A new series I am starting ... though the progress has been ongoing for sometime now. How To Be A Woman, a not-so tongue-in-cheek attempt to figure out what womanhood is, means, and how to live my best life as a woman.
How To Be A Woman Tip #1
I am a hoarder. I have known this for sometime. Perhaps it is the fact of growing up working class without much to own, I have developed a fascination with collecting things, including broken or damaged things. The mindset is that broken things can be amended, re-purposed.
I am the type who is fascinated by people who turn throw-away/basic everyday things into art. I get carried away by the guy who makes artwork out of gum, or the woman who re-purposes old clothes into blankets and shawls. In my head, I am this type. The goal is to turn these trinkets into art one day. I am still waiting for that one day that I know in my heart will never come.The end result is that I have "collections" of little trinkets, things the world would dismiss as garbage (specialty store paper/plastic bags, designer tags/ buttons that have fallen off clothes), piling, and need more and more storage boxes.
I am the woman who will keep an old, falling apart piece of clothes because I really like the color, or the design, or out of sentimentality, the reason I still have my old high school gym shorts. I keep bags with broken straps with the intent to sew the strap back on, someday.
Those some-days are not coming.
Increasingly I have a "hunt for the perfect ...." mentally. The perfect sweater, the perfect winter boots, the perfect handbag. I convince myself that once I find the "perfect" INSERT ITEM, then I'll stop looking or shopping. Each time I find the "perfect" Item, then some new item comes around that I think is more ideal. And so the saga continues.
I have spent the last few months in a transitional phase ... donating and/or throwing away items that I cannot wear, don't like, or that can't fit anymore. It hasn't been easy. I buy clothes and shoes not because I need them, but because I want them, and I don't throw things out because they might still fit, and because, growing up, my family amended clothes, not get new ones.
Now, my clothes are meant to represent the woman I want to present to the world--casually professional and sophisticated, part tomboy, with an embrace of feminine aesthetics.
Learning to de-clutter has been therapeutic. Part of my process includes questioning why I have/want things. Often, the answer is that the "item" makes me happy. The rule that's been toughest is the "blind dump."--Throwing things out without checking what it is first. If I throw something away and don't miss it, then it wasn't worth keeping. I have gone through my cupboards and thrown out unused mugs and glasses that have been there so long they've yellowed. I have gone into the bathroom cabinet and decide to either a) use up items that are unfinished (1/4 bottles of perfume, for example), or b) throw out expired or dried/caked up items--I had a few of these). It's been useful.
1. Check to see if you have an item before you buy it.
2. Use up all your partly finished liquids/fluids before you buy more
3. Donate (you'll feel good)
4. Ask yourself why you are keeping this? (need, sentimentally, or just because?)
5. Organize/Label things into types or kinds (it helps to keep track of what you own, and if you can SEE THE LABEL you are more likely to be reminded of what you have and therefore more likely to consult/use the thing). Sometimes items are lost in the clutter, and I forget I have this or that.
6. Don't buy bulk unless it's for frequently used items (e.g. tissue). Limit items to a certain number. e.g, Only buy 5 volumes of one item every month, e.g.
7. Throw out "goods" boxes, after a month. Chances are, if you haven't returned the item after a month, you won't do so ever. If you do need to return it after this time, you only need a receipt.
8. Do a seasonal purge (make this a habit--spring cleaning, etc.)
9. Take a picture rather than keep the "cute" designer label tag for no reason. A virtual "art collection" is just as effective as a physical one. Seriously, taking pictures of things I like, such as a "cute" button or bottle still allows me to create a collage out of that item rather than store those items in boxes at home and never get around to doing anything with them.
P.S. Scanning important documents work, too. Plenty of online storage. If you insist on keeping physical copies, then do so, but purge after three years (government--taxes)--keep things like contracts, mortgage papers, etc.
10. Fold laundry. sheets, etc. Folded clothes take up less space. Seriously.