I am a self-confessed pack rat, and I’m trying to change that. It’s not only a move to get more organized, but I’m at that juncture in my life where I find myself having to reevaluate what I want to keep and let go.
Being in the process of a major life change, I have made up my mind to change as much of what I can to start afresh, and keep only that which is essential to the real me. So much has happened in the last 3 years (going on 4) that I find a physical need to actually change my surroundings to get rid of the old and move forward.
Some of it is a necessity being that I have changed sizes in the last couple of years, and it doesn’t pay to wear something that looks frumpy even if you have only worn it a couple of times. It’s time to make room for the new, beginning with my closet.
I used to be the type who would keep something even if in an obviously bigger size because I told myself, it fits– why get rid of something I can wear? But coming across the concept of a “capsule wardrobe” which wouldn’t work for me, I was reminded of how I had so many pieces I hadn’t worn or touched in some time. They have been relegated to the darkest corner of my tiny closet, collecting dust, unworn. While I am nowhere near paring my wardrobe down to 37 or so pieces (I have a dozen skirts at least, for one!)– I recognize a need to declutter and find a new home for those pieces that are still wearable, just not by me.
During my trips home to Manila last year, I took the bigger clothes and left them for others. My luggage came back with outfits in my current size and style. I send a balikbayan box home occasionally and have already sent more, but I haven’t really systematically gone through what’s left here with me.
They said the rule should be to sort between keeping and giving away. Generally, anything you hadn’t worn in a year should go — whether they are too big or too small. I have read that keeping something in the hopes of “shrinking” back into a size that’ll see it fitting you again isn’t being realistic, unless you are already just a teeny weeny bit away from being able to wear it again. I have a couple of those I keep because of the brand or the original cost of the item. They went into the “giveaway” box this time.
Obviously, there are the pieces that have just gone out of style. The thing is, what might not be fashionable here might be wearable back home, so I folded those suits and made sure to pack them in a plastic bag with the matching trousers. There are t-shirts that have some sentimental value or other — such as shirts from the companies I had worked for in Manila which I wear to bed during the colder months. Even those have gone into the donation box. In the summer, I wear cotton nightgowns from the tiangge in Greenhills which also need to be sorted.
I must say the act of actually putting any piece in the “to give away” box has been a source of relief– as if I was “shedding” or saying goodbye to an older, former version of me.
I wore this loose fitting shirt over the weekend which I bought the summer before last. It was a size bigger than what I wear now from that particular store. It still looked good on me but it hung very loosely over my frame, like one of those shirts that was good to hide under. If I could get that same shirt in the smaller size now, I would get it, and if they had it in a different print even back then, I would’ve gotten it. But it is way too big now.
So I put it with this weekend’s laundry and washed it, and as I was straightening it up after drying, I made a decision to say goodbye to it. Instead of hanging it back in my closet, I folded it and put it in my giveaway bin. Another preloved piece which I know can make someone else feel as good and comfy as it did me. Taking it out of my closet signified a commitment to stay healthy and be healthier, and not giving myself the out to slide back and gain weight again. It was also an acceptance of the me that I am now — more confident and comfortable in my own skin, hitting the age of 50.
I wish it was easier to sort through everything and make the decision to let something go. I tend to be very emotional about what I have and own. There is always that thought at the back of my head that I might regret the decision later, forcing me to take the safer choice to just keep it — “just in case.” I used to tell myself, “(but) I might want to wear that sometime some place.”.. or “I might lose enough weight to fit into that again.. ” (Which has never really happened because I planned it.. but rather because I lost weight with other things in mind.)
This time, though, I’m determined to shed as much as I can — to make room for an even better and healthier me. Four suits packed, so many shirts and pants set aside. Parting can be difficult but can be a literal sigh of relief.. It actually is a very tangible unburdening that can help one to focus on letting things go. Parting this time, is nothing sorrowful — but on the contrary is literally sweet joy.