Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Wants To Purge Wardrobe

DEAR HARRIETTE: Now that we are not going out at all, I am realizing that I have way too many clothes. I do love fashion, but since I have nowhere to go, I have been taking a visual inventory of my wardrobe, and it’s ridiculously large. I want to purge. There’s absolutely no reason anybody should have all of this stuff. Part of me just wants to dump it. The practical side says I should hold on to essentials because when the world does open up, I will need some basic things. I don’t want to give away too much and have to end up making new purchases. How can I figure out what to discard? -- Let It Go

DEAR LET IT GO: A tried-and-true recommendation for figuring out what clothing to keep and what to discard is to first try it on. If it doesn’t fit, let it go. Don’t trick yourself into waiting until you lose weight to wear it again. Second, if you haven’t worn the item in over a year, it no longer serves you. If you want to follow the wisdom of master organizer Marie Kondo, you can thank your clothing for serving you well as you fold it and put it in a container to donate. Expressing gratitude for the garment’s service in your life may help you to release it for someone else to enjoy.

I strongly suggest that you give yourself a timeline to complete this task. If you tackle a little every day, you will make progress.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My next-door neighbor is a hairdresser. Even though hair salons are officially shut down, I have noticed a steady stream of people -- men and women -- going into his house to get their hair done. I am appalled. As I sit in my house trying to follow the rules, I’m sure this is unsafe. I think I should report him to the authorities, but I’m not sure. I never see more than one person going there at a time -- and I have sat and watched for hours. (I have nothing else to do!) I have also seen him wearing a mask and gloves. But still, it’s just wrong that he is doing something that we were told is unsafe. Should I turn him in? -- Busted

DEAR BUSTED: While it is true that your neighbor is not supposed to be doing hair right now, it sounds like he has set up the safest way of handling his business. Let me be clear: I am not condoning his behavior, nor do I recommend that anyone take a cue from him and open any kind of personal service at home. But I don’t know that you need to report him to the police.

Our frontline service people, who include police officers, are stretched thin in many cities across the country because they are supporting the needs of keeping our country healthy. That includes breaking up large gatherings, taking care of petty crimes, ensuring people remain in check as they lose their jobs, and making it possible for sick people to get to health care professionals when needed. If you notice that your neighbor stops following the precautions you mentioned -- wearing a mask and gloves -- then you should call the police. Otherwise, you may want to stop obsessing over him. Close the curtain.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)