Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Erin of Creative Soul in Motion.
Every morning I have a quite battle with my clothing that leaves me feeling frustrated and guilty. Tops I haven’t worn in months beg me to take them out for a spin around town, old jeans ask me when they may see the light of day again, worn sneakers yearn for the pounding of the pavement. Yet, everyday I look past these items; but I don’t want to give them away. I can’t give them away – what if I need them someday? What if my pink top is perfect for work one day, or I need those jeans for a trip?
This is what I used to tell myself. That I couldn’t part with all this excess stuff because of fear or the unknown.
Now I know that those old tops and worn-out jeans are security blankets that I wrap around my heart so that I feel better, more in control. But once you’ve realized the power that your stuff holds over you it’s hard to continue living that way.
It’s hard to let an old top continuously make you feel guilty for not wearing it.
It’s hard to rationalize why it’s absolutely necessary to own SO much clothing and yet wear only a tiny fraction.
Seriously. Look in your closet later today and take out all the tops that you actually wear. Put them on your bed. Now, look back in your closet and count how many blouses, pants, skirts and dresses you own that never make it out of your closet.
“But I’ve only worn it once.”
“But it’ll be perfect for a bridal shower.”
“But I got it on a really good deal.”
But = what if.
All you’re saying is “what if”. What if a day comes along where you absolutely need that article of clothing? Then what? Well, the truth is, those days come along all the time yet you never choose the bright purple top that’s not really your color or the sexy red dress that isn’t very comfortable. But you keep them around because they give you options, they give you a back up plan, they give you security.
As Project 333 has taught me, they don’t really give you anything other than guilt. And all of those “what if” articles of clothing accumulate to a massive pile of stuff that you don’t need. It might seem like you do, but honestly you don’t.
To gradually embrace mindfulness over consumption, simplicity over excess, and value over junk I quietly bagged up all of the clothes I never wore and put them in the back of my closet. That way they were still there if I needed them but they were simply out of sight, out of mind. Weeks went by and honestly I forgot about the bag. Until one day when I realized that I was getting dressed very quickly. It was easier to choose outfits simply because I only had clothing out that I actually wore. No longer was I battling against my old tops and worn pants and the guilt associate with them. Rather I was just getting dressed and getting on with my day.
That afternoon I brought the big bag of clothing out of the closet and without even opening it I dropped the bag in to a donation bin and immediately felt a lightness of excitement and possibility fill my chest. I drove home with a new sense of freedom – I really didn’t need that stuff. It was just stuff after all.
What I needed, what I wanted was clarity, ease and simplicity. Not stuff.