Monday, October 27, 2014

Decluttering out lives

Sept. 28
We’re all busy, but this is still the perfect time of year to follow the example of trees and shed that which has outlived its usefulness.
For me, that starts with decluttering my life as much as possible. Spring may be the traditional time for house cleaning, but somehow, fall always seems like a more logical time to go through your closets and sort out what you want to keep and are ready to part with.
There’s something about back-to-school season, even if it’s practical to wear summer clothes for a few more months, that always makes me want to take a look at my wardrobe, reconsider colors and accessories and decide if this is the year I finally want to give up those last size 7s I’ve been clinging hopefully to, for too many years.
The argument that clothes I’ve loved are now out of style never is very successful for me. I’ve lived long enough to know that everything eventually comes back in style, albeit with a slightly different twist, sometimes. And most of us get more confident with age and experience about defining our own style, issuing ourselves artistic license to transcend conventions (or sometimes even saying to heck with the whole concept.
Still, I realize that there are some things in my wardrobe that I will never have the occasion or inclination to wear again. Cute, very high heels for instance. Things that were uncomfortable and restrictive, even when I had a 22-inch waist and was young and dumb enough to buy into the suffering-for-beauty notion. Colors that I love on the hanger but that make me look like an elderly green creature from the black lagoon.
My friend Marilyn, a retired librarian who shares my nostalgia for the classics, recently shared an excellent suggestion.
“Take pictures of things you love but no longer wear or use, then give them away,” Marilyn advised.
Wonderful. You can have your memories and share things you love, too.
Another friend, years ago, suggested making notes about possessions that friends and family members admire. Then wrap and give them away for birthday or holiday gifts. I started doing that with holiday decorations years ago and now feel inclined to extend the concept to clothing, household accessories, art, books, kitchen gadgets and even furniture and appliances.
I don’t think I’d qualify as a hoarder, but after 15 years in the same place, I’m amazed at how that once-seemingly infinite closet space has filled up.
I think most of us long for a more minimalistic Zen decor as we grow older. We’d rather have less to dust and clean, more elbow room in our life, less to trip over, less to maintain.
And yes, more to share.
My fall resolution is to eventually go through ever cabinet, room and closet and clear the decks.
I’m gradually devising a system. Things to pass on to friends and family members. Things to throw out (I’m. continually astonished to find out how much is in this category, which I have been tempted to stack in boxes labeled, “WHAT was I thinking??” Things to give away to good causes.  I think we all have our favorites and there are a lot of places in town that will appreciate your gently worn and new and never-used clothing and household goods.
One of the things that spurs me to soldier on when I’d rather not, is thinking about the kids that are helped by charities like Jardín de los Niños and Tutti Bambini (two cute boutiques that I always enjoy shopping at after I’ve brought in my goodies, an inexpensive reward for my virtuous cleaning).
You can also, of course, get receipts and tax deductions for everything from those new sheets and comforters that never looked right in your bedroom to art and jewelry.
It’s great for everyone. Someone else will be delighted with something that is surplus or unused in your life. People and organizations that need help will benefit. And you’ll experience the very real joy of giving, freedom from caring for items you don’t need and the time and space for new adventures.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at dmoore@lcsun-news, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout, or call 575-541-5450.

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