The 10 year old outfit
I never thought I would write a text about an outfit. Especially not the one in this photograph, because the only relevance it has in my life is that it was never worn. I bought this outfit in 2003, it was Autumn. It is a winter outfit. The skirt and blouse are of a hot fabric (sweating is not an option or it would stick and get smelly, even in winter) and it was very stiff, not allowing much movements. But I am making excuses for myself. I knew all of this when I tried the outfit at the store. I remember very clearly the day I bought this outfit, because it was the one time out of two that I put it on. It was not an overly expensive outfit, but I did pay money for it. The first time I tried it, at the store, I felt powerful. I thought I would put high-heeled boots with high tops and look great. Except that the perfect place to use that outfit never came. Never! And the years came and went. I gained weight, got pregnant twice, lost weight, gained again, bought clothes to fit my new weight, donated loads of clothes that were too worn/small/not my style anymore but this outifit, never worn, never made it to the donation pile. I changed my clothes from one wardrobe to another and the outfit was just going from one place to another. And it never met my washing machine either…
I remember the other occasions that I gave clothes away when I looked at this outfit and I thought: “I am going to use it. The perfect time for using it will present itself.” Of course that time never came. But I could not accept that I had done this, that I bought something and had not worn it. Not one single time. I get hand-me-downs from time to time and I don’t wear the clothes because I don’t like them, I just pass them on. But I did not choose those clothes. I did not go to a store, try them on and buy them. They came for free and the same way went.
On January, 11, 2013, I was trying to do a challenge, like Steve did, and was assembling 100 objects to declutter. And I opened the place in my wardrobe where the outfit was. I was with a trusted person, who helps me with housekeeping and babysitting when needed, and she said I should let it go, because in three years she had never seen me wear it. I did not try it on to see if it still fitted, I just let it go.
Why did I hold on to that outfit for so long? Because, as Colleen has put again and again on this blog, I could not accept defeat. I could not accept that I did not like the outfit, that buying it was a mistake and that it was simply not my style and I would never wear it, no matter how long I held on to it.
I learned my lesson. But it took me too long and I agonized too much over it. Don’t let clutter agonize you, if you have something that you never wore, never used and are just hanging on because the day will come when you use it, give it up, that day will never come. Even if you think, as I did briefly, that there could come a Contry Theme party and I would miss that outfit and would want to wear it, I reminded myself that two such occasions did present themselves in 2012 and I did not wear that outfit. I chose something else. And the outfit had been there, at my disposal, in my wardrobe. So I let it go. Trust me, give up whatever you are not using, you will not need it and the occasion will never rise, I waited 10 years and that “perfect occasion” to use it never came.
The Weekend’s Mini Missions
Saturday – If you haven’t taken a look at your collection of books for a while now is as good a time as any. If you are inclined, reduce the number a little more. Question your sentimental attachment to books you have already read and aren’t likely to read again.
Sunday - Sunday is reserved for contemplating one particular item of your choice that is proving difficult for you to declutter. Whether that be for sentimental reasons, practical reasons, because the task is laborious or simply unpleasant, or because the items removal requires the cooperation of another person. That last category may mean that the item belongs to someone else who has to give their approval, it could also mean there is a joint decision to be made or it could mean that the task of removing it requires assistance from someone else. There is no need to act on this contemplation immediately, it is more about formulating a plan to act upon or simply making a decision one way or another.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast