My 19 year-old son is home for 2 weeks in between a year spent in England and a move to California to go to college. So it only seemed appropriate to clean out his closet. What struck me is how emotional of an experience it was. Background fact – I’m a compulsive getter-ridder of stuff. Clutter bugs the snot out of me so I typically purge with such vigor that is causes a certain amount of shock and awe amongst the less compulsive family members. But this purge came at a more profound transition than the usual summer into fall type. I found litters of high school papers, gifts from an old girlfriend, video games and airsoft guns along with tattered and outgrown clothes. And those old things made me emotional about phases past.
Here are just a few conversations I’ve had with friends in the last few weeks:
“I need to get rid of those suits because I’ve been out of the corporate world for years.”
“I feel like I look pregnant in everything I wear and I’m not.”
“I would love to have you help me shop my closet but I’m ashamed to let you in there.”
“I’ve lost too much weight to wear those pants but I don’t want to get rid of them.”
Closets hold emotions because like it or not, clothes express who we are and what we are about in the world. When we pretend that clothes are a mere afterthought, a decoration without any significant meaning, we rob ourselves of being authentic, creative and intentionally expressive. Do you have something in your closet from a phase long past? Let it go and make emotional space for the you of today.
GO with love