As you might imagine, I’ve been thinking about clothes. This is primarily because of my upcoming trip to New Orleans which is in, yikes less than two days. Thinking about what to bring and wear is kind of a big thing, especially since I’m going from the dawning of autumn weather here in Rhode Island to the 80s and rainy weather that’s down in New Orleans right now. Instead of packing up my summer gear, I’ve two seasons in my bag to deal with the weather.
Anyway! This has me thinking about clothes and other folks on the internet are thinking about cleaning out closets too. Over at the blog A Beautiful Mess (I love these folks!) Emma made a recent post on cleaning out her closet. And she linked to this amazing 7 questions to ask yourself when thinking of things to dump out of your closets. Now, since I’m a witch and always thinking in terms of witchcraft, here’s my additional tips to links above to help clear out your closet and witchify what’s left. And don’t just think of the following tips as useful only on your wardrobe. These tips can be used in any storage area. I clear out my herb and jar shelves in the same fashion so think of your supply closet when you read the following tips.
Clean and renew during autumn and spring.
Autumn and spring are transitional periods, the birthing and dying parts of the year. Do the same to your home. Changes in wardrobe, home decorations, or repairs should be done around these times. I tend to hang new curtains, add a new pillow, or rotate rugs to different rooms depending on what’s going on. Painting a room is a very common change but at $25/can with the need of at least two cans per room, that’s not exactly as cheap as making a pillow slip cover for $2 and calling it a day. Changing the layout of the furniture is another easy solution (I recently redid my entire flat and it looks great and showcased areas that I need to improve!) In the clothes front, I also tend to I prefer the autumn and spring rather than the winter and summer because of the weather extremes of those seasons – you’re more likely to think of things in a dual fashion “I can wear this most of the year” when it’s not a hundred thousand degrees outside in the dead of summer.”
So how do you witchify that? Chose color palettes that suit the room’s nature. This type of sympathetic magic is incredibly useful and is aided by color theory. My bedroom is the main room I work in. The walls are robin’s egg blue with natural woods. Books cover 60% of the walls and this is the only room with all of my electronics gear, TV and game centers included. I also have two kimonos hung on the wall primarily because they weren’t safely stored when in my closet (one was water damaged and I’m still seeking a proper way to repair it). This means I have a LOT going on in one room. I tied the room together fairly easily by using trees and birds as an ongoing theme throughout this room though and I used that to tie different areas together. Monsters and folklore is a theme of the apartment itself so pillows, a duvet, and one kimono are tied in there (the kimono has tengu on it. A beloved gift from my late mentor). The metallic gold in a huge orange kimono is tied in with throws (and my hair) and is similarly replicated in the pale woods. For rugs I have a few cheap felt rugs that I scatter in different rooms to cover the gray cement floor and a black dyed deer skin by the bed. This gives the room a tamed wildness to it which is pretty great since my greenhouse and large stick drying area is also in my bedroom. All these colors are more consequential but I can chose elements of things that are unmovable (such as the kimonos) to bring out. I chose the gold because it improves my self-image and gets me thinking of new ways to improve the shop. It also helps boost my mood and reminds me of the sun, which is incredibly important as I often suffer from vitamin D deficiency due to my sleeping disorder. If you want pops of color in a room, it could be as easy as picking a single element in something that’s important to you and running with it. If you want to increase the productivity of a room, pick cool whites, sunny yellows, or light reds. To lessen anxiety and stress, go with cool pale greens and blues (and reduce the number of colors and things that break up those serene colors!)
Alter what you’ve got.
We all have things that just don’t fit right and some of us keep those thing around because eventually we’ll be able to alter it so it can fit or be fixed right? Look at those items will a critical eye and decide if you’re actually going to alter that. If you are, remove the item to a “to-do” work pile in a place where you’ll see it all the time but is still out of the way. (Mine’s a laundry basket I see every time I leave my bedroom – but avoid doing this if anxiety is a concern for you.) If you’re not going to alter it, set it aside to give away, swap, or sell.
How do you witchify this? When altering things, it’s easy to personalize it to your needs. When sewing you can easily push energy and your intent into the fabric and thread. Add sigils to the lining of clothing or blankets to encourage things such as quitting smoking or boost moods. (You can even put sigils at the bottom of coffee cups using a sharpie on the outside of the mug.)
Remove your emotional connections to an item.
The reason why getting rid of things is so hard is two fold: one, it’s a waste and the item could be useful at some time, right? and two you’ve built an emotional connection to that item and you don’t want to get rid of that item because of those emotions. What I do is this: I get a box and sort through items and ask myself “What am I going to do with you? What purpose do you have? Where are you from?” Often I don’t have a good answer for that so into the box it goes. Depending on what the box contains, I either donate or sell the items. Craft supplies go to after-school clubs, schools, or local kids I know where clothes are either sold or donated.
This is going to be absolutely the most difficult step to get over. I recommend liberal use of coffee or a similar beverage and just doing it. Another idea that I use is putting this treasured item in a box in some far-off corner of the house. Leave it there until the next season. Does it still hold the same emotional connection? Did you even remember or miss it? Did you look for it? If yes then keep it. If not away it goes.
So you’ve done the thing, now what?
Once you’ve gone through your closet, now you have to evaluate what your closet needs. Does it need shelf liners? New changers? A light source? Do those physical changes first.
Now decide what items should go where and how it should be organized. My closet was custom-made for me when my flat was torn down and rebuilt after a flood destroyed, well, everything. It’s a double depth closet so there’s two clothing bars instead of one. Dresses and special occasional wear or costumes are on the back hook with a few hanging sorters to put pants away and undergarments (I don’t have a dresser). Socks go in a basket on top of a hat box, bags go in a tote, jewelry on a hanging rack or on a top basket of a three tiered rolling basket (the other two tiers hold cardigans). Pajamas and tied skirts are in another three tier shelf. My laundry basket (a tall round wheeling thing) fits in there nicely. This sounds like a lot but it all fits in a four by five by six foot space and that’s pretty good considering I use to make clothes and costumes for a living. That organization system works somewhat well.
My under the stairs closet is far better. This closet holds coats, cloaks, bags, shoes, non-fashion scarfs, and hats hung on walls or tucked in rope tension or hooks. It works fabulously well, is incredibly organized, and still leaves two hooks available for guests to put their stuff in. I can now walk into the closet which is a revolutionary idea. I witchcraft’d the hell out of the system by coating the screws in a tisane for protection, let the dry, and then screwed them in.
Organization doesn’t have to be physical like that. It can simply be organizing by brand, type, or purpose. All your work clothes in one area and your date clothes in another. I have my herbs in alphabetical order on four shelves with a book to ensure I can rapid find out what I have in stock (useful when you have 100+ herbs. My fabric closet is arranged by color first and material type second.
It’s not all about organization either. Once you know what you’ve got, you can decide what you need. Do you need tall brown boots? Are you shockingly out of chamomile and skullcap? I manage these needs by keeping a list on my phone and computer with Evernote but I also keep a list on my fridge with a white board. This isn’t just about refilling what you have but keeps you from buying things you already have. For example, I’ve scraped a crocheting project just last week because I discovered I had arm warmers exactly like I wanted already but I had forgotten existed. Surprise!
How to upkeep it.
Use the Unfuck Your Habitat method of cleaning to keep things neat. Laundry, for example, is a four step process: sort, washer, dryer, put away. It doesn’t seem like it but it is. Using the UFYH method helps keep things organized quickly.
If you bought an item to boost your self esteem and to look fantastic while wearing it but are concerned about safety (heels are great for fashion terrible for running), use sigils and symbols to help yourself out. I wash my laundry with a mixture that helps with protection and encouraging creativity. Just ensure that whatever you add doesn’t dye your clothes. That would be awful.
I use Google Calendar religiously and I schedule in when I put a spell into place that I will want to renew in six months. (That’s a good time period estimate for renewing spells, by the way.) The calendar texts me to remind me to renew the spell and off I go. It works out beautifully.
Here’s some other tips for you witchcraft needs:
Do you have a lot of spell jars you need to keep and no room for them? Add a shelf to an unused wall in your closet and set them up there. For extra security, put two screws halfway along the jar’s heights and tie a piece of twine between them. This will serve as a security net.
Sharpies are the greatest but can and do wash off. Try fabric paint for a long-lasting sigil.
Sigils and symbols don’t have to be hidden! Alter a plain tee into an art piece by drawing a sigil or symbol as the main image on the shirt or along the sleeves.
The ceiling is an oft forgotten section of the house. Use hooks to hang things easily and use that forlorn place. Great for drying herbs. Similarly, you can put a shelf up high along the wall to keep your spell jars, herbs, or tools out of the way of children’s curiosity.
That’s it for this post! I really adore clever storage solutions and I’m a big DIYer so I have to ask: what clever storage solutions do you have?