(Image source: this isn’t happiness)
Monday morning I began to go through my closet in preparation for a clothing swap with a group of girlfriends.
Monday afternoon, as I was looking over the two huge bags of clothing that I had pulled out from my closet, I had a major epiphany: I had been hanging on to way too many outdated versions of myself.
There was clothing that didn’t fit. Clothing that made me feel angry and miserable. Clothing that brought up memories of vacations and time spent traveling. Clothing that I thought I should have, but never wear. And shoes that seemed practical but were simply collecting dust.
When I stopped to look at the clothing — to really examine why I was still hanging on to it — the a-ha moments kept coming.
Every time I would have to dress up or wear something other than jeans, I would get cranky and throw a mini temper tantrum. Why? Because they were leftover relics from working in the corporate world. Same with the practical shoes that were collecting dust. Slipping on that clothing brought me back into that time in my life. And it was full of stress, anxiety, and anger.
The clothing that didn’t fit? I was hanging on to those pieces for the day when I could wear them again. Some were pieces from my travels through Europe. Others from a graduation trip to Paris with my parents. All of them held memories and emotions. It was the memories that were meaningful to me, and not the actual clothing.
There were also a few pieces of clothing that I second-guessed as being nice enough for someone else to wear, yet was still taking up space in my closet. If it wasn’t okay for another person, why is it okay for me?!
Once I was able to look at my clothing in this way — and how it was keeping me stuck — it was easy to let it go.
Each day I work hard to better myself, to learn and grow with each new experience. To evolve.
Yet, my closet hadn’t evolved with me.
My closet said that I was stuffy, boring, collecting dust, and not worthy of nice things. My closet kept me feeling angry, guilty, unhappy, and resentful. My closet was putting out the vibe that I didn’t want to learn, grow or evolve.
After the purge, I felt lighter. Looking into my closet actually made me happy even though it was substantially less full.
Bringing new items home from the clothing swap made me giddy. I tried new and somewhat scary pieces. I expanded my color palette. I picked pieces that were a true reflection of myself at this very moment in time. And pieces that reflected where I wanted to go.
And I still feel like I have room to grow.
If you want to create true transformation in your life, you have to create the space for it to come. Even if it’s in your closet.
When was the last time you really looked at the clothing in your closet? What would it tell a complete stranger about you if they took a peak inside?
If the answers make you unhappy, it’s time to take stock and create space for a more updated version of yourself to come through.
You never know what else will manifest in the process.