Ditch the Clutter & Dress for Success

Ditch the Clutter & Dress for Success

Ditch the Clutter & Dress for Success


Article by Cinthia Singleton
Photo Credit: Nancy Schoenmakers
Magazine: Issue #27

Without clothes or even a smile, we embark on our journey. Yet most of us in the Western world end it with an vast collection of stuff, most of which utterly unnecessary for day-to day survival. It’s incredible considering we start out needing so little beyond food and someone looking out for us. But the needs arise. Diapers. Pajamas. Blanket. Crib. More diapers. Something in which to store the pajamas, the blanket too. Soon we begin smiling… now there’s the need for toys. And more toys. Special toys to comfort us when we cry or to help us fall asleep. Suddenly there are so many toys we need shelves and boxes in which to keep them.

From nothing to a room of stuff, it happens so quickly.

Then we discover how certain objects make us feel and, in turn, “fill” our hearts. A stuffed bear becomes a bff. The dress we wear makes us feel beautiful, special and all grown up. The simplest trinket given to us by a grandparent makes us feel loved and close to them. These things plant a seed; we need things to feel things.

Some of us are as able to acquire as to relinquish. Others become hoarders. Then there’s everyone in between. Wherever we are on the spectrum, there’s some value placed on the things we own AND the (in)ability to unravel the need to keep them around. With a little conscious thinking, we can all enjoy nice things yet not being enslaved by them or, with time, their history. “The things you own end of owning you.” Remember that from Fight Club?  We don’t want that. We want to enjoy our things like the treasures they are meant to be.

If you must keep that set of crystal goblets around - you know, the ones you inherited that sit unused in a box? - start using them, for Snoopy’s sake. ENJOY them! Are you not worth a couple sips of tap water from fine Waterford crystal? You are. Of course, if you really hate those goblets, sell them and use the money to get the kind of glasses you adore.

A jewelry box filled with your beloved Aunt Mabel’s brooches and clip on earrings. Not exactly your style but you’ve dragged it around since college because that great lady was something else. How ‘bout you once in a while take out a piece and wear it? Someone compliments you on it, there’s your chance to say, “Why thank you. It was my dear auntie’s…,” and to share a sweet memory. For a moment the great lady’s still alive and vibrant. That’s worth the price of a ton of cocktail rings and big brooches, isn’t it?


It’s not junior year and the 80s prom dress that’s still in your closet doesn’t look the same on you. Make peace with that and give yourself some credit for doing a lot of great living since high school. Now. Quick. Shepherd the dress out of your closet and into the give-away bag. There’s bound to be a niece who’d love it or a charity thrift store who’ll do good things from its sale. And there’s a better dress for that great dame you’ve become.

A box of letters from the one who got away might make you smile but if they don’t, why are they in your possession? Time to shred or burn them. Or maybe, before you do that, use them as inspiration for that short story, one person show, blog entry, song or poem. Emotional upcycling. It’s cleansing. 

  • Donate
  • Give away
  • Sell
  • Toss
  • Let someone who loves it more be its archivist and keeper

All are options. Tell that to the closets, homes, sheds and garages full of stuff. Give ‘em all you got:

I have loved this and I have [used, appreciated, loved, enjoyed] it but it’s now time to let someone else [use, appreciate, love, enjoy] it or [toss, shred, upcycle].

It’s just stuff and learning to detach from it isn’t saying that we can’t or didn’t love it but that we need more room to breath life into our future growth and passions.

“You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?” — Steven Wright


Vintage items have a soul and heart, and they are unique. We search high and low for them, mostly from the estates of some really neat people. So there's often a story about the item shared with you the buyer. We live with this stuff, it has meaning; otherwise it's just stuff. Shop now!

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