Sunday, April 15, 2018

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!

*



*

visiting

42 comments:

  1. I have some jeans I can give to you! They are 36 length. I think they might fit you! LOL. I admire your purging Linda. The bulk of my closet contains t-shirts and jeans. 2 or 3 khakis for rare dress up occasions and one suit (marry and bury). But I'm sure I could purge some. But i hate yard sales.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 36"!

      ;-}

      You and my husband are kindred spirits. Long done with IBM, t-shirts and jeans make up 98% of his wardrobe. He just got rid of half of his button-downs and is using his khakis as work pants. I think there's one pair of black ones left.

      And yes, the suit. I know there's moth holes in the sleeves.

      Living the simple life works, doesn't it ...

      Delete
  2. Oh friend you are speaking to me today! I need to go back through my closet this spring even though I got rid of so many clothes before I moved last September. We both are in seasons where we don’t need a lot of clothes. Hopefully this will motivate me to take a closer look at this clothes I can’t seem to get rid of. It seems my attachment to clothes to clothes has a deeper meaning.

    I love Emily Freeman and her Next Right Thing podcast is one of my favorites. She packs so much in her 15 minutes. I usually go back and read the transcript so I can glean all the goodness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, I'm absolutely sure you're right on this -->'It seems my attachment to clothes to clothes has a deeper meaning.' I'm guessing it's different for everyone. Clothes do more than simply cover us, don't they. They send a message, they have personal meaning, memories are woven into their threads.

      For those of us who've retired, our needs drastically changed. I'm amazed at how little I actually need. And I love not having to sift through all kinds of stuff I could care less about.

      And Emily's podcast? Oh yes! It's the only one I listen to. She has so much practical wisdom and a gentle humor that always leaves me wanting to hear more.

      Why am I not surprised that we're both resonating?

      ;-}

      Delete
  3. It seems I cull through clothes and stuff somewhat regularly. Of course we have a favorite we donate to and hope many others will consider donating their former treasures to places that can make a difference like your favorite spot. I'm been listening to Emily's podcasts lately too and have found them hitting the right spot with me at this time of life. Thanks for your insights, Linda.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's Debby's favorite! Yay!

      https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/

      And Emily? Can it be she's even getting better and better as she does her graduate work in spiritual direction? What a wise and tender woman she is! No wonder she's got so many fans ...

      Delete
  4. My Dreamer and I are getting ready to do this very thing, Linda! Love the grace of this post! and SO excited for your upcoming Open House event - yay! Blessings on your week, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I'm glad you caught the grace, friend. I never want to come across as preachy or a know-it-all-butt.

      Some things I'm just passionate about, ya' know? And those very things end up on these pages.

      ;-}

      Delete
  5. Hi Linda!

    Ok, color me "duh". Do we read the 1st chapter before Thursday?

    {via email}

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No 'duh's ... I haven't mentioned what to read so you haven't missed a thing! We're doing something special on Thursday, so no need to read anything unless you'd like to start. The intro would be good ...

      Delete
  6. I like donating things to charity. Tried years ago to donate my mother-in-law but they would not have her.

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Poor woman. I bet she's a sweetie. Does she know that she's well known worldwide?

      I hear many resale shops don't take upholstered furniture with floral or plaid cushions.

      She's in comfy company ...

      ;-}

      Give her a hug from me.

      Delete
  7. Traveling lighter! That's it! You have inspired me, Linda, to let go of some pieces I've held on for far too long! ;-) I truly think that keeping too much unused stuff around makes me feel heavier and more stressed. I'm listening and I'll be doing, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Speaking of far too long, see that faded yellow and gray plaid shirt in the top picture?

      I've been wearing it ever since my daughter gave it to me when she was in high school.

      She now has two teenaged girls of her own.

      * gasp *

      ;-}

      Delete
  8. I LOVED that "Wear Better Pants" episode. Thanks for the encouragement here. We've also been going through our clothes. I smiled because yesterday when I tried to convince my husband to keep an attractive shirt, he said, "I just don't want to have this anymore." I thought, well, good reason to get it out of our closet then!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like our men have been talking to each other out of our earshot, Betsy!

      No point in the stuff taking up valuable real estate. Tim's good button-downs have found a new home. I hope your husband's have, too.

      Everyone's happy.

      ;-}

      Delete
  9. Linda, this is definitely a spring cleaning project I need to take on for both summer and winter clothes. Like you, I want to travel lighter in this season of my life.
    Looking forward to the book club, but here's a heads-up: The last week of April/first of May, I will be out of the loop regarding the internet for the most part, but will certainly catch up once I'm connected again.
    Blessings to you, and thanks for the sweet comment you left on my blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enjoy your internet break, Martha ... the Book Open House will absolutely be here when you return!

      Travel light ...

      Delete
  10. I'm so in need of doing this. :( Thanks for the push, Linda. Maybe I'll work on it this week. I keep a set number of hangers in my closet, and right now I'm at the exact limit. I need margin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A set number of hangers in your closet ... now THAT'S fascinating. Would love to hear more, Lisa!

      Delete
  11. And too many unloved, unnecessary possessions drain the energy out of my space with their intrusive, annoying presence. I am not a clutter person, it actually makes me kind of sick but for the sake of my husband who is a, well I might use it person, I keep his old clothes, little ones and big ones in sacks under our bed. A couple years ago, he lost 75 pounds so I said, let me give those bigger clothes to the goodwill. Well, bless his heart he has gained back and cannot wear his skinny clothes. Every once in a while he will remind me he should not have let me get rid of his big clothes. I told him, wait a minutes you got to buy new ones, thats a plus of weight gain. I am losing weight now and I hope I have learned from my mistake, I will keep my "fat" clothes when I can get skinny ones. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think alot of us are like your husband, Betty, thinking that maybe someday this or that might come in handy. And sometimes, yes, it does!

      If we can remember where we stored it away!

      Sounds like you've got a good grip on where all your possessions are stored. And that's a huge plus.

      I'm glad you're here.

      Delete
  12. It is so great to create space, isn't it? Even just in our closets! Spring does not seem to be springing here, yet found myself recently stuffing recycle bags with clothes to donate. And I know there is more to let go to become more of who I am now! Love that concept. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're absolutely right, spring has shown little teasers here and there, but it's still been pretty cold and damp.

      One can only hope ...

      ;-}

      Delete
  13. I have been going through my clothes trying to figure out what needs to be retired or kept. I am needing a few new things but am trying to be more intentional on what I need and will actually wear. One fun thing is that I am trying out some different combinations that I didn't realize I had. I am looking forward to the book club. I am hoping to get my husband to read the book with me so we can talk about it on our evening walks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's interesting to make up a little clothes shopping list, kind of like a food shopping list, and see if we can stick to it.

      We've got a TJ Maxx 3 minutes away. Need I say more?

      Meanwhile, I love the idea of talking about The Listening Life on a lovely evening walk. Or maybe I should say listening on a lovely evening walk.

      I'd love to hear how this works out for you guys, TJ.

      Delete
  14. So, it looks like my first comment disappeared into the ether. Sigh. I will say purging makes my heart sing! I went through my entire house a few years ago, and the white space that opened up made me feel light inside. I LOVED it. Lately, it's been hard to find the time to tame the clutter beast, but I'm working on it, slowly. It's amazing how much we can get rid of. I find it takes having the right mindset to help me to be ready to clear things from our closets, cupboards, and shelves. But when I do? Oh, I am a happy, happy girl. I think it is time to look through my clothes again too. Thanks for that encouragement, Linda.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, my heart sings, too!

      ;-}

      I attacked my Mom's decades old collection of Tupperware yesterday. A bit overwhelming for her, but we were both delighted when we pared down to what she needed. I'm going to donate all the good stuff and all the unmatched odds and ends hit the garbage can.

      I'm guessing a few people who scroll through these comments will think it a little weird, but some of us just can't get enough of white space and the organizing and sorting and tossing that take us there.

      Jeanne, you're right, clutter is a beast. For sure.

      We're in this together! Closets, cupboards, shelves, HERE WE COME!

      Delete
  15. Hi Linda. Thanks for the reminder. :) I was writing a comment here this morning, and all of a sudden my computer locked up. I had to shut it down to start it up again, so I immediately went to my drawers and cleared out clothes that I never wear anyway. I always wear the same few that I feel comfortable in, so why keep those I don't ever wear? :) I told my hubby a couple of weeks ago that I was going to sort out some for the Good Will, but I'm always forgetting or procrastinating. :) I'm looking forward to the book study. I have started reading ahead as I'm afraid I might get behind. With nonfiction books I need more time to ponder insights and absorb verses. Anyway, I am already gleaning a lot! And it's making me more aware of how I listen. Love and hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That made me smile that you took your computer's temper tantrum and made it into an opportunity to start cleaning things out.

      Yeah, I'm big on procrastinating on certain things, too, Trudy. But we do what we can, right?

      See you on Thursday! No need to worry on getting behind in the reading. Let's all encourage each other to move along at our own pace. That's why I like to call it an open house.

      ;-}

      Delete
  16. Linda,
    Loved this post. We just had our very last garage sale this weekend and what didn't sell we took to donate. My husband and I have been on a 4 year purging project (attic, drawers, closet, rooms, garage, you name it) and boy does it feel GREAT!! Jesus traveled light and I think He really knew what He was doing. Like you said, we don't need 80% of the clothes we have and we really don't need half or more of the "stuff" we have. It's been fun to see things we've used go on to be repurposed in new homes. Agreeing, wholeheartedly, that there is a rush in the release!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 4 years?!! Wow!!

      The image of Jesus traveling light comforts me, Bev. Thanks for painting that picture of His focus on the Master Plan, not on things that had no substance.

      I'm guessing the more we clear out and let go, the more time and focus we have for those things that matter most.

      Thanks for taking us there today.

      Delete
  17. I love purging. And next week? The Great Purge takes place - we are selling our home of 30 years!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congrats, Susan! We did the same 3 years ago and lived to tell the story.

      I look forward to hearing your saga ...

      Delete
  18. I love filling up bags to donate! It's so freeing! One thing I held onto for years was the dress I wore to my Mom's funeral 15 years ago. My aunts had bought it for me and it was beautiful. I longed to wear it again but just couldn't. I also didn't want to part with it so I held on for over a decade. Some things just take time to release I guess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, Sarah. Layers. One layer at a time works for alot of us instead of everything going out the door in one fell swoop.

      When we're talking to God about these practical things, He has ways of letting us know of our next step. There are some things we need to be very gracious and gentle with ourselves.

      And your dress is one of them ...

      Delete
  19. Oh, Linda, you and me both, friend. It's so freeing to make that space in the closets and drawers, isn't it? But, like you, I seem to hang on to things a season or two longer than necessary, waiting until my heart no longer has claim to them. Silly us. :) --- Our church has a thrift store that we donate tons of stuff to. (In fact, I just sent my husband and sons out the door yesterday with four huge trash-size bags filled with stuff for the donation bin at church.) --- Love these wise words here, friend. Happy Spring cleaning to you! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love a good thrift store ... especially if the profits go to something worthy. Four huge trash bags must have made their hearts sing!

      Love that your family's in on the clean out with you, Brenda. Good stuff ...

      Delete
  20. Yes, Linda ... I have plenty of clothes I no longer need, want, like. My unspoken fear, as I think about this, is ending up with next to NOTHING in my closet. I know those old clothes are no longer my style, but right now, I'm not sure I know what my style is. I know what I like and what feels right when it's cold. But summer? Ugh. I wish we could just skip it entirely. :-) But I can't wear leggings and boots when it's 95 and humid, so I need to figure this out. Thanks for the nudge, my friend. I've already started culling, and you're right. It does feel good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I hear ya', friend. Sometimes it's good to do this kind of dismantling layer by layer, other times it's best to go cold turkey. Some 'experts' tell us to take everything out of the closet and only return what we love, what fits great.

      It's good to notice why we love those leggings and boots - soft? stretchy? comfy? flattering? and then take those valuable insights into the next season.

      We don't need alot of stuff, we just need stuff that does us good.

      Can't wait to hear how this goes for you!

      ;-}

      Delete
  21. Oh yes spring closet cleaning feels so good! I need to go through my clothes again, and see what can be donated or thrown away, thanks for the inspiration!! Purging unnecessary things always feels good!!

    ReplyDelete

Technical glitches happen.

If your comment doesn't show up within an hour or so, it means I haven't received it! Please feel free to email me your contribution and I'll post it as soon as possible.

lindastoll @ juno . com

My apologies ...