Why Clothes Made Me A Closet Case
Getting rid of my stuff is hard. But my daughter’s baby clothes?
This weekend, I decided it was time to clean out my daughter’s closet and move out her outgrown winter clothes to make way for the stacks of shorts, polo shirts, and swimsuits she’ll need for summer camp. I had no idea of the emotional journey I’d find myself taking in the process.
As someone who still owns the dress I wore to my freshman sorority formal in college, as well as my first ‘interview suit’, parting with clothes that represent a particular place and time has always been a bit of a struggle. Usually, when it comes to cleaning out my own closet, those special items get relegated to various spots farther and farther towards the back of my shoe closet. (I told you I had issues.) Sometimes I take them out and toy with the idea of trying them on. I rarely do. I just like knowing they’re there.
When it came to digging into my daughter’s wardrobe, I didn’t expect to be hit with such a wave of emotion. I’ve already stored away the treasured first dress I ever bought for her, which, coincidentally, was purchased on the same day I came home to find the letter from the Chinese government stating we had passed muster and could go forward with our plans to adopt a child. Her first winter coat—pink shearling with felt teddy-bear buttons—is stashed away with the red melton wool dress coat I proudly bought from the late, lamented Best & Co. for her first Christmas. I could never part with those tiny size 12-months Ralph Lauren polo shirts I ordered with her monogram. They are all in a very large keepsake box in a storage locker filled with other talismans from various chapters in my life.
In recent years, I’ve been doing the same thing with her clothes that I’ve done my entire adult life with mine—namely, shuffling them from place to place, not ready to part with them but needing to move them to make room for new, more usable things. Last year, when I heard from several friends that they’d been buying kids’ clothes on craigslist and eBay, I started selling some of the things she’s outgrown, careful to never give up anything I’d want to keep or pass on to her. For some reason, I’ve been doing a brisk business over these past few months and I’ve managed to dwindle down my daughter’s cast-offs that I don’t want to a few shopping bags.