Decluttering is pretty much the buzz word of the year. Marie Kondo made it to the NY Times Best Seller List with her book “The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” She recommends a project that could take weeks or months as you tackle your house category-by-category , picking up each item and deciding, “Does this give me joy?” If not, find another home for it. Joy might be a bit extreme, but when preparing for new carpeting forced me to take everything off shelves and out of nooks and crannies, I did manage to pare down my belongings considerably. As a grandson who was helping me asked, “Gramma, do you really need this many candlesticks?” In contemporary language, people actually say, “I’m going to Kondo it.”
But her most consistent challenge, and that often recommended by others as well, is to go through your clothes ruthlessly, keeping only those that actually fit and that you really wear. I think I stay fairly current with this process, but I confess I have more than a few clothes I keep because I hope they might fit me again someday, some purchasing mistakes I just can’t admit, and some special occasion clothes that have now gone out of style.
I could tell you about a category called “Clothes I Have Loved Too Much.” One such item was a pair of black Bandolino flats which I wore until even the cobbler couldn’t save them. Regretfully I finally put them in the trash. But then the next morning, before the collection truck came, I ran out and took them out of the trash barrel. In the same way I rescued a thread-bare Lanz nightgown. It isn’t that I wore either the shoes or the nightgown again, but I just wasn’t ready to get rid of them.
For nearly fifty years, the maternity cardigan which my Aunt Dot gave me kept returning to the back of my closet. It was totally disreputable-looking but still kept me warm every once in a while when I was reading in bed. Finally I realized I was hanging on to this sweater because I was saying to myself, “That is the last thing my beloved Aunt Dot ever gave me.” Then in a moment of clarity I thought of the life-long gifts she had given me- the love of books and music, the interest in fashion, to name just a few – and I was finally able to let go of that sweater.
Dorothy C. Judd (c) 2015
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