Zone Defense Check-in: Your Personal Space

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Zone Defense Check-in: Your Personal Space - a monthly accountability series to help you get your home in order.

Okay, team, it’s time for the monthly Zone Defense check-in. If you showed up for practice a couple weeks ago, you know that this month’s play was to tackle, er, that is, clean up and organize your personal space.

This zone is vast, even if your personal space is theoretically small. Consider these areas that are part of your personal domain:

  • your bedroom
  • your bathroom
  • your clothes closet
  • your purse
  • your car
  • your office or desk, if you have one
  • your health
  • your physical appearance

I had big goals earlier in the month to totally reorganize/clean my office, my closet, and my purse, as well as get a new ‘do. Unfortunately, five kids and I came down with a really nasty cold that lasted about ten days. Monday was the first day I wasn’t ready to hack up a lung. I returned to the gym yesterday.

That said, I did not do all that I set out to do this month. I got my hair cut, but I don’t like it, so it doesn’t count as a tremendous play. My office is still a nightmare, and my purse, well, it needs help.

But, I did clean out my closet!

In fact, it took several hours to go through my closet. I decided to purge mercilessly. That meant trying on clothes that I was unsure about. I learned that shopping — whether in your closet or the store — shopping that produces clothes you will truly wear takes time.

I had two guiding philosophies for this procedure:

  • dress like who you want to be: in this case, not frumpy
  • only keep what you love

Zone Defense Check-in: Your Personal Space - a monthly accountability series to help you get your home in order.

Here’s how I “thinned the herd”, as FishPapa would say:

1. I pulled the things that I don’t like. Gone are the bright green cords, the PURPLE stuff, the button down shirts that don’t fit my wide shoulders, and the embroidered blue jacket that has no pockets!

2. I pulled the things that were stained. This was hard to do. Those items were either things that I like and wear a lot or things that were new. Bummer. I didn’t completely ditch them; I’ve saved them as “playclothes”, days when I know I might be doing something messy but I still want to be comfortable and not totally slovenly.

3. I tried on those things that I’ve been waiting to wear for some special occasion. This meant ditching two brand new dresses that I never wore. Double bummer. Neither was flattering, especially since my shape has changed in the last couple years. Thankfully, I bought them both on clearance, but still that was money down the drain.

4. I ditched the things that fit, that I wear, that aren’t stained, but which make me look or feel frumpy. This was also hard. I didn’t want let go of perfectly good clothing, but I also want to dress like who I want to be. And frumpy is not it.

Zone Defense Check-in: Your Personal Space - a monthly accountability series to help you get your home in order.

Now, I’ve got a big bag of clothes to donate as well as a couple pairs of shoes.

Even in the short time since doing this I’ve noticed that though I have fewer items of clothing than I did before, I’m taking better care of the ones I have. This makes sense. If I only have one jacket, then I won’t leave four in the car to get stepped on by the kids.

My theory is that if you have fewer items, but those that you truly love, you’ll enjoy them more, you’ll take better care of them, and you’ll surround yourself with beauty.

I think that a bag of discards that I don’t care about is a pretty small price to pay in exchange for such a better situation.

How ’bout you?

How are things in YOUR personal space?

Tell us in the comments and feel free to leave a link if you’ve blogged, facebooked, or instagrammed your progress. Hashtag #zonedefense if you like.

Read the Zone Defense archives if you’re just now joining us.

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  1. I cleaned out my closet at the beginning of the month, but I am having separation anxiety about my clothes. I did pull a lot of pieces and donated them. I also stored some jeans that are a bit snug. I am in the middle of training for a Tough Mudder so I have a feeling they will fit that is why I didn’t get rid of them. Not to mention that some have ben worn less than five times and they all cost over $80. Even with all of that I probably need to get rid of 30-40% of the things in my closet for the reasons you listed, but I am having an irrational anxiety attack about doing it. I never had clothes that I liked growing up, and now I’m way to attached. I think it might be time to let go.

    I did however, clean our bathroom and got rid of 75% of the junk there. I threw away a lot and consolidated cleaners and such. I also cleaned our desk. It was WAY ridiculous. My car is always clean minus a couple books, an umbrella and a pair of flip flops. MY purse is a disaster-ish. As soon as I find one I love (money is no object) I’m buying it and keeping it clean. I’ve never owned a purse that cost more than $30 so none have lasted me more than 6 months before they fell apart.

    1. I just read in an de-owning book about tackling the easy stuff first. I thought that was a good idea. Sounds like you did that with your bathroom. Go you!

      1. Honestly Jess, clothes, books and food are the only thing that I have a sentimental attachment to. Everything else I can throw away without a thought. Lately, I have been selling my used books. Everything else doesn’t matter. Im working at it though!

      2. I just wanted to stop by and let you know I did it! I bit the bullet and cleaned out my closet at 10pm on a Friday night! The last straw was when I saw an article about the “40 hanger closet” from Living Well Spending Less. I decided if everyone else was doing it, I could too. I didn’t get down to a 40 hanger closet, but I purged about 30-40%. I think I ended up with 20 hangers off work clothes, dress clothes, and sports jerseys and 45 hangers of all my other clothes jackets included. I feel like I can actually breathe now that it is done, and the clothes will be dropped off to be donated tomorrow morning.

  2. Heehee! Loved the line about kids tramping on sweaters on van floor! I have four kids who think nothing of stepping on clothes on van floor with their snowy boots! Phew! I feel a little better knowing our family is “normal”! : )

  3. I cleaned out my car. That was a major accomplishment. I had one complete bag of trash and another bag of stuff that didn’t belong in the car and needs to go back to its original home. We’re tackling the desk this weekend / Monday.

  4. I have such a complex about clothes right now! I’m pregnant with #2, and my first was born in the fall, so the few clothes I bought last time to get me from maternity to normal, won’t work this time. And each time things fit differently s o I have a whole collection of things I really like, that just don’t fit 🙁 It makes it hard to REALLY clean out the closet.

    1. Don’t worry about your closet. You’ve got better things to spend your thoughts on. Clean out the car or your purse. Those matter more right now.

      1. I am also pregnant right now (#4) so it’s not a good time to really clean out the closet. I have to say though that the non-maternity clothes that still fit me when I’m 7 months pregnant definitely fall in the frumpy category and are going when this baby arrives. (I still have some t-shirts and sweatshirts from college when everything oversized was in. It’s way past time to purge.)

  5. I purged my wardrobe at the start of the month. My closet and drawers were too jam-packed with clothes for me to find anything easily. Into the donate pile went: clothes that don’t fit, clothes that I don’t like, frumpy clothes, and half of my t-shirt stash. How on earth did I accumulate so many t-shirts? Having space and margin in my closet and drawers is so wonderful! I can find things, and everything isn’t wrinkled. The rest of my personal space is actually OK, I had just ignored the closet for too long.