Farewell to the Closet: A Journey of Letting Go

Last Updated: June 14, 2024By



Spring has brought with it the daunting task of tackling my overstuffed wardrobe, a once-in-a-decade ritual. Last week, armed with determination, I dove into the sea of clothes, filling eight massive boxes with relics of bygone fashion faux pas and sentimental attachments. We procrastinate such endeavors for good reasons: the time it consumes, and the emotional toll it exacts. Delving into the depths of old belongings threatens to transport us back through the annals of time, unearthing forgotten chapters of our lives.

This time, however, I resolved for things to be different. I would assert control over my possessions, refusing to be held captive by the memories they carried. No longer would I cling to garments in hopes of reviving past moments; a simple photograph would suffice to preserve those cherished memories.


Initially, I approached the task with gusto. Hangers flew as I shed layers of outdated identities. Box after box revealed versions of myself I barely recognized: the phase of boxy jackets a la Elizabeth Warren, the regrettable flirtation with Madison Avenue’s “gelato” prints, and an abundance of regrettable knitwear. Each garment evoked a different era, from my misguided devotion to Tory Burch to the ill-fated experiments with mohair vests and leopard print jackets.

Yet, as I ventured further into the recesses of my wardrobe, the process grew more arduous. Confronting relics from my distant past stirred a mix of triumph and trepidation. There was a tender nostalgia for the younger versions of myself attempting to navigate the treacherous waters of fashion. But as I unearthed items like the blue and white dress my mother bought for me at 18, now barely clinging to its former glory, the weight of time bore down heavily.


Even more challenging was parting with relics of my mother’s wardrobe, like the tattered towelling dress imbued with memories of her. Despite its worn state, I clung to it as a tangible link to her presence. Yet, with a sense of resolve, I finally consigned it to the box, alongside a collection of ghastly shirts that seemed to mock my fashion sense.

In the midst of this sartorial purge, I encountered the Everest of my endeavor: a pair of 1960s leather boots from Carnaby Street, relics of my mother’s youth. As I stood before them, dust-covered and unwearable, the weight of nostalgia threatened to overwhelm me. It was as if by discarding them, I was casting aside a piece of my mother herself. In a moment of panic, I retrieved them from the brink of disposal, realizing that some attachments are not so easily severed.

Marie Kondo may advocate for sparking joy, but sometimes our possessions evoke a different sentiment altogether: sorrow, a feeling just as valid and, at times, strangely comforting. So, for now, I’ll hold onto these relics of the past, allowing myself the luxury of sentimentality until the time comes to bid them a final farewell.

In the end, the spring cleaning of my wardrobe was not merely a task of decluttering but a journey of letting go, navigating the delicate balance between nostalgia and liberation. And as I close the lid on those eight overflowing boxes, I am reminded that sometimes, the act of saying goodbye is as much about honoring the past as it is about embracing the future.

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