Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Saying Goodbye to the Past

Change of the Season

Harhar. That title sounds so much more deep than the topic of this blog post will turn out to be. I have plenty of stuff rolling around in my head about my trip home, but maybe I'll work backwards through it. In the meantime, I give you: my closet.

With the change in the weather from sweltering to early-autumn-ish, I figured it was time again for that most annoying, time consuming and frustrating activity: the bi-yearly closet turnover.

It's not all bad. I get to peel back the layers of the stuff that I own and unearth little gems that I haven't worn for many a year.

Or is that bad?

I was kinda inspired by the spring challenges to purge one's closet taken on by Uncommon Wealth (+Anna Wilson)  and Sarcastic Bystander (+Michelle Brynkus). But I was also driven to get off my butt my InStyle Magazine.

Whipping that Closet into Shape

So, I know I stated in a previous blog post that I wanted to stay away from glossy women's magazines and all the brain rot that they encompass. Hey, a memory just rolled out of my head. Once, as a teenager, I filled a notebook page or two with the idea for a 'smart' women's (or girls') magazine that was filled with like, I dunno, philosophical essays and literary criticism. Stuff that actually matters. I wanted to call it 'Elizabeth'. (Can you guess why a 15-year-old bookish girl would want to call an intelligent magazine Elizabeth? Bonus Points!)

Anyways, despite my vow to end all association with women's general interest or fashion magazines, I still have three issues coming to me of a year's subscription to InStyle. So I was flipping through the pages of the September issue, loathing the shear amount of ads and pictures of fashion "It Girls" who I've never heard of, have absolutely no bearing on my life and who all look like skeletons (or apples on a toothpick -- just because you starve yourself into a size zero doesn't mean your head shrinks) when I came across a recurring article about organizing one's closet. Fall 2013 edition.

This is one of the few articles that I like in InStyle. It actually lays out step-by-step instructions for how to transition the closet from season to season. And while some points are misguided (like how to 'archive' designer pieces -- as if we all have those), there is lots to follow and appreciate.

Like this little flow chart: should a piece of clothing stay, or should it go? It was ruthless. I have never, ever been so ruthless with my collection of clothes. Because it is a collection. I am a clothes horse.

In the Past

This is how my usual closet organization session goes: I haul out plastic buckets from the basement that hold all my off-season clothing. I lay it all out in sorted piles. I put a few items aside for donation, usually those that I don't like anymore. Then I try to make outfits out of the rest. I don't try anything on. I just take it for granted that everything still fits. And up until recently, I could take that for granted. And then I end by trying desperately to fit every last item of clothing that I've owned since I was probably around 20 years old back into my closet. Never works.

But this past spring I was a little more honest with myself. I actually tried on clothes -- those I wasn't sure about: clothes on the size borderline. And then I took the massive amount of stuff that didn't fit me and packed it away in the basement for some mythical time when it will fit me again. So while I had a neat and trim closet for once in my adult life, I still was holding onto all that past.

That's where the ruthless flow chart came in.

Time to be Ruthless

According to said flow chart, I am to donate a piece of clothing if it doesn't fit. If it isn't flattering. If I don't love it. There are other criteria but those three, right there, eliminated about 90% -- maybe more like 95% -- of the 'skinny one day' clothes that I have been hoarding. Hoarding and moving around with me.

At first, this made me sad. Won't I one day fit into those clothes again? Won't I someday stop shaking my head around, find a physical activity I enjoy and be a size 4 again? But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. When I looked at some of those 'skinny' clothes, I realized that many of them are faded. And the rest -- well, even if I dropped the weight tomorrow they'd not only be hopelessly out of style but would no longer suit me.

Because I'm a 32 woman. I am no longer a 25 year old girl. And as much as I'd like to picture myself with washboard abs peaking through I don't know -- a crop top, it's just not elegant. It's just not me. Not anymore.

You remember how in this blog I mentioned that the time in my adult life when I was my smallest was also the worse era of adulthood to date? So a lot of my 'skinny' clothes were worn at bad times in my life and are associated with bad memories. Why am I holding on to this crap? Mentally and physically! Ruthlessly I decided to shed all those old memories along with the clothes. Haha. New Age. Anyways the memories persist but at least now if my size changes in a downward motion, I won't have to wear living reminders of crappy times.

So now I have a tidy little closet and a half box of summer clothes for the basement. It actually feels really great! Weeeeee! :)