DEAR HARRIETTE: I have at least three sizes of clothes in my closet that represent the range of weights that I have carried over the years. My weight has gone up and down, which is why I have kept some of the clothes. But now it’s getting ridiculous. I don’t have room for the clothes that fit and that I want to wear because of the closets full of clothes that fit a smaller me. I’m worried that if I do eventually lose, I won’t have clothing to fit my smaller body. Should I hold on to some of the smaller ones? -- Outdated Wardrobe
DEAR OUTDATED WARDROBE: If you were to take a poll of women in your family, neighborhood, social clubs, house of worship -- anywhere -- chances are, you would find many women who have nearly identical stories. Closets swelling with clothes that don’t fit is a common scenario. And yet, it usually means that people are hoarding these belongings with the hope that one day they will be able to wear them again, though that day rarely comes.
You should go through your clothes, and anything that you have not worn in the past year or so should be tossed. You can give the clothing to friends and family, charity or elsewhere, but get it out of your house. If you want to hold on to one or two treasured items, go for it. But the lion’s share of items should leave your home. This will free up your space for you to live in the moment, without clutter. If and when the day arrives that you do lose weight, you will want something new to wear anyway!
DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like I am the only one in my home who does the chores. My husband comes home and says he’s tired. My children have jobs that they are supposed to do each week, but homework often preempts their duties. They come crying saying how sorry they are that they didn’t get something done and then point to studying for a test or something else that got in the way. But then, it’s the weekend or there’s a game at school, and they are quick to want to hang out with their friends.
How can I get my family to take it seriously that all of us have to take care of our home? I work, too, but I end up cleaning up during most of the hours that I am at home. -- Help at Home
DEAR HELP AT HOME: Ideally, you should corral your husband first in your effort to have full family support in doing housework. Talk to him about your concerns, and ask him to work with you to engage the whole family and get the work done in an organized way.
Make a list of duties for each person for the week. Post the list. Then call a family meeting and present the refreshed cleaning schedule. Acknowledge that homework is important and has to be done, but everyone must complete his or her tasks in order to have the privilege of hanging out with friends. Then you have to reinforce this rule. If your kids shirk their duties, do not let them go out or play video games or do whatever other distraction they enjoy. Consequences help to encourage good behavior.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)