happening. And the beauty of being aware and waking up is the answer was right in front of me. I felt like Sleeping Beauty waking up after a long sleep.

I have had two friends tell me in the last week that they hope that my whirlwind life calms down. What? I thought that everyone worked at this pace and my life was calming down? I think this hit me in the face last week while I was sitting in an ER with my middle son a thousand miles from home with only hours remaining of putting him on a plane to Hong Kong where he would intern for 8 weeks. I really had to calm myself down. I kept exhaling loudly in the ER. He kept asking me what was wrong with me. I said I am trying to remind myself to breathe. No joke. I found myself holding my breathe involuntarily.

I have had to break the habit of no longer being in a hurry. I thought I only had one speed and it was fast forward. I remember telling a friend in the mental health field that I thought I had ADHD. She laughed at me and told me I was just a busy mom with too much going on.

Here are a few things that I have been doing to rewire my brain and to learn to no longer be in a hurry and to stop the stress.

Start your morning with intention. Take time to meditate, pray or start with gratitude. When I start this way my whole day seems to go better. I like to visualize how my day is going to go and then I go out and make it happen.

Pay attention to your breath. I don't know when I learned to hold my breathe during times of stress, but it is a skill that I have mastered. At times I have had a note on the dash of my car reminding me to breathe. How bad can I be if I have to write a note to remind me?

Remove yourself from toxic situations. If you find yourself gathering around the proverbial water cooler and gathering gossip, stop. Just stop. If you are not supporting and lifting people up in all situations make sure that you take yourself out of the situation. For some it may be not logging onto Facebook for the daily hit of peeking into the private lives that people put on public display. For others it could be delaying replies to gossipy texts.

Find an activity to center you and help bring peace and calm back to your life. I love taking a bath to help relax me. There are some days that I would be in the tub twice. I kept waiting for that Calgon moment to take me away. But even when I was in the tub I wasn't able to escape. I finally found a meditation Pandora station that I would play that would help me learn to relax. In order to bring peace during the work day, my husband takes a walk over his lunch hour, by himself. He is a quiet person and for him to just escape and be by himself relaxes him.

Pay attention to when you are stuck in traffic. When that red light hits and sit in my car and breathe. If I am stuck in road construction traffic I pause and think about what is going on in my life. There is a reason that I am stuck with the traffic of the light or the train, give pause and think about what it is. Don't be frustrated, just sit in the moment and think and perhaps look at the post it note on your dash and remember to breathe.

If you are like me and find your life full of stress and you always seem to be in a hurry, take time to pause this week and simply start to breathe again.

To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,

MS. Simplicity

Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Tale of Two Closets

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times and I had nothing to wear. This is a refrain spoken by women (yes I know I am generalizing but I am a woman so it is my prerogative). I have a large closet with lots of clothes that I mostly don’t wear. Last fall I did an experiment to see what I actually wore. I created a capsule wardrobe with items that would mix and match easily. I removed all other clothes from my closet to an empty closet in my house. It felt good having the empty space in my closet. It was pretty looking at all the color coordinating items in my closet.

I discovered a few things while doing this experiment. First I found I still grabbed only a few items over and over again. I had my boyfriend jeans that hung lose on me and rolled at the ankles. I had my oversized sweater cardigan with the pockets. And I had a super soft long sleeved shirt in a charcoal gray. I felt comfy. That is my style, comfy. Midwest winters get harsh and I wanted to be warm and this outfit worked perfect. I would change my look from time to time by wearing one of my signature necklaces.

Second, I discovered that I still had nothing to wear. Despite my creation of capsules I still looked at my limited items of clothes and struggled. So I did what we all do, I put on the same thing over and over again. It was almost like I had a uniform. I found myself more and more wearing sweats for most of the day. I work from home so few people see me. I also found myself apologizing to my husband as he came home and saw me wearing the same thing every night. I would laugh and swear that I left the house and wore something besides my yoga clothes or my boyfriend jeans cardigan sweater combo.

But why do we wear the same thing over and over again? My capsule of 30 pieces of clothing could easily have been 10. I understand the theory of Pareto’s Principal of the 80/20 rule. I was in fact living it on a small scale. No longer did I decide from 150 pieces of clothing, but from 30. I still picked the same ones over and over.

Oh and those clothes in another closet were not ignored. I would go downstairs and visit my other clothes from time to time. I enjoyed seeing their flamboyant patterns and bright colors. I thought wistfully to myself that I will one day again wear that flower dress and the white jeans that are too small and the fun shirt with the funky pattern. But even with extra clothes to choose from, I really had no desire to even wear them. I still was left with the feeling that I had nothing to wear.

I will say that I am good at one thing and that is not buying new clothes. I had no desire to shop. It really isn’t my thing. I shop just a few times a year and buy my essentials and am happy. If you are discontent with the items in your closet, please do not think that adding more will solve the problem. Having more does not make this problem go away.

I discovered a few other things regarding my thought process that may also go through your head when you have nothing to wear.

I turn to the same comfy clothes all the time. When I do buy new clothes I need to try them on. I need to make sure that the gold thread or the 10% wool or the tag on the back does not itch me. I have plenty of very nice clothes that fit and I simply pass over because the fabric in some way irritates me.

I wear clothes that people complimented me on. It feels good to be told you look nice in something. Yes my hubby is great at the complements but we have been married for a long time and I don’t always ‘hear” him like I should. But when a friend or a stranger tells me I look nice I take notice. This indicates to me that I need to tell people when they look great as well. Today I told the man in front of me in the TSA line that he had a great suit on. He thanked me and quickly broke eye contact as I think I surprised him with my Midwest nice. It feels good to surprise someone with a compliment, so sprinkle those everywhere.

I need to figure out the story with why I am saving clothing. Did I spend too much money on it? Did I receive it as a gift? Did I need to lose 10 pounds to have it fit? Other people may have the story of not having nice clothes as a child, or not being able to afford them. And believe me, I have seen my share of messy closets where the clothing simply cannot be accessed in a reasonable manner.

If you struggle with the same problem I have, take some time to see what your clothes story is. Promise me though that you will not buy any more clothes until you figure out your story. Your story will be individual to you. We all have one. Mine is that I want to look fashionable but be comfortable. I am on the hunt for the comfy and classy wardrobe. I am almost there. The last six months have been a fun social experiment in my own closet and I have learned a lot about my style.

To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,

MS. Simplicity

Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things! 


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