One simple thing

20150610_081629I bought this basket at Target yesterday to solve the Clirty Clothes Dilemma once and for all. Clirty Clothes is a term my sister coined (I think) for the clothes that aren’t really dirty, but aren’t quite clean, either. They’re in between- they’re clirty.

Clean + Dirty = Clirty

They are the items we wore for  just a few hours and while we don’t want to put them back in our closets or drawers, they aren’t exactly ready for the hamper either.  They end up being hung over a chair for days, or thrown in a laundry basket only to be accidentally mixed in with truly dirty- or truly clean- clothes.

These clirty clothes can pile up after a while, cluttering up our rooms. They are the yoga top we didn’t break a sweat in, the pants we wore to that event for three hours, the white top we managed not to spill anything on that is still, therefore, white. They are the pieces of clothing not quite worthy of being hung back up in the closet, the ones begging to be worn just once more, for a little while.

Clirty Clothes are the pajamas we can wear again before tossing into the hamper, and the socks we wore for a short walk that we took off right afterwards in order to get back into flip-flops.

I decided that Clirty Clothes needed their own space. I was tired of them being the orphans, the not quite belonging anywhere items. For $12 they have a new home, a woven basket that looks pretty in the bedroom- much prettier than clothes strewn about. Clirty Clothes Dilemma solved.   Simple as that.

The Stories We Tell

20150421_193254I have so many things I want to write about, including spring cleaning. I am stubbornly waiting until the weather actually turns spring-like so that I can open the windows and actually call it spring cleaning. Today we are due to get some hail, (yes, hail!)so I continue to walk across my sticky kitchen floor and watch the dust balls grow.

I also want to write about the time I wrote an article on assignment for a magazine. It was about a vision quest in suburbia. Talk about an oxymoron. I remembered the assignment while driving home from writing group last week, after discussing freelance writing. Oh, and there was that, I thought. I’d forgotten about it. And now I want to write about it because it was so bizarre that I have to dust it off and churn the experience into a new story.

And I want to write about writer’s block and how Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way, rescues many writers from this misery. She reminds us, when words become as elusive as water in the dessert, to not call it laziness. Call it fear.

Thank you, Julia Cameron, for reminding us of this when we are blocked. We are not losers! she is telling us.  We are cowards. Believe it or not, this really does help.

I want to write about these things and more, and I will, but I am currently preoccupied with the Moth open mic story telling. I first wrote about my Moth Story Slam adventure in an earlier post here:

Happily, I sold my winning Moth story to an online magazine and am now working on lengthening it a bit, at the editor’s request. They will own exclusive rights for six months, and after that  I can do what I want with it-submit to other publications, blog, etc.

I am still waiting on the date for the Moth Grand Slam where I will compete with ten other story tellers. I think it will be over the summer and I can hardly wait!

In the meantime, I plan to perform again this week at another story slam just for practice, so I am preparing for that, right down to picking out my mothfit

A mothfit is what I now call the outfit I wear to these things.  A small detail, I know, but I reason that it requires at least a little thought.  It should be authentic, and not pretentious. Comfortable, but not frumpy.  Chic, but not shabby.

So after this week, with the story revisions and the Moth Story Slam behind me , I will be free to focus on other writing again.

And it would be great if this coincided with spring making her grand entrance.  Because for me, bogged down by winter’s layers- of clothing, cold, and grime- are dichotomous with writing freely and moving forward, lightly.

Here in New England, we are going to appreciate spring like a blocked writer appreciates fresh words.

When that time comes, I will throw open my windows. I will wipe away any dirt and excess, and clear the way for the sunshine and the muse to come through, light and warming. Because this simplifying thing, it really does work.

Closet Clarity

I love clothes, but I don’t like the idea of hoarding them.  I only want what I wear and I want to like everything that I own. This past spring, I’d weeded out  any clothes that I no longer wear, but my closet just wasn’t quite organized. I had hangers made of wood, wire and plastic in every color. This, along with some randomness of where each type of clothing was hung, contributed to a visual disorder which can be a subtle yet real energy drain.

So I spent the better half of one day really going through the entire closet. I put my scarves and hats and gloves in hanging shoe holders, and then gathered hangers of the same type and color for different categories of clothing. Dresses on black hangers, shirts on white, and so forth. I hung things in order- pants, then sleeveless tops together, followed by short sleeves, long sleeves, then sweaters. 20141030_102612  20141110_160859

Once the job was complete, I knew every piece of clothing that was in the closet. I didn’t just have a bunch of clothing; rather, I was mindful of what I had and I knew that it was enough.  I had seen, held and hung every thing I could possibly wear, and it made me want to make use of it all, rather than accumulate any more.

When I enter my closet now, I know exactly where to go to find what I want.  A few hours may sound like a long time to spend on a closet, but as far as I’m concerned, I have saved myself future shopping trips to buy clothes I now know I don’t need, as well as given myself a new appreciation for the ones I already have. All of them favorites, neat and orderly, and mine for the taking.


Without darkness, we wouldn’t know light. And without winter, how would we know spring? The sun is out, the wind and snow have relented, at least for now, so bring on the spring cleaning! I am so ready to shed layers and dust and stuff. It’s not truly spring cleaning until we can open the windows, but I’m going to start somewhere.

A donation truck is coming through our neighborhood tomorrow, so that gave me extra incentive to get started now. I personally like to start with my bedroom.  Yesterday, I went through every piece of clothing, and even tried on the questionable ones until all that was left was what I really wanted.   It brought back the memory of when my daughters were little and I’d have them go through their clothing at the start of each season, figuring out what still fit and passing on what didn’t to their younger sister, or donating it. They used to call this the fashion game, and they had fun with it.  This sorting became a seasonal habit that stuck with themLast week, one of them told me her college sent an email to the students, suggesting they bring home some winter items when they leave for spring break. “It’s like my mother talking”, she said. Of course she was planning to go through her stuff and bring home her winter items. 

Seems there are always those clothing items that sit in a drawer, untouched.  Yesterday, I finally let go of my camisole tanks.  They’re pretty. I like them. Except that I never actually wear them. These camisoles are meant to be worn under other tops. That makes two tops, plus an undergarment. That’s three layers.  I really just don’t like layering. And if you are going out, you probably need a coat or a sweater. There’s four. How can we ever get to the important stuff of life if just getting dressed requires four layers?  I can hardly stand to put on my winter coat, in fact, which is a bit of a problem in New England from, say, November through March. (It has been my mission to find the thinnest possible winter coat that is still warm). So after offering the camisoles to my daughters, (can you believe they turned them down? I mean, who doesn’t want their mother’s clothes?!) I put them in the donation bag.  I also purged a purse and a few tops and jeans that really never fit right and a pair of shoes and a few other things.  Oh and I finally got rid of my ski pants. I loved these ski pants at one time in my life-the time that I skied.

My shorts still sit in a bin in my closet, and I think they’ll be there for quite a while longer. But the clocks were moved ahead today, and spring beckons.  It was actually somewhat comfortable outside and there is a collective sigh of relief, almost joy?  Once my clothes were bagged up, I dusted and vacuumed and changed the sheets, and voila. Master bedroom, check.  Next time, the kitchen.   If you clean it, spring will come.  That’s my motto this month.