Monday, 20 September 2010
Out with the old, in with the new
People who write about dealing with clutter often suggest you tackle one small thing at a time. You get something achieved, a sense of fulfillment at having done so and I suppose slowly but surely you can go through your home that way.
There were things in the drawer that I never wear because they're the wrong size and I knew I'd be getting rid of a good handful of underwear. I had hoped it would mean I needed to treat myself to some new but I unearthed some things I had forgotten I had and it turns out I have plenty!
Recently, Marks and Spencer invited customers to take in unwanted clothes to their stores, which they planned to give away to Oxfam to resell. They gave an incentive too - people would be given a £5 Marks and Spencer voucher for any M&S branded clothing that they brought in. As well as helping to raise money for Oxfam, the store is helping to cut down on what gets taken to landfill. The initiative is part of the Prince of Wales's Start campaign, encouraging people to lead more sustainable lives. I think it's a great way to get people thinking about what they own and helping them to give things away rather then throw away.
Getting rid of something before or right after buying something new is a good way to help manage all the stuff we fill our homes with. Living in relatively small apartments in London that have limited storage options, my husband and I have generally followed that idea. Prior to my son being born, we moved every year to a new place (we were renting) and welcomed the inevitable opportunity for a good clear-out that moving house provides. Mostly, it's clothes we get rid of that we take to charity shops but sometimes, books and CDs.
As a stay-at-home mum, there are things I have realised I can part ways with too. A change in lifestyle means my clothing needs have changed. I'm not planning on returning to work for a while longer so I'm going to give away most of my work suits to Dress for Success, an international organisation who help disadvantaged women enter or return to the workforce. I have several dressy pairs of shoes that sit in boxes, never worn and never likely to be worn that I can also give away.
My clothing gets moved around at home with the seasons, due to space issues. I keep winter clothes packed away in suitcases or storage boxes during the summer and then switch around once I need warmer clothes for the winter months. It can be a helpful way to regularly moderate what clothing I have and to notice what I don't bother to move because I know I won't wear it. Once something's not been out of the case for a year or more, I recognise that it's probably something I can do without, so I clear out that way too.
As we enter the autumn/winter fashion period and cooler temperatures, many of us will be thinking about getting a new winter coat, a new cosy jumper or just something we see in a shop that catches our eye. It's also a good time to look at our existing wardrobes and dig out things we haven't worn in a couple of years or those hurried purchases that we never really liked enough to wear. It's a nice feeling to get your wardrobe and drawers all organised for the seasons to come. What will you be giving away?
Are you good about sorting through your clothes and other items and giving things away? How do you usually get rid of things?