Do I need 12 pairs of jeans? A Decluttered Life is a Happier Life

Well, there’s the calf length jeans, the ankle pair, the boot legs, the ones with the tears at the knees (so current).  There’s the skinny jeans and the ones you wear when you’re snuggled on the sofa watching the 2 hour Bachelor finale.  Not to mention black jeans, washed jeans, and jeans with different waists.  (Mom jeans are coming back for sure…remember, even Barack was caught wearing them!)

Seriously, though, if your closet is overflowing with work clothes you won’t ever wear again, bikinis that you have no business  wearing, and jackets that were cute in 1975 but STILL have not returned to the runway, then your closet is not adding to your happiness.  It may even be robbing you of joy.

Decluttering expert Kathi Lipp says, “Clutter is a part of life, but when clutter stops your life, that’s when you need to make some changes.”

Ms. Lipp says that clutter is a “physical manifestation of overwhelm in our lives.” And the the root of clutter, she adds, can be traced to fear, guilt, and shame.

Fear What if I need this some day?  GuiltThis was a gift from my mother; how can I discard it?  ShameI spent money on this item and I shouldn’t have and so I will keep it for the rest of my life.  

She cites a fascinating statistic.  In the U.S. there are more storage units than there are McDonalds and Starbucks.  We are drowning in STUFF.  Think of what we Baby Boomers are leaving for our adult children to sort through??  (I rather doubt that Alex will want my comfy jeans…)

 

A few caveats though…

Stuff is not inherently bad.

And a lot depends on your season of life.  With little kids afoot, your house is taken over by Little Tykes toys.  As it should be.

But we Baby Boomers are in a season of paring down.  We know all too well we won’t be taking a darn thing with us at the end of the day.  And in the words of decluttering phenom, Marie Kondo, we should retain only that which sparks JOY.

So even though I’m certain mom jeans will be coming back to fashion (as attested by Barack Obama), I can say thank you and farewell to at least 9 pairs of jeans, leaving me the 3 that spark joy.

Ms. Kondo suggests that we start decluttering with our closets, taking EVERYTHING we own and tossing it ALL on a bed, in full view, where we can begin sorting.

If we are uncertain about a particular item, Ms. Lipp suggests we ask three questions.

 

Do I love it?    Do I use it?    Would I buy it again?

We love our jackets.  But we wear only 3 out of 10.  So bye-bye to padded shoulders and fringy leather.  If we haven’t taken up motorcycling by now, it likely won’t be happening.  And as for disco, it had its 15 minutes of fame.

 

Ms. Lipp’s website has a plan for decluttering FAST.

And Ms. Kondo offers a method that WORKS.  Here is a summary from Good Housekeeping.

6 Principles —

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.
  4. Tidy by category, not location.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself it it sparks joy.

And five categories to tackle in order:

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (a.k.a. Miscellaneous Items)
  5. Sentimental Items

 

 

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So,  don those comfy jeans, curl up on your couch, ignore the time-sucking Bachelor, and binge watch Marie Kondo’s viral Netflix show.  Joy awaits.

 

 

And speaking of Joy, my co-blogger will be continuing this topic for Wednesday.   Stay tuned!

 

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-Don’t forget to thank your stuff on its way out.  Those ribbed turtlenecks served you well.

-Do a little bit each day.  Decluttering is a way of life. Savor the process.

 

Enjoy the ride!   And get rid of the storage unit!

xox

Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

The Power of Stuff

My family of origin took pleasure in throwing things out.  (Unfortunately in the process, they accidentally tossed family heirlooms, vital documents, plane tickets.)    My mom’s closet was sparse, each item of clothing meticulously chosen.  My dad wore too-short jeans from K-Mart which mom tried to throw out but somehow lived to see another day.  If you left a swimsuit under the bed after visiting their Florida home, you would not expect to see it again.  They were  Minimalists before it was fashionable.

My parents certainly accumulated stuff, but they only kept what gave them joy.  At Christmastime if you presented my mother with anything but a book, she was angry.  “We don’t need ANYthing!”  Even your book would be given away the minute it was finished.

So where do you fall on the continuum with Minimalism on the one end and reality show Hoarder-ism on the other?

The Netflix documentary, Minimalism, warns about being consumed by our stuff and touts the joy to be found with a simpler lifestyle and fewer belongings.  One woman on the show pared down her wardrobe to 33 items to be worn over three months.  That is not a typo. 33 – including scarves, jewelry, shoes.  Why did she need six pairs of jeans when she only wore her two favorites?  Each item had to be a “favorite” –   otherwise it went to Goodwill.  She also adopted the one-in  —  two-out rule for purchasing.

Well I’m not sure we’re ready for the 33 challenge.  (And some of us are married to folks on the Hoarding side of the continuum.)  But we Baby Boomers should not be spending our Third Act (Jane Fonda descriptor) organizing, dusting, and arranging stuff.

In  Everything that Remains, Minimalist Joshua Fields Millburn writes, “The things you own end up owning you.”

He goes on,

“Now before I spend money I ask myself one question:  Is this worth my freedom?  Like: Is this coffee worth two dollars of my freedom?  Is this shirt worth thirty dollars of my freedom?  Is this car worth thirty thousand dollars of my freedom?  In other words, am I going to get more value from the thing I’m about to purchase, or am I going to get more value from my freedom?”

 

So personally I’m working my way toward the Minimalist side of the continuum.

But full disclosure – I did just buy five tank tops at Target.  I mean, they were only $5.00 each!!  Can you blame me???

 

Today’s Takeaway –

– Peggy, my mom, was right yet again…it’s time to toss the stuff that needs daily dusting and does not spark a lick of joy.

– But watch out that your tax return is not hiding in the Goodwill bag!

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

Click the book image below if you want to purchase the Minimalist memoir from our dear friends at Amazon (who have not helped my quest for Minimalism!!)