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BellaOnline's Stress Management Editor

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The Hidden Stress of Hanging on to Clothes


It is common knowledge that most of us wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time because we play favorites. However, we continue shopping and spending money that we could have used more wisely or saved. For many people a cluttered closet becomes a symbol of a cluttered mind. Moreover, an overcrowded closet demonstrates that we are overly concerned with what others think: “Oh, everyone will remember that I wore this outfit last week.” To this worry I respond, “I hope they remember me, how kind I was, or what I said, not what I wore.”

When I asked people why they don’t get rid of excess clothes, here are popular responses:
  • I paid a lot of money for this outfit
  • It was on sale
  • I have my fat clothes and my skinny clothes
  • This outfit symbolizes a special day in my life, so I can’t give it away
  • I got it as a gift
  • I will have a future occasion to wear it

If your item’s best attribute is that it was an irresistible sale, you might want to reconsider the purchase. I have found two rules which prevent my own impulsive purchases:
  1. If I think I just have to buy it, I ask the sales person to put it on hold and then return in a day or two to try on the merchandise again. Most often I lose my enthusiasm for the purchase and decide NOT to spend the money. This makes me feel empowered and in control.
  2. I imagine myself in a school uniform or doctor’s scrubs or a nurse’s uniform. In other words, I can wear the same clothes every day. Guess what? I usually end up wearing jeans or black pants with different tops. Black serves as a great base to build.
Stress management is all about perception. When the seasons change, I put away some knick knacks, bring back a few old ones and rotate others around the house. Therefore what’s tired becomes stimulating and fresh. I even change where I sit at the kitchen table to see things from a different perspective. Similarly, in your own closet you can change your perception about your old clothes to see them in a fresh light, clearly no need to purchase when you possess the creativity. Try wearing an old outfit differently by belting, shortening, accessorizing or changing buttons – the way you change cabinet handles to achieve a totally different look.

Cleaning out your closet is cathartic. Keep it simple.
For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show



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Content copyright © 2014 by Debbie Mandel. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Debbie Mandel for details.

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