A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beth Underwood: Seasonal swap is great for clearing the closet, but maybe not of that cute little floral shirt

Have you made the cold-to-warm-weather clothes switch yet? I don’t know about you, but if I’m not careful, it can easily turn into a weekend project. It’s never a simple matter of replacing one season of clothing with another.

First, I get tangled up in matters of deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. Take that cute little floral shirt that’s been cycling in and out of the storage totes for at least a couple of years. It never gets worn, but it continues to remain in the rotation. I hold on to it — and others like it — just in case.

In case of what? I really don’t know.

I wonder if it’s a case of risk assessment. It’s much easier to risk the wasted space it takes up than to risk tossing it and wanting it back. And so it goes with at least a dozen other articles of clothing.

Couple this with trying on all those clothes — there’s the chance they’ll be too big, you know — and the wardrobe project spirals further out of control, into the depths of I-have-nothing-to-wear. (May I submit reason one for keeping that cute little floral shirt, thank you very much.)

At this point, it’s highly possible that the project falls further into the pit of all-my-clothes-make-me-look-fat-and-frumpy. This can often be followed with half a bag of Oreos. But I digress.

This year, I decided I didn’t have time for all that nonsense and came up with a different approach. So, I gave myself the bulk of one morning to swap out sweaters for sleeveless, and I asked myself one question as I sorted through the clothes:

Is it a “heck yes” or a “no?”

If it’s a yeah, it’s pretty much outta here. If it’s a plain yes, I bid it goodbye. And what if it’s a, “hmm, I’m not sure?” You guessed it. Buh-bye, now. Get lost, and don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

In record time, I filled three garbage bags full of clothes — to include four pairs of shoes, two jackets, and a sweatshirt — loaded them in the back of the car and dropped them off at the Salvation Army. All because of one small but effective mantra: if it’s not a “heck yes,” it’s a no.

I had condensed what was typically a weekend of work, and accomplished it in the span of a few hours. It felt good, too. The closet had more space left over. The drawers were less crowded. And I felt lighter too because I’d rid myself of a boatload of clothes that no longer served me.

Except for that cute little floral shirt. I think I’ll hold on to that one. Just in case.

Beth Underwood is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. She shares stories of everyday life that entertain, inspire, and encourage others. Her books include Gravity, a narrative nonfiction account of a small group of Tennessee National Guardsmen, and Talk Bourbon to Me, a lighthearted look at Kentucky’s native spirit. Drop her a line at beth@bethwrightunderwood.com, or visit her website at bethwrightunderwood.com.

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