Want to minimize your possessions, but it just seems so hard to let go of all your beloved treasures? Josie Ortega reports on a sure-fire way to jumpstart your decluttering and gives useful tips for hosting a clothing swap.
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In a recent conversation about decluttering, my mom proposed a great idea for The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She’d like to see Marie Kondo visit a southern home, or a beach house, and come face to face with an enormous koozie collection.
As a maximalist by nature, I do love that Marie Kondo’s method offers the freedom to keep those cherished, worn items as long as you still really do love them.
If those genius drink holders spark joy, keep them by all means! But Mom and I guess that taken all together, you’d end up keeping only the best of the best koozies. (“Those people divorced years ago!” quipped my mom.)
That’s really the only de-cluttering and organizing tip I feel confident to tell you: If you’re still holding on to koozies that commemorate a failed marriage, please release them into the universe.
If there are five stages of grief, I’m confident that I’ve been through—and survived!—the 92 stages of decluttering. I've:
My best-case scenario is to get into cycles of clearing out, to be confident in having what I need and enjoy, and to prevent extraneous items from piling up and overwhelming me.
As the organizational junkies will tell you, a key step in successful decluttering is deciding ahead of time what to do with the items you’re ready to part with. That way, your car doesn’t become a permanent donation pile. You’re also less likely to go back on your decisions. (Not that I would know.)
Whether you’re doing the full KonMari method on your home or more informally simplifying one area at a time, it helps enormously to “close the cycle.” In other words, finish a job completely. You’ll feel satisfied and energized to continue that habit.
I attended a clothing swap last week, which provided a quick, fun, satisfying way to close the cycle.
Relative to my history, I’m not currently in a place where I need to sort through excessive wardrobes and clothes. We’re doing alright in keeping things on the simple side around here—again, relatively speaking. Plus, I don’t have much extra time or energy to spend on a big project.
When my friends Johanna and Jessica invited me to their clothing swap party, I thought I probably wouldn’t attend since I didn’t have much to bring and swap.
Reader, I was wrong.
On the day of the gathering, I thought of a couple of items that I could contribute to the clothing swap. New shoes that didn’t really fit well, and a vest that’d been hanging in the front closet for a long time. I like it. I just haven’t been wearing it.
If a friend of mine—or friend of a friend—could use either of those, that seemed worth an outing and an excuse to have a glass of wine. So I popped those two items into a paper grocery bag and put it ready to go by the front door.
By the end of the day, I was ready to go with not one but three full bags of clothes and accessories.
Whatever that says about me, I don’t know. Having a specific event and specific people in mind who might be able to use my no-longer-fulfilling-their-potential clothes jolted my motivation into high gear.
Here’s the email my friends sent:
Cleaning out your (or your kids') closet(s) one of your New Year's'Resolutions? Let us give you a little extra motivation! Join us at the home of [name] on [date] at [time]. We'll hold a little swap party and then donate the rest! There will be wine, snacks, and friends ... and Salvation Army will pick up everything the next morning—basically a super easy and fun way to clean out!
Here are Johanna's and Jessica’s other methods and tips for a swap party:
At the end of the clothing swap party, most people took away a few clothes, far fewer than they brought.
Jessica scored my vest AND my slippers (I was thrilled!), and I took home a few items, too. I arrived with three bags and departed with one. Chalk it up as a WIN!
All in all, a totally productive Moms’ Night Out. If you’re stuck in a decluttering rut, or if you’ve got some momentum going but are having trouble closing the cycle, gather some friends for moral support and try a clothing swap!