The Closet Clean Out Guide for Body Acceptance

It has been slowly eating away at me. Calling and screaming at me from inside the walls of my house. Months that have added up to over a decade of failed promises and vows. A purple, spaghetti strap shirt I wore while dating my boyfriend, now husband (the straps didn't fit right then either.) A college sweatshirt that I've been hanging onto because it reminds me of a time long ago. A skirt I once loved and brings back a time of tan legs, tousled hair of humid summer nights and a time when I believed how I looked in that skirt would make all the difference. 

I have been putting off going through my old clothes for what feels like a lifetime, and quite honestly, has been at least a decade. Sure, I've sold/given away a few items here and there over the years, but there are so many more items I've been hanging onto for "when I can wear them again," or "when I lose the weight." 

Well, my newfound mission to accept my body for the size it is intended to be has also spurred  me to a total closet clean out. That and... well, the husband is "tired of looking at the boxes." So, this past week I finally made an effort to go through ever article of clothing. Here's how it all went down AND how I would suggest any person who has been unwilling/not wanting to get rid of clothing that no longer fits can make the process as smooth as possible.

Step 1 - MAYBE pour a glass of wine. Why not make this process a fun occasion, right? For some, this may be an emotional experience that will bring up ALL KINDS of memories. Find a way to make this process "fun" if possible. Pour a glass of wine, put on your favorite playlist, or pop in Runaway Bride. This process doesn't have to be the torturous event you've probably made it out to be. 

Step 2 - Decide on what "piles" you're going to need. You may want to try to sell some items that are a little less worn or name brand clothing, as well as donate some items you maybe feel aren't worth the time to make out the price tags for the next yard sale. My piles included: Donate, Sell, Sell to Ebay or Threadup, Try-On-And-Decide, Keep, Trash. For my "try-on" pile, I knew there were some items that looked like I might need to try them on and decide whether or not they would be kept. My nicer and more expensive items I either decided to sell in the yard sale or sell on Ebay or Threadup (if they were barely worn/still had tags). I also had a Trash pile for those that were beyond salvaging (looking at you shorts with paint stains). 

Step 3 - Gather supplies. Boxes for packing items up for the next Garage sale, stickers for pricing, etc. Pretty straight forward here and not sure what else I need to say about this... I mean,  you don't want to have to get up over and over again!

Step 4 - Reflect and reminisce. Take a few moments before you begin and accept the fact that this is a process. You're going to be going through clothing that is perhaps decades old. Some of this clothing may represent a different time in your life - a different person even. It's OK to feel uneasy about it. It's OK to feel sad that the clothing doesn't fit anymore. But more than anything, recognize that you're going through this process as a means of moving forward - to the person you are today and to honor the person that you are now. 

Step 5 - Do the thing. Nothing left at this point but diving in. When memories come to the surface, take a few moments to let those wash over you. Cherish the memories that were formed and then move on. You can always have the memory and the clothing item cannot take that away. When you find item that no longer fit the body you're in now, remember that bodies change constantly throughout a lifetime. We ARE NOT MEANT to be in the same body for our entire lives! You don't expect to fit into the onesie that you wore as a baby and you shouldn't expect to fit into the mini skirt your wore in your teens. It's OK. 

Step 6 - Take breaks. For some this may be an all day thing. Make sure you take breaks, get some fresh air, stretch your legs and take care of yourself. This process doesn't have to be a miserable one and don't make it so by forcing yourself to sit in one spot all day long.

Step 7 - Pack everything up. Decide what you're going to do to finish the process and remove the items from your home. A community yard sale? Thredup? Ebay? Goodwill? All are options. 

Step 8 - Reward yourself with new items! Now might be a good time to invest in some new items for your revamped closet. It may be that you've been wearing the same 5-6 items over and over again because they're the only items you've had that have fit the body you're in now. If you were able to sell some items, I definitely suggest reinvesting the money you earned into a new wardrobe. Some other options might be to try some rental companies. Le Tote and NY&C both offer services to rent items for one price per month. They are GREAT options for dabbling with a new wardrobe, new style and perhaps new sizes without spending a ton of money.

Step 9. - Reach out for support. Did this process take an emotional toll? Perhaps it left you feeling drained and even doubting the process of Intuitive Eating or accepting the new body you're in now. You may want to reach out to support for some feedback on your experiences and to reassure you that you've made the best decision.

Step 10 - Is mostly for the love of having an even 10 number of items on the list! Pour yourself an extra glass of wine and celebrate! And if I were you, I would hit up the online shopping to replenish that wardrobe with items that you'll truly love and feel comfortable in! 

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