Procrastination. It’s got an addictive appeal, doesn’t it? Why black sack a small mortgage worth of clothes when you can binge watch all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad – again! Despite the mounting evidence (burgeoning clothing heaps, growing inertia, the smell of despair), there’s always a good reason to avoid tackling a closet clear-out. Why? Because it’s emotionally exhausting, that’s why.
Procrastination, folks, may make us feel better in the short-term but it can have long-term effects on our mental health. Clutter in the home, according to a recent study carried out by UCLA, is known to raise the stress hormone cortisol in women (men seem to be absent from this equation). Apply this paradigm to your closet and it’s obvious how clutter can make getting dressed a source of stress.
So, you haven’t weeded your wardrobe since 1987. And what if your shoe ‘collection’ could rival that of the Bata Museum? What’s the absolute worst thing that can happen? The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will hardly smite you for still holding onto that beer-stained t-shirt from your inter-railing days. Fire and brimstone is an Armageddon-only affair; besides the sulfur smell is a nightmare to get out in the wash
So, do we put it on pause for another week (can’t hurt, can it?) or do we put on our big girl pants (they have special powers, you know) and tough it out. Neither, in fact. Here’s the one thing you need to know in order to kick procrastination in the goolies….
Kelly McGonigal, health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University and author of Maximum Willpower, maintains that forgiveness increases accountability; takes away the shame of the past; and makes us less likely to continue the pattern of procrastination. Self-criticism, on the other hand, creates more stress, driving us into the arms of ‘comfort coping’ or what we prefer to term ‘retail therapy’. As we all know, it’s only ‘therapy’ if it’s doing some good.
Clear out the self-criticism before clearing out your closet.