I was up really, really late last night because I was going through and discarding all of my old clothes. There is a charity picking up unwanted garments which is coming through my area in a couple of days, so I was finally forced to do what I had been putting off for so long. I suppose even my procrastination can only last so long.
I tried on just about every single piece of clothing that I own yesterday and I bagged up probably about three-quarters. My husband (who you may recall, has lost over fifty pounds himself) was able to put together two and a half garbage bags of garments to donate; I was able to load up four more myself. Between the two of us, we also threw away nearly two other full garbage bags of items. It’s crazy to think about how much we had in the house that just wasn’t right for us anymore, and it was really interesting to go through all of the things that I have outgrown in more than just one way.
First I had to get rid of the stuff that I had that was still too small but would never fit right again – these were the items that have been saved for several years or longer. About four years ago I did another extensive cleaning of my wardrobe and pitched or donated anything that was way too small, but I held onto the things that didn’t seem too far outside of the realm of possibility at the time. Those are the items I am talking about; things that I had when my body was simply different. I weigh less now than I did when I used to wear those pieces of clothing on a regular basis, yet now they are tight in some areas and baggy in others. The normal stretching that goes with a well-used shirt, for example, eventually leaves them unusable for others since they don’t hang right – while I am the ‘other’ in this situation the same holds true. My body is too different now to accommodate the clothing I regularly wore when I was in my twenties.
The next section of garments to go where the ones that I have saved for so long that I don’t like them anymore. Some were horribly out of date, a few were a bit too young looking, and still others just didn’t match my current style. There were even a number of button up shirts that I had bought when the trend was to wear them clasped just at the chest and open everywhere else, revealing whatever top was worn underneath. All of those were initially purchased gaping at the buttons, but now they do up without issue… and looked terribly outdated to boot. There were also lots of things that I had to bag just because – again – they simply were not right for my body; they fit, but did not look at all flattering since my shape is so different than it was half a decade ago. There were countless times throughout the evening where either my husband or I commented that the piece of clothing I had on just didn’t do anything for me.
I also had a bunch of clothes that I had to throw away because they had holes in them, were stained, or generally discoloured from too much time spend abandoned in my dresser. A large amount of everyday undergarments were found stashed at the back of one drawer and they had to be discarded because they were simply so old that the elastic was gone in the bottoms and the bands of the bras were too large to clasp properly around my torso anymore. Interestingly, a lot of my older, nicer lingerie fits again so about a quarter of the clothing items I was able to keep are all things my husband has an extra appreciation for.
Finally, I was also able able to donate all of the things I have outgrown over the past few months. That was definitely the funnest – but also the hardest – part of the evening. It was great to see what progress I have made, yet still difficult to watch some of my recent favourite items being turned over to charity. It was staggering to put on a number of tops that, one after another, bulked out too much to be even remotely flattering and made me look much heavier than I now am because of all the extra material. And trying on all of my bottoms… what an experience! To step into pants, shorts, and skirts and have them all literally fall off of me while I am standing there or just wiggling a little was unbelievable. I took off so many pairs of jeans that were still fully zipped and buttoned that I lost count! The emotional aspect of this exercise was huge, of course. I decided to keep my largest pair of jeans and two tops to help remind me of where I have come from. It is frightening to think about how little I actually have left to wear (I don’t think the copious amounts of lingerie I was able to save will serve me well in the general public). Ridding myself of not just the clothing I have recently grown out of, but also of many items I held onto for years and years, was – however – very cathartic. I really am feeling ready to move on. I won’t lie: it is scary. The thought of putting all those bags out on the curb for collection in two days, effectively leaving me with no safety net, is enough to send my mind racing for alternatives. But I know I’ve got this. I know that I am going to be fine and that this is the right thing to do and the right time to do it. I am confident that moving forward with my life, and putting such huge parts of my past to the curb, will serve me far better than any safety net. It may be a bit scarier now, but as I fly though the air looking for that next trapeze to grab onto, my eyes are firmly set ahead and I am moving forward with the knowledge that letting go is no longer an option.