07 Jan, 2014
A peek inside my closet, and promises I’ve made to myself
See. I told you that I haven’t been able to shake this resolution thing from my brain.
I’m 41 years old and I’m finally a bit closer to figuring out what things (a) make me feel healthy (b) how to turn those things into a routine that sticks. You’d think that I’d know all of this by now. Perhaps that’s the trick to resolution success: knowing yourself.
I know that I’m more motivated by rewards than by punishment, so that’s something I need to take into consideration if I want to make changes. For example, I’ve been pretty good with my “treadmill before Facebook” idea. It totally works for me, just like a carrot works better than a stick.
Speaking of habits, I want to talk about my closet today.
When we renovated our house, we knew right off the bat that we all needed more storage space, especially in the bedrooms. So Mark got his own closet and I got a small walk-in. This is what my closet looks like with the door open:
Sweaters folded on the top, knick-knacks and doo-dads at eye-level (think lip glosses, pocket change, hair elastics etc.), folded jeans, a row of purses, and big baskets for socks and underwear. You can’t see it in this picture, but there’s a rail and a shelf on one side, and a shelf and two stacked rails on the other.
This closet has changed my life. Everything I own has its own place now, which has allowed me to stay (more or less) organized and tidy. In designing this small space, the idea of knowing myself has helped me make some changes I really needed to make. I know that I need things to have their own place, and that this makes it easier for me to tidy as I go, instead of a weekly hurricane of tidying.
What else is in there that’s helped me? Lessee. There is a big hamper for dirty laundry, with a lid. Baskets for socks make laundry day a little less onerous. There is a garbage can in my closet too. (This has been HUGE. Tissues and price tags and wrappers are all disposed of immediately.) There is a bag for charitable donations, so little-worn clothing goes straight in there and it’s easy to cart away. There are hangers that are coated with fuzzy stuff so hoodies and t-shirts don’t slide off (I need more of those). And there’s this note that I’ve posted inside my closet where I can see it every day:
These are promises I’ve made to myself recently. I could have added more – like treadmill time or remembering to eat breakfast – but I decided to focus on these things for my closet post-it.
1) Vitamins: I’m taking vitamin D and B complex.
2) Fresh air: a daily walk is good for my body and good for my brain.
3) Water: I’m not going to go overboard. This is more about being better tuned to my body and not letting myself get thirsty.
4) The one-line journal: this is something I’ll write more about this week.
And then there’s this:
5) Be Myself.
I think this is one of the most important things on my list.
There is something to be said for self-improvement. I think it’s good to challenge yourself and try to be the best person you can be, but trying to become something you’re not is a whole different ballgame.
Some of you are probably familiar with it already, but Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, changed a few things for me in this regard and it has helped me be more content.
It’s essentially about introverts. I’d never really thought about it much before but society tends to apply greater value to extroverts. Consider how many people admire Hollywood actors, people who know how to turn a phrase on camera and who are always the life of the party. But the fact is that society needs both introverts and extroverts for our world to function. The world can’t consist solely of salespeople and motivational speakers, there also need to be thinkers and wallflowers.
Surveys I’ve taken seem to indicate that I’m squarely in the middle (a so called Ambivert) and I have qualities of both introverts and extroverts. But I’ve been beating myself up about those “introvert” qualities for a long time now. Constantly forcing myself to be an extrovert isn’t doing me much good either. It’s time to stop.
I have finally realized that I can choose to be plagued by feelings of inadequacy, or not. I have decided to let go and be happier with who I am from now on… because when you let go, there’s room for other things.