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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Barlow

An Emotional Load of Laundry

"Why do you always start with clothing?" is a common question I get from residential clients. The answer is simple--emotions and frequency of use. For the majority of us, we attach emotions to clothing, to the brands, to the cost, to the texture of the fabric, to the memories long-passed. We hold these emotions close, and rarely do we take the time to evaluate or shed them once an item of clothing no longer suits our needs.

  • We hold onto items many-sizes-too-small with unrealistic hopes of regaining sizes and shapes of our youth.

  • We hold onto sweatshirts of relationships long gone, without understanding the small and repetitive effects they have on our space and our mood.

  • We hold onto shirts that we never end up wearing, because they just don't feel great, or they bunch up, or there is a missing button that hasn't been fixed in 2 years.

When we start the clothing process of organizing, we immediately begin with what I like to refer to as "Joy" training. We dive into a process for identifying the emotions, energy, juju, whatever you want to call it, and how to fill your closet ONLY with items that bring you contentment, calm, happiness, and joy.

Imagine walking into your newly organized closet and finding only things that fit, coordinate, and make you feel good. Imagine feeling happy about picking out your outfit for the day. Gone are the days of fumbling through endless outfits that end up strewn about on the bed in search of something that fits the occasion, your mood, or your body.

The second reason that I start with clothing is frequency of use--unlike many of our belongings, we encounter our clothes every single day, numerous times a day. We manage laundry chores each week, and we often struggle with that never-ending to-do list. Laundry requires many steps that are often inconvenient and easy to pause or put aside for later. I hear from clients that folding and putting laundry away is the most burdensome step. This stems from the inherent chaos of the dozens upon dozens of items that are constantly competing for space. By eliminating unnecessary items, we lessen the chaos. Once everything has a designated, dedicated place to be put away, you can do so with much less effort and stress. The results carry throughout the household, making it easier for children and other family members to help the organizing process.

The skills learned in the clothing exercise not only bring ease to your daily and weekly routines, but prepare you to tackle the many other areas of your home.


Your Joyful Space is woman and owner-operated, serving the Greater Richmond, Virginia area. Our method guides your present process and leads you to a future home/office/space filled with more joy and less everything else. We provide a method of decluttering that is fundamentally different from others in the way that it addresses the cause-emotions.


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