Let me start by saying I mean literally cleaning out your closet. Yeah, metaphorically it can be an act of self-love, too, but that’s a whole different discussion for another day.
I’ve been going through my clothes over the past few months and pulling things I don’t wear, or I don’t love so I can sell them on Poshmark. Some of the things I bought at one point thinking I’d wear them all the time. Some were given to me by friends as they lost weight or as they just didn’t wear them anymore. And to be honest, I don’t even know where some of the items in my closet came from. Regardless of how they got there, I knew that I wasn’t wearing them, and I could make money from them. The more I looked in my closet to find things I could sell, the more I was realizing how many articles of clothing, shoes, and accessories I own that I almost never wear, have worn a few times and stopped, or tried on at the store, bought it, and never touched it again except to move it to get to another item.
A few weeks ago, a friend was telling me about doing a huge closet clean-out using this article as her inspiration. She used the KonMari method of decluttering, which essentially has you pull out everything, go through it all, and only keep and put back what brings you joy. When she was done cleaning everything out, she had trash bags filled with clothes to donate, and the clothes in her closet are only ones that she knows fit her comfortably and bring her happiness and joy when she wears them. I asked her a little about her experience, and this is what she said about it.
“I started in January, so maybe a month and a half, two months. It has definitely helped with time management. I don’t waste time trying to find an outfit to wear because I know everything in my closet is something I like and actually fits. Also, just mentally, too. I don’t give myself that false hope of putting on something like a t-shirt that I like and finding out it’s too tight or unflattering. Then going through that negative headspace of feeling down on myself because I’ve gained weight. Everything in the closet makes me feel good either physically or mentally. Which I guess was the point of the KonMari method… keeping things around you that bring you joy.”
I had another friend who’s done it and had a slightly less enthusiastic reaction to it. When I asked her if the things she’s kept bring her joy, she said, “Sometimes yes and sometimes no.”
So, it really got me to thinking about decluttering for joy, and specifically getting rid of the parts of my wardrobe that didn’t make me feel good physically or mentally, and why I’ve kept things that don’t.
I am a fat woman. That’s no secret. It’s not a negative commentary on my body, it’s just a physical description of myself that helps to paint a picture of what I look like in relation to how clothes look and fit on me. My sister, Lacy, is skinny. She always has been. Lacy is also really short, maybe five feet, and I’ve always been taller than most of my friends, standing at five foot eight. Sometimes I feel like a giant next to her, but that’s neither here nor there. I mention this because it’s important to note that while I have issues finding cute clothes in my size that I feel comfortable and confident in, she has the same problem. We hold onto clothes that fit us, even if we don’t love them, because it’s hard finding things that fit that aren’t exorbitantly priced and make us feel cute.
I also have, what I’ve just recently learned is, buyer’s guilt. I buy things I think are so cute, and then never wear them, so they sit in my closet with the price tag still on them. I don’t want to get rid of them because I feel guilty for not having worn them at least once, but I also know that, if I haven’t found a chance to wear them yet, I probably won’t. I feel like I have to justify having bought them by keeping them, even if they don’t get loved like I know they should. Buyer’s guilt. The absolute opposite of buyer’s remorse where you instantly regret spending the money on something, so you return it, even if it did bring you joy.
I also keep things that are super cute that do fit me, but that I don’t feel comfortable in for whatever reason. Maybe it’s a dress that’s just too short for my comfort, or a pair of jeans that are fine, but I have others that I like more. Simple reasons that don’t make the item necessarily bad, just not as good, are keeping my closet cluttered and my husband frustrated that my dresses are taking up half of his side.
But how is decluttering your closet an act of self-love?
When you take out the items that don’t bring you joy; the ones that make you feel self-conscious or that you have to constantly tug at all day just frustrating you at best, you are acknowledging that your own happiness and peace and joy are worth more than having a full closet. They are worth more than having the latest trends or every bag for every outfit. They are worth more than showing up to work or out with friends in different outfit every day of every week.
As my friend said about her experience, you will be able to go into your closet and know that every single item in it looks good on you and makes you feel comfortable wearing it. If you have to think about your outfit at all, you think about how cute you look or how good you feel.
I can’t advocate for the decluttering method itself, but the message it brings with it is amazing. If you want to replace everything you got rid of with things that you love and make you happy, then do it. No one says you have to downsize if you don’t want to. Just make sure it makes you happy, whatever you do.