Last week the article was on Creative Gift Giving and this week we will learn many advantages to cleaning the closets before the holidays and definitely before the year ends.

With the Holiday season upon us now is a great time to focus on what you really need rather than what you think you want. One of the best ways to learn the key differences is by cleaning the closets and doing an inventory of your stuff.

The holidays are especially stressful with the additional pressure and urge to spend money for “stuff” and dealing with family issues. It is very lucky for you that several articles in a row are sharing specific strategies and suggestions to eliminate many of the stressors. One of the biggest contributors to stress is the pressure to buy and exchange gifts. Much of the holiday season now revolves around looking, planning, shopping, wrapping, hiding and giving gifts.

Each gift to each person can easily have a dozen stress factors such as: regular price, sale price, color, durability, safe materials, right size, quality, store location, packaging, safety, age appropriate toys, country of origin, shipping, appeal factor, gift wrapping, warranty, receipts, returning and much more.

While it may not sound very festive and nostalgic many people would gladly prefer receiving cash, check or a gift card than the majority of “gifts” they receive which are less than special and just more stuff for stuffing the closets.

After focusing previous articles on “The Story of Stuff”, simple steps to stop stress and creative gift giving it became obvious that people (myself included) would greatly benefit from cleaning the closets where the stuff stays. Clutter in the closet is like clutter in the mind in that it eventually wears down your energy causing even more stress. Consuming so much stuff is wasting precious resources and creating more toxic byproducts and waste so people will benefit by cleaning out their closets to stop the stuff from taking over your life.

My seven week trip to the EU really opened my eyes to how people in the US collect too much stuff in closets, garages and even storage units. The best way to stop this insanity is by cleaning out the closets where all the stuff is hiding.

The Feng Shui Of Closet Cleaning

Is it Time to Clean the Closets?For those that know a bit about behavioral psychology, Feng Shui, organizational efficiency and time management it is pretty obvious that cleaning out the closets can help in many areas of life. Here is a list of simple steps to help with cleaning the closets and clearing the clutter in your life.

  1. Begin by watching “The Story of Stuff” and commit to stopping the stuff. Then set aside a full day to go through your main closets and surplus stuff storage closets. Repeat the mantra: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle.
  2. Start with removing all the excess clutter stuck into bags, boxes and bundles.
  3. Find those gifts from previous years that you felt too afraid or pressured to reject or return and re-gift them or donate them to charity.
  4. Find the shoes that need repair or do not fit properly and get them repaired or give them away. Improperly fitting and worn out shoes can cause foot and alignment problems so do yourself a big favor.
  5. Identify the bonus, freebie, gag, lost, silly gifts and stuff that you have not used in the last two to five years and put them in a bag for charity.
  6. Get rid of plastic bags and dry cleaning bags that may be releasing chemicals into your home. Find eco-friendly alternatives.
  7. Read the labels and eliminate old after shave, cologne, perfume and personal care products with toxic chemicals and fragrances.
  8. Remove any cardboard boxes or paper that may be harboring bugs, moths, roaches, silverfish or spiders. Replace them with safe and durable storage containers. Avoid moth balls which contain toxic chemicals. Use cedar wood and natural essential oils.
  9. Pull out the clothes that are not your favorites or you have not worn in the last several years. Try them on if you must but decide to wear them this month or give them away. Someone else can appreciate them more than you and you can enjoy the satisfaction of giving to others that are less fortunate.
  10. Any clothes that need a button sewn on, minor repair or a patch should be placed in a container to be fixed over the holidays or given away before year end for a tax deduction.
  11. Accessories, belts, hats, neck ties, scarves and other things you have not used in the last five years should be removed and eliminated.
  12. How many of those t-shirts do you really need or even wear? If you will not wear it in a family photo or on vacation this year give it away.
  13. Then go through the blouses, jackets or shirts to see which ones are your favorites and still look in good condition and you have worn in the last two years. The others should be donated.
  14. Go through your garments (dresses, pants, slacks or skirts) and do the same thing. Any items that do not fit or have not been worn in five years could be removed and donated to charity.
  15. Do you have any business attire, outfits or suits that are no longer needed by you and may be able to help someone less fortunate that have lost their belongings due to a fire, flood or financial setback? Give them away.
  16. Dust, vacuum and wipe down the closet. Does it need a new coat of paint? Consider a small dresser, shelves or storage containers to help keep it organized.
  17. Take pictures of the stuff you are giving away to charity for your tax records and to remind you of surplus stuff. Look through your stuff one more time to see what else can be donated and do it. Put the best clothing and accessories back in the closet with a feeling of accomplishment and gratitude.
  18. Drop off the un-needed items at Goodwill, Salvation Army or a Thrift store as soon as possible. Once you are totally finished with this project reward yourself with something healthy and special to celebrate your accomplishment.

Many people have lost the real meaning of the holiday season and are too busy and stressed buying stuff and doing stuff rather than enjoying the truly precious gifts of happiness, harmony and health. This holiday season is a great time to stop the insanity of stuff and start the satisfaction of sharing magic moments with your family and friends.

Closet Cleaning Life Lessons

Writing in the JournalWhile you are cleaning the closets keep a journal nearby to capture those excuses, procrastinations, rationalizations and thoughts which are limiting the quality of your life. Our clothes and stuff can provide valuable insights into what is going on in or lives and how we allow stuff and things to hold us back from progress and prosperity.

Cleaning the closets may be some of the best therapy to prepare for the New Year.

There are some valuable life lessons to learn when cleaning the closets so be sure to set the intention to notice them and learn the beneficial life lesson.

Mastery Action Plan

  • Watch the informative documentary “The Story of Stuff”  and share it with family and friends. This will help you remember it is not stuff but special connections and feelings that are some of the most precious gifts we can receive and share.
  • During the holiday season set aside one day before the end of the year for cleaning the closets. Now start cleaning and be sure to celebrate when you are finished!

Our next blog post will share: New Year Vision Board