Can Cleaning Your Closet Really Cleanse Your Soul?
A year or so after I launched my cosmic lifestyle site, The Numinous, I decided it was time for a psychic closet clear-out. This was way before Marie Kondo introduced us all to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and decluttering was not yet in vogue. My urge to tidy up was simply driven by the fact that every time I opened my wardrobe, I felt like I was a stranger in my own life.
I had recently moved to New York City, leaving behind my full-time job at one of the UK’s top fashion magazines. Working for myself now meant a lot less “dressing the part” (you’ve all seen The Devil Wears Prada, right?)—and a lot more spending whole days slouching about in my track pants, while working on my passion project from a desk in the corner of my shoebox apartment in the East Village.
The move stateside had inspired all kinds of Carrie Bradshaw fantasies in me. And while there were definitely late nights on my laptop pondering the meaning of life (but in my new line of work, like, the actual meaning of life)—opportunities to rock a killer pair of Miu Mius while schmoozing editors at Vogue had become few and far between.
Cut to last year's wardrobe crisis: The chasm between my hotshot fashionista life and my new life as a fledgling entrepreneur had manifested in one long “I’ve got literally nothing to wear” moment.
It’s a phenomenon any woman navigating a big transition in her life will no doubt be familiar with. Whether it’s changing jobs, moving cities, having a baby, or embarking on a round-the-world trip—any time there’s a major shift in our circumstances, it shows up in how we get dressed. And feeling like we have nothing to wear can be depressing, depleting, and can seriously disruptive to the flow of our energy.
But it turns out that solving my existential wardrobe crisis wasn’t as easy as simply shipping all my old outfits off to my local Buffalo Exchange. So much of my identity was stitched into those babies—not to mention my ambitions as a writer. Was I really ready to close the door on the old “dream job” I’d worked so hard for, and step fully into an unknown, PJ-clad future?
According to my friend Betsy LeFae, the answer was a resounding YES! If anything, clinging to my old clothes would actually prevent the flow of energy in my new project, as well as in the new relationships and identity I was building in New York.
But this didn’t have to mean closing the door completely on my old designer faves. Rather, Betsy helped me devise a three-step process for working out what to keep and what to bid farewell.
This closet cleanout strategy has very little to do with how things fit and far more to do with how things feel—try it out yourself!
Step 1: Sort Your Stuff into “You” and “Old You” Piles
Go through everything in your closet and pull out all the items that feel like the “old you.” If it’s hard to work out which pieces fall into this category, pull anything you haven’t worn in the past year.
Step 2: Tap into the Item’s Energy
Pick up the first item and DO NOT TRY IT ON OR LOOK AT YOURSELF HOLDING IT IN THE MIRROR (this is important, hence caps). Instead, close your eyes and visualize yourself putting it on. Now focus on the space just below your belly-button (the seat of our intuition), and take note of how it feels. Happy, expansive and open means it’s a keeper. Closed, tight, or sad? Then it’s time to let it go.
Step 3: Donate, Gift, and Let Energy Flow!
Take any items you’re discarding to a clothing exchange, or gift them to friends you think will appreciate and look great in them. (Note: you can use the same process in Step 2 to work out who to gift what!) This will keep the flow of energy open, inviting fabulous new items that reflect the new you into their place!
Feature photo by Charisse Kenion.
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