Decluttering isn't hard because of the physical process. That's fairly straightforward. The hard part comes because we have to make decisions. To make decisions easier, I advise most clients to ask themselves if they like it, need it, and/or use it.
But it's easy to tell if you need or use an item. It's harder to tell if we like something. Sometimes that's because our emotions are tied into the decision-making process. Even if we haven't worn it in a while, we can give a million reasons why we should keep it.
Rather than driving yourself crazy, keep reading. I'm going to share with you a few easy tips to part ways with your clothes without the emotional clutter.
Needing, Using, and Liking Items
The ultimate goal is to keep items you use, need, and like. But in reality, pesky things like a lack of finances can get in the way of reaching that goal.
When it comes to your wardrobe, you should always like everything you keep. That's because people tend to avoid using items they don't actually like, even if they still need them. Meaning, even if it's pouring down rain, if you don't think your rainboots look cute, odds are you'll choose to wear something else - even if that means wet feet.
When There's Nothing Really Wrong with the Item
Here's how to easily tell if you should get rid of an item:
It's ripped/torn/has holes (and not on purpose)
A broken zipper or other parts
You don't like it
The first 4 criteria are easy because they don't involve any emotions. And for some items, you do know you don't like them anymore. You've already mentally parted ways with them, you just haven't done the physical work of removing the items from your home.
Making Decisions When it Comes with Emotional Baggage
Then there are the other items where emotions are part of the decision-making process. That's when it gets tough and you get stuck. And that can lead to people stopping their progress. So here are a few other ways to tell it's time to get rid of an item:
You like the design but you think it never looks quite right on you when you wear it
You like how it fits you, but you don't like the color/design
It makes you sad or apathetic when you think of having to wear it
You will always choose something else over that item
You think how much you like it, but then immediately think of a crappy memory that involves the item
You don't like it, don't want to wear it, but you feel guilty for any reason
You haven't worn it in over 2 years
Please note how I keep using the word, "you". This is important. Because sometimes someone else's opinion of an outfit keeps you from getting rid of what you don't like. And while it's nice for others to provide helpful, supportive feedback, this is your wardrobe and your life, and your decision-making process. This means, ultimately, it's only your opinion that matters.
Also, never ever hang onto anything because you feel guilty. You're literally choosing to keep guilt alive and well in your home.
How to Part With These Items Without Getting Emotional
The good news is how easy it is to toss out clothing without it being dramatic (at least on the part of the clothing, they're inanimate so they don't care). But you may be passing some judgment onto yourself.
Fear: What if I change my mind or need it?
Solution Mantra: This is an opportunity to trust my judgment and me
Guilt: I spent money on this
Solution Mantra: Can I sell this and recoup some of the money? Can I give this to someone else who needs it more than me knowing I'm in the position to help others? All I know is that no matter how often I did or didn't use this item, I'm worth it.
Shame: I'm being wasteful by getting rid of this
Solution Mantra: Loving myself means being true to myself. Shame only keeps me and these items shackled together unhappily. Today I regain my power by only keeping what makes me feel wonderful about being me. I can always sell, donate, or recycle my unwanted belongings.
Bottom line: You always deserve to surround yourself with people, opportunities, and things that remind you how amazing, wonderful, and deserving a person you are.
Puring and organizing are hugely emotional. And navigating your emotions can feel really difficult. Try to remember that the more you go through the system, the easier it is to identify and process emotions. And let them go for good!
It helps to surround yourself with people who can support you during this process. Friends, family members, and working with a professional organizer can help tremendously. Ready to get started on your new life? Contact me to schedule your first session.