Aspirational Clutter

A friend of mine asked me what to do about the aspirational clutter and how to tackle it. Her particular dilemma includes four fabulous cocktail dresses - what's a girl to do?

She had curated a beautiful wardrobe of designer dresses and shoes for events and parties when she lived in LA. She relocated to the Pacific Northwest and found that she didn't have much use for the wardrobe from her old life. But what if she got an invite to a formal event? 

I started asking the usual questions like when did she last wear it, does she have any upcoming special events (holiday party, wedding, charity auction). My advice to her was to slowly edit her dress collection. This process isn't about purging everything but finding the joy and utility in the items we use every day or love to pieces. A few questions to help get started when going through the aspirational clutter:

  • Why have I been keeping this?
  • When was the last time I used this?
  • When will I use this again?
  • How will I feel if I don't keep this item?

In my friend's situation, I suggested thinking about the versatility of her wardrobe - what could be worn in any season, dressed up or down, and which dress was her favorite. That way, she could give away/donate/sell one of the dresses to open up more space in her closet. It can be a little startling at first to have the extra space and resist the urge to fill it up.

The questions above are a good starting point no matter what kind of clutter is lingering in your home, office or garage. My aspirational clutter is the bike in my garage with a flat tire collecting dust. I bought it six years ago when I didn't have a car. My aunt took me bike shopping which was a fun bonding experience with her. I didn't ride it as often as I thought I would and it's been at least two years since I took it for a spin. I'm still clinging to the thought that this will be the year that I start riding regularly. I'm going to give myself until August to make a decision about it. I know I'm not going to be a Seattle cyclist, commuting by bike in the rain so it will be for more leisurely riding in the spring and summer.

Now that you've heard my clutter confession, what's yours?