Life Coaches Inspire Ladies to Simplify their Closets

Life Coaches Inspire Ladies to Simplify their Closets

(C. Proxmire, Dec. 31, 2012)

A common New Year’s Resolution is to simplify life and reduce clutter.  It’s one of those things that is easier said than done. But for folks in the Ferndale area, there is help.

Recently four area life coaches held a “The Art of Getting Dressed Made Easy” workshop at the Ferndale Public Library. Each presenter has a slightly differently specialty, but all can help add clarity to your life and to your closet. While the event was attended by nearly 40 women, their advice is useful for anyone.

The workshop was organized by Jodi Knittel of Tangerine Road and Karen Batchelor of Open for Life Coaching, with special guest Patty Buccellato of Refined Image and Catherine Hilker of Creating Sanctuary Feng Shui.  Snacks were provided by Western Market, and beverages by Chazzano Coffee, both local Ferndale businesses.

Karen Batchelor, Open for Life Coaching

Batchelor is in the process of downsizing in a big way.  She is in the process of having a “tiny house” custom-built and cleaning out her life to the bare essentials.  The revelation came when she happened upon a turtle in the road.

“I saw a turtle in the road on Lincoln by Nello’s [in Royal Oak].  I picked it up and put it over on the grass.  I thought this must have meant something.  A turtle is always at home, and home is always enough,” Batchelor explained.  The experience led her to look around at her house and realize how much of it is “stuff” that she doesn’t really need.

Fashion-wise Batchelor realized how many clothes and accessories she had.  It prompted her to try something called Project 333, where a person limits their clothing to 33 items, and to stick to those for a 3 month period of time.  “I get overwhelmed by two many choices,” she said.  “If you have too many choices it can be like A.D.D. in your closet.”

Jodi Knittel, Tangerine Road

Knittel is an expert at helping people find their passions.  She got good at condensing her closet when she moved from Salt Lake City to Michigan many years ago. She then moved in with her husband and children, again making organization and space-saving a must.

When sorting out a busy closet, Knittel recommends making four piles:  Trash, Donate, Mend, Keep, and E-tached (Emotionally attached).

Sometimes people keep clothes they will never wear because they are emotionally attached to them.  It’s a very human thing to do, though it can create unnecessarily clutter.  Knittel recommends either (1) re-considering the importance of the item, (2) finding some other way to cherish the item, such as by taking a picture, or (3) storing emotional items in a box separately from your day-to-day wardrobe.

If the task of sorting seems too daunting, it’s not a bad idea to have a friend there to help, especially one that’s not afraid to ask “how often do you wear that?” or “do you really need it?”  Imagining the seldom-worn items bringing joy to someone else who will wear them can also help with the letting go process.

Another thing to consider is the reality that most people really don’t pay attention to what other people wear, or if they do they generally don’t remember it later.  Knittel has several multi-purpose items that she mixes and matches.  For example she’s got just a couple of basic pants that are comfortable and good for business or casual attire depending on the shirts, shoes and jewelry she wears with them.

Another way she keeps her closet manageable is with a purse that has interchangeable covers, called a Miche Bag.  “With the Miche Bag you never have to worry about moving all your stuff from one purse to another, you just find the cover that suits your outfit, snap it on, and you’re good to go,” Knittel said.

Patty Buccellato, Refined Image

Knowing what clothes to keep and what to get rid of can be a challenge, especially if someone is not in tune with their own personal style.  Buccellato regularly helps clients determine which colors and cuts of clothing best suit them.  She also shared a surprising fact:  “People wear 20% of their clothes, 80% of the time.”

“Is there anything in your closet that has not been worn in more than 12 months?” She asked.  If the answer is yes, it may be time to reconsider the value of hanging on to those un-worn items.

She urges people to give serious thought to the colors and styles of clothes that work best for them.  As part of her counseling, she has clients stand before a mirror in good, natural light and hold up colored fabrics to their face, to see how the colors compliment and contrast their features.  At home people can do this with clothes they already own.  Likely they are already drawn to the outfits that make them feel, and look, most vibrant.

Understanding body types can also help pare down clothing choices.  “Look at what your body is naturally and follow garments that relate to your natural shape and you’ll feel a whole lot better,” Buccellato said.  “Use fabrics that fit your body.”

Like Knittell, Buccellato recommends basic, multi-purpose clothing that can be dressed up or down with accessories depending on the occasion.  She also said that picking out clothes the night before can help alleviate the stress of getting ready in the morning, and can help people move away from their typical default outfits.

Buccellato will be hosting an Image on a Dime workshop on Sat. Feb 2, 2013 for $49, where she will reveal even more style-creating secrets.  More info can be found at

Catherine Hilker, Creating Sanctuary Feng Shui

Hilker specializes in creating zen-like spaces, which can include closets.  “What I’d like you to walk away with is to start thinking about your stuff differently.  If we are committed to simplifying, we need to know how to let go,” Hilker said.  She stressed that every item that crosses our path is “alive with our association” and to think about how items make us feel.  “It reminds us of things.  It tells stories.  Either they’re enhancing our life or they are not.  Make sure what it says it nurturing.”

Sometimes people hang on to “stuff” out of a sense of obligation, particularly gifts or family-related items.  But ultimately “our physical spaces are manifestations of ourselves,” she said.

Hilker said that in Feng Shui, the closer something is to it’s original form, the more vitality it has.  A good example is the energy of a live plant vs. a silk plant, or whole foods vs. processed foods, wooden shelves vs. plastic ones.

For her the closet-cleaning necessity hit when she decided to transition from business woman to artist.  “I was committed to my new life as an artist, so the closet full of suits kept me in the past,” she said.  “When you want to make major changes in your life, how do you make your space different to support who you want to be.”

A good rule of thumb, Hilker said, is to move 27 different things in your environment.  “Moving things stirs up change.”

To go along with the workshop, the Ferndale Public Library put together a reading guide which lists several books that are at the Library on the subject of getting organized and simplifying one’s wardrobe.  Ask at the reference desk for this handy brochure.

All of the presenters are available for one-on-one consulting, with more information at the links after their names.

For more information on the Ferndale Public Library, go to

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