Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Purging: A Story of Letting Go

Giddy, is what I felt when we signed the contract for our master bath/closet remodel. Visions of purged closets and drawers filled my many items destined for the massive block sale planned for next month.

I'mma make a fortune, oh yeah!

Except, of course, that no matter what price you ask for something, the perspective buyer is going to negotiate you down. Barracudas, that is what seasoned yard sale shoppers are...Barracudas! So, if I ask $5 for a pair of pants that have the tags still on and have never been worn, Barracuda will say, "I'll give you a dollar."  Not $2.50, a meet in the middle, let's split the difference sort of offer. Nooooo....the Barracuda feels the dollar is most generous, an offer of fifty cents equally as likely. Those of you who've run their own sales already know this and are probably nodding your head.

[ Side note: If you are a man reading this, you may be wondering why I referred to the pants being both tagged and UN-worn. You see, dear fellow, that it is not unreasonable for a woman to wear an item of clothing to see if she likes it, really likes it. Worn items cannot be returned. However, carefully worn items with the tags discretely tucked in can be taken for a test drive, if you will, to ensure we want to keep it. If it fails to prove road worthy, then we can return it with a straight bold faced lie, "No, it was never worn....see, the tags are still attached."  It's just smart consumerism, you see. ]

Yard sale pricing is THE numero uno reason I do NOT like to have yard sales. But, when your neighbor is kind enough to organize a multi block event and notify the entire population of the Bay Area via every means possible...well...$$$$ start flashing in your head and you think, "What the heck, I can keep from throat punching someone who offers me a dime for a $3.00 item for just a few hours, right?"

But, contracts and evil Barracuda's are not the real topic of this post. The purging is, just...not in the way you might imagine.

Purging is the process of getting rid of items you no longer need, want, use, etc. Some people only do it when they need to move (they are known as hoarders, you know it...admit it). Some do it every few years when they discover they no longer have room to store something new. Others do it regularly, often every year as part of spring cleaning or more frequently depending on their energy level and fear of becoming a hoarder because they watch too many episodes of Hoarders. Whatever the reason, for most of these people, purging feels really good - we feel lighter, more organized, less cluttered, free.

Now for me. Last night I went through my closets to purge at least half. There are so many items I don't (also can't) wear and I was sensing a chance for more jingle jangle in my pocket, so I just started tossing things in the yard sale bag - fast at first, then...slower as the still tagged items started to emerge.

Here is where it gets dicey. They are truly tagged and never worn, because when I bought them I loved them, but it was maybe just a tad too tight. All of my tagged items are that way. All of them bought, I remember well, during yet another period of weight loss in my life when I was losing steadily and was SURE that it wouldn't be too snug for long.

So for an hour I sorted through the bins under the bed full of clothes that are too small and half of my closet that held the same. The thing is, these clothes aren't just a few months or even a year old. Some of them are several years old. There are 3 pairs of brand new pants that have been taken out and contemplated several times over the past 10 years. I kid you not - TEN YEARS.  There are a few shirts in there too, just screaming for someone to wear them and not cling to them like a life preserver.

That's really what I'm doing, ya know - clinging.  These are not high priced, classic pieces of couture. Yet they sit under my bed in a dust coated shrine to a person I was never able to be, a body I just couldn't manage to conjure up. That "some day" just never happened.

Most of the items finally went into the sale bag after a long internal discussion. The pants went, mainly because even if I lost weight there is no guarantee that I'll like the style anymore OR that they'll fit me like they were once meant to (remember, I never actually wore them to begin with). I also made  a pact with myself to get rid of any item of clothing I bought not because I liked it, but because it fit and I needed it. Sometimes that is what fat girls do, we buy what fits merely because that is all there is. That baggage? Yeah, it has to go. I don't want to be reminded that I no longer fit into those items either.

I guess this process is going to get far deeper than just cleaning out my closet for the work crew to demolish it. It would seem that I need to do my own demolition work so that I can rebuild myself to fit the here and now, not some image from the past.

Just so y'all know, I am on the weight loss track again. I have not given up (I won't let my lack of a thyroid hinder me, it doesn't need to...I can over come that). This post isn't about giving up on that goal. What I am doing now is getting rid of items that remind me of what I didn't achieve, regardless of whether I think I can do it now or not. When I reach the point where I need smaller clothes, I'm going to buy them new. That process is what drives further success. In my opinion, simply going to my drawer and pulling out an old, smaller piece of clothing doesn't deliver the same impact as rewarding oneself with new clothes.

So, I'd better get back to my guilt free purging!

Peace out!

p.s. - The big question is whether to sell my good clothes on Ebay or Craigslist or take my chances at a yard sale while standing firm (and not throat punching cheapskates).

p.p.s. - I'm starting to notice a pattern with my posts. I don't think they ever really go where you think they are going to go. Starting off with yard sales, to Barracudas to the emotional state of letting go. A person could get whiplash reading my blog!
p.p.p.s. - If you do, indeed, develop whiplash, it isn't my fault so don't get all sue happy. It's in the fine print of this blog that I cannot be held responsible for such things.
p.p.p.p.s. - The fine print, by the way, is really fine...some would argue nonexistent...but it's there in a super special small font developed just for me, sort of like invisible ink. 


  1. My biggest problem when faced with purging is the "I might need this someday". I think I may be a borderline hoarder.

    1. Oh, the battles I have with my brain over needing an item some day! And you KNOW that even though you have not needed it in the last 15 years, you WILL need it the week after you get rid of it. :-)

  2. I have a basket full of size 10-14 pants, jeans mainly, that i figure will never go out of style. but when dust starts growing on the contents, it's time to let go. it feels so good too. good for you for purging the clutter. when you are done you will feel so good :)

    1. That's where I am, Karen...the dust phase. Jeans are a good thing to keep, especially classic cuts. It's the OTHER stuff that has to go! It is going to feel good, eventually...when I realize I wasn't just being rash.

  3. I LOVE TO PURGE! Seriously, it's right up there with running and sex for me. There is just something so liberating about being in a room where every single thing is useful, loved, beautiful or precious without all that other detritus tainting the joint with its useless, ugliness. Getting rid of too-tight clothes is a whole 'nother thing, though, I know. It's better to be done with time. I would sell the good ones on eBay. Not that throat-punching isn't especially cathartic, but writing is far more, erm, legal. Happy purging!

    1. Yes, such a shame that throat punching is frowned upon. I will enjoy this purging, I can't wait to have this remodel done and we haven't even broken through a wall yet! It's the 'idea' of having something that is totally new and completely ours....woohoo!!!

  4. Anonymous10:34 AM

    It sounds like you stumbled upon the principle behind the book _Throw Away 50 Things_ all by yourself! She's all about mindful purging.

    I also love purging. I do it a couple times a year in my closet, but it's been far too long since I went through the house and mindfully purged. I plan to start now. Throw away 50 things!


    1. I have a large lawn bag already full to bursting with clothes. That is roughly half the things that were jammed into my closet. I have more to purge, shoes next! Then on to the drawers. I just wish the sale weren't a month away!

  5. I am a mood purger. I have to have that steely,dead-eye mood come over me before I can purge without "what-iffing" myself to death over each item. I think I'm getting better at encouraging this mood out of myself. Purging is liberating, no doubt.
    Good luck with the remodel!