I read somewhere that the secret of successful de-cluttering is to take as much pleasure ingiving a thing away as you would have had from keeping it (perhaps that should read 'hoarding it').
It was such a clever insight that I'd love to attribute it properly, but can't find my source now. I thought it was from this article by Oliver Burkeman. Maybe the original article was de-cluttered for the online version, and that particular gem got edited out.
Anyway, it rings true for me: I love it when I pass the children's clothes on to friends and neighbours, and get to see them in action again on even smaller people, and there's always a sense of satisfaction in finding just the right new home for retired treasures.
But, sometimes there isn't a new home to be found, and when I cleared out my wardrobe earlier this year, I just bundled the casualties into bags and took them to Oxfam. The space in the wardrobe was reward enough.
Or so I thought...
This week I walked past the Oxfam shop, and there was my little black dress in the window, all styled up with a feathery hat and sparkly necklace... This was one of the first 'proper' dresses I made for myself, and it went to a lot of black-tie dinners and dances, about 20 years ago when I had the figure and the lifestyle to suit it. Then it languished in the wardrobe for a long time, before I eventually de-cluttered it away.
It was a thrill to see it again so unexpectedly. It looks ready for a few late nights and parties this winter - hope it has fun!