8 Steps to a Conscientious New Year

organized-closetTo start the year, I decided not to just talk about clutter but intention. Yeah, I know it’s an Oprah word and it probably has something to do with me going back to the yoga mat 7 times a week, but so be it. I’m a little crunchy. Anyway, I know that with my own habits I’m more likely to change when it’s not about depriving myself but instead about enriching myself. That’s why I decided that conscientiousness needed to be the goal, not decluttering per se.

If giving up a pretty new sweater or pair of boots means that I can be better off then I’m all for it.

So how does not having a pretty new sweater make me better off? I decided that 2014 is my year of conscientious decision making, especially spending. Not just doing something willy-nilly or because it’s an impulse but really stopping to ask if this will enrich my life. When our impulse is to collect shiny new objects to fulfill our lives or make us feel better, we’ll never have enough to fill the void. Happiness doesn’t have a price tag … at least long-term happiness doesn’t. You have to work for it.

I have more sweaters, pants, shirts, tops and coats than I need … quadrupled. And I really really like, if not quite love, everything I own. It all serves a clear purpose. I will gradually purge some thing throughout the coming months, but I didn’t want to be reckless and overly efficient because like a crash diet that would just encourage my shopping impulse of buy, buy, buy. Instead, I’m trying to be more thoughtful and conscientious (there’s that word again, acting from my conscience).

So I’m advocating buying less and appreciating more. Appreciating what I have and appreciating other things in life that can’t be bought, only savored. My goal is actually not to buy any new clothing this year (that’s a really far-fetched goal for a fashion editor but you gotta dream, right). No jewelry, no shoes, no t-shirts, no dresses, no jeans. I haven’t told any of my friends and I am already haggling with myself about exceptions, but so far, so good.

I’m planning a kick-ass vacation with a friend in April and for a change, I want to pay for it before I leave and not own anything on it EVER. So every time I’m tempted to buy some boots on sale or a new sweater or a new sports bra, I ask, “do I need it? Do I have enough already?” The answer is always yes. I have maybe a week and a half’s worth of yoga clothes. Sure I could have more, but do I need more. A few weeks ago, the answer would have been, “why not?” But today the answer is, “no, I’d rather save for my trip and live with the great items I already have.”

My column is 8 Steps to a Conscientious Closet which is kind of a hippie dippy headline that I came up with but surprisingly, no one called me a flaky socialist for telling people to consume less. Step One is simple: Organize. Why?

“If the idea of sorting through your closet sounds painful, you probably have a lot of junk in there.”



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