I gave my closet a Queen Sweep

I said goodbye to a part of my life last week.  

And I felt really, really sad.

I went through my closet and pulled out a whole Ikea bag full of clothes.  Anything that doesn’t fit, that I don’t actually wear– yanked.  Anything that pinches, or sags, or doesn’t make me feel pretty– pulled.

Then I sat and looked at that bag for a long time.

The thing is, I’ve gotten pretty good at throwing things away.

I LOVE the spaciousness and open air that comes when we make room for new things.

After working with the Queen Sweep principles for more than five years now, I know that the sting of letting go is nothing compared to the sweet graciousness of living in a home that has room and space for beauty.

I’ve learned the joy of a life that is more art gallery, less cluttered second-hand shop. 

But it was hard to let this Ikea bag go.

You see, the clothes in that bag were from a very particular part of my life, when I was living in Tokyo, doing voice-overs, and moonlighting as a consultant for fashion and makeup companies.  I went to fancy parties, drank a lot of free champagne, and wore high heels every damn day.  My closet was full of elegant, stylish clothes to fit my rather lovely lifestyle.

Then the earthquake hit (if you’re new here, you can read more about my story here and here) and I moved suddenly to Portland.

Soooo much has changed about my life in the past few years.  And those changes are so, so good.  My daughter and I are thriving in this beautiful green city, we have a wonderful community, and I’ve grown my little coaching hobby into a vibrant, delicious business.

The fly in the ointment?

I never, ever wear high heels any more! 

For one thing, it rains.  And when it rains, the whole city is covered in mud.  Plus most days I work at home now, on the phone with my clients or writing things like this.  The big social event of the day is walking over to the school to pick up my little girl at 2:15, and then hanging out with the other parents on the playground.  Where there is LO BEHOLD EVEN MORE MUD.

And Portland is just more of a boot city.

And also I am about 3 sizes bigger than I was when I lived in Tokyo.

So anyway, for all these reasons, it was time to do a Queen Sweep of my closet.  (You’ll do this too in Week 3 of The Queen Sweep!).  And it was good.  But it was HARD.

I felt all these Big Feelings.

Sadness.  Loss.  Missing my old friends.  Missing my parents, who still live in Japan.  Missing those elegant crepes lunches, the ones with egg and spinach French crepes and a glass of wine with my dear friend.  I just missed it.  I mourned that part of my life.

And so I let myself just feel those Big Feelings.  I let myself feel really sad, and also feel a little silly for feeling so sad, and wish I were still a little twiggy fashion person, and then remember that I really like food, and decide my body is beautiful now it just needs bigger clothes, and that is okay, and then feel shallow for caring so much about clothes when people lost their homes in the earthquake and I have a beautiful home and and and– and I just made room for all of it, because that’s powerful magic.

And then I took those clothes downtown and tried to sell them.

AND THEY DIDN’T WANT THEM.

My beautiful investment suits– no thanks.  The samples from designers themselves– nah. They did buy two H&M shirts, though, for $10.

I had a moment of lurching humiliation.  For a moment I felt l foolish, and stupid, and embarrassed.

But in that moment I just decided– screw it.  Pearls before swine, baby.  Their loss; they didn’t know what they were missing.  They couldn’t even see the value of what was before them.  But I could.

So then I had a Naked Lady party, and gave my pieces away to my friends, and walked away with some amazing new things myself, all for free.  And what’s left from that time in my life will go to women who are looking for jobs, and that feels good too.

Sometimes it’s hard to let things go.  Things can hold memories, meaning, love and guilt.

But when we let them go, and we also let ourselves have the feelings, and mark them in some way– by taking a photo, or kissing the item we’re letting go, or writing about it like I’m doing right now– we end up with more spacious insides.   With lots more room for laughter and love and new possibilities.

And it is sooooo delicious.  And I want that for you too.

So if you haven’t signed up for The Queen Sweep yet, be sure and do that right here.  (It’s free!  It’s SO fun!!!  And it could just change your life.)


Wishing you a glorious wardrobe, some spring flowers, and big swoops of beauty this week.

much love, 
Anna

P.S.  I decided to keep the heels, by the way.  I decided they’re closet art, and they bring me joy.

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Hey there, I'm Katherine.

 I’ve got five kids, I’m a queer feminist, and I just might be the only life coach in the world who doesn’t believe in the Law of Attraction.

I write things for women with big, gorgeous, COMPLICATED lives.

I help women become epic fucking badasses… but I still retain my right to cry at every diaper commercial ever made.

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