This Life...

P&O–It’s a Good Thing

closet-fullestAbout two weeks ago, my dear friend and favorite obsessive/compulsive, Connie, came over and helped me purge and organize (P&O) my clothing. I have to tell you, she was ruthless with my belongings and at first I was hesitant. But I needed some ruthlessness because even though I purge twice a year, I still had way, way too many clothes. Now me having an overload of clothing is a weird phenomenon because basically, I wear yoga pants, tank tops, and hoodies. Seriously. I work at home. So why do I need 6 pairs of dressy slacks, 10 white blouses, and 20 different sweaters?

Sometimes, I do wear jeans in the winter if I’m going someplace other than the grocery store or post office, and I try to spiff up if I’m meeting friends for lunch or going out on a date with Husband. But honestly, “spiffy” usually entails adding a nice shirt and sweater or a jacket to jeans, so really dress pants are unnecessary. And I wear capris and shorts and sundresses in the summer, both here and at the lake, but  mostly, it’s yoga pants. The only thing that changes is the length—there’s long for winter, capri length for fall and spring, and shorts for summer days of editing and writing.

When Connie and I got started, we agreed that if she held up an item of clothing and it took me longer than 30 seconds to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down, it went into the donate bag or the trash. We went through everything in my closet, all the stuff in my out-of-season closet in the guest room, and everything in my dresser. Sweaters, pants, skirts, shoes, purses, scarves, and yes, even my unmentionables. Six donate bags and two trash bags later, we were through purging, and believe it or not, every item of clothing I own now fits in my bedroom closet. I opened up a whole closet in the guest room, which means guests can now hang clothes in their proper place instead of on the treadmill.

After we purged, we organized. Connie is hell at organizing, something I’ve always appreciated about her, but had never had the opportunity to experiment with until now. Every article of clothing, every pair of shoes, every purse, every scarf has a place where it is neatly folded and stored. I have to confess, I had a little panic attack the first time I did laundry after the great P&O because I wasn’t sure I could get my panties folded and rolled exactly the way they needed to be to fit in my lingerie drawer. No worries, though, I managed quite well and even two weeks and a trip out of town later, I’m still neat and tidy.

I got home from the visit to Grandboy earlier this week, concerned that I wouldn’t be able to maintain the Zen of my perfectly organized closet and dresser. That I’d be tempted to just toss stuff back in from my suitcase as I usually did after a trip. But you know what? I didn’t have the heart to mess it all up, so I took the time to fold each item and tuck it right it where it belongs.

The moral of the story? If you’re drowning in stuff and have tons of clothes that you never wear, if shoes are spilling out of your closet and you can’t figure out what happened to that darling scarf you got for Christmas last year, try a P&O. And for a small fee, I might be willing to rent you Connie. But not right away. We’re going to start on my kitchen cabinets next…


  • Sandy James

    If you’ve been following me on FB, you realize I’m doing a TON of P&O as we get the house ready to sell so we can downsize. It’s agony, but I can’t believe how great the house looks!! However, I’m not worried about rolling my panties. Of that, I can assure you. 😉

    • Nan

      Sandy, I have been following your P&O on FB! Wowza! However, you haven’t truly lived until you’ve rolled panties…really… 😉

  • Carole

    Oh my gosh. It is a relief to know I am not alone in the two closet syndrome. Problem is, I already purged to the tune of 5 bags of clothes and I still have two closets full of clothes. Plus I have a bunch of fancy clothes going to the local resale shop next week. Maybe I can get a little money for those so I can go shopping again for some new summer clothes. See? It’s a sickness.

    • Nan

      Yeah, Carol, it is! 😉 My sister is way into new clothes and shopping. I was with her last week and bought 3 new tops, a pair of capris, and pjs. So not only is it a sickness, it’s also very, very contagious! 😉

  • Kay

    Suggestion – get new carpeting in the entire house and I guarantee, you will PURGE! I’m just praying that the ORGANIZATION part will come naturally when I have to put things back somewhere.

  • robena grant

    I did my big clean out in December. Then I took everything to a non-profit agency here in town. I got to do something nice for me, something for someone else, and got a write-off for taxes. All in all, a couple of days well spent. ; )

    • Nan

      I remember you talking about your purge around the holidays, Roben. I know my stuff is doing good at a women’s shelter here in my town. Great cause and we all win!