UNITED STATES—Once a year, I attempt to do something that I think most Americans rank at the top of their list: declutter their homes. For starters, I try to focus on cleaning out my closet. Yes, this is a chore in itself. Why? I have a ton of stuff in my closet. I never used to be that way. I was the type of person who would immediately aim to keep things as organized and clean as I possibly could. I don’t like the notion of cleaning up a mess or having to move this or move that around. I want to freely enter the closet, retrieve what I want and be on my way.

Well, someone told me something that struck me like a ton of bricks recently: you have too much stuff in your closet. Guess what America: they were right! I’ve been adding clothes on top of clothes in my closet. I get rid of things as I see them fit. Usually by giving them to family members or donating the clothes. I’m not a major fan of throwing things in the trash. That is something I just do NOT like doing? Why? I think we all get emotionally attached to our clothing. When you work hard for your money, and you purchase an item, it makes it that much harder to sever ties with it.

It might be an item you never wear, but for reasons unknown you just don’t want to part ways with the item. Well, if you’re not wearing it, it is just sitting in the closet people. Just collecting dust, so donate the clothing, the shoes, the coats, the sweaters; let someone who might need the item have it! When you declutter your closet or your home, it not about making space for other things, it’s about keeping yourself organized.

I’m someone who is a bit of a perfectionist. You might say, well, what the hell does that mean? I want things to be perfect; in tip top shape at all times or at least whenever possible. Once you clean the closet there are other things you can tackle like the mail that we all tend to stash in that kitchen drawer. You can tackle the basement or the attic which just has all sorts of things collecting dust and just waiting to be tinkered with, the list goes on and on.

We’re always going to have clutter because we’re always collecting things for one reason or the next. It is indeed true, some Americans are hoarders and we just want to have as much stuff as we possibly can, regardless of the outcome. Not realizing it can cramp our lifestyles more than it can actually help it. I’ll be the first to admit just the mere notion of thinking about cleaning out my closet left me speechless. Try not to focus your energy on the bad, but focus on the good. The notion of being able to walk into your closet with ease, to sort the mail and not be fumbling for things, it brings a heavenly level of peace that we all want.

Written by Kelsey Thomas