I went through a couple of Giant Plastic Tubs of Doom before my recent move, and realized that there were some alterations projects, UFOs, and just plain WTFs that had been languishing, untended and uncompleted, for two moves now.
Looking through the bins, I realized that a lot of these projects felt like obligations, rather than opportunities. Time to LET GO.
If you’re having trouble letting go of some projects, here are some of the handy rules I used:
- Did I think about this garment, even once, with anticipation, since it was put in the bin? If not, OUT.
- Was this supposed to be a present for someone? Did they know about it? If not, OUT. If they did know about it, offer to take them out for ice cream in lieu of project. Win-Win. And … OUT.
- Would fixing this garment involve taking it completely apart, and then figuring out if it could be saved? If so, OUT.
- Am I saving this because I think that someday I will find a pattern that will use the fabric that I will carefully salvage from around the stained/ripped/worn parts? If so, cut it up for bias binding & pockets RIGHT NOW and be done with it. OUT.
- Even if I finished this project, would I need to be a significantly different size than I am RIGHT NOW to wear it? If so, OUT.
- Can you even find the instructions (where applicable)? If not, OUT.
- Is this project “too good to toss,” yet just makes me yawn? OUT. Donate it asap, and think about how happy someone else will be to pull it from the racks of the thrift store.
- Relatedly, if I did not already own this project/item/garment, would I buy it for $2 at a yard sale? No? OUT.
- If this garment were magically finished by the brownies tonight, would I be super-excited to wear it tomorrow? If not, OUT.
I did save a few things from the pile — a few garments that need Pocket Upgrades, but mostly stuff that just needs buttons or a new zipper, since those are easy to bang out. (I’ve got a pleasant afternoon of button-shopping ahead of me some Saturday … )
Should we declare this Project Amnesty Week? Got a zombie project moaning at your brain? (Remember that there’s this thing called the Zeigarnik effect “the nagging feeling that you’ve left a task incomplete” that will wear on you FOREVER until the task is done.) I hereby declare that you can donate it, break it down for parts, give it away, leave it on someone’s doorstep in the middle of the night with a note that says “please love this project” or even (where possible) compost it. Whatever you need to do to get it off your mental stack, you can do it. No judgment, no guilt. Go forth and tub no more!