The 5 Stages Of Cleaning Out Your Closet


1. Denial & Isolation

You’ve made it to your closet. You look past the free university t-shirts, climb over the mountainous shoe pile on the floor, and picture all of the events for which you absolutely, positively need to keep your prom dress. Those jeans that are now two sizes too small—one day you’ll fit into them again. You try to convince yourself that the 5K shirt you never actually wear is a wardrobe staple. That you don’t need to get rid of anything.

2. Anger

You start to go through things. A fashion show ensues. You try on an old New Year’s dress. Why won’t it zip?! Layers of taffeta fall to the ground in an angry blur. Why won’t your clothes fit you? Why won’t they fit in your closet? You need a bigger closet! You need a bigger house! You start to question your life decisions. It’s downhill from here.

3. Bargaining

You’re at war with yourself and your Jimmy Choo’s. Yes, you bought them 7 years ago. Yes, they are a bit scuffed up and give you toe cleavage. But they’re vintage! You just can’t buy stuff like this anymore. You start making empty promises to yourself—you won’t buy another pair of heels until you’re done with the current pair. You build yourself up upon a throne of lies and only end up weeding out two shirts.

4. Depression

You think of all of the times you wore those two shirts—of all the memories lost and made in them. For each thread of cotton, there is a time and a place. You don’t want to let go. You don’t know how. You think back to simpler times where you didn’t have so much linen suffocating your mind. You hate the monster you’ve become and grimly look towards your future—50 cats and a stint on Hoarders.

5. Acceptance

You end up selecting 5 shirts, a pair of pants, and the Jimmy Choo’s for the reaping. You’re not entirely at peace with it yet, and may never be, but you know it’s the only way you can achieve any sense of accomplishment from the desolation of your closet. You bag up your memories and drive to the nearest Goodwill. Then, with your tax deduction in hand, you head towards a better life.