• emsteinbrink

Are these 3 things hanging out in your closet?



With the weather finally feeling like Spring here in Omaha, I got in the mood to do a closet clean out, moving my heavy sweaters and boots out, and bringing in my shorts and dresses. Many other women have told me they are doing the same thing right now, too. 'Tis the season!

In the Springtime, nature is calling us to release and start again. To plant new seeds and embrace growth. The thing about closet clean outs is that it's more than just clearing physical space (although that's an added benefit). It's also about releasing what no longer serves you, so there is room for new and better things to grow.

Beyond making more space in your closet, a closet detox is a time to release what no longer feels like you, release the things that no longer fit and come to terms with your body, release things that represent old memories, or release anything else that that takes up physical space, but adds little value to your life.

And here's the common thing I hear when someone does a closet clean out:

"It's so freeing!"

This confirms for me that a closet detox does more than just clear a physical space. It's a way to mentally release, too.


Have you ever heard the phrase, "A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life."?


Well, I think the same could go for a woman who cleans out a closet! It's been said that:


"Clutter is not just physical stuff. It's old ideas, toxic relationships, and bad habits." - Eleanor Brown

I believe this wholeheartedly because I see it every time a woman has the courage to clean out a closet. And not just a detox at the surface level, but really going through it all at a deep level, making challenging decisions along the way that lead to greater joy and freedom.


Breaking this quote down a bit, let's take each of the three things that clutter represents in your closet, and your life...



#1 Old Ideas


Clothes that you are unable to part with in your closet may reflect an old idea of your "self" or identity. They may represent an old idea of who you once were, or who you think you have to be in this world, instead of who you really want to be. It may seem easier to conform to the norm (let's say, a work dress code or what everyone in their 40's that are moms are wearing), but it comes at the expense of embracing what truly feels like you, and what lights you up. To break free from old ideas in your closet, you have to get really clear (and brave!) about who you are, and how you want to show up in this world. In the wise words of Coco Chanel:


"Be who you are, not who the world wants you to be." - Coco Chanel


#2 Toxic Relationships


Might I say that some of the most toxic relationships happen in our closet! Whether it's clothes or accessories you received from a friend or old partner but that you no longer love, or it's clothes you bought because someone told you to, these things are joy vampires! Without even realizing it, these items carry a lot of guilt and shame. We feel guilty if we get rid of something that someone we love, or once loved, gave to us. We feel shameful that we don't love something that someone close to us gifted. Remember that releasing these items doesn't mean you don't love that person or value them. (if it's from someone you still love and care about) You can rid them from your closet AND still value that person and your relationship. Keeping these items means they will continue to taunt you until the day they are gone.


I love the quote from Amy Collins that says,


"Opening up your closet should be like arriving at a really good party, where everyone you see is someone you like." - Amy Collins

Let's just say, some people should have never gotten an invite! Let's be bold and proclaim what we want, without looking back.


I also think that there is toxicity in our closets when we hold onto things that no longer fit us, leaving us feel less than every time we see said items. We hold onto these things dreaming of a different body, or achieving our goals, instead of living in the present, and accepting the body we have now. In a way, keeping these items is a form of denial. I love teaching women about how to dress the body they have now, because there is no better time than the present to feel good in your body every day! Why withhold yourself of this joy, waiting for a certain outcome? Focus on having things in your closet - right now - that fit you well, and that you love. I don't believe that having things in your closet that are two or more sizes away from your current size will motivate you to get to your goal weight. In fact, I think it de-motivates you! If you're hellbent on getting to that goal weight, at least move these things out of site - and out of mind - until you get there.


And if you need an extra dose of motivation, save this quote and read it daily:


"When we keep clothes that are three decades old and three sizes too small, we are holding our body hostage to some past ideal. You are allowed to have beautiful clothes that fit you today." - Miss J


#3 Bad Habits


And finally, clothes in our closet can represent bad habits. How about buying yet another black sweater, even though you already have 5. Or what about splurging on a statement piece, but then never even taking the tags off because you didn't know how to style it. Then there's continually buying more but never really feeling fulfilled, or like you have options. Or getting swept up into the moment and spending more than you were comfortable doing. Even the best of us can get into a rut and develop bad habits in our closets and spending behaviors. I know I have! More than once, I've bought something that I told myself I loved but then had purchase regret realizing I didn't love it that much.


Here's the good news: You can take baby steps towards releasing these old habits. For example, when I work with my Style Transformation clients, I help them create a wardrobe checklist. This wardrobe checklist is the key to creating a smart closet that they will love and wear on repeat, and one that represents their lifestyle, their personal style and their budget. This wardrobe checklist is the key to helping them stay on track when it comes to spending.


A couple other baby steps you can take is setting a shopping budget for yourself - monthly or quarterly - or selling the things in your closet with tags that you know you'll never wear (there is an incredible resale market for new and gently used items right now!) to earn a little bit of your money back.


Tradesy claims that the average woman has over $1,000 of resale in her closet.

If you're reading this and feeling overwhelmed by all the things hanging in your closet or you don't know where to start, I want to encourage you that all hope is not lost and you CAN start making better choices about what earns the right to be in your closet.


The first step is always awareness.


So today I'm asking you to consider this question deeply and honestly: What old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits are hanging out in your closet? And more importantly, are you ready to release them? If your answer is yes, then you are ready to make some real change in your closet!



A detox is just the beginning


The first step in my Style Transformation service is a guided Closet Detox for all the reasons I mentioned above. Detoxing creates a clean slate for which to build upon and to allow true transformation to occur. (Without al the hassle of doing it on your own, might I add!)


I am currently booking clients for my 1:1 Style Transformation service, and I'd love for you to have one of those spots! My Style Transformation service includes defining your personal style and what is holding you back from embracing that personal style, discovering your best colors, helping you decide what to keep and toss in your wardrobe, creating a personalized year-round wardrobe checklist to fill in holes in your closet, curated online shopping and creating hundreds of digital style boards with head to toe outfits so you never have to worry about what to wear again. You can say goodbye to long stares at your closet each morning for good! And all of this is accessible on your own personal style site, available 24/7 as an app on your phone! Learn more about this service, and if this is right for you by booking a free 30-minute style consult with me.



About Me

Hi, I'm so glad you're here! I'm a Personal Virtual Stylist and owner of Style Decoded. I'm a Midwest born fashion lover on a mission to help women show up with more authenticity and alignment at work and in their businesses through their style, and feel 100% confident in their own skin every day. Styling is my passion but it hasn't always been my job. I spent 20 years of my career in client service, advertising, developing brands, blogging, podcasting, and creating marketing and social social strategies for my clients, ranging from Fortune 500 giants to individuals building their personal brand online. To say I know a thing or two about marketing and branding is an understatement! Now, I love teaching women how to define and own their unique personal brand through style. Interested in working with me? Set up a free 30-minute style consult on my calendar at a time that works for you to chat about where you struggle with your style - and to learn more about my styling services and packages.



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