The Therapy of Spring Cleaning

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Spring cleaning usually begins after having a slightly harsh, but long-winded conversation with yourself. New Year’s resolutions have faded and we’re ready for yet another fresh start. Spring cleaning gives us that sterilizing ability. Whether it is spring cleaning your actual life, disposing of discouraging relationships, or refreshing your mediocre yet overflowing closet. 

During winter, everyone’s outfit mimics the tiredness that they feel. In spring, fashion has the chance to rejuvenate. It is truly powerful in that sense. Fashion has the ability to alter the mindset and breathe the aura that you feel. Waving goodbye to the discouragement of winter with the growth of summer blossoming is where sunken spirits rise, attitudes alter, and wardrobes glow a little brighter. It’s transformative. It’s therapeutic. 

Like most people, my daily expression of dressing has so much to do with how I’m feeling or what I’m doing that particular day. Although that very person changes pretty frequently. If I’m going through a don’t miss a day at the gym it’s almost summer run bitch run kinda phase, you’ll most likely find a preoccupied, bemused mademoiselle with some sort of colored legging assortment, running around in a pair of black Nike’s and a leather jacket for daily errands that follow after. If I’m feeling a little badass, I’ll throw on my American flag bomber jacket like nobody else’s business. And with the odd occasion I’m feeling a little whimsical, ready to prance around Central Park with a woven straw basket, you’ll find me in a pale pink floral dress most likely from Topshop. Wait, what? Florals for spring, you say? Groundbreaking. Sorry not sorry. Miranda Priestly said it first. 

I’ve got myself into a bit of a frenzy lately. Nothing new there really, but this one concerns the beautiful complexity, but destructive nature of spring cleaning, and all the ruffled edges it eliminates. I’ve found myself at the bossy command of spring’s debut of riddance. While I was completely aware that I’ll be moving back to Ireland post graduation this summer, I had been perfectly oblivious until now about how I’ll be hauling all my things across the Atlantic in what I like to think will only be two suitcases, hah. Despite originally leaving home by stuffing oversized hoodies, untouched heels, and one too many fluffy jackets into two overweight suitcases, I’ve managed to accumulate some other questionable pieces over the last three plus years. So while Spring Break for some people meant free the nipple, mine meant a baggy tee and a plastic black sack. Actually, make that two - one obnoxiously labelled and stamped SELL, and one kindly labelled DONATE. All of this, with such an uncertain drive to get rid of, erm, everything?

Does everyone spring clean? Is it even a thing? Maybe I take it a little too seriously, but I find it as liberating as taking my bra off at the end of day. When I decide to wear one that is. Maybe I’m the type to dedicate time to this annual purging habit as my birthday falls in spring, and honestly, I look at my birthday as a bigger reflection than a New Year resolution. A time to refresh, renew and align myself with all those given up goals a mere four months in. It’s the traditional reboot system I have concreted into my natural structure after a bleak winter season of hibernation and a tried attempt of wearing something else other than another pair of fluffy Penny’s pyjamas.

I like to think of myself as a special kind of clean freak. Everything in my possession is aesthetically tidy with everything I don’t use. Because, well, isn’t a full closet better than an empty one? Despite if you wore it in the last twelve months or not. Organizing my closet gives me that short-lived feeling that I, even for a hot second, am on top of my shit. Plus, doesn’t cleaning out your closet allow us to laugh at some previous style choices, and question our commitment issues with others.

The cleansing of my closet is usually attacked with such aggression of renewal. Everything must go, and the new should take prominence. Yet after emptying everything from my closet, I’m slowly noticing that the Keep pile is beginning to look a lot like what I expected of the Must Go pile to be. And suddenly, the idea of a clothing cleanse has transformed into a hoarding binge and nothing productive has been accomplished but yet another frantic mess to clean up. Weakness has threatened without even realizing it, and as I shake the dust off the River Island jacket I haven’t worn in a good four years, a convincing voice has manipulated me into thinking that it deserves a hanger once again. And I’m slowly, but sneakily, folding a pair of jeans that just might fit again - Even though they haven’t in past three years. Expectations captivate reality, every single time. Defeated, once again. Oh well, I did try

Over the years, this attempted annual purging habit has really just revolutionized into another dusting frenzy and a sad black sack given to relatives. But this year, it has to be different. In just over a month I’m moving to another country, so realistically, it better be. It seems like I have been describing myself as a stubborn hoarder. But the truth is I’m the complete opposite. A prime minimalist, if you will. So why is it that this year in particular I'm finding it so much harder to let go? Is it more than just a spring clean? Am I finding it so much harder because unconsciously I know that it is truly defining leaving my life in New York? I’ll admit, I’m all into the psychological aspect of things. The previous will I had of abandoning unloved pieces has translated into a memory game. What I thought would be a meditating cleanse of the old has manifested into an inability to let go of tangible memories that represent something more than gathering dust or precious space.