I am constantly preaching at my friends about not caring about material things. I have a friend who recently downsized and moved to a smaller house to be closer to her husbands work. She was having a rough time with it and was really upset she would be leaving her home where her kids were born, the first home her and her husband owned together, a lot of good memories that she had a hard time leaving.
I did my best to try and cheer her up with my go-to speech about not caring about material objects and how they would make new memories at this new house and while it may be smaller it isn’t about the size of the house but the size of the love of the family… yadda yadda.
Then I immediately spent 15 minutes complaining to Wonderful Husband about how I needed new winter sweaters because the ones I had were old.
He firmly planted his work booted foot down and told me I couldn’t have anymore clothes until there were hangers to put them on in the closet, and no, I couldn’t go buy more hangers. I must get rid of some clothes in order to get new clothes.
This should be really easy for me, the queen of minimalism, the goddess of donation, the non materialistic Stepford. Wrong. I sat and stared at my closet for a good while, unable to find anything I thought I could actually get rid of. Every item that I removed held some special meaning to me. I had worn it to an event, I had worn it in highschool (yikes!), it was a great deal, it was a great designer…the list of reasons goes on and on and on.
The only problem is that most of these clothes no longer fit me. Seriously. I put on about 15 lbs of solid baby weight that doesn’t seem to be budging anytime soon and some of these clothes were a tight squeeze pre-baby when I was boasting my 120lb frame. Day after day, week after week, I will take these sweaters out of the closet, put them on, wiggle, squiggle, and sigh. Then I will take it off and hang it back up, ya know, for when I am a size 2 again..
I have three sweaters that I have NEVER WORN. I bought them at the thrift store for about $10 total. One is Michael Kors, one is wool, and one is hand stitched in India and a beautiful shade of kelley green. However, Michael does not fit, not even close, never did. Wool is scratchy, itchy, and boiling hot in anything other than arctic winter, and India is heavy and boxy and does not look good on me in any way, shape, or form. But, for almost three years now they have hung in my closet, waiting for me to wear them.
Well wait no longer! Those were the first ones to go. I ripped them out and put them on the floor. Followed by all my size 5 jeans. As I went, it got easier. Before long I had a huge piled on the floor of clothes that were stained, old, too small, or ill fitting. I even added shoes! Me! I got rid of shoes! There are shoes that I only ever wore to work and even then I didn’t like them, and shoes that I wore out in highschool but I am too committed to to get rid of. They are in the pile as well.
So now, I have a solid section of my closet cleaned out and I no longer feel an emotional pull to those materialistic things I thought I needed to keep.
I also found several sweaters I completely forgot I owned that fit me really well and look really good on me!
So here is my advice:
Start small. You don’t have to do it all in one day, and you don’t have to get rid of everything. If you are feeling particularly attached to your highschool prom gown, keep it, put it in a rubbermaid bin in the attic. But that stained t shirt with a random band logo that you bought at a random concert your cousin dragged you to? Ditch it. You won’t miss it.
Remember, you keep the memories in your head and in your heart. Not in your closet.