I spent the morning in my closet. My plan was to straighten up the clutter, put some laundry away and empty the suitcase from our cancelled trip this past weekend. (Damn snow!) Instead, because I got tired of tripping over hangers and other assorted STUFF, I started straightening up. I pulled 8 tall garbage bags of clothes out of my sided of the closet. 8 bags of clothes I haven’t worn in over a year…dress pants I haven’t worn since I retired from teaching 2 years ago, sweaters, tops, dresses, scarves, nightgowns and an embarrassing number of things still had tags on them, stuff I didn’t even know I had.
I carried the first arm load out to our bed and started trying each piece on to see what fit. And then it hit me. Why am I even trying this stuff on? I can’t remember the last time I wore it and most importantly, I have no desire to wear it again so why am I bothering trying them on? Since I retired, my style has changed. My size has changed (more than once!) My activities have changed. What’s the point? Just get rid of it!
The next several armloads went much quicker and when hubby got home this evening he commented that the house must be sick because the closet had thrown up all over our bed! But here’s the thing, it felt so freeing to throw…it…out!
Next stop was the laundry room. Out went all the scrapbooking and crafting stuff that’s been taking up space for the last five years (and hasn’t been touched in all that time) followed by a box full of candles, vases and baskets. Even went through my fabric stash and cut it to a manageable level.
On to the kitchen, Got rid of all the extra coffee mugs we never use and a set of dishes (because who needs 3) along with roughly half of the serving dishes and baking pans I have accummulated over years. Also reduced my cookbooks by about 3/4ths. (Had to keep the church cookbooks because many of those sweet ladies are gone and let’s face it, they have the BEST recipes!)
Why is it so hard to let go?
- It feels wasteful. I have all this new stuff that I bought for a purpose but I’ve never used. Now I’m just going to throw it away? ORRRR, I have all this stuff that someone else might love to have and use. All my scrapbooking stuff went to a friend who is ACTIVELY scrapbooking. The educational toys went to a friend with 2 young girls who homeschools. All those work clothes were donated to a shelter for women who are getting back in the work place. My clutter is their treasure.
- There’s an emotional attachment to stuff. Sometimes it’s about who gave it to you or where you acquired it. Sometimes it’s just that you’ve had it for along time and you feel guilty letting it go. That’s ok. If you really love it keep it! If it brings you joy, keep it! But don’t keep it out of guilt!
- One of the kids might want it. This one’s easy. Ask them if they want it and if the answer is no, get rid of it. Anyone who has ever had to clean out a parent’s home that contains every piece of paper that ever passed through their hands will tell you, “please, get rid of it.
- “You just don’t know what to do with it. We have a number of personalized baby items from our oldest grandson. I’ve also got a box full of jerseys and t-shirts from Youngest Daughter’s volleyball days. This one is hard because (see #2) and it feels disrespectful to throw them out, on the other hand, who is going to want them? There are 2 possible solutions for this. One is to consider upcycling into something else…baby clothes into a stuffed animal, t-shirts into a quilt, but don’t just keep them packed away. That’s clutter. Either do something with them or they need to go!
I am far from done. Still have a couple of bathrooms, several more drawers in the kitchen and the storage room in the basement, which has boxes of my grandmother’s stuff stored. Yeah, about that…
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