Week 3: Your Emotional Relationship to Stuff

The minute you wake up in the morning, the possibility exists that things beyond your control may go wrong. Some days they are big problems; other days it can be just the irritation of getting stuck in traffic. If I am having a bad morning, I am calmed the minute I enter my walk-in closet. No matter the chaos of the moment, I never add fuel to the flame by creating the drama of the lost article of clothing. If you open your closet and are instantly confronted with a battlefield, you will unconsciously be churning the emotional waters. A potentially bad day can escalate quickly into a complete disaster after a closet battle.

If you're having a hard time wading through the stuff in your closet, consider some of these possible scenarios. Lots of the women I work with find it traumatic to part with things. Here are some of the reasons, and their solutions:

The Good Purge
When I first started professionally organizing closets, I was amazed to see how many items earmarked for charity magically migrated back to their original places of honor. Now I remove everything for the client and mail them the tax receipt. Clean out your closets and drawers on a regular basis -- trust me, it feels good. Donate usable items to a charity where they will have a new life with someone less fortunate. You will have a tax deduction and more space for the new things wending their way to you. Put everything to be given away in heavy-duty trash bags and take them out of the house as soon as possible.

Baby Clothes
Even women amazingly adept at parting with possessions will have problems with their children's baby clothes. I have never had children, but I can imagine the separation pangs this particular parting causes. I suggest to moms they might want to box and store the clothes until they are ready to see them go to another child. If you are emotional about this issue, be comforted by the knowledge it's difficult for just about everyone.

Size Wars
Women more than men tend to have several different sizes in their closets. They always ask me what I think they should do with their "skinny" clothes (no one saves the "fat" clothes). If you haven't been "skinny" in a long time, I suggest you part with those clothes. After all, when you return to a more desirable weight, why would you want to wear outdated clothes? When was the last time you heard someone say, "I'm so proud of my new body, I think I'll drape it in my old clothes"?

Fake Prosperity
Very often people unconsciously keep their closets jammed full of outdated and never- or rarely worn clothing because the sheer volume gives them a sense of security. "I must be prosperous," the unconscious mind shouts, "look at all the stuff I have!" Learn to trust in yourself and in the universe. You are loved and provided for and it has nothing to do with the stuff jammed into your closets and drawers.

Read these other closet organizing articles:
Week 3 Introduction
Closet Checklist
Closet Design Tips
Clean Closet Inspiration

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