The Lessons Learned From Cleaning Out My Closet


Per usual, I was recently listening to a wellness podcast and was suddenly inspired to make a drastic life change because if I’m not up to par on my wellness trends then how could anything in my life be in its proper place? This podcast was all about less being more and usually I roll my eyes at that sort of thing (don’t these people know the warm and fuzzy feeling of owning exactly 78 pairs of shoes?) but this time was different. I felt instantly compelled to clean out my entire life… or as my favorite Lady Babies call it: Feng Shui my life.

Now, hold up for a second. Rearranging my apartment to best suit my current ~mood~ isn’t new news for me. In fact, I’ve been a known culprit of rearranging my space since my high school days when my bedroom’s layout would change with every dramatic breakup. But the getting rid of things… now that’s big. As materialistic as it sounds, I love my things. My clothes, my shoes, my glitter handbags from freshman year of college… they all hold sweet memories of mine. It’s not as if I want to relive each bodycon mini skirt donning, drunken night of dancing with girlfriends, but I don’t want to let them go, either.

Anyways, this podcast I was listening to really urged me to ask myself a question that perhaps held a deeper meaning than the sequin mini dress hanging in my closet:

Who am I holding onto these things for?
Is it for me, or is it for the girl who wore these clothes and carried these bags,
old-relationships-and-dated-trends ago?

I learned that sometimes you need to get rid of the pale pink faux fur vest because though you wore the heck out of that thing four winters ago—it’s simply not serving you anymore. And on top of that, it’s important to get rid of all the other non-serving pieces in my closet so that I can make room for the new, more sophisticated pieces. I mean I am pushing 25 this spring, thank you very much.

But that thought got my wheels turning even faster—once again leading me to draw a close parallel to the things inside my closet and the things that occupy my life in other spaces.

The patent leather jacket from Forever21 that saved my chilled shoulders during snowy treks from the dorms to downtown Iowa City was a fabulous addition to my wardrobe when I was 19, but when I’m heading to happy hour gatherings after a workday at the office—I can’t meet my girlfriends in a 2013 worn-down pleather coat. It just wouldn't be right. And even more important than realizing that it’s the coat’s time to go is actually having the strength to take it off the hanger, fold it up, and put in the donation box.

Sometimes in life, we get so attached to things—not to mention people, places, jobs, and habits. I think we can all find the areas in our life that we know need some dusting off and reorganizing, but do we have the strength to take those things off their hangers and throw them away?

It’s scary parting with things that brought us so much joy, but part of growing up is learning who you really are. When you start to grow into yourself, you realize that you don’t need your favorite handbag from college anymore. Or your beloved Steve Madden pumps that claimed the Brother's dance floor in Iowa City. Or, even more difficult to bare: that relationship you've been neglecting for a reason, the unhealthy eating habits you just can't quit, or the bottomless pit of time we spend scrolling our phones.

So here’s to the memories we made wearing the suede Jessica Simpson Mary Janes that we simply had to have during junior year of high school, and cheers to the women we’re en route to becoming—donning a sleek blazer and sophisticated pumps to boot.

Who knew cleaning out our closets could be so therapeutic? Now... time to go shopping!

(Too soon? Okay...)

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