The Emotional Stages Of Cleaning Out Your Closet

I have a serious love-hate relationship with cleaning out my closet. You see, it has a tendency to be in an overflowing state. While the cluttered nature of it stresses me out (I really like things to be organized), I also feel better knowing that there are pieces there that, even if I don't regularly wear them, I might want or need at some point. My security-blanket clothes, if you will. But sometimes enough is enough. Especially because having an organized closet can even allow one to be more at peace with herself.

But if you're anything like me, cleaning out your closet can be a bit of an ordeal. As much as we kind of hate to admit it, clothes have a nostalgic factor, much like scents. Yes, cleaning can be therapeutic, but giving, donating, or throwing away memories can be hard. (However, if you're having trouble, there are steps to keep in mind to make the process easier, and guidelines about items it really is time to let go of.) So if cleaning out your closet is like saying goodbye to old friends, here are the 10 emotional stages you probably go through. But don't worry, number 10 makes it all worth it.

1. The "Let's Do This!" Stage

You're ready. You're so pumped to get your life (via your closet) in order. You've envisioned a totally clean, color-coordinated space. And it will be yours. So soon you can taste it.

2. The "I'm Obviously Keeping This" Stage

The easy part is the first part, right? You know your staple pieces, the ones that you wear every week. These are obvious keeps, but you feel just as accomplished picking out the items you're keeping as the ones that need to go.

3. The "I Remember This!" Stage

Even though you passed up that dress everyday for the past year, when you're looking for things to get rid of, it's all of a sudden nostalgia-city. You remember when you bought it. You remember when you used to wear it all the time. You loved that dress. It's basically Old Faithful. You can't toss it, right?

4. The "I'll Just Try It On To Make Sure" Stage

OK, only if it still fits perfectly, you're allowed to keep it.

5. The "I Look Good In This!" Stage

It fits perfectly!!

6. The Bargaining Stage

Yeah, yeah, you haven't worn that dress in over a year, but you will now. I mean, you never tried it on with that one pair of shoes that you'll totally get around to wearing too. And you have that thing coming up... You should definitely just keep it. Besides, you look hot.

7. The Reality Check Stage

And then you realize that totally defeats the purpose of cleaning out your closet in the first place. You have to put your foot down, or you won't get anywhere. The fact of the matter is you haven't worn it all year. It has to go.

8. The Leaving It Behind Stage

After bagging everything up, you take it and actually leave it at the donation center (or with friends, or in the trash). It's bittersweet. You hate to say goodbye, but you know it's for the best. Sigh...

9. The Feeling Successful Stage

And then you realize you did it! You actually got rid of clothes you will no longer wear, and your closet actually looks like a closet again instead of a war-zone. And yeah, you're totally entitled to gloat. It's a pretty big accomplishment, if you do say so yourself.

10. The Shopping Stage

But now your closet is looking a little... what's that word? Sparse? Yeah. And after all that cleaning and organizing you deserve a trip to the mall. Your babies need new friends and adoption is always a good idea.

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