Closet diet : 5 lies we tell ourselves to avoid letting go

As much I love keeping my interior free of clutter, I’m having a very hard time doing the same with my closet. It’s been months since I decided I needed to clean out my closet and get rid of the piles of tees, jeans or sweaters that are sitting on my closet upper shelves and that I haven’t worn in ages. But every time I have a free moment, I find a good reason to do something else. Then, 2 weekends ago, I decided to tackle this challenge and I went for it.

French By Design

Oh boy, it was a challenge. I realized I was close to incapable of letting go of some of my closet items, because I was fooling myself. Here are the top 5 myths/ lies I had been telling myself, and fought against while decluttering :

I don’t have time. I’ll do it later.

“I don’t have time because I don’t want to do it” is more like it. Let’s not kid ourselves. It is draining, emotionally painful, to let go of things. But the beauty is that when you do let go, you feel lighter. I promise. Plus, you rediscover actual good pieces that were buried under the outdated ones.

I might need it someday.

… As in ‘it may come back on trend next season’. You know it won’t. Fashion comes and goes and then comes back again, we know all about the cycles, but the grandma’ or mommy jeans you were wearing 7 years ago are not you anymore. You changed as a person, your body changed with pregnancies and hormones, and chances are your cherished pair of jeans or overalls from the 90s are never going to be your favorite again. Let go!

I keep this one for when I lose weight.

Ah, this one is my favorite. I have at least 4 pairs of jeans that are 2 sizes too small that I keep in the upper  part of my closet storage, for when… I’ll be skinny again. Gone, basta, au revoir. If I ever happen to be back to a size 4 [yeah, right…], I’ll go buy myself a new pair of expensive jeans to celebrate my victory. Like a boss.

This reminds me of a happy memory.

A romantic trip, a lighter you, your corporate career, anything. I was keeping work suits from my corporate career, just in case. The problem is, I left the corporate world more than 7 years ago… And I don’t plan on going back anytime soon.

We are so good at keeping stuff for emotional reasons. My new rule is “if I haven’t worn it in more than a year, it’s time to let go.” You don’t have to let go of ALL your emotional items at once. Try to let go of things one at a time. It will be less painful.

This can be fixed, altered.

Yes it can, but if you haven’t fixed it in the last 2 years, chances are you never will. Time to say buh-bye.

French By Design

Honestly, I felt much, much lighter after my closet purge. Like a huge weight came off my shoulders. A total of 4 bags went to charity, and I also felt good about the idea of recycling clothes that were gently used for someone else who needs them more than I do. Who knows, one my #ladyboss corporate suits may be helping someone lend their dream job today! Final bonus, I rediscovered cool pieces that I forgot I had in the piles, and it takes me half the time to figure out how to dress in the morning.


What lies do you tell yourself to avoid a closet diet? Are you good at purging regularly? How do you do it? Cheers, Si-


Top image : Shutterstock via Apartment Therapy – Image 2: French By Design


9 thoughts on “Closet diet : 5 lies we tell ourselves to avoid letting go

  1. I definitely hold on to some suits out of love for my former life as a Boss. And an amazing ballgown despite having no more balls to attend. But I must admit that while my mom held onto too much, it was AMAZING to go through some of her dresses from the ’50s. I just wish she had let me at them when I still would have fit in them. So I hold on to a few really great items for my daughter. Who might not care, but we’ll figure that out later.
    AND….I did purge some stuff that I figured would just never cut it again. Including a brown leather bomber jacket. The cut was too ’80s, I thought. Now I see big-shoulders and fat bombers and am kicking myself. Again, for my daughter, who currently wants to buy one. Why didn’t she say it earlier???? (because it wasn’t in style then, that’s why…)

  2. Hold a Swishing Party! I invite my neighbours, French, Dutch and English and we have a grand swap of all the clothes, shoes, accessories that we don’t want any more. It’s great fun.

  3. OH! Yeah!!! I just did that purge this we!! What a relief!!! I do it with with the book and in the kitchen too… In the process , i always keep one bag for our exchange of clothes, book and jewelry that we organise during a girl WE every year during winter time since the 12 past years. IT’S always the opportunity to give what you bought and don’t feel, fit or like anymore, the bad purshases and the clothes that you continue to love but are tired to wear. It’S always a night of fun !!!! and we drink always after champagne!!!

  4. Si,

    I read this post again today and realized it fits for any “letting go” in life. The reasons we sometimes don’t let go of anger, for example, or other deep emotion are the same.

    Plug in the word for the thing or person you’re not letting go of and see for yourself. We don’t let go in life because…..

    1) I can’t do it now. This is not the right time. It will be right at a later time. I don’t have the time now to deal with it.

    2) I still need that feeling or that person, at least for now and maybe some day in the future.

    3) I’m keeping it for when things are better and I feel better about myself.

    4) I can’t let go of that feeling or that person because of the attached memories and shared past.

    5) It will fix itself or I will change.

  5. I was inspired by this blog to do as Si did, say au revoir to clothing that no longer suited my current lifestyle and body type. Three years ago I went from a size 8 to a size 6, and I have stayed there. yet I still owned at at least a dozen pairs of relatively expensive size 8 pants. This was due to my thinking, Well, if I gain the weight back…. What a ridiculous way to think! I gave them to my housekeeper, along with shorts that are too short for my age, and tops that no longer go with anything I own. She, a single mother of three, was delighted to have “new” clothes and I was delighted at all the extra closet space I now have. Things are not crammed together, I can clearly see each piece, and I know that no matter what I pluck from the hanger, it is something I want to wear, something that fits well, something that is in style. How freeing, not to mention time-saving! Merci, Si!

  6. Si! Congrats on decluttering your closet. My husband and I do a tri-annual closet/home clean out, because we live in a small space. Lately, I’ve gained weight, and very sadly had to give up some clothes that I still love and wish I could continue to use. I decided to send them to my much slimmer BFF on the other side of the continent. She’s a mom of two who would rather exercise than shop. Funny how that works. ; ) She recently took on two part time jobs to fill her hours while the boys are at school, so I’ve been sending her boxes of clothes after each purge. She’s ecstatic. Like you, I feel so much better choosing what to wear each morning when I don’t have to bypass the old items that simply don’t work anymore. My friend texted me with a thank you note and ended it with, “your gain is my gain.” Hahhaa, but Grrr! xo

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