Yesterday, I sorted my space saver bagged clothes into three different sizes. Small, medium and large; for the different sizes I’ve been throughout my life. I’m clearly in the large stage at this point in my life. Ironically, the bulk of my bagged clothes are in the small size. So I’m storing clothes for some point in the future. I know this makes sense to most women who are doing the same thing, but I’m not sure most men would understand it. I don’t want to stay the size I am now, and my goal is to be in the small size, so why give up hope?
I put a few dozen items into the give away pile during this process, these were things I didn’t love and pretty much knew I wouldn’t wear again. There were quite a few items that I really love, but I’m not sure I’ll ever fit into them again. In my desperation to keep them, I actually thought…”this is why I have a house…so that I can store these things.” But in reality, I have a house so that I can enjoy the place in which I live. And clutter hinders that goal.
I have four closets of clothes in my house. I estimate that I have at least 500 articles of clothing. That’s a lot. Too much, in fact. My ultimate goal would be to live in the small clothes forever, and get rid of the medium and large ones. But if that doesn’t happen in the next year or so, then I possibly need to consider an alternate plan.
When things are well organized, and you can find items easily, life seems less stressful. Things seem to run more efficiently. It isn’t about things being perfect, but about being able to find the things you own. If you don’t know where something is, how can you use it?
Most of my clothes are in space saver bags in a closet downstairs. Some are just winter clothes ready to move to the main closet. But most are clothes I don’t wear at all during the year. Some fit me, some don’t. Every once in a while, I open a bag looking for one thing and find others that I could be wearing, but have forgotten that I own them.
I need bigger closets upstairs, but don’t have the room to expand them. I think I need a better system for how I manage my clothes, in addition to getting rid of some of them. I pretty much have the next 5 days off and I’d like to rethink my clothes situation completely. I’ll post before and after photos. 🙂
Can clutter cause you to be physically ill? Yes, say experts. Last spring I took a Feng Shui course and I read that, “clutter is an element of your environment that causes you to have ill feelings inwardly.”
That surprised me. But I’ve felt it. A few years ago, I had a room full of boxed clutter that I needed to go through. I had moved into a 2-bedroom apartment so that I’d have a room for all of these extra boxes of stuff I owned. Those boxes stayed there for many, many months. Several times, I tried to force myself to go in there and go through those boxes (my plan was to get rid of stuff), but as soon as I entered the room, I felt physically sick and had to leave.
Finally, I got to a point where I was mentally ready to deal with it and I did. My life seemed to open up drastically after that and changed for the better. It felt like holding onto that clutter was holding me back. But I think an important point is also that until I was mentally ready to get rid of that stuff, it wasn’t going to happen. My body wasn’t going to allow it. Clutter can weigh us down. But getting rid of it has the potential to change your life. That’s why I find clutter clearing so interesting.
A friend recently sent me a gift and mentioned that she knew I was trying not to buy anything new this year. My goal for this project was to get rid of one thing each day, and to not replace those items by buying more. To date, I’ve gotten rid of more than 1,000 items, but I’ve also bought some things.
It seems that when I tell myself I won’t buy anything, it becomes almost irresistible to buy something. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to stop buying things. Mostly because I love to shop, but also because some things give me such joy. The trick is to figure out what those items are before I make a purchase. Most items, I don’t use and they don’t give me joy. Before a purchase, I should be able to visualize wearing or using that item. Being able to mentally pair it with something else should be required.
Last weekend, I reposted an article from a young girl, Liz who is in college. She loves to put together collages of items that together make her happy. I love that idea. Things that get her excited about a project or idea. I think it helps to get the creative juices flowing. There’s a different between clutter, and objects I use or live with everyday. I think figuring that out is what this year long project is all about.
For example: This morning, I plan to make a pot of tea, grab some tea cookies, and a book that Liz recommended: “Cupcakes and Cashmere” and nestle back into bed and enjoy it all. 🙂
Today, I was thinking about how much time I spend taking care of the things I own. Whether it is doing laundry, washing the car, sewing, or dusting. It’s a lot of time. That’s the one thing that doesn’t come into my awareness when I make a purchase. But the more stuff I have, it does. I think I need to grasp the concept that just because something is cute, doesn’t mean I need to own it.
A few years ago, my mom told me she had too much stuff and didn’t want anymore; we were talking about her upcoming birthday. Last year, instead of stuff I thought about how I could give her an experience instead. I filled a box full of cookies, tea, and a cute small tea bowl to hold the cookies, so that she could have her sisters over for tea. I included an instruction sheet, and asked that she invite them. I also mentioned that I’d follow up with them to make sure she did it.
She later told me that they had planned it, and then did it. She said it was fun, that she loved the Chai tea, and that she’d do it again. I like the idea of giving an experience instead of an object. It takes a little more thought, and it has instant memories attached. Ironically, my mom frequently uses the small bowl I sent in the package and she said that when she sees it…it reminds her of that day. I would much rather have a good time doing something than getting something. I think we get more out of it and it adds a certain richness to life.
I love enjoying the little things in life, and recently I’ve appreciated them even more. A friend sent me a new journal for my birthday and the front of it reads: “Enjoy the Little Things” and I have been writing in it when I feel myself appreciate the little things in life. I think it has helped me to really focus on those moments, rather than let them pass by quickly.
I’ve noticed and focused on my beautiful surroundings with mountains and blue skies or incredible thunderstorms, the smells when I take a shower, or a conversation that excites my brain. This also seems to allow me to focus on what is important to me, which of course allows me to realize what isn’t important and get rid of that clutter (whether it is mental, virtual or real clutter).