Spring is a time for renewal, for the cold to evaporate into the air, the grass to push its vibrant green out of the ground. Flower’s open their bright faces and greet the warming sun above. What we observe out of our windows somehow motivates us to look around our house, open the windows wide and grab the closest feather duster. Spring is a time for deep cleaning, to bring the cleanliness of the spring indoors. Some of us, like myself, avoid it; mostly because the warmer weather beckons us outdoors to enjoy the warming sun. However, when I finally return home, the rooms are still in need of that deep cleaning.
Although spring is a time of deep cleaning and renewal, this doesn’t mean it can’t happen at other times. I tend to be more inclined to do deep cleaning, or what I like to call purging, when it is cold outside because I can’t really do fun things I enjoy outside. When the temperatures begin to plummet, I can be found crouching with a dust rag, pulling dishes out and cleaning inside cabinets or cleaning baseboards.
One of the things I do tend to avoid is purging items I don’t use or need to just get rid of. I am an avid reader. I now use an electronic device to read; however I hold onto books like they are my friends. Getting rid of books is very, very hard for me to do. I eventually was pushed, in a way, to donate books to make room for a roommate and their belongings. Although I had some emotional connection to the books, it was nothing like the emotional connection I had with my clothes.
I had gained weight and the majority of my clothes would not be fitting me anytime soon. I maybe assuming here, but as a woman, we tend to have a lot of clothes comparably to men. I had an over abundance of clothes. Let me paint you a picture: A walk in closet bursting at the seams with clothes, some hanging, some placed into large Tupperware bins (at least 4) and shoes covering the floor. There is also a long dresser and a tallboy dresser all-full of clothes. Take a brief walk through the house to the back bedroom. Another regular closet is full of clothes, as well as three medium sized laundry baskets.
Do we think that’s a bit much when it comes to clothes you can’t wear? I would say so. See, I had this issue and was in denial about this issue for years; I shopped to meet an emotional need. I bought and bought to fill something I needed to learn to fill more productively and appropriately. When my friend and then roommate moved in, they realized I had this issue. I had tried the year previously to sort through and purge my clothing. Every time I set down, I would either end up in tears or becoming overwhelmed with the task and walking out of the room. I began to understand that the emotional connectedness I had with these articles of clothing had to deal with what was going on in my life at the time.
I could almost tell you which articles of clothing where purchased during times of depression, manic phases, beginning or end of a relationship, stress or issues with my family or friends. When I began to explore this, I was in awe of how much I had avoided some of those feelings and poured it into tangible items so I did not have to feel. I felt incredibly silly. I knew about these behaviors and the reason behind those behaviors based on my career however it is much easier looking at someone else than to look at myself. I had already done a lot of work with those emotions in my own recovery but had never put together how they were tied to tangible items. Purging my closet of those items was one of my last steps to letting go of those feelings that had caused issues within my recovery. I allowed myself to feel the joy, the sadness and other feelings as I packed them all up to take to an area thrift shop. As I placed the bins at the area thrift shop, I said goodbye to the feelings and left lighter and freer than I had in years, all by finally letting go of emotions attached to tangible items.