Monday, November 22, 2010

My New Manifesto

Sometimes you've got to let everything go – purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything . . . whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you'll find that when you're free, your true creativity, your true self comes out. ~ Tina Turner.

The other night I was watching Conan and they were doing a gag wherein Bruce Jenner, some crabs, and a hoarder (from the A&E show "Hoarders") welcome Conan O'Brien to basic cable. I just about died laughing when the hoarder came into the frame. Her squirrely expression was just priceless. Without saying a word, she managed to convey a kind of crazy covetousness. If I ever become a hoarder, I vow to adopt just such a paranoid expression. If you're going to be balls out weird, you might as well make people laugh, right?

In the present day, even though I am not too worried about anyone taking my crap, I can relate to how hard it can be to get rid of things. There are so many potential blocks – sentimentality, frugality, uncertainty, fear that we might throw something away and then need it later. If I am going to be honest, I definitely have some messy, packratty tendencies. At the same time, I don't like it. It makes me feel bogged down and eventually even tense and unproductive. Somehow an environment just feels less peaceful when there is too much stuff vying for space.

When my environment gets too cluttered, it starts to become distracting. I find it difficult to work or even think. So, I have decided that the best thing I can do to encourage the new period of productivity I hope to start is to let go of some of my clutter. I mean that both figuratively and literally, but since it's easier to clear my physical space, I am starting with that. So, I spent the greater part of the morning cleaning out my closet and developing my manifesto. Why? Because it was overflowing with things I neither wear nor need and everything is more fun when a manifesto is involved! Plus, if I don't give myself some rules, I will just end up getting stuff out and putting it away again without getting rid of anything.

So here is my decluttering manifesto:

  • Be merciless. If it is ugly, has bad associations, makes me feel bad, or if I haven't used it in a year or don't plan to use it in the next, get rid of it.
  • Be realistic. If it is doesn't fit, doesn't look good or doesn't fit my life- or personal style, it needs to be released.
  • Be generous. Sometimes we outgrow things. If that's the case, let them go and don't be a hoarder. If I am done enjoying something, donate it and give someone else a turn.
  • Be discriminating. I don't have to get rid of everything. It is ok to keep something simply because I like it or because its associations make me feel good. Just make sure it is something I really want and that it has a spot.

This approach has lightened my closet by three large trash bags full of clothes. Stacey and Clinton would be proud! I didn't quite get to shoes, but there is always tomorrow. This is just one piece of a multi-step decluttering process, and that is okay. Tonight I go to bed with my clothes arranged by color. Now I can actually see what I have, know what I need, and can feel confident when I pull something out that it fits right and is flattering. Funny how something as small as organizing the closet can even make you feel better about not just your environment, but yourself.


monquee said...

Congratulations! There must be something in the air - I did a similar (although less thorough) run through my closet on Sunday. I had some shoes that were in pretty good condition, but I was DONE with . . . I donated them to Dress For Success ( Their location is in the Hollywood District, so pretty conveniently located. They were very nice and have such an important mission - especially given the state of the economy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, man. I will have to check out Dress for Success! Looking forward to seeing you on T-Day!