A few years ago, Sherri Dunne of Rapid City used the new year as motivation to downsize her life. She and her husband had decided to sell their home of 15 years and move into an apartment.

As she stared at a new retired life in the coming year, Dunne said she had to decide if she wanted to be held captive by her many possessions or lighten her load and be free to travel. She chose the latter.

“After I took the Christmas decorations down and boxed them up, I went through everything,” she said.

The entire process took her about three months. She began by making piles: things to keep, things to sell at a garage sale, things to donate to the Rapid City Club for Boys and things to give to her children and grandchildren.

She priced the garage sale items as she put them in boxes, which she kept in a storage unit she and her husband rented. They held the garage sale at their storage unit. She said she enjoyed seeing her prized possessions, such as her Dickens Village pieces and Jon Crane prints, in her children’s homes.

Dunne loves her new, uncluttered lifestyle and really enjoyed “getting rid of all of it.”

“It took quite a mindset, though,” she said.

Downsizing just one area of your life, such as a closet or your wardrobe, can also lead to a lighter existence.

To streamline your closet, former fashion consultant Amy Morrison of Rapid City recommends starting with your favorite pieces. When these items are in the dirty laundry, it feels as though you have nothing to wear even though your closet says otherwise, she said.

“That’s where you start, with those key pieces that you love, and then you build off those,” Morrison said. “De-cluttering your closet helps to de-clutter your mind. It’s that removing of excess.”

Several items that are key for most women, she said, are a jean jacket, a comfortable pair of jeans and, especially this time of year, a turtleneck in either black or gray.

Reversible skirts can give you four different looks, she said. Those with wide-panel waists can be worn up as a tunic top over a pair of skinny jeans or leggings, and, depending on the length, can even be worn as a dress.

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Minimizing does not mean wearing the same things over and over again, she said. It is being smart with what you purchase and seeing multiple uses in the things you buy. Morrison said you can outsmart the fashion critics by having a few pieces and creating multiple outfits. A colorful scarf can be worn as a belt or around the neck to accessorize and add color to outfits.

Morrison said economizing your closet is not about being a fashionista; it’s about streamlining.

She said she is tired of taking 25 minutes every morning deciding what to wear.

Downsizing is in her scope right now as she and her husband look for ways to reorganize their lives so they are giving energy to where it matters — to their family, their friends and organizations that need their time and attention, rather than to “all this extraneous stuff,” she said.

Morrison just finished reading “Living Large: From SUVs to Double Ds—Why Going Bigger Isn’t Going Better” by Sarah Wexler, and highly recommends the book for those looking to start an uncluttered life.

“There is something so liberating about this whole concept of downsizing,” she said.

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