Do As I Say...Not As I Do

Thursday, January 23, 2014

This month is all about organization and today I wanted to share a recent challenge of my own.  I love the feeling of an organized space, one where everything has a purpose and a place.  Brian and I have chosen to live in a small home and I never want to feel like we're busting at the seams.  So of course every January we re-edit and re-organize our space, after all we want to allow plenty of room to grow.   I would like to think I always practice what I preach, but there's always one area that I'm reluctant to edit.  And like most of you know it's always easier to dish out the guidance rather than implement those same words of wisdom into your own life.

Here's the situation I found myself in:
In going through my closet I can't seem to part with anything!  An old grungy t-shirt, a bathing suit I have no business wearing, a dress that was worn once & hasn't seen the light of day for a whopping 8 years and an entire stack of shorts that fit me a lifetime ago.  Every article of clothing either has a story or a future purpose, "But that t-shirt is from college!"  "I wore that bathing suit on our honeymoon"  "That dress would be perfect for our little girl to play dress up in"  and "Those shorts are in great condition and I'm planning to loose some weight."  

Are you laughing as hard as I am right now?  
I mean how ridiculous do I sound?!  First off, why am I attached to a t-shirt that doesn't even make the cut as a dust rag?  I will never again be caught dead wearing that bathing suit.  Saving a dress I never liked for future off-spring to play in? Really?!  And even if I DID loose enough weight to get myself back in those shorts, they're way too short!  

If the person above was a client, a friend or reader, I'd know exactly what to say.  But, when it's your home, your things, your life, it becomes personal.  Things become sentimental and all too often it becomes easy to justify an item's need based on emotion rather than necessity.  And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we should get rid of everything. There are those items that you keep solely based on the memory.  For example my wedding dress, I will never wear my wedding dress again (I know I could cut it, or dye it, but I prefer to preserve it).  And it's not a style any future daughter or daughter-in-law will wear, but for me it's a symbol of that day and I LOVE it!    But a grungy t-shirt from my college days?!  I'm sure there's a more meaningful, more practical and frankly a more beautiful object that can symbolize that time in my life.

So, if you find yourself having a hard time parting with items or are simply overwhelmed by the process, know that you're not alone.  To start practicing what I preach, here's the way I plan to help myself edit the hard-to-part-with clutter in my life:

Do I LOVE it?
It's a simple question, but the answer can give a lot of insight?
On the fence?  Try assigning a number, 1-10 (10 being the best) to an item.  If it's an 8-10 then you're not ready to part with it.  If it's a 7 put it in a 'maybe' pile and address it later.  If' it's a 6 or below it's time to say goodbye!

I'm beginning to assign 10's to everything
(including grungy t-shirts)
Now What?

Admit out loud the excuses:
"I know I haven't worn this shirt in 3 years, but it would be perfect if we ever go on a cruise".  
Key words:  "three years" "if we ever"  
Holding onto things for a future event that isn't already planned only contributes to the clutter.  If you haven't used an item for over a year odds are you never will.  

Could someone else benefit from this?
Me storing and hoarding an item, that I no longer love doesn't help me or anyone else.  I may not love that dress anymore, but someone else might.  Not wanting to just give it away?  Then try selling it.  Rather than holding onto a dress that you'll never wear, put the money you get for it towards a new dress you will wear.

Bring In Reinforcement
When all else fails, ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable.  Having to look Brian in the eye and explain to him why an old grungy t-shirt was meaningful really made me re-think my thought process.  We both were laughing hysterically at how incredibly irrational I was being.  Again, is it the item I'm wanting to hold on to, or the meaning it symbolizes?

So, today I'm determined to edit my wardrobe and be successful in my attempts.  
What organization project typically stalls you out?


  1. Your post gave me the boost I need to purge !
    Need to cut the emotional ties on a few things. (I have a whole container of concert t-shirts.)
    Books and magazines are another guilt.

    1. oooohhhh ~ books and magazines?! Aren't these a necessity :)

  2. "Admit out loud the excuses." Smartest thing I've heard this organizing season. Smart, smart, smart.


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