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As seen in the Dayton Daily News on June 2, 2018.

I teach organizing seminars, and afterwards I generally have time to answer additional questions from the attendees. Recently, a woman asked me for tips about how to organize her master bedroom closet.

My first suggestion was to only have the clothes that are in good repair and actually fit in her closet.

She said, “If I took all the clothes out of my closet that didn’t fit me, I would have very little clothing left!” To which I replied, “Whether you leave the clothes that don’t fit in your closet or take them out, you will still have the same amount of clothes that fit left in your closet.”

This is a classic example of how our stuff can falsely give us a sense of security. If our closets are overstuffed, we must have a lot of clothing to choose from. But in reality, we only wear the clothes that actually fit.

She then asked, “Where do I put all the clothes that are too small for me now, but I plan to fit into when I lose weight?” I replied, “Are you exercising and eating healthy to lose weight?” Her friend shouted out, “No! I’ve known her for a long time, and she’s not trying losing weight.” With a sheepish grin, the first woman admitted that her friend was right, and she was doing nothing to lose weight.

So my advice was to box up the clothing that was just one size smaller than she currently is and store it in another room.  (I wanted to give her some hope after all.) Then donate or sell the remaining clothing.

Now, when she walks into her closet, everything will fit her. This makes it easier to get dressed and out the door faster.

We need to stop feeling comforted by having overstuffed homes full of stuff that is not our reality. Here are some other examples I have dealt with when working with clients.

I had one client who had tons of extra pillows and blankets. When I asked why, she said she use them for overnight guests. When I asked her how many guests she typically has and how often they stay with her, she got quiet. The truth was she hadn’t had any overnight guests in over ten years.

It took some discussion to finally get her to let go of the excess. Years later, I ran into her while running my errands. She smiled and said, “I can laugh now at the absurdly of how much extra bedding I had, but back then I was really convinced I needed it.”

Are you saving gourmet kitchen items and serving pieces for dinner party you only talk about having? An abundance of games, in case your grown kids get bored? Roomfuls of toys for grandkids, even though your son tells you he doesn’t want children?

Holding onto things for your fantasy life, instead of your reality, is a burden. Let go of the extras.  You will feel lighter, more in control and more energized.

Letting go of excess doesn’t mean you have to become a minimalist, (if that’s scary to you.) You can own more than one pair of jeans, provided they fit, of course