At the end of April, I did my first ever seasonal wardrobe changeover. Keep in mind, I’m forty-four years old. I’ve been a grown-up for a very long time, and yet I had never gotten my act together to make my own life easier in this way.
The Buy No Clothes in 2021 Challenge began on January 1, but for a good eight or nine months before that, I had been completing an inventory of the clothing in my closet. Finishing the inventory, you might remember, was one of the rules of my Challenge. Those first eight months were pretty easygoing: every time I wore a piece of clothing, I added a new entry in a journal entry with everything I remembered about the item: where, when and how I acquired it, how much it would have cost, if I had done any alterations to it and any memorable occasions I had worn it. Additionally, I would make notes of what I liked about it or anything I really didn’t like about it, and if there might be a way to fix it so that I would wear it more often.
When I started my Challenge in January, I had a pretty good handle on what was in my closet. Not everything, but I had a good feel for the things I liked to wear and I had a good idea if, among the things I didn’t like to wear, there was anything I could make more wearable.
I also had challenged myself to empty out a bin which had been living in the basement, in which resided clothing which carried highly significant emotional attachments. My job was to empty that sucker out and deal with the emotions that lived in that bin. Notably, there was the bathrobe I had worn to the clinic to give birth to my first child, which made me angry every time I saw it. (You can read about it here.)
The bin did finally get emptied out.
As Spring started springing this year, and I had an inkling that some of my darker color or winter-appropriate clothes and accessories were not going to get worn again for a few months, I decided to get them out of the closet and let my closet breathe a little. I had an empty bin, after all!
Let’s do this
The most effective way to do it, is to do it.Amelia Earhart
Yes, you read that right. Would you have said Yogi Berra? Yeah, me too. In any case. I love that quote.
The spring changeover had been completed and it took all of an hour from start to finish, if that. I even had done some decluttering, getting rid of things that I didn’t wear or didn’t like anymore. I washed them, donated them or exchanged them with a friend. The winter stuff I wanted to keep went back to the basement in a neatly, tightly closed plastic bin, therefore untouched by the moths and the mold.
Now, it was October. The weather started getting chilly and it was time to move on to Seasonal Changeover, Episode 2.
Seeing as how I have been living in the basement for the last few days, I brought up that bin. (I did wash everything I brought back up, just in case. I even double wiped down the bin before I brought it into the apartment. I will be taking no chances on moths.)
Then, I went through my closet, taking my summery summer dresses (the rainbow dress, my floaty sleeved red and fuschia dress, my yellow lace dress, my Team Nigeria dress, which still isn’t down to less than I€ per wear…), plus my summery blouses that can’t be layered and a few more summery skirts. I put all these in the bin (which I ended up washing out again, because apparently I have lepidopterophobia–you guessed it, a fear of moths.)
Once they were clean and dried, I hung up my winter things and took a devilish pleasure in wearing a couple of my favorite mid-season sweaters again. I actually changed my clothes twice in one day to enjoy them again! The colors in my closet are less primary rainbow now, darker, more muted but still rainbow.
A real change of heart
Rediscovering my fall/winter clothes was such a pleasure. It reminded me a little bit of the Suitcase Method I had invented a while back…that sense of joy at finding my old friends that I loved so much.
What was the greatest joy in all of this was that, at no point did I come across a single item of clothing for which I had negative memories. I didn’t feel that weight that inevitably happened when I came across a blouse I had had an argument with my boss in, or the sweater I had gone to dinner in on what had ended up being a terrible, terrible night. Those are now only memories. Those memories no longer have tangible reminders. I have all but forgotten the words exchanged with my boss, even though I know it had been ugly…as if those words had gotten stuck in the fibers of my blouse.
So was the seasonal changeover to thank for this amnesia? No, not entirely. The fact that I had stuck to my Challenge Rules and gone through the hard work of re-homing, refashioning, discarding or donating items that no longer worked for me is to thank for helping the painful memories dissipate.
Hard work, you may laugh. She thinks this was hard work!
Coming to terms with the tangible reminders of our regrets doesn’t cause us to break a sweat, no. And I don’t think that any single item of clothing I discarded brought me to tears, either. But forging ahead to create space in my heart and in my mind by creating space in my closet has made me cry. Not because I am sad. But because I am so freaking happy to be on this side of the “doing it” that Amelia Earhart talked about.
Do you do a seasonal changeover in your closet? Is there something you would need to do à la Amelia Earhart, in order to even imagine getting started? I really want to challenge you to just do something. This heartspace and headspace is available to you too…just give it a try!