The holidays are right around the corner! If you’re like me, I’ve been trying to coordinate gifts for friends and family members for months. If you still need a last-minute gift idea, check out our holiday gift guide based on love languages (find it here). My love language is words of affirmation or gifts, so it’s very important and fun for me to take the time to really find the perfect gift for those in my life. It also really touches me when others spend time and energy to give me a gift (no matter how small).  For me, gifts aren’t shallow, they can be meaningful gestures to show loved ones that you really know them and are paying attention, that you appreciate them, and that you care about the things that matter to them. One of the reasons I love this time of year is for the nearly palpable feeling of generosity. People seem to be more willing to serve, to give, and to band together as a community.

With gift-giving on the brain, I spent some time thinking about what gifts I would want for you, those doing the hard, tedious, and often painful work of recovery to give yourself. The act of stepping into recovery is a gift that you are giving your past, current, and future self. However, I have an unconventional gift in mind that I believe will have huge payouts for you in the long-run. The gift I want you to give yourself this holiday season is a closet cleanout.

This holiday season, I want you to clean out all the old, uncomfortable, outdated, and ill-fitting clothing. Trash, donate, sell any clothing item that will not allow your current body to be the wonderful instrument that it is. Get it out of your house as soon as you can. Okay, stick with me here. I know a closet cleanout is not the most glamorous of all gifts, but it will absolutely be the gift that keeps on giving. I’m going to walk you through three awesome outcomes that could occur after ditching those clothes hanging in your closet and opting to dress in a way that your current body can feel comfortable and uninhibited.

Create Greater Body Appreciation

First, getting rid of anything clothing that is not comfortable or well-fitting allows you to have a greater appreciation for the body you’re in now. Dressing your current body shows acceptance and commitment to having a good relationship with yourself in the present. Dressing in clothing that is not the right size, holding on hope for your body to change, etc. is a disservice to you actually living your life in your body. Being uncomfortable often prevents you from being present. Getting rid of ill-fitting clothes is a commitment to live life in the present and in your present body.

Reduce Triggering Try-Ons

Next, a closet clean-out can also reduce triggering try-ons. Seeing clothing hanging in your closet that are not comfortable, that you do not like, or that no-longer fit can spur on anxiety. Keeping clothes that are from your eating disordered past can be triggering anytime you try them on and they no longer fit or you do not like the way you look. Give your future self a gift and get rid of the clothing that no longer fits. There will be so much peace that comes with knowing everything in your closet is good to go, comfy, and ready to wear. 

Greater Commitment to Recovery

Finally, one major benefit of a closet cleanout is the commitment to recovery. This actionable decision to rid yourself of clothing that is restrictive or tied to restricting can draw you closer to honoring your body and letting go of your eating disorder. You might be holding onto clothing that doesn’t fit in hopes that these items can somehow accommodate your recovered body. Starting fresh, dressing for your current body, and allowing yourself to lean into recovery is a gift that you deserve. Bodies change and evolve as you change and evolve. It is okay to ditch the sick clothes and find the peace and comfort (literally) that comes from more fully embracing recovery.