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03 June 2009 @ 11:22 pm
Breaking Up with Old Clothes is Hard To Do  
Random ramblings of de-cluttering randomness.

So this morning I was way over this way and stuck in traffic and Wubbles was way over that way and staring glumly at a pile of sweaters that was taller than her head, and we were conferencing via cell phone about how the sweaters feelings could not possibly be hurt by what she was doing. The forlorn crying to be let back in had to be the cat on her fire escape and not the shirts and knits that were now in the "No" and "Maybe" pile.



And yet...and yet...it is kind of tough to go all hard core and break off the relationship with each shirt for some reason. I know I've been avoiding clearing out my drawers and closet despite the fact that I've been vowing to do it since um...er...cough-October-cough as there's a bunch of stuff I never wear in there.

But some fiendish part of my brain still mutters about how everything in there is still good, all that stuff still has that shiny "I could be useful" look to it. What if you get rid of it and suddenly NEED it?

I mean, you could win this fabulous free trip to Vancouver and NEED that sweater for the plane because it's suddenly EXACTLY the right one for a jet setter like you and matches your teacup poodle (that also came free with the trip because naturally you get a toy poodle with every free trip out of the country) and it's this perfect color that the famous actor/writer/country singer/hot US Marshall who is sitting RIGHT NEXT TO YOU in first class (because you know you would totally be in first class if you won a free jet setting trip to another country) thinks is the most beautiful shade of whatever color that you never ever wear but this one time you absolutely knew you should pull out of the back of the closet after seven years and put on despite the fact that it itches and makes you look like you've gained sixteen pounds. What are you crazy? It could be THAT sweater that you're about to give away, the one you spent good money on, that will be the one that you will some day really need! And won't you feel awful and be scrambling all the way to the airport when it's not there that day! Boy will you be sorry you wasted all that money and gave it away.

It's crazy. But true. Something makes it hard to just let the sweater/button down/too big AC/DC t-shirt/whatever go.

[ Hellen Buttigieg on the show Neat ] suggested approaching the clothes closet clearing out in a somewhat different manner in order to solve this problem.

Instead of using "Keep" "Maybe"and "Get Rid Of" stacks, she suggests to ask yourself, "Is this a Friend, an Acquaintance, or a Stranger?" and sort everything based on your gut response to each clothing item. Then the Acquaintance and Stranger piles should immediately be bagged and moved out.

The Friend pile of clothes you now go through a second time and ask the question "Is this a friend that makes me feel good?" If the answer is anything but "Yes" out it goes too.

If I remember right, Helen Buttigieg's point in doing it this way was that she says it would help to cut through a lot of the emotional baggage and worry we have about the clothes. It asks an easy questions you can answer with a certainty versus predicting for the future or going too deeply into past spending concerns and fashion misdemeanors. (On the 28th of February, was it you, Mr. Sweater, that did cause a spaghetti stain to magically appear on my client's elbow? Yes, we thought so! Don't try to deny it! We have proof that it was your light colored blueness that drew it there much to her office work humiliation! For shame!)

Anyway, that was the idea I could think of for Wubbles and for my own (hopefully this weekend, because seriously we are way past October at this point) plan of closet attack.

Anyone else have any strategies that work to help them get rid of the stuff in their closet? Inquiring minds wanna know.


 
 
 
redpimpernelredpimpernel on June 4th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
I have very little closet space, so I have to be pretty ruthless when I get new clothes, something in something out, or at least that's the plan.

When I'm culling, I try to be very detached and say, "Do I wear this, does it look good, etc.?" When the emotions start creeping in, I recall that I am giving serviceable clothes to Goodwill or other charity and I picture a homeless person, dressed in rags of course, who is just thrilled beyond belief that my particular castoff sweater, T-shirt, jacket was there for them to find because it is PERFECT for them and will make their life meaningful and get them a good job and health insurance and a place to live. (My emotional self is pretty gullible.)

When I am decluttering non-clothing stuff, I ask myself have I gotten my $$ worth of enjoyment out of said item? (The answer is usually yes, because I usually get that immediately upon obtaining stuff.) Then I ask myself if I am done with it? If it's at least a maybe, I will put the item inside a box or bag, where I can't see it any more, and remove it to another clutter staging place (the inside porch), not a storage area. Then I wait about 2 weeks. If I haven't had the "must have/use/put back" feelings for it I then put it in the donate pile. The important thing is not to look at the stuff again. It has less power if you can't see it. That 1 or 2 week cooling off period allows my psyche to get used to the idea of letting go, and then it's not as big a problem taking the final give away step.
myfieldnotes: GG Rory Booksmyfieldnotes on June 4th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
>>I picture a homeless person, dressed in rags of course, who is just thrilled beyond belief that my particular castoff sweater, T-shirt, jacket was there for them to find because it is PERFECT for them and will make their life meaningful and get them a good job and health insurance and a place to live. (My emotional self is pretty gullible.)<<

I like this scenario a lot for cutting through the clothes sorting emotional baggage. Am imagining my waifish orphan right now looking longingly through the stacks of hideous 60's polyester reject clothes to spy my one good, clean item in the stack.

Will apply directly to my closet this weekend.
redpimpernelredpimpernel on June 4th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
Putting no and maybe stuff, er, acquaintances and strangers, into the bag/box that you can't see into is extremely helpful in reducing the sad-puppy eyes effect of rejected clothing.
wonderlandchickwonderlandchick on June 5th, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)
I have a hard time parting with things. I blame The Velveteen Rabbit.