The Sheer Relief of Releasing Clothes You've Avoided Like The Plague

One of my favorite spring tasks is to comb through closets and drawers, baskets and bins, ruthlessly weeding out anything and everything that has seen its day.  Most particularly, clothing.

I'm a big believer in the 80 / 20 rule - we only wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.

This past week, I was struck by the truth that many shirts and pants I was reluctant to part with last autumn held no interest for me anymore.  And while I wasn't ready to say 'adios' to them back then, there was not an ounce of hesitation on my part right now to pull them off their appointed hangers, fold them neatly, and bag them up to pass on to someone who'd be pleased at their arrival.

Simply because I'm not who I was when I welcomed those garments into my life.

And too many unloved, unnecessary possessions drain the energy out of my space with their intrusive, annoying presence.

I was holding on to pants that were too long or too tight or too wide or too dressy.  I won't be wearing them again.  And then there were the shirts.  Too short or too snug, too faded or just plain uninviting.

There were brand new boots to pass on to a granddaughter, a pile of pants someone else wanted to paw through.  A pocketbook or two that had remained untoted for years didn't survive my critical eye.  A selection of sweaters and vests, scarves and shoes, none of which had seen the light of day in eons, were sent packing.


If we find ourselves sighing and muttering 'ugh' when we open a jammed, unorganized closet ... or feel oddly immobilized like a deer in the headlights as we gaze into the untended abyss of a dresser drawer, we do ourselves a big favor to take a deep breath and a few minutes break to understand and appreciate what our emotions are whispering to us.

Maybe we're overwhelmed by too many possessions which are worn threadbare or no longer serve their purpose or are connected with unpleasant situations.  Perhaps we've been ignoring how certain stiff, tight, baggy, or itchy clothes make us feel ... or unaware of the fact that they don't match the stage of life we're actually living.

There might be losses, changes, or transitions we need to grieve that passed unnoticed along the way.

It might be that we feel guilty at the thought of saying 'farewell' since we invested so much money in stuff we don't actually care about anymore ... and that some things we aren't all that fond of were {gasp!} gifts.  Or we're not sure of who to pass the decent things on to.  {Here's the fun little shop I donate to.}

I can't help but think we're wise in acknowledging what is true about what we're discovering ... and make some very personal decisions about how best to respond.

It might be to show ourselves grace in finally accepting the way our bodies are in this season and stop endlessly fighting the scale.  Or perhaps commit to the hard work of getting our bodies leaner and stronger.

As Emily Freeman said so well in her enlightening Wear Better Pants podcast, 'perhaps it's time to release something you no longer need so you can move one step closer to becoming who you already are.'

If you listen to one podcast this month, this would be it.  For sure.


I've gotta admit I pretty much love the things that survived the cut this past week.  I like my style in this season and the freedom of traveling lighter.  I'm grateful to realize once again how little I truly need.

But I'm not quite sure what to do with a couple pairs of jeans.  They're just a bit too tight and I'm still figuring out what to do about that dilemma.

You understand.

I'd love to hear your stories.

P.S.  The Listening Life Book Open House kicks off this Thursday, April 19th with a superb surprise.  I'm so excited I can't stand it!  Be sure you grab your copy of Adam McHugh's book here or get your Kindle edition there.  It might even be at your public library.  

Or just show up without reading.  Yep, that's absolutely fine!  

Be sure to invite your FB friends, book club pals, and Bible Study group.  It's not too late!  All the details are right here ... and you can subscribe so you won't miss any of the Thursday gatherings.

See you then!