Why Closets are a Metaphor for Life


I look at closets, especially the cleaning out portion, as a metaphor for life. There are so many ways that this tiny space encapsulates the bigger picture of life as a whole, especially if it's in disarray. I'm sure many people wish they could just snap their fingers and have everything be beautiful and perfect. It would definitely be easier than having to sort through the years of baggage, guilt, memories, and "stuff". But we have to get through the hard part to having something that lights us up. As humans we have a hard time letting go. Letting go of relationships, ideas, memories, shame, hurt, guilt, hopes... things.

Our clothing carries the memories we form in those relationships, symbolize the body we feel ashamed about, the life we hoped we would have, the choices we wish we had made differently. When you clean out your closet there are some things that are harder to let go of. That is because of the feelings we hold around them, or the hopes we have for them. "Maybe one day I'll need this" or "When I lose ten pounds this will fit" show you are living in the future, not comfortable with your present. "I used to love this" or "I remember when I wore this to ___" mean you're holding onto the past. Instead of focusing on being happy and content today, you're either lamenting the times that have passed or waiting until achieving some goal tells you you're worthy. You're surrounding yourself in reminders of that, every single day.

It takes a tonne of strength to let go of the things that no longer serve us. Whether its shame around your body because of what society or someone else told us, or a relationship that brought you both happiness and pain, it's hard to release it. When you're looking at reminders of that every day, it's just that much harder. I truly believe that doing a thorough closet clean out helps you with that process. If you're just starting out, it calls attention to what needs to shift, and kickstarts the process. If you've done a tonne of self work, a closet clean out helps tie up the loose ends, both literally and figuratively.

It would be so nice if we could easily move from feeling lost to settled, anxious to calm, or disorganized to organized. But I think there is immense beauty, power, strength and grace to be found in the process of moving through the darkness. It teaches you more about yourself than you ever thought you could know, and helps you find strength you never knew you had. Plus, you'll appreciate the lightness so much more once you're through the darkness. And that in itself is worth it.