And after:

I swear, it’s like therapy. Everytime I look at it, I just feel….calm. At ease. I keep making up excuses to go into my closet, just to grab that little bit of inner peace. Sigh.

So, yes. I was a cleaning demon this weekend. And not only was it therapeutic, but a learning experience as well. For instance, I now know that I really DO NOT need any more black messenger-style bags, no matter how much one might appeal to me, as I found FOUR this weekend, each very much like the other. Likewise, I will NOT buy something just because it’s on sale and looks somewhat cute on me with the hopes that it might look better later. I threw out SEVERAL of those this weekend. (And when I say threw out, I mean they are thrift-shop bound: only the truly threadbare and hopeless actually will hit the trash.) I also managed to part with a bunch of things I’d held on for purely sentimental reasons, like an old pair of Gap shorts I wore when we were painting the siding of our house, permanently stained with gray and white paint. (“We will paint again!” my husband said, and out they went.) It was hard, but I feel good that I did it. Progress, and all that.

The hardest part is dealing with my wedding dress. I’ve discussed here before how I still have my dress, but it’s in terrible shape, as I had entirely too much fun at our outdoor wedding and inflicted all kinds of dirt damage on it, then forgot to get it cleaned for, oh, six years or so. Whoops! I was tempted, in the midst of my whirlwind, to just toss it, but instead I am going to take it to the cleaners, ask them honestly if it’s worth saving, and if they say yes, I’ll get it cleaned and donate it it somewhere. I actually kind of like the idea of my dress having another life without me. I mean, wedding dresses are so personal, and yet it seems a shame to just leave this one hanging in the closet, or chuck it, when someone might actually be able to use it and make it part of their own great day. So I guess we’ll let the cleaners make the call. I will keep you posted. (Even though I am sure you DO NOT care. But oh, well.)

All this cleaning has got me thinking about beginnings and endings, and how things can change. All the stuff I threw out this weekend I bought once with high hopes, or hopes at any rate. Some stuff I went on to love and wear to death, others I kind of regretted and pushed to the back, out of sight. The truth is, I tend to get entirely sentimental (see Gap shorts, above) like I don’t trust myself to remember without having some physical evidence around to help me, but really, that’s just not necessary. My memory is good, and long, which for happy events is a great thing, unhappy ones, not so much. But the thing is, often, you just don’t know what comes next. The best looking thing can often turn out to be anything but, and vice versa. In the midst of all this control this weekend—purging, cleaning, organizing—I think I’m also learning something more about letting go, and knowing that really, nothing is guaranteed. It’s terrifying and exciting and crazy, but it’s just the way it is.

I can only hope that on my next trip to the mall, or wherever, I’ll stop and remember all these things before I slap down the plastic and buy something. And maybe I will. But if I don’t, I won’t be too hard on myself. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to go into something with high hopes, even if they do get dashed, or so I’m learning. So I’ll just do the best I can. And when it’s not enough, I’ll go stand in my closet. And breathe.

Have a good day, everyone!
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