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Time to de-clutter… (pt 3)

June 3, 2009

In part two, I offered some hints on getting organised to reduce mental clutter. There’s nothing like the serenity and inner harmony gained from knowing that all the bills are paid, the fridge is full and everything in your house is in order. Not only is your life simpler externally, you’ll also benefit from the inner simplicity this brings when your mind is no longer buzzing with trivialities which could have been avoided for the sake of a basic system.

Today, I’m going to round up this brief overview on mental de-cluttering with a look at fashion and beauty. However, first I want to make it clear that this is through necessity rather than choice. I find the fashion and beauty industries horribly patronising, exploitative and elitist, and there are a few people getting very rich by preying on the insecurities and misfortunes of others, both here and abroad. I also believe that inner beauty matters much more than outer. Consequently, shopping for fashion and beauty products is one of my least favourite pastimes – if I have to buy a particular item e.g. a dress for a wedding, I can’t get in and out of the shops fast enough and I’m ecstatic if I find something in the first place I look (earning me the title ‘Best Girlfriend Ever’ as  far as my partner is concerned). I’ll talk more about the manipulations of the fashion and beauty industries in the future. For now, I’ll concede that we all want to look our best and that the maxim ‘if you look good, you feel good’ is true to a point. So if you want to be rid of the mental clutter which comes with worrying about your appearance or knowing you have the perfect green trousers somewhere, if only you could find them, then here’s some tips to get you started.

If you’ve already sorted through your wardrobe, you’ll be left with the items you really like and wear most often. Spend some time trying on these different items together to see what goes with what, to create different outfits you may not have thought of,  then make a note of any item you might need to fill in any gaps, to create a functional – and simple! –  wardrobe, ready for what ever occasion may arise. For instance, you might have the perfect outfit for a summer party, barring the right cardi, or you may need some sandals for our one week of summer. All you really need, though, are a few quality items – a good pair of jeans, a little black dress, decent winter coat, you know the sort of thing – mixed in with a few cheaper bits, and a small selection of accessories (maybe you could make like a film star and have one fabulous ‘signature’ piece ;)), and you’re set to go. And if you’re like me and don’t have a lot of time for all this kind of thing but like to look reasonably smart, nothing can be simpler than finding a look which suits you and sticking with it – regardless of what fashion dictates. I like boot cut jeans and continued to wear them, despite the insistence by the ‘fashion gurus’ that straight-leg was the way to go – and I think several million women must have agreed with me because they soon ‘came back’. My advice – wear what suits you and makes you happy and sod everyone else 😉 (Plus, refusing to be a fashion ‘victim’ will also save you a few quid too.) And don’t forget my advice in yesterday’s blog – homes for everything and plenty of storage. If space is minimal, try having separate winter and summer wardrobes, bag up the season you don’t currently need and store it in the attic or under your bed.

And what about the vast array of lotions and potions you’ve amassed over the years which are cluttering up the bathroom cupboards? Again, you may have done this already but if not, sort through it all and throw away or pass on anything you don’t – or won’t – use, or is past its sell-by date. Get into a simple routine, morning and night, and make sure those are the items close to hand in your bathroom and bedroom. Perhaps now would be a good time to give your image an overhaul – get a haircut, update your make-up. A make-over is a great way to give yourself a boost and kick-start some major life changes.  For me, less is more on the ‘beauty’ front – I invested in a really good make-up bag and have a few items of quality make-up which I carry around with me. I also invest in a decent haircut once every three to six months – I personally find a good haircut and subtle make-up never go out of fashion. 😉

Okay, I think that’s more than enough ‘Cosmo’ talk. Here’s my final tip on mental de-cluttering. If you have any projects which need completing, stop procrastinating and get them done! You know the kind of thing I mean – that thing which you know you should be getting on with right now but…. I confess that I know the feeling only too well – you have a six month deadline and promise yourself you’ll do a bit every week to keep on top of it. But of course, there’s always something better to do, even though every experience is slightly soured by the niggling thought that you ‘really should be doing some work’. Then, with the deadline now only two weeks away, you start to panic and spend the next fortnight working day and night surviving only on adrenaline, caffeine and abject terror. Is it really worth it? Decide if whatever it is you’re putting off is something you really want to do, or whether you’d prefer to delegate the task or simply not bother at all (life’s too short to waste on projects which don’t engage you). And if it is something important or meaningful which you really want to do – then for the sake of your serenity– get it done. The project may also be something you’re doing to please something else – for example, you may be studying law at college because your mother always wanted a lawyer in the family, or you may be job-hunting because your partner is demanding you bring money into the home, when you would really rather be starting your own business. If this is the case, then check out tomorrow’s blog, in which I’ll offer some tips on emotional de-cluttering.

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One comment

  1. […] Part three continues the mental de-cluttering theme with a look at how we can make our lives easier by clearing out our wardrobes and finishing projects. […]



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