There are certain emotional stages that come with cleaning out your closet. Though some dresses have become dated and a few sweaters turned too kitschy or misshapen, those items still served us well over the years and bring back fun memories every time we see them hanging in the back of the closet. That one dress was worn when you snuck into your boyfriend's apartment to make him dinner and nearly gave his roommate a heart attack, and that blazer was what you were sporting when you got your first promotion. Those pants are what you wore on your favorite birthday ever, and that slightly-terrible beach dress got you through a lot of island vacations. Those are hard things to boot.
But when you skip over them each and every day, it's likely time to do some weeding. That, of course, is easier said than done. You're in store for a very specific mental unraveling that comes with cleaning out a wardrobe. In the beginning, you start off as a rational, strong-willed human who knows what needs to be done. At the end, you're a Class 2 hoarder with (somehow!) more clothes than you started with. Below are the seven stages of cleaning out your closet, because it's a series of ups and downs.
1. Complete And Total Eagerness
Rolling up your sleeves, you march into your room like a woman headed to war. You're going to do this; you're going to get rid of all the crap currently cluttering up your shelves and taking up room on hangers.
Gone will go the dresses from freshman year of college, and away with the questionable sweaters. Anything that was blindly bought on a mid-season sale high will be tossed and sealed as well. You're taking control of your life, and it will start here.
2. Picking Out The Right Tunes, Because #Mood
You need to pick out just the right pump-up music. This is going to be the equivalent of breaking up with 30 different partners, so you need to make sure you stay strong throughout the process. You can't be lulled with past memories of going out to dinners together, or taking European vacations and sharing 15 hour train rides. Put some Beyoncé on: She'll tell you what to do.
3. The De-cluttering Process
By "de-cluttering" I mean "toss it all on your floor and regret it immediately." Um, you have a lot of clothes. Like so many that they're currently taking up every flat surface in your room. This might have been a mistake.
Go call up your friend, because you're definitely not going to be able to meet her for drinks tonight. And while you're at it, call off work, too. There's no way this is a one-afternoon job.
4. Wondering If You've Ever Made A Correct Decision In Your Life
You're a smart person, and you make good decisions as a general rule. So can someone please explain why you own not one, but three pairs of overalls? What were you planning to do with all of those? Move upstate and help run an apple orchard? And who needs six pairs of nearly identical black sweaters? Did you decide at one point that you wanted the wardrobe of a cartoon character? How did this happen?
You sit back on your heels and begin to wonder. Maybe you only shop when you're hangry? You've heard that's when the worst decisions are made.
5. Trying Something On For Kicks
You eyeball a dress heaped on the "no" pile and wrinkle your nose. Man, is it ugly. There's no way you ever wore that out, did you? Laughing to yourself, you reach over to try it on for laughs, just to see how ridiculous you look.
As you zip it up and turn around to face the mirror, everything you once knew becomes a lie. Why, it's not ugly at all! It's amazing, you look amazing, the world is amazing. You're keeping it. There's no way you're letting some other chick at Crossroads get her hands on this.
6. No Longer Knowing The Difference Between Right And Wrong
You're sitting in the middle of your clothes pile, hair messy, slightly panting, and completely confused. Thirty minutes ago, you were ruthless. But now? You lost sight of the goal, and you no longer know what's right and wrong. Before, that two-sizes-too-big pencil skirt was a total no-go. But now, you can totally make it work if you wear it with suspenders. You don't own suspenders and never had an urge to, but if it means keeping that skirt, then so be it.
Throwing up your hands, you know exactly what you have to do. You have to go through the whole reject pile and see if everything is in the correct spot. It's nothing but being thorough, which is an admirable trait. Right?
7. Collapsing On Your Bed
You did it. You finished the whole cleaning out process. The piles have been separated, the donation bags have been rolled to the front door, and everything is back in the closet. By "everything," um, I literally mean "everything." You're giving away like four shirts to Goodwill... And you're pretty sure you'll buy them back the next day.
So go pour yourself a big glass of wine sister-friend, you did what you set out to do.
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