Most of us would like to declutter our closets, but have a hard time deciding what to keep and what to toss. The new year is a great time to do this. I keep an organized and tidy home, because that keeps me organized and centered. However, I once hoarded things I no longer used, “just in case” I ever needed them. In fact, I still keep a collection of cashmere sweaters I never wear, hoping that someday I will get over my wool allergy. Which, of course never happens.
However, once I made the opposite mistake, by getting rid of something I later regretted having thrown away. I trashed precious, handwritten letters from friends, exes and loved ones.
So how to know what to toss and what to keep? We need to let go of some old things to make room for the new. But certain items should be kept for practical or sentimental reasons.
- Handwritten letters from your loved ones or your high school sweetheart.
- Your favorite childhood books. You will later be able to share them with your kids or grandchildren.
- Family jewelry, unless you are in dire straits and have to sell it. Otherwise, hang onto those heirlooms, even if they’re out of style.
- Your favorite books which, even if you never reread them, you enjoy having on the bookshelf.
- Good classic leather shoes. Treat them well and you should be able to wear them for many years.
- Quality classic clothes. You can always have them altered to fit the current style.
- Photographs. There’s something about browsing through a good old photo album that can’t match the experience of looking at pictures on a computer.
- Anything that gives you the creeps, or that reminds you of a bad period in your life, no matter what it is.
- All those half-filled shampoo bottles that clutter your bathroom.
- Ratty clothes, unless they have extraordinary emotional value or can be repaired.
- Clothes that don’t fit!
- Old makeup. Update the contents of your cosmetics bag every six months.
- Magazines. Get yourself an e-reader and go digital.
- Receipts and bills. Scan everything you need and throw out the paper.
- Anything you’re saving “just in case.” Trust me, you won’t ever need it!
- Underwear you wouldn’t want anyone to see you in.
- Gifts you never liked.
End the year with a decluttered, organized home and start the new one looking forward. Hmm. Now that I think about it, I guess I will finally get rid of those beautiful wool sweaters I’m allergic to!