painless and productive purging

Spring Cleaning with Amy

Considering my propensity to (constantly) makeunder my life, one might assume that my friends are also professional purgers. But this is not the case. Realizing this difference, I am careful not to push my passion for ‘living with less’ on unsuspecting amigas. However, every so often, a friend will ask for makeunder help.

Last week, Amy, a great friend from college who lives in Lincoln Park, asked me to help with her room and wardrobe. After we completed most of the work, she offered to summarize and reflect on the process. Not only is her writing entertaining, but her frank perspective from “the other side of the makeunder coin” is a great addition for Makeunder My Life. Enjoy!


Painless and Productive Purging
(well, minimal pain)
By Amy S.

I’ll admit it: appearances are important to me. Each time I leave my apartment, I make sure my outfit is perfectly put together accompanied by the perfect jewelry pieces and handbag. Yet, for some reason, I don’t invest the same TLC into the appearance of my bedroom. You see, I love to shop just as much as the next girl, but, after years of purchases, my belongings had taken over my small room in Lincoln Park. My own closet had turned into a foreign jungle filled with mysterious garments on tacky dry-cleaner hangers, and the sartorial overgrowth had pervaded my room.
I knew I needed a change in my life. A knack for organization was not bestowed to me upon birth, unfortunately, so I enlisted the help of my wonderful friend Jess, knowing full-well that her mantra of “making under” could do wonders for my current lifestyle. So we started with my goals: what did I want to achieve after the make-under? Well, for me, clutter had overshadowed the things I loved, like my books and picture frames, so I told her that I wanted those things to be the primary focal point of my room–not the haphazard pile of clothes on the ground. As Jess reminded me, I deserve to live in a beautiful space. Declaring my intentions helped me change my perspective on the things I owned. Obviously we don’t need everything we have. Sure, certain things are nice to have–ones that make us happy–but, in my case, I own plenty of things that may have at some point made me happy but now just take up unnecessary space and caused me stress. Those things serve absolutely no productive purpose in my life anymore.
Jess helped me not only get rid of the positively useless things I had been holding onto, but also some other more “difficult” things I would have likely held onto for years to come. For example, I had a brand new purse that sat with the price tag on it for at least three years under my bed. I had justified keeping it based on a line of reasoning that presented a common, recurring dilemma for me: I liked the purse. We only buy things that we like, duh. But in practice, I didn’t use the purse because I owned other ones I simply liked better. Jess helpfully coaxed me into getting rid of the darn thing and taught me an important lesson: just because you own something doesn’t mean you have to keep it. Plus, there is someone else out there who can actually use it!
The purging is still a work in progress (I was serious when I said I had a lot of stuff!), but already I know I won’t miss the things that are gone. In fact, in many cases, I had forgotten they existed! Now I’m working to make all of the things I love–my “priority” items–visible and easily accessible. There’s no point owning something that’s going to be permanently wedged in the back of my closet. After triumphantly editing out plenty of unnecessary items from my wardrobe, I already feel much better. ūüôā

[Lovely photo by Rachel at Heart of Light]

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