Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Purge for Positivity

Every morning I go into my closet to pick out my clothes for the day, and every day I have the same feeling – depression.  To say that the closet is overstuffed would be a serious understatement.  The issue is not that I don’t have enough clothing – the issue is that the clothing makes me sad.  I have been hanging onto articles of clothing from years and years ago; either because they hold sentimental value, or because I hope that one day I’ll fit into them again.  I recently decided that it was time to take a hard look at what I was doing with that mess. What brought me to this decision? A pair of jeans that made me realize I CAN feel confident in my clothes!
This is what has been awaiting me in my closet for the last couple of years (this is very embarrassing):

It’s hard to tell, but there’s actually a lovely skylight in my closet.  I don’t think this is what designers mean when they suggest taking advantage of available vertical space though!

I think it’s clear why this space would cause some stress – even if everything was current, in good shape, and fit properly.  But that was not the case!  I have trouble letting go of things, and say things like, “I can’t get rid of that, I wore that on my honeymoon.” It was time for a reality check – as I looked at this mess, I started to change the messages I was giving myself. “Ok, Shannon, get real; that t-shirt is not your honeymoon, your marriage, your happiness, or even your size!  Let it go to make room for more flattering pieces.” And “Your weight will fluctuate, period.  Get rid of the snug stuff now – when you drop a few sizes, shopping will be a nice reward.  Keeping larger sizes doesn’t encourage you to lose anything.”  Changing my self-talk had an immediate impact – if you told me that could happen, I wouldn’t have believed it.  I have body issues, that’s no secret, but it occurred to me that I can’t love the body I have if I keep holding onto pieces that make me feel bad about myself.  The day before I started this closet purge I had decided that I wanted to try to find a pair of skinny jeans for myself.  Let me be clear – I hate shopping for jeans; but I decided that I would give Old Navy a try.  I decided that I was only going to go to Old Navy (the jeans were on sale after all) and if it couldn’t be done there, I could blame the store and not myself.  Well, I came home with not one but two pairs of skinny jeans!  Yes, they’re a size larger than I’d normally wear, but I feel like a million dollars in them.  When I got home, I tried them on with a sheer blouse and a pair of heels and felt like I could conquer the world; and that’s when it hit me – keeping all those unflattering pieces up in my closet has been depriving me from having that amazing feeling every day. 

So I decided to dump all of my clothes onto my bed and go through the pile item by item, dividing the pile into 4 categories.  Nothing would go back into the closet unless it fit the “Keep” criteria.

When I saw the pile of clothes on the bed I had a horrible realization – I may be a hoarder!

Five hours later, I had tried on dozens of pieces of clothing.  I ended up with a “Decide later” pile which was full of varsity clothes, freebies from charity functions, company events and the like.  After some good advice from my trusty Sil, I had kept 4 varsity sweaters, but tossed everything else.  I ended up with a bag of garbage; two bags and one box for the Diabetes pick-up, a bag of winter clothes that I refuse to have in the closet in August, and a much more manageable closet space.

The closet is still not finished, since the other half holds a plethora of miscellaneous things – purses, scrapbooking materials, board games, etc.  But for now, I feel like I’m taking back the control, and I feel motivated to finish the job!

~ Shannon

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