My 2 Cents On Stuff

A column about letting go by Michelle Passoff of - Aug 17, 2012

The Tale Of A Wedding Dress On The Estate Sale Circuit

For more than 20 years I have traversed the globe to consult people freeing themselves of clutter.  On more than a handful of occasions, after all the clutter was gone, there stood a wedding dress worn years prior to a divorce.  On one occasion the dress was neatly boxed, preserved and stored in a cedar chest at the foot of a bed. On another, it was hanging in the middle of a closet as if waiting to walk down an aisle any minute. By the time a lone box with a cellophane window which enabled the bridal bodice to peek through stood in the middle of a then-empty spare room after all the clutter around it was gone, we had already launched our estate sale business. Our business model, however, wasn’t to carry one client’s clutter to another client’s estate sale.  So, when we left our client, we left the dress with words of encouragement that the best policy was to bless the dress, but let it go.  It was a reminder (and most often not a good one) of the past life, and clutter cleaning is about forging a future.

Our once-betrothed clutter client with the forlorn wedding dress is someone who is the sales associate at an assisted living facility where I lead lectures for residents from time to time. When I arrived at one of my lectures, she waiting for me a big hello and her perfectly pressed wedding dress.  “Here take it,” she said with a smile, a sense of satisfaction that she had complied with my instruction to do something with the dress other than keep it, and determination for me to take it off her hands.  “Sell it,” she said as she pushed the dress into my arms. Since she was a colleague, Andre and I agreed to do a favor and blend it in with other items at the next estate sale we were organizing.  We conceded that perhaps the dress would be a sweet addition to any sale, but soon discovered that this was not the case.

We dragged that dress from sale to sale without a bite. I even offered it as a gift to my nephew’s fiancé because I thought it was a beautiful find and a big savings.  Not only was I greeted with criticism instead of appreciation by my own family, but countless numbers of times women would pass the wedding dress, and growl! They would grumble something along the line of: “I’ll never make that mistake again.” Neither the near-perfect condition of the dress nor its delicate balance of being sexy and chic, was enough to inspire a buyer. Women passers-by seemed disturbed and men just shrugged.  Was it something about that dress or is this a world turned upside down?  Once a dream, is romance now dreaded?  I’m not really sure of this answer, but you know me: I’ll give my two cents.

Even if you are divorced, don’t give up on romance.  If you love and lose, get right up, brush yourself off, and look again for your perfect partner.  Do anything but be discouraged. Defeat is clutter because it does not serves you. Let it go.  Connecting with another is a worthwhile goal anytime, at any age and anywhere.  And, when luck and love meet and marriage is again something that inspires you, don’t overlook shopping at an estate sale for the perfect dress.   An estate sale may not be the first place you think of to shop for your trousseau, but it is always full of surprises and finding a wedding dress there may be unexpected and inexpensive! 

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