I was helping a client with restructuring her wardrobe. The process had an uncanny resemblance to removing cobwebs in the mind, cleaning, reorganizing and polishing it to take up new challenges. Maybe, the mental process and the exercises are symbiotic, and hence, it leads to a sense of well-being. Clutter in the house or wardrobe represents a cluttered mind, which cannot rest easy. There was a symbolism behind the annual spring cleaning ritual, which compelled you to “present your best side to the world”.
Throw out what you will not use, or have not used in the last 3 years.
How many grudges are we holding towards people we may never meet again ? We carry the cross of a humiliation or breach of trust that happened years ago. Re-examine it in a fresh context.
- Are you likely to meet the offender again ?
- Are you likely to be in a similar situation again ?
- If it happens, can you respond from a position of strength today, and avenge whatever-it-was that hurt you?
If you find yourself in a better and stronger place, chuck out the emotion associated with that unfortunate happening. Write everything that you have ever wanted to say on the subject, reminisce on it for a day or two, and then, delete the document.
Return for a last time and Chuck.
Here, we separate the items which can be re-used with some alterations.
When was the last time, you strummed a guitar, or cooked a special dish ? Is there someone who has enjoyed your talents ? Is there a market for a skill which needs polishing up, by taking a refresher course ? Can it fetch you recognition or money ?
You don’t know how to sew a patch on a garment. You know nothing about digital marketing, computer or instructional design. Take up a course, update your skills and you will be better than many freshers on the block. Experience gives you a better perspective on things.
Re-skill, re-use, re-apply and recreate.
Sure, you can be invited to the President’s special dinner or your boss’s daughter’s wedding, and will need that special outfit you have not worn in years. The bridal outfit, heirloom pieces all hold a sentimental value and need to be tucked away carefully.
Do the same with all your happy memories, the inherited values, the lessons learned. They seem so useless and out-of-this world, but carry memories of a happier past. Store them with all the care they deserve, and which you can afford. They form the core of our existence, and you may need to draw on it at some point in life.
Are there any experts out there for restoring a heirloom piece ? And the much-in-demand alteration tailor in the neighbourhood ? What about the stylists, the image consultants, the fashion designers ?
Seek all the help that you can access and afford to keep your mental and emotional health in sound condition. The healer, the therapist, the counsellor, the life and success coaches are all your friends, if they can help in identifying and removing blocks and clearing the path ahead.
Separate sections for your work, leisure and party outfits ? Separate almirahs for seasonal stuff ? Are you creating heaps of trousers, shirts, skirts and jackets on the bed ? And separating the co-ordinates and orphan pieces ?
Those are your different roles in life – professional, spouse, parent, friend, responsible citizen. What is the extent of overlap, clashes and synergy between them. The circles do entwine and meet to create a shared area. That is your real self, the core of your identity which will never change.
Observe your actions, reactions, thought processes and identify the core. You will plan and build your life around this.
Record and Reclassify.
Here, we build workable combinations of different garments and place them together. 5 or 8 garments can give you 20+ looks.
How are the different facets of your personality structured ?
Professional – Knowledge, diligence, competence, aggression, team work, leadership, organized approach, emotional intelligence, obedience.
Social – Teamwork, leadership , cheer, co-operation, bonhomie, organized approach, emotional intelligence.
Family – Emotional Intelligence, affection, co-operation, obedience, leadership, team work.
Do you spot the common characteristics that help you everywhere ? Co-ordination with certain others creates a very attractive and appropriate outfit. You just need clarity on which attribute is to be called for in which situation, and at what point of time. They need to be easily accessible and in usable condition. You can’t tell your boss that you have left behind your aggression or intelligence at home in the safe custody of your spouse, or in the bank vault, and you need to drive back to get it.
Restructure. All the rest falls in place.
You need the right kind of shelves, hangers, lights to keep your clothes in good condition. There is an old adage which says “ Respect your clothes, and the clothes will earn you respect”. Respect your ideas and instincts, and they will take you to the right place.
We need boxes in the mind, which are capable of storage and accessibility, with the allowance for release when needed. We need that sense of unity within ourselves, integrity between our thoughts and actions, and coordination between our different roles to present a confident face to the world.