I am about 90% done with cleaning out my closet and I have bagged up about 75% of what was there when I started. I have a feeling the last 10% is not going to make it -- fabulous suits, but from another lifetime.
If I were to be totally honest with myself and only kept the things that truly gave me "joy" as the book suggests, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I would probably only have about six items left in my closet. My wedding dress, a cute black cocktail dress that makes me look skinny regardless of how much weight I've gained, a pair of adorable shoes with little bows on them, an expensive purse that I bought on a whim, a summer dress that I need to get altered, and a ring that all of my girlfriends bought together on a fabulous weekend away in Palm Desert.
It's just not realistic at this point to get rid of all that does not give me "joy". I would love to start fresh, but I don't have the time or the money to do so at this point.
That said, I have found the experience of trying on everything I own and really asking myself if I will wear it again refreshing and introspective. It was a bit like reading an old journal as I went through the clothes that I have kept for literally -- decades and dragged with me literally-- around the world.
I was surprised to fall back in love with some things that have been hanging in my closet for years. For some reason I was afraid to try them on. Afraid they wouldn't fit. Afraid that they would tug at places where they didn't tug before. It was delightful to discover that some of them did fit -- and looked great! As I tried on the cotton pages of my past, memories came flooding back of when I bought them or moments when I was wearing them. Clothing has a way of bringing back moments with such clarity -- perhaps it is the texture and scent mixed together with the picture of you in the mirror that makes clothing have such poignancy.
As an only child, I yearned to share my clothes with a sister. When I went to college I became the girl known to suit up everyone with a dress for the many formals we had at school. I loved having everyone over and rummaging through my closet together. These girls would become my sisters overtime. It's strange to get rid of all of these dresses that might fit some potential friend in the future. Of course, now we all have children and more income to buy dresses when the occasion occurs, so that chance does not come up very often these days. Also that occasion to wear a formal dress doesn't occur as often anymore when you're in your 40s. But it's still hard for me to get rid of all these dresses.
Dresses that might find a home on the shoulders of a kindred spirit one night.