Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Clearing out the clutter: my two rules

It's still the darkest depths of February, and I don't know about you, but I can't wait for Spring to spring.

I find February the hardest month to get through since I moved to England. At first, it was fine, but now after many consecutive winters, February always feels like that last month before there feels like there is hope of more sunlight and warmer weather. It may be the lack of vitamin D that builds up from October or that fact that February just seems to go on for so long... and despite Valentine's day, several friend's birthdays, and it being the shortest month of the year, I really struggle through it.

One thing I've been working on for the last few years is the accumulation of sheer clutter - clutter in my closet, in my makeup drawer, etc. You name it, I hoard it.

Thankfully you won't see me on any reality TV shows for hoarders, but I struggle to live like normal folk (apparently I have an appalling number of shoes on par with celebrities rather than regular women, but that is a post for another time!)

I was suffering from 'well, it's nice and I may need it one day' syndrome. Actually I still suffer a bit from this, but after hoarding clothes in sizes from UK8-14 since my weight kept fluctuating, I finally bit the bullet and started seriously purging my clothes as I started to lose weight and fit into those 10s and 8s.

Now, you can read plenty of lists on the internet that advise you how you should sort your clothes and what to get rid of. I'm sure if you're interested in de-cluttering or clearing out, you've already done that so I won't repeat those strategies here.

The hard part is when you have some crazy emotional attachment to stuff. That's when you look at an item and think about the good times you had while wearing it, or think about the good times you may still have while wearing it... while conveniently forgetting the fact that you've literally had it for 15 years and every time you try to wear it, you try it on, and decide it's just not right.

So I have now implemented a new rule: Wear all of the things. 

That's right, I will wear all the things I own. Okay, maybe not immediately, and some things will be needed less often than others... ball gowns, big winter coats, or swimsuits, however the rule is so simple and useful. If I need a jumper, and I have a jumper I haven't worn in a while: pull it out. Put it on. If you don't want to wear it, get rid of it. There's a reason you aren't wearing it. In the most quoted lines of the last few years: Let it go!

My second rule isn't really a rule so much as  reminder - Emotional attachment to people is healthy, emotional attachment to objects, especially clothing, is not.

If I get rid of that UCSB hoodie from undergrad days, it does not erase all the good times I had while I was a student. Actually, I am not wearing this hoodie and it's just taking up precious space. I will hold onto the memories and maybe take a photo if I really can't part with it (this applies more to things like presents from people or random trinkets than clothes).

When you hold on to all these things, clothing, books, whatever, emotionally, it really weighs you down. If this is your issue, once you start parting with things and realizing that not only are you okay emotionally after parting with those jeans you haven't worn in 5 years, you actually feel less stressed because you can see what you do own in your closet, easily.

Of course, I am still no where near that perfect state. But I am trying. I will continue working on it. If you are also on that path, good luck. The hardest step to take is the first, but you can do it! Good luck!
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