When In Doubt, Toss It Out

Yesterday I helped my girlfriend clutter bust her bedroom closet. I wrote down some of the responses she gave about her clothing. I'm sharing them with you because they seem to be universal and might ring true for you.

"I hate this dress, but I've been keeping it for years since you're supposed to have a dress for a funeral...it's so depressing. I'm getting rid of it."

"I've been keeping these pants because my mother said I need a pair of wool pants. I'm tossing them."

"This...ughhh...I'm just not into it anymore."

"I love this, I love this shirt." This stayed in the closet.

"This just....aghhh...doesn't work for me." It went.

"Oh, here's my funeral shirt!" (She tossed it.)

"This is a skirt I liked for a long time, and now I feel guilty because it doesn't fit...I never fit into it. I wore it but it was painful." (Tossed)

"This shirt never looked good on me. "

"This shirt makes me feel boring."

"This dress makes me happy!"

"This is just old. I was hanging onto it because of poverty consciousness. 'What if I don't find new shirts?' It's going."

"This dress makes me feel like I've done something wrong." (It went into the donation bag.)

She took a kimono off a hanger and started feeling vulnerable. She said, "My grandma gave me this a few weeks before she died. She said, 'I want you to have this. I'm done with my adventures.' I kind of like it...I feel dwarfed by it." She started to cry. "The truth is, I love my grandmother, and it doesn't suit me. It's too pale, and it's too old...and it's not my grandmother...I just miss her."

Then my girlfriend looked over at the mirror on her dresser and brightened up. She said, "This is her mirror. I love it. And I look at it everyday."

She put the kimono in the donation bag.

Then we switched places and she helped me clutter bust my clothes from the closet. My girlfriend's going to write this part of the post, so you can hear her side of the story. She's been learning from my stories about how to do clutter busts, and you'll see she's almost a pro.


We came to an old gray shirt. Brooks looked wobbly. He said, "Well, I like it, but it smells, doesn't it?" I laughed.

I asked him, "Does it matter if I think it smells? Doesn't your sense of it count?"

He tried again, "I like to wear it when it's cold out. But it's old."

I looked at him, "And?"

He donated it.

The most classic clutter busting moment was when we came across a belt I'd given him for his birthday years ago. It had been an expensive gift, but he'd barely worn it. He looked at me, saying, "You gave this to me. It was expensive. I need to dress up to wear it, but I don't dress up much."

I said, "I don't care if you donate it, Brooks. I want you to be happy. Do you like dressing up?"

He started trying to convince himself. He told me, "I like to go to the theater and dress up...no I don't. I like to see plays, but I don't like dressing up. This belt makes me feel like I should." He looked like he had food poisoning.

Then he said, "Maybe I'll try it on." He tried it on and looked away, like he would barf.

Then he said the most embarrassing thing of all. This is what almost everyone says to him as a last-ditch effort to keep something they don't want. I've said this to him a million times. He asked me, "Well, do you want it?"

We laughed really hard. He let it go.


Whenever we love something, there's an immediate yes. But when have any doubt about a thing, it's clutter.