Three steps to a streamlined closet

Live with less

This year I broke with my tradition of not making New Year’s resolutions, and I made one. I vowed to buy and keep less of everything. My gathering days are over; now I wish to experience the sensations of sitting in an open room, opening a half full drawer, and eyeing clear kitchen counters. In other words, I don’t want my house to become what George Carlin hilariously described in his famous 1986 Comic Relief performance as just “a pile of stuff with a cover over it”.

Perhaps Carlin’s insight into the importance we give to our stuff (“Their stuff is sh.. and your sh.. is stuff.”) inspired stylists and home stagers to use a kinder, gentler word for de-cluttering…editing. However you choose to describe this process, I’ve steadily engaged in it for several years. I regularly donate or consign clothing, furniture and housewares. Every six months or so, I go through files and throw away as much paper as I can. In spite of the hours I’ve invested in this effort, I still find myself surrounded by too much of everything.

Recent life changing events gave me the boost I needed to seriously scale down. My husband and I made a decision to sell the house that has been our home for thirty years. Each room of this charming four story Victorian brims with belongings. We also live in a well stocked apartment in Greenville, SC. In less than six weeks, the interior of our home must be cleared from top to bottom and take on a minimal appearance to attract buyers. Next week, we move out of our apartment and into a new home in Greenville.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. My editing has reached a feverish pitch. I spent the past two days flagging furniture for consignment at Southern Housepitality and mercilessly streamlining my wardrobe, breaking only for a closet consultation with a client! My time was well spent. I now have less for the movers to do, and a wardrobe I love to wear. The following three recommendations helped me reach my desired outcome:

1. Become a detached observer. Until you remove your emotions from the editing equation, you will not part with possessions.
2. Once is not enough. I advise that you go through all your clothes, shoes and accessories at least twice. The third round was the charm for me, even though I agonized over which items should make the final cut.
3. Say yes. Ask yourself these questions to help you decide what should stay and what should go: Will I wear it enough to earn the space it occupies? Does it deserve a ranking of at least 8 on a scale of 1-10 for style, fit, and quality? Can I wear it with an array of other items I own? Do I really need duplicate items?(for example two black cardigans or two raincoats)?

I’d like to hear from you kindred spirits out there bent on living with less?

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