Fall is less than a month away. I am already dreaming of the rich, warm hues and the endless options that layering provides. The transition from the summer heat to the crisp breeze of autumn is a perfect time to refresh our wardrobe. As we push the shorts, tanks and bright colors of summer to the back of the rack, we may discover we’ve been hanging on to shelves and shelves of pieces that don’t fit who we have become through the warmer months.
Personally, I hold on to items of clothing like old friends. Even when a piece has been dug up from the depths of my closet, I can reminisce. I can recall all of the ways that a shirt fit my life and the ways that every item was perfect at the moment. Yet, every closet and every life requires cleansing.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 NIV
The rays of the sun and the warmth of summer have a way of inspiring change. We are emboldened by a swimsuit we actually love. We see new freckles on our cheeks, and we feel thankful for the wonderful and unique form God gave us.
This is a wonderful, everyday example of our relationship with Christ. The more time we spend with the son of God, the more we grow beyond past versions of ourselves. The behaviors we wore like a favorite sweater are uncomfortable and are no longer compatible with the renewed heart and spirit Jesus has formed within us. Periodically, we reach moments when we have to shed old habits, toxic relationships and the weight of daily life so we have room to thrive through God’s renewal and growth in our lives. And as we lighten our spiritual burdens, we can also make our daily lives less cluttered.
As fall fashions cover the runways and fill the pages of our favorite magazines, we can make room for growth in style by shedding the ill-fitting frocks we have kept for far too long. If the idea of parting with your once-loved clothing is tough, then there are a few questions that can help value the pieces that may need to find another home.
1. Does it fit?
It can be difficult to let go of clothes that hold memories and pieces that were so perfect at one time. We may push these piles to the bottom shelf, but they still take up space. The longer we hold on to shirts that won’t button or pants that are relics of our flare addiction, the longer we don’t have space for new pieces that fit the women we have become.
If something doesn’t fit, donate it to someone who can use it. Pass on your favorite but unused pieces to those who can appreciate them. If our clothing had as many feelings as we often attribute to them, then they would probably choose to be used instead of shoved behind your stack of Christmas pajamas.
2. When/how often do you wear it?
Just because you wear a shirt when everything else is in the wash does not make it a useful piece. Once again, these items are taking up space when they could be used by others who may prize them. Give your neglected shirts a chance to be someone’s favorite.
3. Does it match the style/image you want to portray?
Clothing choices can be very personal and a great representation of the unique personality of the wearer. As we acquire clothes, we consider the events in our lives and the tastes we have at the time. As with many other preferences, our style changes. We may even shift our choices from day to day. If a dress in your closet would be left on the store rack during a shopping trip today, then it may need to be evicted from the wardrobe. Clinging to a shift dress that was your favorite find of 2012 could keep you from filling that open spot with a floral number that fits like a glove. Let your wardrobe reflect the woman you are today.
Letting go is never simple. Whether we are being cleansed through spiritual renewal or boxing up ten years of fashion choices, we are parting with things that were important to us. We are making a decision to accept growth and development and dive into new experiences. We may still make mistakes and choices that cause us to shake our heads in the future, but we will never discover how much greater we can be in heart and in style if we don’t make room.
Featured image by Emily from Darling Dearest