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Are your skinny jeans making you fat?

Melissa Schmalenberger, Ms Simplicity columnist

The more I work with my clients, the more I realize that our homes are metaphors for our inner selves. While my business focus has been on the entire home, I am now narrowing my focus on kitchens and closets.

These two areas of the home can hold us back on living our best, healthiest lives.

Look in your closet. Our possessions tell a story and have an energy to them. Don't believe me? Start by holding an item that belonged to someone close to you who has died and see how it feels. Do you feel a happy or sad emotion? Chances are there is a strong emotion attached to the item.

Now look at your own clothes. Open your closet door, and what is the feeling you get when looking at your clothes? If it is stress, stress creates cortisol in our bodies which can add that lovely belly fat. Next you will be touching each of your items and discover what your behavioral patterns are.

Is your closet full of clothes with the tags still on? Are you buying the clothes because they were on sale? Are you buying them with hopes of one day fitting into them? These are patterns that you want to take a look at and think about.

Is your closet full of clothes that are too big? Why are you holding onto those clothes? Are you thinking that one day they will fit again? That is dangerous thinking. Because guess what? You probably will if your attitude is that you will regain the weight.

Is your closet full of clothes that are too small? How do those clothes make you feel? If your skinny jeans fill you with hope, keep them. But if your skinny jeans fill you with dread and guilt and all you want to do is eat a cookie, get them out of your closet!

Is your closet full of clothes that no longer fit your personality? I have transitioned from a boring style to one that exudes sass. Yet I still have some clothes that are boring. I have been purging those drab and boring clothes little by little.

Do you look at your clothes and see nothing to wear? Why is that? Go and review the above points and see if any of those resonate. Or perhaps it is a financial reason? I have a friend who buys her clothes at a thrift store and she look fantastic whenever I see her. We laugh as she points to her sweater and says she bought it for 80 cents and I look at my shirt and say I paid $50 for it. Don't let cost hold you back to having a closet with clothes that excite you.

The story our clothing tells is often an emotional one. One that is hard to tackle alone. See if you can find a friend to walk through the editing process of your closet. You also may need to call an expert to help. I do one-hour closet consultations or the entire closet. It is a fun process that lightens your world. My client's energy shifts as we get rid of the clothes by discussing the behavioral patterns.

Once your closet contains a well-organized wardrobe full of clothes that make you feel fantastic, you will discover that you enjoy getting dressed in the morning and walk with your head held a little higher. Let's stop the cortisol roller coaster and open the doors to the closet and feel joy towards our clothes.

Ms. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger is a professional organizer based out of Fargo and author of "Organizing in Simplicity: Kitchens." Email her at