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Out of Control Clothes, Part 2

One of the things I run into most frequently are overstuffed closets, dressers, armoirs, with clothes busting out at the edges and spilling over into the room or even the entire house. My clients often show me a photo (from an organizing magazine) of what they'd like their closets to look like.

I'll share a secret -- there's no secret magic to that. For those photo shoots, they simply remove about one-half of the clothes, get nice hangers and put remaining one-half of the clothes back neatly. It's not actually a secret; it's just common sense. There is a finite amount of space in a closet. If you put too much into it, things are going to be so tight it becomes hard to get to anything. The key to an organized, tidy closet is that there is room to move the hangers from side to side, so that you can see what you have and get out what you have, without a serious tug of war battle.

For most people, the problem is the stuff. They want to keep it all. 

But we know that we wear 20% of our clothes, 80% of the time. Everybody has that go-to pair of jeans, casual summer dress, favorite shirt and so on. We wear them over and over. Meanwhile, other articles languish in the back of the closet or drawer or in a pile of dirty laundry which has been gathering dust for months. If an article of clothing has adopted the shape of a hanger and is literally dusty, you don't need it any longer. Wish it a fond farewell and donate it to somebody who will wear it, rather than banish it to the back of the closet. You'll feel better for doing so. 

I know that it can be hard to let go of things, but clothes, like most things in life, are replaceable. The things that are irreplaceable cannot be purchased at the Gap or Marshall's or Macy's. Time spent with loved ones. Taking the dogs for a walk. Reading a good book. Doing work that is satisfying. Cooking a meal. Those things are irreplaceable. A pair of jeans? Not so much. 

If you want to get organized but are having a hard time culling through things or letting go, stop focusing on the stuff and instead focus on the space and the state of mind it creates. Ask yourself what you want. Do you want a room that gives you peace of mind? Do you want a closet that doesn't make you feel bad when you open it? Do you want your home to have harmony in it? Focus on those things and forget about the shirt, the jeans which still have the tag on them, the shoes that pinch your feet. 

When you stumble or get stuck, try to re-shape your thinking about it. Spend less time thinking about the stuff you are donating and more time thinking about how good a tidy, organized closet will make you feel. Harmony. Balance. Clean spaces. Those are the important things and sometimes to get there, you have to think about the problem differently. A sense of well-being is more valuable than anything you could ever buy.

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