I had a white button-down shirt that I loved. I didn’t often have an occasion to wear it, but when I did, I loved it.
But a few months ago, when I put it on for the first time in a while, I wasn’t sure I liked it anymore. The shoulders seemed odd. I noticed that the white color was a bit off. And it looked like it might have a tiny stain.
Would anyone notice but me? Probably not, I figured – but I took off the shirt anyway.
A month later, I put it on – and took it off.
Last night, I put it on – and took it off. And then I GOT RID OF IT. I didn’t hang it up in my closet. I didn’t pretend that I’d wear it “next time,” or that I’d wear it under a jacket. I have another perfectly good white shirt, I’ll wear that one. The old shirt is going out the door.
One of my Twelve Commandments is “Spend out.” It reminds me of two goals: first, don’t “save” my favorite things, but use them up; and second, when something is broken, get rid of it.
Why? Because if I have something that I love, in perfect condition, but that I never use – that’s clutter. And if I have something that once worked, but now isn’t working, that I never use – that’s clutter.
It’s satisfying to have my one remaining button-down white shirt. Now I’ll wear it, I’ll use it up, I’ll let it go.
I’m always surprised by what a happiness boost I get from clearing clutter. It always cheers me up to pare down.
The profession of “cool-hunter” intrigues me, perhaps because I suffer from such a lack of cool that I can count on the fact that by the time I’ve noticed a trend, it’s over. My mother, by contrast, is a natural cool-hunter. I stumbled across the site Trend Hunter, aimed at cool-hunting, and I spent a suprising amount of time looking at all the stuff — not that it’s all “cool,” but I came away impressed by people’s ingenuity.
If you’re new to the Happiness Project, you may want to consider subscribing to my RSS feed: Subscribe to this blog’s feed.