5 Decluttering Questions!
Imagine this: You fill a big suitcase (the one that always weighs more like 55 pounds when you check it at the airport) and, while it's still summer, you cram it with all the fall and winter clothes you didn't wear last year. Probably many of the garments haven’t been worn in several years. If you haven’t worn a garment in the last year, what makes you think a year from now you will?
If you did this, you'd lose 55 pounds of clothing that was otherwise clogging your closet and if the suitcase is an old one that's probably seen its last flight, you could drop the whole, thing off at Goodwill, You'll feel 55 pounds lighter spiritually! Clutter is the biggest destroyer of peace and decluttering closets, cupboards and drawers brings a peace that money can’t buy!
I did this myself and about half the stuff I packed in a travel-worn suitcase was just not me anymore. Like the linen, Kasper suit, that has beautiful classic lines that don’t go out of style, but it just didn’t fit my style anymore. (I was tickled it still fit my body!) I bought it at least 20 years ago as a "speech suit" and I probably spoke in it 25 times. Today when I speak, I wear casual clothes.
One dress that went in the suitcase, I’d bought to wear to a big deal occasion several years back. My good friend Marla Cilley, the Flylady, had invited me to speak at an event put on by Yahoo to celebrate Flylady’s reaching 500,000 Flybabies through email. I think I got too excited about the affair, because the dress was more like something you’d wear if you were a queen at your coronation.
As I was packing that suitcase, knowing all this was going to Goodwill, I asked some great questions of myself and I thought it might help you if I shared my questions and my answers.
1. Has my lifestyle changed since I wore this?
In the case of the linen suit, my answer was “yes.” I have a basic black dress in a polished-cotton that I can scarf up or down, (sparkly scarves for evening, pastels for spring and summer, red for winter and orange for fall).
I also quit wearing 4” heels when I speak (I always ended up kicking them off mid speech anyway).
2. How long has it been since I last wore this?
A good test of this is to put the garment on and go show your dog. As you model it for him/her, if he gets a confused look on his face you’ll know it’s been too long since you’ve worn it and probably means you never really liked it in the first place.
3. Why have I kept this so long when I never wear it?
I had to ask this one a lot as I handled each garment that ultimately ended up in the suitcase. The answer that kept surfacing was: ‘It was on sale and for that price I couldn’t pass it up even if it was too small. And besides I always wanted to be a size six like Molly Cutter (a high school cheerleader who was so cute and petite). And even though I never have been (and never will be) a size six, I’m an eternal optimist. But at some point it was time to admit, I’m a size eight and that’s just fine with me.
4. What if I regret giving this up?
This question came directly from Nelly, my inner child.
As we grow older, we can still carry dreams or remnants of dreams we had when we were young. But thank goodness, our dreams can change and as they do, there is a peace that comes when we let go of dreams we’ve outgrown. Looking at that size six dress I’d never worn, I saw what power that garment had in holding me to a dream I’d outgrown. So ultimately my answer to the question, “What if I regret giving this up?” was, I won’t.
5. How will streamlining my closet help me be happier?
Clutter causes stress and stress saps energy. I’m a living breathing believer that the less stuff I have the more peace I have. By streamlining my closet I have given myself the gift of happy dressing every morning.
I feel like I have a new closet and a new wardrobe. I read somewhere that women wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. I’ve just allowed myself to wear 100% of my clothes 100% of the time!
Thank you for reading my blog! I hope I’ve inspired you to lose at least 55 pounds today and I hope you brag to your friends that you did. I believe clutter is one of the biggest sources of stress in our society. It saps our energy and raids our hearts of the natural peace we are meant to have. Because of your interest in this subject, you might like The Joy of Being Disorganized, especially the chapter title is: There Arose Such a Clutter. It's one of my favorite chapters in the book and will really help you get free of clutter once and for all.
Here's a blog I wrote about ways to declutter your home: