Clean Out your Closet & Reconnect with Self-Acceptance

By: Jacqueline Carvey

Each season is an opportunity to press the reset button, and an excellent way to accomplish this is by cleaning out your closet! Summer’s end means mourning the loss of linen shorts, sandals and breezy summer dresses - but it also insists that we embrace fall and all of the delicious flannel, plaid and boots our hearts can handle.

I’ve always edited my closet regularly, but until this past July, my closet included an array of pieces that hadn’t been worn for years. We look to clothing as a sign of fitness progress and feedback, and its psychological impact can be astounding.

I had several thoughtfully curated articles of clothing that I LOVED hanging on this rack and hadn’t yet been able to wear because they didn’t fit.

Some of them were brand new- like this sexy, slinky black dress I hadn’t gotten the courage to wear and the J. Crew dress of my dreams whose highlighter yellow hue looked amazing against my brown skin. I had purchased these pieces thinking that I’d use their smaller size as a motivator to lose weight. I decided to keep a couple favorites from this section of my closet, and tossed the others in a donate pile. It was time to let the clothes go… along with my previous motivation for weight loss. I realized that weight loss cannot be the major motivator to become fit. Hopefully, it’s a bonus side effect that comes with being more active on a regular basis.

After saying goodbye to my dress up clothes, I tackled my “regular rotation” teaching wardrobe. As a teacher, I like to have pieces with which outfits can be created with ease. Unlike my dressier clothes, these pieces were bigger sizes and had been purchased out of necessity because of weight gain. As I tried on each piece (some of which receive regular compliments when I wear them), I noticed something...

As I handled each garment and was reminded of a place I didn’t want to be any more.

Many of these pieces hadn’t been worn in a while because when I’d wear them, I’d feel shameful that I hadn’t dropped the weight that I wanted, and my self-worth would plummet. It wasn’t healthy for me to wear them, period. Into the donate pile they went!

At this point, I'm looking to see value in what my body can do right now and where it will take me as I continue to make better choices.

In relationship to my closet, I now only have pieces that I truly love and enjoy wearing. You look your best when you feel your best. I also recognize that this process isn’t easy because it forces us to acknowledge some truths about ourselves and can be expensive. Do I want to be a little smaller? Sure! But, with my extra cellulite and bigger waistline, I can now do 40 pushups which I couldn’t do before! :)

Here are a few tips:

  1. If you haven’t worn it in six months, toss it. The end.
  2. No matter where your body is right now, invest in a good bra that fits you well. This is a game changer. Nordstrom Rack is a great place to go if you’ve got a smaller budget; also try ThirdLove or Amazon. Make sure to check return policies.
  3. Enlist the help of a friend and make an evening out of it- add some music, and a glass of wine! Make it fun.
  4. If you want to sell your clothes, look to places like Poshmark, ThredUp or LetGo (all of which have apps) so you can earn money to put toward new pieces.
  5. Be kind to yourself. As your body changes, it’s important to love each stage it’s in. It’s not about the number on the scale.

Bottom line, when you take care of your body you should also be mindful of what you wear and how it makes you feel because that matters too. 

Jacqueline Carvey

A Grounded Warrior Member and a music teacher, Jackie is both talented and dedicated to her own fitness journey and her student's musical journeys. When she's not working or working out you can find Jackie exploring Boston, reading a good book, snuggling with her adorable cat Lucille, and having so much fun with her friends!