Who Needs It? Challenge #2: Get Real

Challenge #2: Get Real


The 2nd part of SRB’s de-cluttering challenge is to “Get Real” and think about the emotional aspect of the clutter in our lives. While thinking about what I wanted to write in this post, I realized that I definitely have different emotions regarding different areas of my life. I just posted my master bedroom decluttering post, and honestly, that was an area that was easy for me to de-clutter, which is probably why I started with it. I think that’s because it was all about organization and putting things in their rightful places. Easy stuff (for me) because it’s the type of cleaning I like to do. When I feel overwhelmed by the clutter in my life that is out of place (like the mail on the counter top, the dirty glasses on the bedside table, the clean laundry in the basket) – I’m usually pretty good at speed cleaning for a few minutes and cleaning up the visual spaces. It’s the deep cleaning & purging where it gets harder for me.

For example, when I start on purging the clothing in our closets, it’s going to get harder. The majority of my clothes are from a decade ago. That is because I’m cheap and have no style. I still wear t-shirts from TWO decades ago. That is because I’m emotional. My emotions are all tied up in my clothing, just like most people’s emotions are tied to the song that was playing during their first kiss. I don’t even have nice clothes, which is part of why this is so sad! I just think “that was the first shirt I bought in college” or “I wore that in high school softball” or “maybe my daughter would like that some day” (HA!) or “what a waste of money if I throw a perfectly good shirt away” or “maybe I’ll fit into that again some day!” Ya, it’s ridiculous.

So here’s my goal moving forward. I’ll be posting some more “easy” spaces in the meantime that I tackled before Harvey was born (bathrooms, kitchen, etc), but I’m going to start working on my hard spaces… the clothing, the rows of photo albums, etc. I’m going to really think hard about if it’s beneficial to me to keep that stuff around anymore. I’m not going to let worrying about money (buying new clothes) or excessive sentimental attachment keep me from purging the excess clutter in my life.

Wish me luck!


  1. Good luck! You can do it!!!

  2. I am the same way with clothes. I nearly always remember what I was wearing for every mundane occasion in my life. I also really like to get my money’s worth out of clothing and have a ton of items from 10 years ago, maybe more. Since we are moving and I got some new clothes, I purged a ton from my closet. I give them to my friends so I can see the item live on 🙂

  3. I have a very strict rule that I give it away if I haven’t worn it in a year. Of course that doesn’t work if you’re still wearing your decade-old clothes and not just holding them for sentimental reasons 😉 (I do still have the shirt I wore on my first date with DH 10 years ago, shhhh!)

    Good luck!

    1. Yep, that’s pretty much the rule I’m going to follow when I clean out my closet. I’m honestly pretty excited for a fresh start!

  4. I have this trouble with clothing too, especially now that I’m home with the kids for the next few years. I live in “schlubby” clothes, but can’t bear to part with work clothes because WHAT IF??? Anyway… I am not dealing with my closet for a while because I am not ready to. So, whenever you’re ready, you know? I’m not into purging, more like “thinning”. Paring it down, sort of? Still figuring it out 🙂

    As for the money thing, I have been thinking about this a lot. I am having difficult even thinking about the books and books of CDs (after binning all the jewel cases years ago). I haven’t pulled a single one out in five years. I can’t bring myself to get rid of them because I spent money on them! Like $20 each! Arch Mama pointed out that having listened to the each a few times, I got my $ worth. I have probably spent more on single use items without even batting an eye (this is my thought). So, if you’ve worn the item a lot, money well spent? Ah, then there’s the items I spent TOO MUCH on an never wore…better keep those! I don’t know… there is a LOT of emotion and self-worth/esteem/image tied up in our clothes. Closets are going to tough.

    I recently threw out a t shirt from uni with the armpits ripped out (or rotted out, probably!). I have had it in my sewing basket for three YEARS and never fixed it. A childhood friend recently commented on one of my posts in this series that stuff like that, for her, represented past lives she didn’t want to live anymore. I threw it out. For me, this shirt represented a hard time in my life. My brother died a few months after I started school and I was with the asshole I would later divorce the whole time. So, bye bye shirt! It was cathartic. BUT, if you loved your time in a place, a keepsake (like a shirt) from that place is worth keeping. Just maybe not 20 shirts. This whole “what to keep and what to let go” thing is the *real* challenge I’m learning.

    Sorry for the post-length comment. I think you’re really getting in touch with the heart of it and making me think. Now… off to contemplate my toxic armpits. 😉

  5. I have that same “keep it” mentality with my clothes too. Especially the ones from when I was in the best shape of my life (March 2012). SAD to say, I still have a huge tote full of those clothes that I keep telling myself “I’m saving until I can fit into them.” Um….horrible excuse. I need to just donate them and then set a goal to buy a new wardrobe when I get to that size again. It’s amazing the emotional side of keeping things around and how it makes me feel so much more free when I do throw things away though. Best of luck, keep up the good work!

  6. You know on the clothes thing you could always make a quilt out of them, either to actually use, to hang on the wall, or to give to one or both of your kids later, depending on if you make more than 1. T-shirt quilts or wall hangings are really easy to make and lets you just keep pieces of each piece of clothing as opposed to all of it. And if you can’t sew perhaps a family member or friend could. I also plan to do a similar thing with some of my daughter’s clothes as she outgrows them, keep one or two from each stage of life and make them into a quilt for her.

    I however have no problem donating stuff that I no longer need/use. If its something I haven’t used since I moved into this house 3 years ago, it goes, especially old electronic items. Now if I could emotionally declutter my life it would be great, but unfortunately maintaining contact with problem family members because of kids is draining and I’m about to make the decision to cut all ties with a group of them just to maintain my own sanity. Hopefully that helps with the emotional decluttering.

    1. Ha, I’ve saved a bunch of t-shirts for that quilt idea…yet I don’t know how to quilt and don’t see myself ever learning. *sigh*

      1. I don’t do real quilting either, but for a basic T-shirt quilt you can do it easily just by sewing T-shirts together and use fleece as a backer, then just tie some yard knots across it to keep it from bunching, makes a nice thin quilt and if its just T-shirts and fleece you don’t have to worry about the edges being finished all fancy, you can just serge or zigzag stitch around the edges, since that material won’t unravel like cotton or flannel would.

  7. Good luck!

    I am the exact same way – emotionally toed to clothes, cheap, and no sense of style. Ha! It was good I purged when I did – I was in the mood to just get rid of it!

    my kids clothes, a whole other story. Love buying them clothes! But for me? Nope!

  8. […] 1: Fess Up  Area 1: The Master Bedroom Challenge 2: Get Real Area 2: The Bathrooms Area 3: The Kitchen Drawers & […]

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