It’s that time of year when I pull out two totes from the storage room in the basement and lug them up to our bedroom for the bi-annual closet swap. I’ve got two sets of clothes — one for spring/summer and one for fall/winter, though a few items stay out year round. As long as I have the right kind of layering, I can get by with this set up. Plus, every other season it’s like I’m getting all new clothes again!
In the last few years with the KonMari craze, I’ve tried to pay more attention to what I’m putting in the closet and what I’m storing for six months down the road. I decided that if I hadn’t worn something all season, I’d keep it in the totes one more round. After that, to the donation pile!
However, last weekend when I saw all the clothes I hadn’t worn for over a year, I wasn’t so sure about my plan. I asked my husband, “How do I know it’s time to get rid of something I haven’t worn for awhile?” He didn’t have an answer for me, so I went back to the piles.
I had all kinds of reasons in my head as to why I could keep the clothes:
I might start wearing that style again at some point.
What if I need those pants for a future job?
This skirt doesn’t take up that much space, what does it hurt to keep it another year?
Lots of reasons as to why I needed to hold onto clothes I haven’t worn in more than four seasons!
I ended up filling a kitchen trash bag with all those clothes. I let them go. I didn’t give myself much time to change my mind either. The next day I dropped the bag off at Goodwill.
I began to ponder that question a bit more: how do I know it’s time to get rid of something I haven’t worn in awhile? The question wouldn’t let me go…
How do I know it’s time to get rid of something… that is no longer serving me?
How do I know it’s time to get rid of something… that doesn’t bring me joy?
How do I know it’s time to get rid of something… that makes me feel less than?
If my experience last weekend taught me anything, the time is now. There’s no point holding onto things that no longer serve me, that don’t bring me joy, that makes me feel less than.
Over the last few years I’ve had to get rid of more than clothes. I got rid of expectations… that I’ll have a baby, that I’ll be a mom. I got rid of dreams… how I’ll tell my family I’m pregnant, how I’ll decorate the baby’s room. I got rid of cultural standards… that I’ll fit into the mold, that I’ll do whatever it takes.
When I filled that trash bag full of clothes, one of the two totes was significantly less full. I didn’t rush to fill it up with new clothes. I let it stay mostly empty. My closet and shelves and dresser drawers aren’t as full anymore either. There is a lot more space.
Space is good. I’ve opened up space in my life that I wasn’t expecting. Because I didn’t rush to fill it, I had time to discern next steps and possibilities. Because I didn’t force myself into finding comfort, I learned from the discomfort. Through the exploration of this open space, I began to find nooks and crannies I didn’t know existed. I found old ideas stuffed into a corner. I found all kinds of new ideas scattered around the edges of the space, now visible because a I tossed out all those big things.
When I pulled away from Goodwill, a part of me that wanted to turn back and ask for the bag. I wanted one more chance to go through it and make sure I really didn’t want any of those items anymore. But I didn’t. I kept driving. I knew going back was pointless. I’d gone through the pile multiple times. There was nothing in the bag that I needed.
Occasionally I try to grab some of those old expectations and dreams. I consider fitting back into the mold, I think about doing whatever it takes. And then I remember all the work I did to get myself to this open space. All the intentional steps I’ve taken toward this life I’m living today. I remember that this newly discovered open space in my life is freeing is so many ways. So, I keep going forward, knowing I’ve gone through it all multiple times. There is nothing behind me that I need.
2 thoughts on “The Time is Now”
Anne, I’ve been following you on IG for some time now and have occasionally commented on your posts there. There is so much about you that reminds me of me that it’s almost eerie (dog mama, runner, fertility-challenged, accepting CNBC life)! I’ve been enjoying reading your weekly blog posts, too.
I too did the bi-annual clothing swap just last weekend. And I got rid of the exact amount of clothes, and had the exact same thoughts about it, and have the exact same system of purging as you did. We must be kindred spirits indeed!
One thing I did this year during my clothes purge/swap was to get rid of ALL of my just-in-case-I-get-pregnant clothes. See, three years ago I lost 25 pounds (thanks, running!) and have kept it off, and counting. I have kept all my “fat clothes” in storage and have been very reluctant to part with them. My reasoning was that I’d need them someday when/if I got pregnant. But, after three years of storage, I finally decided that I most likely will not be needing these clothes for a future pregnancy. Plus, keeping them around was a dangerous slippery slope toward potentially gaining the weight back (after all, if I gained it back I’d have clothes to wear, right?). So, like you, I promptly donated them to a thrift store. Doing so was a cathartic way of letting go, purging, freeing myself of some self-inflicted pressure, and was one more step toward accepting life CNBC and thriving in it.
All the best to you. 🙂
Thank you for commenting! Kindred spirits indeed, wow! Yes, I got rid of some skirts and dresses I was holding onto because I thought I could use them early in my pregnancy. Time to let go…
We’re on quite a journey aren’t we? So glad to be connected with you!