Cleaning out the closet and other personal pruning

The weather seemed to be finally on the upswing again which meant it was time once again to revisit my closet to ensure that my warmer weather garments were within easy access.

As I looked through the hangers it suddenly hit me that there were still items I had owned years before I had ever met my husband. We celebrated our tenth anniversary last year and didn’t exactly rush through the dating process, so these items could almost be described as vintage!

My husband complains about our closet size. Yes – please note that my husband is the one who thinks we need more space, not me. So why was I holding on to these items which essentially are just taking up space? It is not like I can wear them anymore, they are either too small, too revealing for work or too… err… young (that last one was hard to admit).

Club Belo 80s Fashion show San Diego
Club Belo 80s Fashion show San Diego (Photo credit: Network23 Photography)

I supposed I’ve held on to them for so long out of sentimental purposes. When I was sixteen years old I looked outstanding in them, and I knew it. Putting those garments on was like wearing confidence. I didn’t have bills to pay. My only responsibility was to keep my grades up and occasionally take out the garbage. I wore them during some of my best outings with friends. Getting rid of them now felt the same as admitting that those times were long gone and would never come again.

But, as I hovered in indecision, I had to realize that whether I wanted to admit it or not, time had advanced. I had grown, my friends had changed, and the cloth was not only faded but actually stank a little from lack of exposure to fresh air. If I did magically drop a dress size, I would want to reward myself with a brand new wardrobe, not be forced to wear my own hand-me-downs.

Clothing Donation
Clothing Donation (Photo credit: jazzijava)

As I began to throw the clothing on the growing donation pile, I felt free in a weird way. I still had the memories of those good times, but now I had all this open space that I could fill with something new, not just a poor copy.

How often do we continue to look back at the things we used to do and try to force a repeat just because the product, process, or program one time fit us like a glove? The market changes the same as the fashion industry and our waistline. Sure the trend might come again, but what worked for you or your company’s growing years rarely will still work the same way for you or your company’s established years. Product offerings, processes, and programs should be evaluated just as routinely as clothes in the closet.

How often do we as authors cling to clichés, a scene, or phrase we positively loved writing, but text which serves no useful purpose in the final product? I know all to well how much it hurts to hit the delete key when you have a certain word count goal in mind, but it has to be done. Imagine you have time for gardening. If you want certain plants to grow and bear fruit, you have to occasionally cut away the errant shoots.

There is a saying that nature abhors a vacuum. Provided you create an opening, something new will come around to fill it. It may very well be as good a fit if not better for the person you are today, the business you are trying to grow, or the story you are trying to write, than what you had.


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