Thoughts from the Editor: Letting Go of Stuff

Jun 11, 2015


Letting go (per the focus of this week’s episode of the podcast) and paring down have been at the forefront of my mind lately as I contemplate the reality of packing up not only my house, but my classroom full of 13 years of teaching. And so I found it to be quite serendipitous when I was flipping through the June issue of Elle US and was introduced to professional life and home organizer Laura Cattano.

Author of the blog The Order Obsessed, she is currently the guest coach at Elle.com and will be offering a post a week for the month of June (click here for her first lesson on organizing one’s boudoir). The idea of purging and ridding my life of items I haven’t used in years excites me tremendously. Even after having had two yard sales in the past three years, I still have items of decor and clothing I would like to shed (and plus my mover informed me, I will be paying per the pound, so I thought that was yet another motivator to let a few items go as well).

And as this past year was focused on the launch of the book, a dream-come-true event, and more recently, cementing the opportunity to move to Bend, my schedule hasn’t been as open as I would have liked to edit of my closet as I typically do twice a year. With that said however, in the next few weeks, I am looking forward to carving out an entire day to be ruthless (for anyone who lives in the area, I promise there will be a yard sale in July). ~Click here to follow a simple guide for editing your closet.

The feeling of letting go of anything opens up space in our lives for what is a better fit or simply leaves more room to breathe and move more freely, effortlessly and unencumbered.

I would like a bit more space between each of my hangers. I would like a to look at my closet again and see an item I want to wear on each hanger. I would like to have fewer clothes.

What I have discovered since I curated my first capsule wardrobe is that with each year, it becomes more precise, more in alignment with my genuine signature style. This also means that a few more clothing items must go, to make room for items that would work much better. Yes, it may appear frustrating that we have to let items go, but the feel-good-tingling-feeling is that we’re truly narrowing in, not only what we enjoy wearing, but what works best for our lives. Such a feeling of refinement is exactly the purpose of the capsule wardrobe.

And since we are on the note of editing our closets, TSLL reader Kristin recently introduced me to Cuyana’s Lean Closet idea which in many ways aligns with the simply luxurious approach: Purchasing quality items, however, fewer items. You might want to have a look.

But before I leave you today, I thought I’d offer a bit of inspiration of what you might want to consider tossing from your closet:

~Items that are always losing out to another option in your closet

~Items that are uncomfortable to wear for whatever reason: fit, fabric, length, etc. 

~Items that date you or were purchased only to keep up with the trend of the season (which is now last season)

~Items that shrink your confidence

~Items that don’t look their best anymore: Stains, fading, tears, rips, etc.

~Sparkles, sequins (just let them go, I had to do the same thing)

~Shoes that are never, at any point of the day, comfortable

~Freebie T-shirts from any group you’ve been a part of that is simply taking up space

~Cheap, knock-off handbags (stick to three quality bags: clutch, tote, handbag for day, and you will be set)

~Any lingerie (underwear, bras, hose, etc) that has lost its luster, elasticity, etc.

Okay, now . . . I am setting the date with myself. I can’t wait. Can you?

~THOUGHTS FROM THE EDITOR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES:

~To the Class of 2015

~Cannes Red Carpet 2015

~Why Not . . . Move Forward Successfully?



15 thoughts on “Thoughts from the Editor: Letting Go of Stuff

  1. I relate on many levels Shannon! I am pretty good at decluttering these days, I do keep things minimal but I cringe at the memory of moving schools after 13 years teaching in my first one (yes me too!) I hope your academic transition is smoother than my cluttered boxes were.

      1. Indeed yes. I spent 13 years in my first school (secondary boys) before moving to a co-ed secondary school for nine then moved into our own small business where I am now.

  2. I also love a good purge! It makes you feel so free and organised ridding yourself of the clutter that doesn’t serve any purpose (other than to take up precious space!) Have you read Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”? I absolutely adored the book and highly recommend it 🙂

  3. Shannon, before you start read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I just used her system and ended up getting rid of about 60% of my stuff. I told everyone I know about it; those who have tried it for themselves have had similar results and are true converts. After cluttering with Marie you are left with only the stuff you love that makes you truly happy, and the need to buy more stuff vanishes. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

    Good luck with the move! I’m looking forward to hearing about your new adventures in Bend!

    1. Thank you for this recommendation. When I mentioned this book in the This and That a few months ago, my interest was indeed piqued, but I think this is a definite must-read. Thank you for the reminder. 🙂

    2. Good suggestion, KBG – I also read Marie Kondo’s book and implemented several of her suggestions. She’s right – when you’re left with only the things you love, the need to buy more does disappear. Before buying things, I now ask myself if it’s something I truly love and want in my life. Really helps the decision process!

  4. This is so timely, Shannon! For the last couple days, I’ve had this restless feeling that things need to “go,” so last night I hauled two tote bins up to my closet and cleaned house. I transferred winter items to the bins, got rid of clothes that aren’t “me” anymore, and am left with a streamlined closet that makes me feel relaxed, organized and more at peace. There are still a few things I should get rid of, but just can’t seem to, but I’ll keep working toward this goal. Best wishes for your upcoming move – can’t wait to hear more about it!

  5. Having just finished a move, only to find myself in a new house with a donation pile of things we moved by shouldn’t have, my advice would be to be ruthless. I am a wife and mother of two and I do envy you your complete autonomy over what goes and what stays. Use it to your advantage!

  6. i so feel your pain! Five years ago we downsized from 4300 sq ft to 2600 and this month down again to 1250 sq ft. BEST DECISION EVER. Just the two of us (daughter grown and gone) we found we lived in three rooms. So why do we have all this space and all this stuff? Things we have not looked at for YEARS! boxes and things we have moved 5 times in 25 yrs and never unboxed. I went from 7 bookcases to one (and that’s only 2/3 full) True clothes are tough to whiddle down but memory stuff was much harder. Husband and I fought tooth and nail…he (NOT ME) wanted every concert ticket stub and memento we have gathered. I thought the move would kill us and/or our marriage but we made it. His loft area (office/man cave) is still over flowing with things still unpacked but each day I see him carry a larger and larger bag to the trash. He has seen the light to a fresher – uncluttered life and embracing it. Not done myself – I know I moved a lot of winter clothes (already packed away for the season) that I should have curated, but that is coming,. My summer clothes are in order and I know what I want to do. My advice DO IT – clear the clutter – clear your mind. Like childbirth – It’s worth the pain.

  7. Can’t wait for the podcast and more of your own experiences.
    Even though all my stuff if very organized, I just want less. I am single mom of a teenager and our needs are very basic. Just this week, I went through the shirts and belts in my closet and purged. Styles and personal interests do change. We won’t talk about how clothes seem to “shrink” in the closet. In the end, there are many thing that “just don’t fit” either my physique, or who I want to be at this point in my life.
    When I cleaned out during a remodel of my kitchen and another room, it was really hard. But I have not gone looking for a thing since I did it and feel ssooo much better. I love the Kondo’s test of what to keep, “does this spark joy?” (btw you can listen to the audio version of the book for free on youtube.) That is what I want more of in my life: joy. And ease in maintaining my possessions. Less is more!

  8. I’m moving in a couple months as well, so I’ll be working on the same over the summer! Thanks for the head start inspiration.

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