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My closet's a mess! The sacred art of choosing what to wear by Rabbi Marcia Plumb

In my morning minyan today, before davvening (praying), we talked about the all important topic of.....clothes! One of our minyan had set the task of organizing her closet. She saw it as a silly goal but one she was determined to finally do.

I ask you: in these crazy times of climate crisis, precarious governments, financial troubles, Covid, and organizing one's closet a silly thing to spend time on?

Absolutely not. It is vital.

From a Mussar point of view, bringing seder (order) into our lives is crucial to making a difference in the world. We change the world by starting with ourselves. When the world is chaotic, lessening the chaos in our closets is a first step. Starting the day by feeling overwhelmed by our closets and our homes means we have less energy to manage the craziness outside our front doors.

Menachem Mendel Leffin says: 'All your actions and possessions should be orderly – each and every one in a set place and at a set time. Let your thoughts always be free to deal with that which lies ahead of you.' (Cheshbon HaNefesh – ch. 3)

If we can create a bit more order in our personal physical world, then we will feel freer and more clear headed. It may sound little, but rummaging around for that matching top that seems to have disappeared, or hunting for our keys, wastes our energy, starts our day with frustration, and spends our precious minutes. We might leave the house a bit more rushed, with a bit less optimism, and energy. The world outside our front door gets less of our best self.

Rav Dessler teaches that 'There is seder/order which serves to bring a sense of unity of purpose and action. This is like a machine in which all the parts function appropriately so that the greater whole will function. ' (Michtav M’Eliyahu volume 1, page 92)

An orderly closet, key and charger drawer, etc. is part of what helps us function smoothly in our daily lives. Knowing where things are, and finding them easily, helps us feel more whole. A smooth transition from home to work, school, activism, lunch with friends, etc helps ground and centre us, and leaves us ready for whatever may come in the day ahead.

So, go ahead--start the sacred art of organizing that closet!

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