With April just around the corner we begin the process of getting our homes ready for Passover. The holiday requires much preparation and in-depth cleaning. It is also a special time for family to gather and celebrate the holiday with beautiful rituals and special foods.
While you take the time to prepare your home for the holiday, think about taking a step beyond the basic vacuuming and dusting that you typically do. For example, what’s in your front hall closet? When was the last time you emptied out every item in the closet including the shelf with the scarves, hats, gloves, flashlights, and umbrellas? When your guests arrive for the Seder, do you have any space or extra hangers to hang up their coats, or do you throw all of your guests’ coats on your bed?
In order to make The Coat-Closet Challenge productive, you need to dig down deep into your soul when you examine every article of clothing that you pull out from the closet. For example, let’s start with your winter coats. How many do you have? When was the last time you wore each of them? Do they bring you joy when you put them on?
I was taught to purchase good quality classic clothing that lasts and does not go out of style. For those of you who know me, you have seen me in my Lands’ End coat in an awful/dull shade of blue (what was I thinking) that I’ve had for at least 20 years. I can’t kill the thing, but guess what? It keeps me warm and it’s my go-to coat when I am dressing casual. And did I mention that it’s machine washable?
Even though I hate the color, it does stand out in a crowd and my husband is happy that I have one fewer item in basic black in the closet. Would I give it away? Not until it falls apart. Bottom line, I wear it and it keeps me warm. I remember lending it to my niece during a trip to San Francisco and she commented about how “cozy” it felt to wear. In the case of this particular coat, there are enough joyful reasons to keep it. Can you say that about every coat in your closet?
Both my parents were products of the Depression, so their mentality was to keep everything because some day the “bubble may burst.” I did not inherit that gene; for me less is truly more. I don’t keep an abundance of clothing; therefore, cleaning out my front hall closet was an easy task. I ended up donating a few scarves and some pairs of gloves. I found umbrellas that were broken and hard to open so they got tossed. I am waiting to get a second shelf installed so that we can keep the hats separate from the gloves and scarves, but for now it works. And better yet, if you were to visit my home wearing a winter coat, I have room to hang it up in my front hall closet.
You may read this and think to yourself, “It’s just a closet, what’s the big deal?” Well here is my take on it…how we maintain our home is a reflection of who we are. How do you want to present yourself? If you are feeling overwhelmed with clutter and too many visual distractions, it can detract from your ability to concentrate, be productive, and bottom line you don’t know what you have. So start small, pick a specific space in your home—and go for it! I am confident that you will feel great when you accomplish the de-cluttering process of just one space!
And for goodness sakes, enjoy the holiday with your loved ones and let them know just how special they are to you. Give them each a big hug and tell them how much you love them. Please let me know if you take the coat-closet challenge and how it worked for you.
Eileen Bergman is a Professional Organizer located in Northern New Jersey. She may be reached by e-mail at [email protected] for feedback and suggestions for future articles.
By Eileen Bergman