How to Make Yourself Happier by Clearing Your Closet.

A few days ago, I was helping a friend clear out her closet (helping friends clear their clutter is one of my few hobbies), and I made a new observation about the nature of clutter. This seems counter-intuitive, but it makes sense: people uninterested in clothes (like me and my friend) are more likely to have clothes clutter than people who love clothes. Why?

First of all, “clutter” is stuff that you don’t like or don’t use. So people who love clothes may have bursting closets, but because they love the clothes they have, it doesn’t feel like “clutter.”Messy_closet

Also, at least among my friends, people who love clothes tend to be scrupulous about weeding out clothes that don’t work. They love to maintain a highly edited collection of clothes, and they keep only things that look good, are useful, and are in great shape. Or people who love their clothes less ruthlessly may have packed closets and drawers, but revel in the abundance.

On the other hand, people who aren’t interested in clothes – like me – can get overwhelmed by clothes clutter.

They can’t be bothered to make decisions like “That pair of brown pants is nicer than this pair of brown pants, so I’ll get rid of this pair,” or “This sweater is looking pretty tired, so I’ll retire it.”

Because such folks often hate to shop (again, this is me, unless I go with my mother – I’m an under-buyer), they dread the possibility of having to run out and buy something for a particular occasion. So they refuse to let go of any stitch of clothing, for fear that some circumstance will arise when they’ll need it.

People who love clothes have less clutter, too, because they enjoy thinking of different ways to wear their clothes; they get more use out of their clothes. People who don’t like clothes don’t spend any time thinking about them, so don’t realize that there’s a way to use that black sweater or those corduroy pants – and because those clothes aren’t worn, they turn into clutter.

People who don’t like clothes tend to feel easily oppressed by them. So if the clutter is making you blue, take action! Free up some space in your closet – and in your mind. One of my Secrets of Adulthood is “Outer order contributes to inner calm.”

The days are long, but the years are short.