7 Life Lessons Learned from a Closet Purge

I’d felt for a very long time that my wardrobe situation was an absolute freakin’ disaster, so I – though still begrudgingly – finally committed to purge my closet over the period of one week.

Not only did I have a range of at least four sizes spanning countless trends over about 12, even 15 years, and probably double that number of diets and programs and “lifestyle changes,” but also reflecting a decade of office Christmas parties, other peoples’ weddings, two failed long-term relationships and so many first dates, that to actually reveal might only serve to brand me as kinda slutty.

WOW! … hoard much?

Confession #1: No, I didn’t buy the book. Or any book. Or turn to Google for advice or guidance. Once I finally said out loud that I would do it, I felt time was of the essence and I really just wanted to get the Band-Aid off already. A friend had told me, in a nutshell, to hold each piece and ask if it brought me joy.

Well, for its three little letters, “joy” is a big, big word in my world, and one I never throw around lightly. And so, I’ll admit, I was a little worried I’d end up with nothing at all.

And I’m just not a naked kinda person.

So I didn’t exactly approach the whole thing with the best attitude to begin with, but determined as I was to see it through and give it a good effort, these 7 Life Lessons were reinforced in a big way…

 

 1. STOP! saving stuff for special

Okay, maybe you’d get a reaction out of your significant other –or the neighbours, if you leave the blinds up — if you turned slightly slutty Stepford and wore your sequins and stilettos to make dinner and do the dishes, because you don’t have so much opportunity to otherwise. If you’re on your own and looking for said reaction from the dog or even the plants… well….

But how would it make YOU feel?

If you want to, do it.

Or create the opportunity, if that’s what you want.

Otherwise, maybe enlist a friend to pry the stuff with the tags still on or barely worn outta your surprising strong fingers.

 

2. Hating and punishing your body will get you absolutely nowhere

Except for maybe even fatter, in your own distorted, non-objective eyes.

Or even sick.

If you can’t just take my word for it, ask any woman currently on any diet or program… You simply can’t hate your body thin. If you could… well, I wouldn’t be considering an embarrassingly large collection of five-sizes-too-small-jeans to get to my crafty Mom to repurpose into jean blankets.

 

3. Be willing to cut the cord

Okay. I’ll admit, I might have gotten pretty hung up on the whole “joy” bit. But when I was able to think about it in terms that hit home for me – whether it contributed to my happiness, whether it added anything positive in any aspect to my life – that became my personal criteria.

Be open to letting go.

Donate. Chuck, Repurpose. Detach.

Even leave it, as that goes on to apply to other areas of your life. Activities… experiences… jobs… even people.

 

4. YOU are the package

The clothes are just the gift wrapping.

I’ve always been a super sensitive person, with a lot of deep thoughts and feelings. Confession #2: And just a slight flair for the dramatic still at times.

As much as I might have built it all up in my head and stressed over it in the years it took to actually do it, it didn’t actually kill me or even cause me any lasting physical harm to donate the coveted bustier I wore to the Killers concert. And to a singles event, where this guy went to great lengths after to find me and connect, and so I was super flattered.

…and who went on to ghost me after three whole dates.

But, anyway…

 

5. When you give, give freely. With no strings attached.

It has yet to be seen if I will or will not physically tackle my sister not if, but when she wears — and looks all hot and gorgeous in — the fantastic black velvet patterned jeans I had to close my eyes when I put on her pile. The ones that I thought I was fat in already, even when I could actually get both legs in and button up.

Or the raspberry jean jacket.

Or the black and silver rocker jacket that I wore exactly once for a quick dinner out with friends. Barely even long enough to have a hot flash and sweat in it and really make it mine.

<sigh>

I can just hear her say, “they’re my new favourite.” And I’m probably gonna want to strangle her or at least pinch her, before I am remotely happy that she’s so happy.

<sigh>

 

6. You never know how what you put out into the Universe will affect someone else

That same sister did text me a picture the other day, of my near-teen niece in one of my absolute favourites: the blue butterfly tank top, that I wore 15 years ago, when I was young, thinner, crazier, with ex #2.

She was one happy kid. That does make for one happy Auntie. It might make me cringe, but I’ll have to ask her if she considers it vintage.

I told her to wear the snot outta it.

 

7. Holding on with an iron grip serves no one

Flashback: If you had an autograph book, too, as a kid, how many times did someone write in there, “If you love something, set it free…”

And you just thought, “blah, blah, blah…”

But how you do one thing, is how you do everything, right? So, how has maintaining a white-knuckle clutch on anything – things or even people — actually worked for you?

 

 

Give the ones you love wings to fly,

roots to come back

and reasons to stay

– the Dalai Lama

 

 

If you’re at all confused… I don’t hope the clothes come back to me at all. I don’t even really see a connection to clothes in those words. I just like them. A lot.

 

Bottom Line:

I ended up tackling the whole chore in fits and bursts. So I’ve also ended up with a handful of bags to flat-out donate, a few brand name pieces to post for sale in one of those buy/sell Facebook groups that seem to be all the rage amongst my friends just now, several once-worn strappy, sparkly party dresses to consign, and various other bags with certain people assigned to them, because those pieces just screamed their name to me.

Wow. Quite the run-on sentence there. Perhaps reflective of the process for me.

Maybe some residual off feelings will be easier to process once everything is finally delivered where it needs to go.

The obvious question here seems to be, do I feel lighter for it all? Maybe. I want to. The strong Type A organized and just a little OCD part of my personality appreciates how neat and tidy my closet is right now.

They’re just clothes. And they weren’t making me happy anymore. Because clothes can’t make you happy, anyway. As much as they might help you feel better and more confident in a certain moment.

They’re clothes. They’re not the memories I associate with them or the person I was when I wore them. That’s all me.

No, none of it actually killed me, or caused me any lasting physical harm.

Oh, but I do believe I will very happily go throw my Spanx and any and all related contraptions out right now. I don’t hesitate to say I find no joy in them. Those fuckers could damn near choke off your blood supply.

Or make you wanna choke someone.

 

The stuff we women go through — put ourselves through — sometimes… Looking to connect with others who are right now or have gone through it, too? Join the be THAT woman Facebook support community here.

 

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