It's been quite some time since I did a closet purge, but with fall approaching and a wardrobe that was really out of hand, it was time to do some pruning.
The last time I did one, it was a very happy occasion. I was getting rid of clothing that was too big. Sadly, this time, I have the opposite problem. A lot of my wardrobe is too small. And this is what makes it so very painful; with each cherished and memory-filled outfit that I must set aside, I am reminded of what that nasty inner critic insists on calling failure; and what my feisty inner diva (who frequently makes outside appearances) constantly counters with "It's just another bend in the road, and baby, we're going around it RIGHT NOW." There's been quite a hollerin' match going on inside my head for the past few days.
The organizational gurus will tell you to divide your items into three piles: keep, give away, throw out. For those of us who run small theater companies, there is a fourth pile: POTENTIAL COSTUME. (There is an entire room in my house given over to theatrical costumes and props. We really need a storage unit). But the give away/costume/throw out piles were relatively small. You see, I really like my clothes, even the ones I can't wear right now, and I just can't see getting rid of them when there's a chance I'll be getting back into them at some point in --- I hope --- the not too distant future.
That's why no one will be able to occupy the green bedroom, aka the Costume Closet, for some time to come. 'Cause that's where every item that is too small has gone to hide, until such time as I can wear them again.
Nevertheless, it was important to clear out the closet of everything except that which I can actually wear. For one thing, it's just impractical to have a bunch of stuff you never wear cluttering up the closet --- it keeps you from being able to find what you DO wear quickly and efficiently. It keeps you from seeing what you've got to work with and what you really need, and encourages waste.
But more importantly, clearing the closet of too-small items is, for me, a way of facing up to the painful truth, hanger by hanger. Painful, and difficult, because with every tight sweater that hits the "save for later" pile, I must battle shame, fear, and sorrow. I must insist, absolutely insist, on not calling myself names or letting the negative chatter win. I must remind myself that as hard as this is, it is also positive and healthy.
I get a clean, streamlined closet with stuff I can actually wear. Wearing clothes that fit make me look, and therefore feel, better.
And I am already hard at work, climbing back up the slope. It's a Sisyphusean task, I think. I'm just glad to be in a place where I have the strength, energy, and resources to heft the boulder and resume the uphill hike. Looking glamourous while doing so.