16 September 2009

Out with the Old...

...in with the nothing new.

Sometimes, it is so easy to be bogged down with not only schedules, chores, work, and school - but also by the material goods that we buy to feed the need of satisfaction (or social expectation) in life. Not only do these goods take up space around the house or in storage - they also clutter the mind.

My main source of frustration was my closet - or rather the dresser, the closet, and three storage bins (full of clothes). They took up too much space and I admit that for some of those clothes, I haven't worn them in years. How many times did I stuff clothes into a storage container and say that I would eventually donate them? Countless.  Then, I would continue to rotate them in and out of storage convincing myself that I WOULD wear them (I never did, ever). My husband has told me hundreds (probably thousands) of times to get rid of stuff. Mainly because it would take forever for me to get ready to go to dinner with him. I would change, re-change, and then change again. Goodness, by the time I was done, I was so sweaty I needed to sit in front of the A/C just to cool down. As exhausted as I was, it must have been tiring to watch.

I decided that this was one of life's complications that I could fix. My mission was to get all the clothes that are tried and true in one pile. All the ones that don't fit, aren't in style, or just look terrible on me in another pile. In the third pile were all the clothes I was unsure about. Of course, that pile was the biggest, because I didn't want to single any one of them out - especially if I bought it and NEVER wore it. I sorted the good from the bad, new from the old, and the flattering from the ugly. I got opinions from my husband - who despite his hesitation - told me if something just didn't look good. I was able to slough off the excess clothes. My closet is much simpler. It is so much easier to get dressed because my closet (and 1/2 the dresser) is full of clothes that I know I love and look good in! BUT - my point of sharing this - is that it didn't take much to make my life a little simper. I just stayed focus and kept my eyes on the prize. I so wanted to alleviate a part of my stress (and my husband's) and nothing was going to stop me.

I held myself to some rigid rules:

1. Once I put something into the trash bag, I could not remove it. Resonable.

2. If something was ripped/damaged/stained to the point of no return (ie, never going to wear it, ever) then it HAD to go.

3. Also, once I started the project there was no going back - I could not wait until next month or until Spring Cleaning, it must be finished!

4. And NO clothes were to be put into storage to wait further judgment.

When everything was said and done, I made a new rule for my life:
[Shop conciously and smart.]

How many times, as women, do we try to keep up with the trends, only to find out that they don't look good on anyone that is over a size 2? How many times to we impulse buy something because it looks cute on the mannequin only to find out it should have been left on the mannequin? How many times do we order something online and when it comes, first it looks nothing like it did in the pictures AND they don't fit properly? I can't even count on the two hands and two feet I have. Usually, because of these habits, people are overwhelmed by the amount of things that are weighing down and wearing down their mind and life.

I've began to look at other parts of my life that create some unwanted stress. I realized that there are several things that I can organize, throw out, and pare down. The paperwork that has filled our filing cabinet to the point that it is now bursting at the seams, can be shredded. The endless number of flip-flops in our front hall closet that are broken or destroyed ( and for some reason I keep) can be trashed. And of course, the knick-knacks that I get from the 100 YEN store that are all miniature and make my house look like a grandmothers (at least, in their defense, they have been collecting stuff for 50 years). It all must go. I have an overgrown garden that has taken over my yard (in this case.. my life).

I am reclaiming the parts of my life that are within my control. With so much of my life being out of my control - it has been nice to feel like I have power. I have a piece of my mind back (a much simpler/organized piece). I have space in my mind to remember to tend to the plants on my balcony (they will appreciate that!) and I have space in my house to actually use the work out tapes I am borrowing from a friend (Thanks T!).

How did I become such a pack-rat? Why do I insist on keeping everything??? Is this an intrinsic quality that has been passed down from my family? Is this a learned quality that I got from people in my life? Or is this something that I created on my own? When I stand back to take an outsiders point of view - it doesn't really matter why or how it happened - all that matters that I'm working hard to keep my chachkies, or tchotchkes (yiddish for dust collectors) to a minimum and limit my clothes to one closet and 1/2 a dresser.

Life is full of crap as it is, why make it a literal thing by actually filling our lives and minds with stuff? I say start small. Start with one drawer, one basket, one storage bin. Even organizing that one piece will make your life a little lighter. You won't be worried that your closets will give you a black eye every time you open it. You won't have that twinge of shame when your house guest discovers your junk drawers, closets, AND bins. And you won't be so suffocated with stuff that you, yourself become to overwhelmed to even know where to start.

BUT - if you are one of those people that has a whole basement full of stuff (I won't mention any names) - just slowly start to dig your way out. Stay determined to make your life a little happier!

Challenge yourself: Take a good look at your stuff; do you really need it all? Are there parts of your life that could be simplified? Are there things that you could get rid of? Don't put it off - go and put on those Nike gym shorts and Just Do It! Nothing was more satifiying than dropping off the 6 bags of clothes to the Airmen's Attic. The weight was really lifted! I breath a little easier and dress a little easier - this makes life just...


4 of 6 Bags that I donated!


  1. I'm going home and clean out a drawer!

  2. I needed to put these thoughts out there. I have so many people that talk to me about how they need to de-clutter, that it inspired me to do something about my closet situation and then to write about it.

    And man, did it feel good!!!

    Rose: Yay! For peace of mind! :)