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Time to Clean Out the Closet — Round 1

An entry in AVery Public Diet Carnival at Pilates & Reiki in Paradise and Carnival of Dieting Tips at Middle Age Shed.

Today I came to the realization that it was time to do something I have been putting off: I got a box, labeled it “fat clothes” and started lobbing clothing items into it.

Why would I want to put off doing that, you ask?

Because I’ve been down this road before. And I’ve had to go looking for the “fat clothes” box, dig those clothes out and start wearing them again when the weight went back on.

And I don’t want to go down that road again.

What brought me to the inescapable conclusion that it is time to purge my closet? A couple of things:

First, I undertook a searching, honest evaluation of these photos:1

Take a close look at the jacket I’m wearing. First of all, can you tell that the shoulder seams are over too far so that they are actually hanging down on my arms? Because they are not in the proper position, it looks as though I’m slouching somewhat, but I’m not. You can see the extra fabric under my right arm and the line of the collar is falling too far down because it is just hanging loosely instead of following the body line correctly.

And take a good look around the mid-section. Can you tell that in the top photo I pulled the jacket together for the photo? You may not be able to discern that the right side is pulled over past where it would ordinarily meet the button on the left side because there is so much extra room in it and I am trying to conceal that fact for the camera.

Essentially, I look larger and dumpier in the pictures than I actually am. If I were not wearing that baggy jacket, you would be able to see that I actually do have a waist.

I’ve had to go looking for the “fat clothes” box, dig those clothes out and start wearing them again when the weight went back on.

And I don’t want to go down that road again.

Why do so many people who are overweight think that they are concealing their weight issue by wearing big, baggy clothes? The truth is: The opposite is true. We do ourselves a disservice by wearing clothing that is too big because we appear larger, not thinner, in clothes that do not fit properly.

Yesterday, I went to the office in a pair of pants that I can pull all the way up under my armpits.2 When the waistband is positioned correctly, the crotch seam hits the middle of my thighs and the pant legs are too wide and baggy. But I’ve continued wearing them for many months now — I put them into the dryer on the highest temperature so they would shrink as much as possible — even though I knew that I shouldn’t because, unlike many of my other clothes, the elastic waistband remains tight enough that they don’t slide down my hips when I walk.

However, I have reached the point where they are decidedly uncomfortable and I feel very self-conscious in them.

But it feels as though I am jinxing my new lifestyle by thinking, must less typing or actually acting upon, those words.

I discovered that Thea at Tales from the Scales broached this subject recently:

So what’s in your closet? Did you answer clothes or did you answer saboteurs? Can you tell the difference? Am I making any sense at all or have you already stopped reading?

Let me explain. But wait, one more question. How many clothing sizes do you have in your closet? Do you have categories (fat clothes, skinny clothes, good clothes, etc)? . . . [I]f you have several sizes of clothes or more than one “weight category”, it’s time to clean house (or closet).

If you have clothes that are too big for you hanging in your closet, you need to get rid of them. That’s right. Toss ‘em. Nothing is a bigger saboteur then thinking there might ever be a time when you would need those clothes again. You are giving yourself permission to gain the weight back. And you are sending little subliminal messages that you don’t believe in yourself enough to keep it off. So go get a big garbage bag and get rid of them. You can donate them to a local charity. You can sell them on Ebay. Heck, you can start a bonfire with them if it will make you feel better. Just get rid of them.

. . .

Holding on to clothes that don’t fit is just one more mental hurdle that you need to cross on your road to weight loss. If they’re too big, they’re holding you back.

Thea’s observations are accurate and her advice is sound.

I am finding that being able to wear clothes that had become too small feels like getting reacquainted with some old friends.

Today I wore a blouse to the office that I know is at least ten years old. However, it has been at least seven or eight since it fit me. It is still in style3 and, in fact, I received a couple of nice compliments on it. It fits perfectly, as do the black pants I discovered in the back of the closet. I had forgotten about them completely . . . I think I only wore them two or three times before they got too tight. So I actually wore a complete outfit that fit properly today.

That felt like an accomplishment. My goal is to remember that feeling and savor it during difficult, challenging moments.

The baggy black pants are in the box labeled “fat clothes.” They are going to stay there and when the box is full, BigBob is going to deliver it to the Good Will. The pink two-piece dress I am wearing in the Wordless Wednesday photo is also in there, as is the black jacket discussed here. This weekend, I’m going to spend some time pulling even more items out of the closet and firing them into the box.

Purging ill-fitting clothing from one’s closet is good medicine for the soul — and the waistline.

  1. They were taken on June 28, 2007, and I have lost weight since then. []
  2. BigBob says I look like Urkel. []
  3. I gave up buying trendy clothing many years ago, so most of the clothes in my closet that I have not been able to wear for a number of years are still in style. []


  1. Denise: You are very sweet. I always know that when I see your name in my Comments section, I will find a kind word or two.

    Hope all is well with you!

  2. Hooray for cleaning out the closet. And you are so right about baggy clothes. What we think is hiding things does make us look bigger. My reward for my losing weight has been to buy new clothes that fit and people definitely notice. Regardless of the too big jacket, you look like you are having fun in the photos. 🙂

  3. Ya know….I’ve been doing the same thing.
    Well not bagging them up but I just started going through a humongous pile errrrr piles in my bedroom and I’ve hit paydirt! There are so many with tags and clothes that I had completely forgotten about. I thought I’d try em on and wouldn’t you know they fit! It’s like someone just threw me a whole new wardrobe.

    One thing I do with the ones that begin to get baggy is take them up. My shorts I’ve been taking off an inch at a time from the sides. I serge them so they will never be that big again but, it makes them fit me now. Essentially I guess I’m getting rid of the old fat ones except I’m creating new ones in the process! hehe

    Your doing great! Keep up the good work and thanks for stopping by and encouraging me! :0)


  4. When I recently lost 58 lbs, I took 3 huge bags full of clothes to Goodwill, just because I didn’t even want that to be an option.

  5. Guinevere Meadow

    Thank you for your kind comment on my blog!

    Isn’t it GREAT to be able to wear smaller clothes? And you’re right, I’ve also discovered that wearing clothes that are “too big” just makes you look bigger. I recently purchased a blouse off the rack without trying it on, because I thought I knew my size, however, once I got it home and put it on, the cut wasn’t right, which only serves to make me look pregnant again! (And stupid me, I removed the tag before I put it on. How dumb is that??!!) I have learned my lesson.

  6. Thank you for visiting my blog. I agree with you on getting rid of clothes that are too large. It is a very liberating feeling!

    I am not sure why we, who are overweight, put ourselves in clothing that is too large. That has always been my husband’s complaint…I wear clothing that doesn’t flatter me. I didn’t think any clothes really flattered me. I guess my thoughts were, if my clothes didn’t touch my body then you wouldn’t see how fat I was. It didn’t matter that I was walking around in a dress the size of a small tent.

  7. Thanks for sharing this. I just came upon it. There’s a store in my area that I just heard about on the Christian radio station called The Answer. One of the things they do is a clothing exchange program. People can bring in the clothes that are too big for them and exchange them for items that fit. It sounds like a great place to take my clothes when they get too big. And the bonus is that I won’t have to spend money on new clothes. I’m hoping to check it out tomorrow.

  8. Good job ! I try to clean out my closet every spring. Seeing as it’s just getting warm now, I think I’ll tackle that tomorrow.

  9. Anonymous

    I think you look fabulous…keep up the phenomenal work. 😀

  10. Thanks for posting.This is a great way to clean out a closet.

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