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  • Yuri Saito

Dan

Ever since I was a kid, I loved holding onto things. I kept trinkets, toys, old comic books that I never read, and school papers that I had no desire of reviewing or revisiting. Perhaps most significantly, I had a tremendous amount of clothes and that carried through to my adulthood. I possessed over 150 T-shirts at one point. These were shirts I had accumulated from concerts, fundraisers, races, jerseys from sports teams, places I had visited…the categories were seemingly endless. The shirts provided comfort through memory—fond memories of people, times, causes, and places that I cared and care about. But the shirts were also causing me stress because there were just so many of them. On any given day I encountered some anxiety about which T-shirt to choose to wear. Their sheer magnitude and volume had become a drain on my energy.

In working with Yuri, the first thing I learned was that I had too many T-shirts for me. She asked me to place all of them in the middle of my bed, and even in this first step I saw shirts that I didn’t even know I had! That's because they had been stacked on top of each other in piles, and I had not been able to see the shirts that were at the bottom. I wanted to say goodbye to some of these shirts, to let them bring other people joy and happiness, and to simplify my closet and life. So, I needed to make some tough choices of which shirts to keep, and which shirts to thank and let go.

The second lesson that Yuri helped me identify and receive is that while the shirts reminded me of good things, “not all shirts are created equal.” She instructed me to first pick out my very absolute favorite T-shirt, and think about how it made me feel. She asked me to think of the person that gave me the shirt and all the associated memories and feelings that it brought up. With this frame, I was able to sift through the dozens of shirts one at a time, reflecting on the level of joy they bring to my life, and keeping the best of the best.

Finally, Yuri showed me a new way of folding and storing my shirts so that I could see them at all times—so when picking out a shirt in the morning, I had all of the options looking up at me from an open box, their logos, prints, or block colors easily accessible and displayed. This blew my mind that another path was possible, and I continue to fold and store my shirts this way.

T-shirts continue to tell stories for me and about me. They are stories and memories integral to my life, but I have also found it easier to say goodbye to items that don’t bring me that blissful feeling when I’m wearing them. I can say with full confidence that there is both purpose and joy behind the shirts that I now wear. And I have Yuri to thank for this new approach.

I cannot recommend Yuri more highly. Through her kindness, intentional approach, care, and patience, she transformed me and my relationship to things and tidying. I live with greater calm and more intention, and am far more mindful about the items that I welcome into my life. Thank you so much, Yuri!