Many of the clients I have worked with on a wardrobe declutter have found it much more challenging because so often our identity is tied up in those garments – we use our clothes to tell the world who we are (or who we would like to be). Which means that letting go of them feels like giving up part of our identity.
The suits for the office job they didn’t get. The maternity clothes from the babies who have grown up. The ‘if I get back into [insert hobby here] I’d wear it again’ or even the ‘I never did get round to [insert different hobby] - if I keep the clothes, maybe I will!’ outfits.
So we keep hold of these clothes in the hope that we will become the person we once were, or would like to be, but actually all they do is remind us that - nope, you are not going to be that person again. And they usually provide an added layer of shame or disappointment to dent our self-esteem every time we open the drawers.
The most toxic of all items hanging in your wardrobe, however, are the ‘when I lose weight then it will fit’ clothes. Many people think they will provide motivation and inspire action, and sometimes a single item might do that for a time. But a whole collection? All they do is smugly remind you as you hastily rifle past them is that you haven’t achieved that goal.
I try to remind my clients that you are not meant to fit your clothes, your clothes are there to fit you. They are there to help you get on with the life you are currently leading, not sit in readiness for a fantasy future. And your personality, identity or value is not contained within those clothes – that is already inside you.
Keeping clothes that don’t work for your current lifestyle (or shape) is likely to just make you feel rubbish about yourself, and who needs that first thing in the morning?!
Questions to ask yourself during a wardrobe declutter:
If you can't remember when you last wore it, or it was uncomfortable / made you feel awkward when you did wear it; you can't see yourself wearing it again, and it made you feel bad about yourself when you see it - time to let it go!