6. Playing with clothes

Only a week had gone by since our last meeting instead of our usual two-week interval. Stella was going to an event on what would have been our regular meeting time. She wanted me to come for an extra visit both to keep momentum going and to help her figure out what to wear to the event.

When I got to Stella's, there was a bit of a holiday atmosphere, we were playing hooky! We weren't doing any work, just playing with clothes.

Stella opened the door saying: ‘You know how I told you that I can't really do anything when you aren't here? Well, I'm really taken with the whole like with like bit, so I do just shift things around so like things are together’

I said: ‘That's great! Just that bit of organising makes the next stages so much easier. AND, I see the living room curtains are still open!’

Clothes as a clutter issue are a difficult thing for Stella. All her professional life is stretched out in closets with bits of her illness dotted in. Until this week, we hadn't touched clothes at all. Stella wasn't ready to 'clear clothes'. But that wasn't what we were planning: We were looking for something to wear. Stella asked me to put on my designer hat.

‘Okay," I said, "Tell me about this event and how you want to present yourself’

Stella gave me all the details and I started going through her closets while she watched. She couldn't touch the clothes herself, but she could watch me doing it.

We found an outfit with which she was happy; made up of things she had forgotten she had in sizes that she thought would be too small. We also found some other clothes that pleased her and could be worn on other occasions.

Oh, and there was a great side-effect: We actually had gone through the whole of her wardrobe, not shifting or pitching but certainly agreeing on some candidates for the toss. The dark spell was broken. The clothes are no longer a no-go area.

We had some extra time, so we did a couple of bags of paper. Stella has been gradually shifting bags of paper down to the ground floor to be sorted.

She described coming back after getting the morning paper on a morning: ‘I come in, pick up the post, put it down in the living room, make a cup of tea. Then I sit down and open the post. '

Real life, quiet pleasures.

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