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Friday, May 22, 2009

Summer Project: Cleaning Out Closets

Even though I am no longer in school, I still operate on the academic schedule with summer somehow feeling like a "break" - even though I work full time. To mark this new season, I made a list for myself titled "Summer Projects 2009" that I am going to try and work through throughout the summer and I will give you updates as I cross them off. Most of the items on the list are small projects that can be completed in an evening or a weekend and are just things that I put off otherwise - touching up paint, clearing out drawers, cleaning fan blades, etc.

I have recently begun purging closets of stuff we don't wear or use. Typically I have heard the suggestion, when cleaning out clothes, to ask yourself "Have I worn this in the last year?" For me, this is not the best question, because even if I don't wear it, I'll somehow rationalize keeping it "just in case." Actually, the "just in case" exception doesn't happen as much with clothes as it does with craft-y things (scraps of ribbon or wrapping paper, gift boxes that have been collecting dust, etc.), but I have found a question that is slightly more urgent and can be applied to both clothing and stuff: "If I had to move tomorrow, would I want to pack this up and take it with me?" Asking myself this question has really helped me separate the men from the boys, so to speak, when it comes to stuff I own. Seriously, for anyone who has ever moved (all of you should be raising your hand), you know how big of a pain it is to pack it up, move it and then unpack it and find a spot for it in your new place. Is it really worth it to do all that? Although this is kind of a harsh question and could lead to some hasty tossings, I have not yet regretted throwing anything out. And really, when it comes to clothes, if I get rid of the fill-in-the-blank and realize six months later I wished I hadn't, then wouldn't I rather go out and buy a new one instead of using the faded, stretched out version I previously owned? Yes, I would. Or...I'll just make do without it. (That's my husband's favorite option!)

What strategy do you employ when deciding what to keep and what to throw out?

Good luck on your next closet clean-out!

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