Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Trash or Treasure?

Do you have anything you just can't part with? It's okay--you can be honest. I'm not going to make you get rid of it.

For me, two things come to mind immediately, both articles of clothing. The first is a ratty old Bucknell sweatshirt, and, when I say ratty, I'm not exaggerating. The sleeves are torn and shredded at the wrists -- yes, both of them -- and there are holes under both arms. When I put it on yesterday at the end of a long day (because it remains one of the softest, most comfortable and most comforting pieces of clothing that I own), it inspired this blog post.

What do you think the odds are that I'm getting rid of it now?

The second thing is a silky, turtleneck maxi dress that belonged to my grandmother. It lives in a box at the back of my daughter's closet, where I know it will stay, because getting rid of it would feel too much like getting rid of a piece of my grandmother. I don't know why this dress is the one I've chosen to hang on to, but I know that it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

Getting organized doesn't mean getting rid of everything; rather, it's about striking a balance between the things that are important enough to keep and the things that simply take up space. While we certainly can't keep everything that comes into our possession, there's no harm in a little strategic collecting.

The point is to keep it strategic. If things you'll never use again are encroaching into your storage space, or, worse yet, your living space, it may be time to reassess. Are you keeping these things because they have value -- financial or emotional -- or simply out of habit?

How easily we find the line between trash and treasure will vary by style; those with an I love stuff  personal style will most likely find it harder than those with the l love to be busy personal style. As long as we can find a place for each of our belongings, whether it's a place of honor in a collection or a place for safekeeping at the back of a closet, there's no need to get rid of things we love. 

If, on the other hand, you're feeling overrun, and the time has come to clear things out and dispose of the items that are no longer must haves, consider whether or not they might have value to someone else. While no one will want my ratty Bucknell sweatshirt or my grandmother's vintage 1970s maxi dress, the collection of fleece blankets that's threatening to overtake a corner of our family room might be very valuable to a homeless shelter, women's center or pet shelter. 

Just one piece of advice: no fair passing it along to a family member unless they love it as much as you do. 

How about you? What are your must haves, and what are you keeping simply out of habit?

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