80/20 rule

I’m sure you have all heard the 80/20 rule before, “we wear 80% of our clothing 20% of the time”, and it is very true in my case.  I have a few pieces that I love and wear often and then a whole closet full of others that look much better on the hanger then they do on me.

There many reasons we hang onto “stuff”. Some people hang onto things for financial reasons. They look at that shirt they really don’t like or that is dated, but can’t get rid of it because “it was expensive”. Some people who are struggling with finances also hold onto items because “stuff” tends to give them that feeling of “having” and “security” that there financial situation does not. Remember, getting rid of your unused stuff is not “costing” you money and collecting more “stuff” is just adding to your financial problems. If you struggle with this reason, keep telling yourself that purging and organizing will “save” you money, and it will. By removing clutter and gaining control over your belongings you will no longer lose things and have to rebuy them or find that you have purchased an item multiple times because you forgot you already had it. Gaining control of your home will also reduce stress and give you more time to focus on gaining control of other areas in your life.

Other people hang onto things for sentimental reasons. You may still have that ratty old sweater you wore on your first date with your husband, or the pajamas you wore in the hospital for your first child. Are you holding onto your old “favourite” pieces of clothing even though they no longer fit or are very worn? Some people see memories in their belongings and are scared that if they get rid of the object, they will also lose the memory. A great way to overcome this is to start a memory box or scrapbook. Buy a pretty box and fill it with pictures of these treasured items and pictures from the time of the event. You could also cut pieces of the clothing into small squares and save them for a quilt someday. Even if you don’t quilt, you can have one made for you without spending a lot and fill it with pieces that you have saved over the years. The outfit your daughter wore home from the hospital, your mothers favourite dress, that shirt that makes your husband look extra handsome but is now filled with holes, your wedding dress, your sons first halloween costume..you get the idea.  I promise you that you will treasure and use your quilt more then all these clothes and cutting a small square from each piece of clothing and tossing the rest will save you a lot of space in your home. Remember, filling your home with “stuff” that reminds you of fond memories of the past can quickly take over your home and your time, preventing you from making new good memories today.

Other people have a case of the “somedays”.  You hold onto that suit that is three sizes too small because “someday” you might lose the weight and wear it again. Your pants are missing buttons, but “someday” you may sew some back on.  This is my biggest struggle and truthfully, seeing my size 10 dress hanging in my closet doesn’t motivate me, it just makes me feel bad about myself.  Holding onto clothing that needs mending for years just reminds you that you have too much to do or makes you feel bad for “failing” to get your “someday” tasks done. If these things are really important to you, do something about it TODAY! Load up your clothes to be mended or dry cleaned and put them into your car NOW to be done by a professional. If you want to mend them yourself, pick a day on the calendar, write it down and stick to that day. Otherwise, get it out of your home right now. “Someday” is just adding stress and clutter to your “Today”.

Of course these reasons transcend from clothing to all the other “stuff” in our homes. If space was endless and our homes never ran out of storage, keeping all our old things would never be a problem, but most of us have ran out of space a long time ago.  Our homes need breathing space. We need empty surfaces and room in our closet for future clothing purchases. We need a place for everything with some room to spare for all the treasures to come. We ALL need to purge at least a little bit each month.

Day 6: Today we will purge some clothes. Pick 10 items from your closet or drawers (or off the floor) that you no longer love and wear and get rid of them. Donate them, toss them or turn them into rags…just get them out of your bedroom! If you find you are having trouble letting go, try to identify why you struggling and ask yourself “what is the worst that can happen”.  Remind yourself that getting your home clean and organized is more important then holding onto useless “stuff”.