Yesterday I crammed my big suitcase (the one that always weighs more than 50 pounds when I check it at the airport) with all the fall and winter clothes I hadn’t worn in the last year. Actually many of the garments hadn’t been worn in several years. If you haven’t worn a garment in the last year, what makes you think a year from now you will?
Yes, I lost 50 pounds of clothing that was clogging my closet, and when I dropped the contents of my suitcase off at Goodwill, I felt 50 pounds lighter spiritually! Whew! I always say that clutter is the biggest destroyer of peace, and decluttering closets, cupboards and drawers brings a peace that money can’t buy!
About half the stuff I’d packed in that suitcase, was just not me anymore. Like the linen, Kasper suit, that has beautiful classic lines that don’t go out of style, but it just didn’t fit my style anymore. (I was tickled it still fit my body!) I bought it at least 20 years ago as a speech suit and I probably spoke in it 25 times. Today when I speak, I wear casual clothes.
One dress that went in the suitcase, I’d bought to wear to a big deal occasion several years back. My good friend Marla Cilley, the Flylady, had invited me to speak at an event put on by Yahoo to celebrate Flylady’s reaching 500,000 Flybabies through email. I think I got too excited about the affair, because the dress was more like something you’d wear if you were a queen at your coronation.
As I was packing that suitcase, knowing all this was going to Goodwill, I asked some great questions of myself and I thought it might help you if I shared the questions and my answers.
1. Has my lifestyle changed since I wore this?
In the case of the linen suit, my answer was “yes.” I have a basic black dress in a polished-cotton that I can scarf up or down, (sparkly scarves for evening, pastels for spring and summer, red for winter and orange for fall).
I also quit wearing 4” heels when I speak (I always ended up kicking them off mid speech anyway).
2. How long has it been since I last wore this?
A good test of this is to put the garment on and go show your husband. As you model it for him, if he gets a confused look on his face and asks, “Is that new?” you’ll know it’s been too long since you’ve worn it and probably means you never really liked it in the first place.
3. Why have I kept this so long when I never wear it?
I had to ask this one a lot as I handled each garment that ultimately ended up in the suitcase. The answer that kept surfacing was: ‘It was on sale and for that price I couldn’t pass it up even if it was too small. And besides I always wanted to be a size six like Molly Cutter (a high school cheerleader who was so cute and petite). And even though I never have been (and never will be) a size six, I’m an eternal optimist.’ When I heard myself use that cockamamie excuse, I knew I’d reached that point that it was time to admit, I’m a size eight and that’s just fine with me.
4. What if I regret giving this up?
This question came directly from Nelly, my inner child.
“Hi Nelly, you mean what if I become a size six like Molly Cutter and I want the dress back?”
“Yeah, and it’ll be gone and we’ll be sad.”
“Nelly if I somehow become a size six, it’ll probably be because I’m very sick and all I’ll need are size six pajamas.”
As we grow older, we can still carry dreams or remnants of dreams we had when we were young. But thank goodness, our dreams can change and as they do, there is a peace that comes when we let go of dreams we’ve outgrown. Looking at that size six dress I’d never worn, I saw what power that garment had in holding me to a dream I’d outgrown. So ultimately my answer to the question, “What if I regret giving this up?” was, I won’t.
5. How will streamlining my closet help me be happier?
Clutter causes stress and stress saps energy. I’m a living breathing believer that the less stuff I have the more peace I have. By streamlining my closet, I have given myself the gift of happy dressing every morning.
I feel like I have a new closet and a new wardrobe. I read somewhere that women wear 20 percent of their clothes 80 percent of the time. I’ve just allowed myself to wear 100 percent of my clothes 100 percent of the time!
To see what Pam’s got up her cyber-sleeve, check out www.cluborganized.com.