As soon as I plunged into the pages of Clutter Free, I zealously tackled a few easy areas of clutter in my home–the spice cabinet, hall closet and bathroom drawers. I was determined to create order. I’d clear out the excess “stuff” my family and I dragged with us on our last move, and free our home to be more functional. A worthy goal, right?
Those first few spaces were a cinch to de-clutter. I mean, I have no emotional attachment to expired spices or that expensive moisturizer that makes my face red and puffy. I tossed them into the garbage bag without the slightest resistance or regret. Those miniature lotion samples went in the give-away box.
Those super-easy tasks had an immediate effect. My cooking efficiency improved. And I really enjoy working in a beautiful, tidy kitchen. My morning routine was streamlined, because there were no unusable products to slow me down!
So far, so good!
What I didn’t know yet was that the external clutter reflected and compounded the internal clutter. I didn’t expect that eliminating the physical clutter would be the catalyst for purging emotional clutter.
Until I took on my closet.
I have three closets in my bedroom (don’t hate me!) Though I have ample space, I needed to remove items I don’t love or wear. If I wouldn’t plunk down my debit card to purchase that item again—it needed to be re-homed. Into the give-away box it went.
Each morning I read from Clutter Free, then dedicated a small block of time for clearing out the clutter. My closet cleaning coincided with reading Part Two: Why We Buy Stuff and Part 3: Why We Keep Stuff. I was forced to look at the motives behind my purchases.
I came face-to-face with the fact that I really don’t have much to wear! My closet was filled with clothes that don’t fit—but might someday. Clothes that don’t work with anything
else I own—but might if I found just the right piece to pair with them. And clothes that I don’t really like—but with tags still hanging on them, I’m reminded of the investment I’ve already made to each item.
I had to look at my purchasing/keeping motives as a reflection of my heart. I didn’t like what I found there.
I had the illusion of a lovely wardrobe. And it would be if I were a size or two smaller. It was a closet full of items that might someday fit. Every time I stepped into my closet to get dressed, I felt the accusations: You’re too fat for me. You wasted money on me. You’ll never be able wear me again. The external clutter was tormenting me. It constantly reminded me that I don’t measure up. Literally.
I had to hit the brakes!
I decided to give myself copious doses of grace. I pulled everything from the closet and laid it out on my bed. Then I stood next to the mountain of accusers and prayed. One by one I picked up each item and put it to the Kathi Lipp three-question test: Do I love it? Do I use it? Would I buy it again?
The only things I put back into the closet are the items I can currently wear and feel good about wearing. It’s slim-pickings, but my wardrobe no longer accuses me as I make my daily clothing selections.
I donated the business clothes I’ve held onto “just in case I ever need a real job.” They’re now helping women transition out of joblessness.
Eighteen (18!) pairs of shoes, that I haven’t been able to wear since breaking my foot several years ago are off to beautify new feet.
I donated the adorable ruffled orange blouse with the tags still hanging. Someone has the perfect component to make an outfit from it. God knows I never did!
This morning when I stepped into my closet to choose my outfit for the day, there were no accusations flying. No self-condemnation for past wasteful purchases. No assaults on my self-image. Just a wardrobe that reflects my current reality and the peace that comes with it.
What about you? Are there areas of clutter in your home? Any that create emotional obstacles for you?