Project Louise: Clearing The Clutter, In Both Closet And Brain

OK, so maybe cleaning a closet isn't a huge workout. But it does wonders for the mind. (Derek Jensen via Wikimedia Commons)

OK, so maybe cleaning a closet isn’t a huge workout. But it does wonders for the mind. (Derek Jensen via Wikimedia Commons)

By Louise Kennedy
Guest contributor

Wow, two weeks in a row where something works! Maybe I really did turn the right corner this time.

Once again I committed to exercising on Sunday, and once again I did it. Inspired by Carey Goldberg’s playground workout, I lunged and planked and pulled myself up, in between pushing my daughter on the swings.

Then, when my son finished mowing the yard and asked me to rake up the grass clippings for him, I saw it as another great chance to keep moving – and challenged myself to do it as fast as I could. Yeah, I got a blister. But I also felt great.

I think this is the key: I don’t much care for working out. But I do like to work. And I like to play even more.

The thing about my Sunday activities is that I was actually accomplishing something – not just getting some exercise, but spending time with my kids and making the yard look better. So the exercise I get along the way doesn’t feel like time stolen from things I’d rather be doing, but rather like an integral part of those very things.

Now I just have to find ways to move more during the week. (Hello, treadmill desk – you may just be next on my list.)

My other pleasant weekend activity was a closet purge – well, the start of one, anyway. I always do a bit of wardrobe pruning when the seasons change, but this time I am determined to be really ruthless. Once I’m done, there will not be a single item in my closet that is just OK, or good enough for hanging around the house, or not really my color but who cares. If I don’t love it, it’s leaving.

This means the cleanout is taking me a bit longer, because I have to try everything on, and I’m also taking the time to find the right spot for everything. (In a circa-1880 closet, this is harder than it sounds.) But it feels worth it, because I can envision the result: a closet that feels organized and makes me happy, rather than a hodgepodge of beloved regulars and ragtag also-rans.

Do I wish that all these beloved regulars were in smaller sizes than they are? Yeah, but that’s not stopping me from organizing what I’ve got now. When I get smaller, I’ll rearrange again. But this is the size I am now, and I deserve to have only clothes I love.

Wait a minute. Who is this person? I don’t know if you can tell, but I am not quite sounding like my old self here. “I deserve”? “When,” not “if”? What do you know, I might actually be changing after all.

And here’s another change: Next week, I am taking a full day off from work just for myself. I’ll be attending a “Business of Life Workshop” led by my coach, Allison Rimm, that promises to help me “bring all of who you are to what you do.”

The registration fee is a bit of a stretch for me, and it’s definitely unusual for me to take a day off except for sickness or a family vacation, but this feels important and worthwhile, and I am looking forward to it. I’ve been talking with Allison for months about creating a vision statement and building a strategic plan – well, that’s what she teaches people how to do in this workshop. So it feels exciting (if a little nervous-making) to know that I’ve now made an official commitment to getting the damn thing done.

I can’t wait to tell you how it goes.

Readers, do you have a vision for your life and a plan to make it happen? And do you find yourself making any lasting changes as a result?

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  • Bella

    I usually make a vision board every year. Just as a way to think about my goals and keep them at the top of my mind.
    I have been tracking on Sparkpeople still! 9 days now. It just takes a few minutes a day, and is working so far. And today it was nice because I planned all my meals and logged them in the morning, so when I was leaving the gym this afternoon starving, I could see what my dinner was and get right to making it instead of staring into the fridge.
    I went for a hike on Saturday, up Mt. Chocorua in New Hampshire, and was surprised (although I’m not sure why) to find that my work at the gym these past few months has made hiking easier and more enjoyable. That was a nice way to connect the 2, and give me motivation to go to the gym on days I might be waffling.
    Have fun at the workshop!

    • Louise Kennedy

      Thank you. And congratulations! Sounds like you are really starting to see results – and great work on the tracking!

  • Marissa Evans

    I’m so delighted to read about your progress Louise! I was reading and thinking “she sounds like a whole new woman.” Go Louise!

    • Louise Kennedy

      Thank you, Marissa! It’s funny — I was writing quickly yesterday, somewhat stream-of-consciousness, which is not always how it goes with me, and then I really did stop and think, “Whoa! Who is this?” But I’m liking her, whoever she is.