When we talk about losing weight around here, we’re generally referring to physical weight, but a little extra pudge around the middle isn’t the only thing that can weigh one down.
Around the end of last year, just before Christmas — you know, the time for giving and receiving lots of wonderful new things — I began to feel stressed, maybe even panicked, about all of my stuff. Jared and I moved into a new home just over a year and a half ago, and when we packed up the house, we also cleaned house. Thoroughly, I thought. But as I found myself looking through closets, having to push past piles of things to get to other things, I realized that we’re once again overrun with … stuff.
How can this be? I thought to myself.
I did my KonMari thing before (and again after) I moved. I don’t even know how many trips I’ve made to donate bags of clothing and household items in the last year. I’m not even that much of a shopper! And yet … my closets were bursting. My drawers were overflowing. I wasn’t putting things away, not only because I’m kind of a slob (although I’m sure that factors in) but because I honestly had nowhere to put them, despite having plenty of closets and bureaus.
Surely I didn’t need need all of those items, yet, when I glanced through them, all I could think was, But what if I need it for [insert circumstance, however improbable, here]?
How I Dropped All That Weight
And then, the Universe pointed me in the direction of The Minimalists. Well, I mean, actually numerous friends mentioned them, their book, documentary or podcast to me over the course of a few days. But still, it was a message, and it was received. There were a lot of great takeaways, but probably the biggest for me was the idea that one doesn’t need a backup for everything.
If you get to a point where you truly need to replace something, chances are very good — for most things, at least — that you can get it replaced for a reasonable amount of money within a short amount of time. So, anything that wasn’t in current rotation or bringing me serious joy? I was ready to toss.
I started with the office closet. Did I really need all those extra throw pillows for the couch in case … I don’t know, I magically make room for another couch in my home? Definitely not. How many of those oversized North Face fleeces from the mid 90s did I actually need to hang onto … given that I live in sunny Florida? None, as it turns out.
From there, I moved on to the linen closet — where I learned that I don’t need to hang onto a huge stack of stained, ripped towels — and then the entryway closet, where I easily filled a big box full of pet products for a local rescue. (Seriously, my dogs do not need 10 collars — each.)
Yes, I began feeling very smug around this point, in case you wondered. Very smug indeed.
The guest room closet led to me tossing a basket full of half-melted candles and a couple of bulletin boards that I once hung in my childhood bedroom and always thought I’d use again, but never have. I did hold onto a couple of childhood stuffed animals (because the thought of them being face-down in a landfill had hot tears pouring down my face), but otherwise, if it wasn’t something in active use or an item I’ve used in the recent past with plans to use it again in the near future … it was outta here.
My clothes closet was trickier — turns out I tend to attach a lot of sentiment to the things I wear. That, plus the fact that I love pretty dresses and can always picture a situation in which a dress I like would be appropriate, meant that I had … well, a lot of dresses.
Enough that, even after making one pass through, I had to bring in reinforcements (thanks, Danielle!) to help me cull the maybe pile. I ended up saying goodbye to a few dresses I truly love but never wear, but I’m giving them to friends and local causes where I know they’ll be appreciated and loved, and that actually feels better than shoving them back in my closet so I can skip over them for yet another year.
And guys? I feel so free and light and just really, really good. I love the fact that I have so much storage space available, and the fact that all those items I haven’t used in ages are going to people who can make good use of them? Talk about the bee’s knees.
When’s the last time you did a big, massive, ruthless, no-emotions-attached purge of your closets? You might find that enlisting a friend to help you go through some of those stubborn items you can’t seem to release is really helpful! —Kristen