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Trash It or Keep It – And Other Life Altering Decisions

A No-Nonsense Approach to Cleaning Out Your Closet!! 

At some point in our lives, we’ve probably reenacted some variation of the following scenario: We’re standing (sitting, crouching) before our closets; coffee (bottled water, diet soda, gin) in one hand, a donut (apple, cookie, pizza) in another.  We’re scrutinizing over each and every item, in an attempt to bring some sort of order out of the chaos. Dates begin to blur, as we desperately try to figure out exactly how long we’ve had these items.

From whence did they come?  “I thought I got rid of that already!”Standing before our closets, one question haunts us…taunts us…leaving us immobilized: Should I trash it or keep it?  As we go through the process of cleaning out the clutter in our closets, this will be a question that we’ll need to answer, in detail, and will have to be asked, not once, not twice, not even thrice, but over, and over, and over again…for all eternity…OK, maybe not for quite so long, but for a very, very, very, very long time (get the picture?).

So, how do we go about deciding if something is worth salvaging or discarding; what are the requirements that allow one item to stay yet another year, while another gets the boot.  Keep in mind, this is a question that needs to be asked towards not just our clothes, but for all our other miscellaneous items as well, like shoes, belts, hats, handbags and the like.  And for those of you who use your clothes closet to store important documents in shoe boxes…stop it!!!

Sorry, I didn’t mean to scold, but there really is a better way.  A much better way!  I know, tax season is right around the corner for many of us, so I’ll definitely be giving you some tips on how to better maintain your paperwork.  But, for the purpose of this article, we’re just going to focus on some quick tips on how to go about deciding whether you should trash it or keep it (and by “trash it”, I don’t necessarily just mean the garbage, you may want to donate).  Feel free to get a box of Kleenex, it may get emotional…I’ll wait…

Trash it if… trash it or keep it

It’s as old as half your age.  So, let’s say you’re 40 years young, if you have something in your closet that you’ve had for 20 years or more, it may be time to part company…correction…it’s time to part company.  Granted, there are always exceptions to every rule; I’m talking about if you have a suitcase full of items that have been around for more than one presidential election!

You have more than one of a similar style.  OK…so being that I am a New Yorker, I have a lot of items that are black…some would argue too many. I could be wrong, but I think I had to sign some sort of contract, stating that if I continued to reside in New York City, that I agreed to wear black a certain percentage of my time…Anyway…I have to ask myself  “Do I really need to have 10 or more 3/4 sleeve knit tops in black? Probably not…

It’s beyond repair.  Let me clarify: if your sweater is being held together using safety pins, let it go!  Give yourself a deadline: if you can’t get that item fixed or repaired, by a certain date – days or weeks NOT years – trash it!

It’s a gift that you neither have any need for nor do you even like like.   This can be a touchy situation and needs to be handled delicately.  No one wants to deliberately offend someone they love.  But there’s no use in keeping something you don’t like nor wear.  How can you avoid putting yourself in this situation altogether?  In a tactful way, be honest when you initially receive the gift (no, not in front of all 20 members of your family, privately).

The giver of your gift would probably (hopefully) welcome the honesty, and would appreciate being able to give you something you really like.  If you feel uncomfortable doing that, then find a friend to give it to, just be prepared to have an answer, should the giver of the gift, ask you if you’ve been wearing the item they gave you (you see how just being upfront can really save you an unwanted and unnecessary headache in the future?).

It’s no longer your style.  This may be something that you really like, but perhaps no longer fits your current lifestyle.  A classic look, like a button-down blouse, is one thing, a blouse with ruffles or tassels, may be too outdated.  No judgment here, I think people should wear whatever they want to wear, but if something has been hanging in your closet for years, unworn, perhaps, it really doesn’t suit you anymore (I think that was a pun).

Keep it if… rtash it or keep it

It has a sentimental value.  I’m not saying to keep a trunk full of stuff just because you’re attached to them.  Remember, the idea is to declutter not keep clutter!  But it’s OK to keep a few key pieces that you’re attached to…a few!

It’s One-of-s-Kind.  I have a beautiful, suede vintage jacket goes against rule #1, since I’ve had it for more than 20 years…but it’s so beautiful, and I know I’ll never find another one like this!  If you have the space for it, keep it; but hopefully, you won’t have to turn your shower into a 2nd closet.

It’s something that can be used or worn…today.  Again, the key word here is “today”. Not in a few weeks, or months or after you’ve lost those 30 lbs…today.

You couldn’t imagine your life without it.  For me, this would be my mother’s album collection. It’s sitting on a shelf in my back closet; I really don’t know what to do with it, but I couldn’t imagine getting rid of it!

You’d be happy if someone gave you the exact same thing again.  It’s in the color you like, the size that fits, the style that looks nice,…whatever!  Everything is just right!

That wasn’t so bad was it…what…you need another box of Kleenex…keep in mind, this is not about punishment, but a way to bring about an order in our lives.

I would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave your comments below.

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