But tonight I’m cleaning out my closet / I got some skeletons in my closet / and I don’t know if no one knows it
Until today I’d been putting off the arduous task of going through my clothes. I’ve been successfully avoiding salad, running, and processed foods since January and thus I’ve lost around 15 lbs. With that, I’m moving in about a month and needed to weed out unnecessary items before then.
I told myself that I would do it mid-to-late April— and here we are. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it, and I didn’t know why. Packing away my wedding dress in a vacuum sealed bag? Got through it like a champ. Selling some of my furniture, most of which I’ve had since grad school? Cha-ching. Clothes? Uh. Nope.
However, I knew I couldn’t put it off much longer. Over the past couple weeks, dressing myself for work was becoming a harder puzzle. Dresses were too big, pants sagged, shirts flapped in the breeze like an inflatable outside of a used car dealership. It occurred to me while jogging that it was time to go through my clothes— for my body had changed, and now my mind was ready to catch up.
I started the process when I got home. I figured if I couldn’t decide if I wanted to keep an article of clothing, I’d Snapchat a photo to my best friend for a second opinion— But the project took on a life of its own.
Skirting the Question:
I had no problems getting through the dress pants and skirts that I wear to work— they’re more utilitarian, so I didn’t have an emotional attachment to any of them. Except one skirt. It was simply a black and blue checkered skirt from Gap that is now about 2 sizes too big. It represented a painful memory to me. There was nothing wrong with the skirt, though I rarely wore it because of the memory I associated with it.
I snapped my friend, she instantly recognized it, and her advice was this: Get a fresh start when you move to Kansas City, nothing unnecessary. If nothing else, you’ll get tax credits for donating it. Some female friends tell you to #SmashThePatriarchy. Mine is more concerned with the joys of the free market and that taxation is theft.
I realized that when I picked up other articles of clothing I thought about potential outfits. When I picked up this skirt I remembered sitting on the cold tile floor, skirting questions, annoyed that the skirt was so snug that I had to sit with my legs stretched out in front of me. I remember wishing that if I knew I would be sitting on the floor, I would have worn volleyball shorts underneath. (Looking back on it, if I had any forewarning of that evening, the volleyball shorts wouldn’t have made the list.) The skirt had taken on a symbolism of its own, one that shouldn’t go in my new walk-in closet.*
*Seriously, I will have a walk in closet at my new apartment. If I were Harry Potter or Tom Cruise, I’d be okay living in that closet. It’s that big.
There was one type of clothing that survived the closet purge mostly unscathed: exercise apparel. I’ve had most of my exercise attire for years, and I’ve bought almost all of it at full price— Nike pro shorts and athletic tights, sports bras that I swear were designed by NASA but sold by Target, athletic shorts from Scheel’s that have held up over 5 years. The one thing I donated was a pair of cheap yoga pants that I got for $3 on clearance.
Lesson: Quality stands the test of time. My Nike running tights are close to 5 years old but look nearly new. They aren’t worn out, stretched out, no pilling. The other pair of yoga pants? Not so much. To quote a friend, never buy pants at the same place you can buy produce.
While sorting through the clothes I wasn’t keeping, I divided them into clothes I could sell at a thrift shop and those I’d just donate to Goodwill. I noticed a pattern: I got rid of all of my Banana Republic clothes except for two pairs of slacks. Specifically, I donated a fuchsia dress I never wear, a brown sweater, and a burgundy skirt. The common denominator of these Banana Republic clothes was that the cut of the clothes never suited me, clinging to places I’d rather they didn’t or just making me look like a sack of potatoes. The clothes were solid staples, but they were boring, hence I never wore them.
I realized that I was trying to shove my square self into a banana shaped hole and it wasn’t working. The same went for the rest of the clothing I will sell including the skirt: all very classic, bland, preppy styles. It occurred to me: Was that ever my style? Was I just trying to dress preppy to fit in with my coworkers at my last two jobs? Most importantly— who am I when I’m not pressured to be someone I’m not?
I dreaded going through my clothes because I realized the significance of losing the baggage: the memories, the social pressure, the weight off of my body. I knew that I had to do it before I moved, but I wasn’t ready for what the process actually meant to me. It was both easier and harder than I thought; with that, I realized that I’m ready to tackle my future in Kansas City next month.