the art of letting go

This may come to a surprise to some of you (though it probably shouldn’t if you’ve been paying attention), but I am a sentimental sap. You know those people who hold onto the most ridiculous things for seemingly no reason other than, “Oh, man, that was a great night”? Yeah, I’m that person. I’ve got all the greeting cards and ticket stubs to prove it.

That’s not really the problem, though. It’s pretty easy to find nice little containers to stick those cards and tickets in and shove them on a shelf to be forgotten until I need them. It’s easy to look at the magnets and postcards I’ve bought from various vacations and stuck on my refrigerator and smile. It’s easy display the pictures and assorted knick-knacks in my living room and tell their stories to whoever asks. It’s not easy to keep trying to shove more and more clothes in my closet when it’s full of things I haven’t worn in years but refuse to get rid of.

I tend to hoard clothing. I never really notice it until it’s time to move, which is why I’m aware of it for the first time since last year. Luckily our new house has a closet large enough to store all of those clothes, but as I was packing for my trip to Ireland (which I’m currently on and can’t wait to tell y’all about), I was struck by how much of it I really never wore. But my real “a-ha” moment came when I considered going through my tshirt drawers and thought about donating some of the ones I never wear and my next thought was “Oh, but that was from homecoming my sophomore year of college and that was a great year and that night I went out and blah-blah-blah,” leading to me basically assigning an entire year of college to a single tshirt. This led to me going through my non-TU tshirts and the rest of my wardrobe and realizing that I did this exact same thing with every single article of clothing I own. The black dress was from the honors banquet senior year, the blue flannel was from Laurel’s 21st birthday, the brown boots were the first package delivered to my first apartment.

I do this to more than clothes–people and home decor and furniture–but they’re the easiest examples to use because, for something so materialistic, I tend to iron fist them the most. And it’s so silly, and I know it’s silly, but I just can’t let go of them. Even though I know I’ll never wear most of it, even though I know I could really help some people out by donating them, even though I could sell my nicer stuff and make some quick cash, they continue to sit in my closet and gather dust.

Letting go is hard. It’s never been something that comes easily to me or something that I really embrace. I have a tendency to gather the things I love close to me and just latch on to them until I no longer can. With people, this is until they no longer let me–when they stop answering my calls or texts, when they dodge plans, when they get hurtful. With clothes, this is until I get the manic, anxious urge to just purge all excess and embrace minimalism–short-lived and ephemeral, but ultimately successful in clearing up some closet space.

But letting go is necessary. I realize this, and I’m working on it–I know I say that about so many things, but it’s almost always true. I really am trying to be better at letting go. When  I eventually manage to get everything in my new house (which I’m also very excited to tell you all about), I plan on scaling back. I will never be a minimalist, both in possessions or personality, but I can dial back. I can get rid of the things I know aren’t getting used to their full potential. I can give things to people who will love them just as much as I do, but who actually need them for more than a memory.

Because the thing is, I’ll still have those memories. They aren’t just going to disappear because I got rid of what I was wearing when they happened. That’s what’s at the heart of this whole obsession: I have this irrational fear that getting rid of the clothes means the good things they witnessed never happened. My mind knows this isn’t the truth, but my heart can be a bit of a manipulative drama queen and likes to convince me otherwise. It’s all so unnecessarily complicated, but that’s my life at the moment. It’ll get easier, though; I have faith.

A quick housekeeping thing–I started an Instagram account for the blog! You can find it here, so check it out (maybe even follow?). I’ll be linking all posts here, as well as including little mini-stories (the first of which will happen later tonight and will tell a little bit about my Ireland trip for those who are curious). Yay for expansion, right? I want to eventually branch out to all social media platforms, so if this is successful, I’ll move on to the next one (Twitter? Tumblr? Tell me what you think/want).

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Keith Haney says:

    So true about letting go. I am learning to do that now. My wife has me get rid of clothes when I buy new ones.

    Like

    1. kyleejackson says:

      I’ve been considering implementing a system where I had to donate an article of clothing for every new one I buy. I want to do a huge overhaul before I start that, though, in order to get rid of extraneous items that I’d keep just to get rid of. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet, but I’m at least willing to start which is half of my battle.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Keith Haney says:

        It is hard. I love all my fashion choices from the past. And who knows 1975 could come back and I want to be ready for it. 🙂

        Like

  2. Amanda says:

    As I get older I find the urge to purge everything – if it’s not being used get rid of it kind of thing. My husband is like you though – he wants to hold on to everything. He’s more of a “but what if we need it one day” kind of guy, though he does have a lot of sentiment to the stuff he will just absolutely not let me get rid of. I like your idea of one gone for one bought though…that’s a great start!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tmisseghers says:

    Maybe before you let go of an article of clothing snap a pic and post to Instagram and hashtag and tag all the memories and friends you have tied to it?

    Like

    1. kyleejackson says:

      Oh I love that idea! Thank you so much for sending it my way, I think this could be really helpful for me!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. tmisseghers says:

        You are so welcome!

        Like

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