“And why are you anxious about clothing?”

by DanWolgemuth on January 12, 2024

A new year. Fresh starts. And yes, more courageous evaluations of current priorities.

In fact, we generally start a new year with what Mary calls, The Purge. This is where we freeze, gift, or discard any remaining food items that no longer fit into our “get thinner, get fit” New Year’s plan. What I’ve discovered over time is that this simply accelerates my ambition to consume more of these items before the ball drops. I say this confessionally, and accurately.

In addition to our classic purge, this year we turned our attention to our closet. This is a space we know well, and have utilized fully. With all manner of clothing stored and displayed appropriately. But a few fresh Christmas gifts ignited a desire to inventory and audit each of our wardrobes. So, again, game on with the purge idea… this time with clothing!

But this year we did something entirely different. In the past I have approached this task by cherry picking a few obvious items that begged to be relocated to Goodwill. However, unlike previous attempts at this process, we completely emptied the closet. Everything out. Everything.

Then, after a thorough, and Mary managed cleaning, we began moving items back in. Think of it as the wardrobe equivalent to zero-based budgeting. You start at zero, and only add what justifiably belongs. This included trying on items, checking for wear and tear… and considering current fashion trends (a hopeless consideration for me).

Items that didn’t make the cut went to one of three locations… some items were earmarked directly for our next Waste Management collection. The second batch were pointed toward a Goodwill delivery, and finally, some items were placed in a closet in our guest room, as a means of “staging” them before deletion. You know, just in case I might change my mind. To which I now confess that I don’t remember what’s in there. Alas.

This is a first for me, unless a move was imminent, and even then, I fear that I packed what was no longer useful or relevant. Honestly, some of those items were still in my closet!

Don’t worry, I maintained a firm grip on some of those outrageous clothing items that are tattered, but nostalgically significant. But I also endeavored to approach other items logically, and honestly. Like a tie collection that I’ve maintained with roughly 40 ties. Some of them are wide enough to cover nearly my entire torso. Time to purge… silk and all.

The outcome was stunning, and again, confessionally, a bit embarrassing.

The questions that I attempted to press firmly into the consideration grid were these… “Do I need this?” “Would I wear it again?” and “Would this be of better use to somebody else?”

And now that my closet is purged and prioritized, I have noticed a collateral impact on the rest of my life. Other areas that need the very same evacuation and evaluation. A zero-basing of my priorities to enable an appropriate reset. Yes, body, mind… and soul.

So today, another Friday. Another Fragment. Consider this my 2024 diary entry. If it encourages, inspires, or challenges anyone else… all the better. Yes, often before a fresh start, an honest purge. I needed it.

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matthew 6:28–29)

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