Organization Tips: Are You Selfish?

Organization Tips: Are You Selfish?

If you asked me that question, my answer would be, “Absolutely not!”

I love to do things for my friends, my family and my community. I’m the first one to collect food for the homeless shelter or to raise funds for new equipment for our local hospital.

My mother always used the adage, “He would give a stranger the shirt off his back!” when she was speaking of a kind, generous person. Surely that would apply to me.

Then I began cleaning my closets and sorting through clothes I hadn’t worn in the past year…a number of them for the past several years. Some of the clothes were relatively new. Others were older but not really out of style. Most of them didn’t look right on me or didn’t feel right when I wore them. Much as I hate to admit it, some of them no longer fit and the chances were slim to none that they ever would again. How I wished I could still slip into those size 4 jeans!

Following tips from organizing experts, I emptied my closet, examined every article of clothing, and sorted it all into piles designated to throw away, to keep and to donate. Soon I noticed that the to keep pile was much larger than the to donate pile. I scrutinized the to keep pile and told myself I just couldn’t give those clothes away! They were too good! Some even had sentimental value!

At that point in my organizing project, I had to have a serious talk with myself. I said, “Self, if you are truly unselfish and generous enough to give someone the shirt off your back, you should have no trouble donating the clothes you are no longer wearing to someone who needs them!”

After all, I donate my time and nothing is more valuable than my time. I donate my blood. I donate my talent. I donate money at the drop of a hat. Girl Scout cookies? Raffle tickets to win a trip to Vegas? I’m there! Why, then, is donating my clothing so difficult?

So what if I paid a lot for the clothes? They are of no value to anyone if they just hang in my closet getting older by the minute. So what if there were memories associated with a dress? Even without the dress, the memories will remain. And leaving those jeans hanging in the closet won’t, unfortunately, make me thinner!

After this talk with myself, the sorting began again. This time the to donate pile grew and gradually the to keep pile dwindled to only those clothes that I will wear again. I loaded the to donate bags in my car before I could have second thoughts.

Then I re-evaluated my to keep pile. I was happy with my decisions. All the clothes had the potential to be worn. There was one item I loved: a velvet jacket that I knew I’d been saving because it was “too good to wear.” The purchase price for that jacket was $100. I’d worn it twice.

“Self,” I said, “that means each wearing cost you $50. That will not work.” The jacket would become dated, not worn out. So I vowed to quit saving anything because it is “too good.” I vowed to wear the jacket often so I will get my money’s worth from it. I will not feel guilty when I move it to the to donate pile some day.

Two good things came from this exercise: I now have a nearly empty closet for guests to use when they visit and some needy people will get some pretty nice clothes to wear. Oh, and one more thing, I feel much better about myself!

However, I will always wish I could fit in those size 4 jeans again!

© 2009 Vicki Voisin, Inc.
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