In September 2011, after I’d lost 60 lbs and had crossed the arbitrary dividing line between a 2 or a 1 at the beginning of my weight, I finally decided to get rid of my bigger clothes. I’d held onto them, worried that at any moment, I might suddenly boomerang in weight and need them. For a long time, I didn’t yet believe that my body was truly behaving like a body again, and losing weight according to traditional energy in vs out principles. Because, you know, it didn’t for the 11 years of my tooth infection. (Nor does it now, when something else is wrong that I haven’t yet figured out.**) But in September, I believed, and I got rid of a ton of clothes. I kept a few nostalgia pieces, but otherwise as I continued to shrink, I got rid of the larger clothes.
Then, of course, I began rapidly gaining weight in mid-2014. I had to buy more clothes…and more…and more… Eventually, my weight settled into a five-pound maintenance range for many years, and my wardrobe stabilized. However, I had all these clothes that were now too small.
In the fall of 2015, I KonMari-ed my clothes. Using Kondo’s principles, I threw all my clothes of all sizes into the same pile, and evaluated each of them for joy one by one. I kept all those clothes that lit me up, even though most of them were too small. In fact, the larger clothes – the ones that actually fit – fell into two categories: ones I actually loved, and ones I had to keep because frankly I couldn’t afford to replace half my wardrobe for something as ephemeral as joy. (Also, I knew that a big part of me would never find joy in clothes that represented, in my mind, my failure to be at a smaller size, but that’s a topic for a different time.) Over the years, I would work to slowly weed out clothes that were “just necessary” and replace them with those that I loved. When you stay at a stable weight for many years, you can do that sort of thing!
In the fall of 2016, when my family lived in northern WI, I took all of my “too small” clothes and sorted them into approximate ranges of size. I bought four rolling under-bed storage containers and filled each of them with one range. The range that was furthest from my size went next to the wall under my bed, the hardest to reach, followed by the next smallest, and so on up, to the last, which were the “almost fits” clothes. The ones that would fit in 10, maybe 20, pounds. For years, these were my “goal clothes” storage, and remain under my bed to this day. Only lately, the “almost fits” box has gotten fuller and fuller, and to many of the clothes within are now 30-40 lbs away.
I needed another box.
Y’all, I totally broke down over this. I didn’t want a fifth size range. Four fit under my bed perfectly. I didn’t want to go buy an entirely new wardrobe. I didn’t want to spend the money. I didn’t want to feel the personal humiliation. I didn’t want to admit that these last 20 lbs that I gained after that stupid medication last fall weren’t going to come off and allow me to sit back in my old, comfortable maintenance range.
Then on the 11th, I attended a journaling hike focused on self-acceptance, and I realized that I needed to stop fighting the truth. Every time I tried to put on a shirt or pair of shorts that no longer fit right, I felt like crap. I could squeeze into them, uncomfortably, but I didn’t feel good and it certainly didn’t look good. My choices were becoming more and more limited. I finally broke down and decided that, while depressing, while frustrating, I just needed to do it. Take all the clothes from my closet and drawers, throw them in a pile on the bed, try each one by one, and only put back the ones that still actually fit. Then, KonMari the rest to decide what’s worth keeping, and pack a fifth box.
Last Friday, I pulled all the clothes from my closet and drawers except that which I knew fit (like pajamas, undergarments, socks, etc). I laid them all out on my bed, and then proceeded to try things on pile by pile. If an item fit, it went back into the closet/drawers. (Spoiler: very, very few things had this happy ending.) If it didn’t fit, I sorted the clothing into “under-bed-storage” and “donate.” With being the same stable size for about 5 years (the longest I’d ever been the same weight in adulthood!), my wardrobe had gotten a bit overgrown, and there was a lot in it that I’d held onto for no reason. It had been too long since I’d KonMari-ed my stuff. By the end of Friday, I had a full box to go under the bed, and three large bags of clothes to donate. My winter wardrobe was much-thinned, but since I’d gained the weight over that time, I’d supplemented along the way. My summer wardrobe, though…I was left with zero capris or skirts, one pair of shorts, four shirts (two that only kinda fit, and one that I really dislike), two camis, and three dresses. Oy.
So it’s time to shop. Bare minimums for now – more shorts/capris, and a few more shirts. After that, I’ll have enough, albeit slim pickings, that I can supplement over the next six months the way I did over the winter, watching for sales and deals and things I actually like rather than shopping for basic needs. It feels really odd to have my closet so empty, and not in a good way. But I’ll survive. Just one more trial to overcome.
**Unless it’s coffee, which I’m pretty sure it is, and in that case I simply haven’t dealt with the issue because addiction sucks.