t-shirts and bikinis and socks, oh my


If you asked me to go with you on a tropical holiday to Bonaire, I would most likely think ‘oh dear, and I have no swimwear’ and frantically start shopping for some. It’s not easy finding decent swimwear in my size, so I’m on this Holy Grail quest for the perfect bikini. That’s right, bikini, I don’t need to be all covered up just because I’m plus size. But when I start going through my swimwear I realize I can stop the search. It turns out I have 26 perfectly lovely swim outfits, some of them with matching sarong or shorts. Not sure how that happened. A couple of them were a bit worse for wear, being about 100 years old, but the rest has basically not seen the light of day, let alone the sun, a swimming pool or the ocean. So I think I’m set for now. It’s so strange to discover how many items I’ve been purchasing out of fear when actually I have all I need and then some.

A couple years ago, on a Mexican vacation, I bought a beautiful green swimsuit, with matching green chemise. I wore it a couple times there, and then it went into my cupboard. And when I needed it for another holiday I suddenly couldn’t find it. I was certain I’d taken it to Belgium when I was staying in a hotel with swimming pool and actually expected to use the pool (I never do). Or maybe to Brazil. Either way, it had clearly slipped out of my suitcase somewhere exotic and I was annoyed I’d lost it. It was one of my more expensive swimsuits and having the green chemise without it seemed silly, yet I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of that pretty thing. Well, guess what I found, all the way at the bottom of my cupboard when I emptied it? That’s right. The precious green swimsuit from Mexico. I took it as a sign from the universe indicating that this cleanse was the right path for me.

I also go through stockings and socks. I didn’t wear skirts or dresses all winter because I had no pantyhoses, and they are no fun to shop for. But while sorting everything out, I find out I have over 30. Sure, some of them are yellow and orange and therefore promptly donated (what was I thinking?) but the rest is black and perfectly wearable. So dresses are back on!

Next in line is sleepwear. I have lots of pajamas that I never use because I don’t like when the top is too short to cover my tummy. I get rid of them ruthlessly, visualizing how happy I’ll be to sleep with a warm tummy every night. What I wear the most are giant t-shirts with prints such as Miss M&Ms saying ‘I don’t do kisses’. They’ve been washed so often that the print is all wrinkled, hardened and unreadable. Out they go, after many years of happy nights. I thank them for their loyal services and the joy they brought before saying goodbye, as Marie recommends. I also have the sexy negligees that seemed like a good idea but never get worn as I prefer my shoulders to be covered when I sleep. Ok, I know those aren’t really made for sleeping, so I keep the nicest one and get rid of the rest.

I move to sportswear. Most of my sportswear come from Decathlon or H&M. It is mainly shapeless and in ugly colors (army green? Ewwww). All the pants are too long. Some of the hoodies have broken zippers. I fill in a whole bag with all this crap. I keep only what makes me feel happy when I wear it. It’s still enough to workout several times a week, which I never do, even in a good week.

My last category of the day is tops. Long sleeve, short sleeve, tanks. The pile on the floor comes up to my knees. Marie Kondo says people usually have 140 tops. I actually have 200. Holy smokes. Overwhelmed, I start by picking the ones I love best. They usually have embroideries, flattering cuts or just a pretty color. I notice I haven’t worn some of them for years and decide to give them another chance. I also need some basic t-shirts and tanks to go below other items. I’m left with tops that never really looked good, or tops in colors that I never really liked, relics from the days when I would buy anything that fits. I discard them, and it feels like saying goodbye to that rather miserable time of my life. I will no longer buy items I don’t like just because they fit. Those days are gone. This feels like therapy.

I enjoy the process a lot, even more so because I have actually purchased drawers and instead of putting the sorted items back where they were, I take the time to fold them the KonMari way and arrange them by color, rainbow-style. It looks so pretty. I can’t stop staring it everything. It feels like I live in a boutique owned by people with good taste.

It takes me the rest of the day to install the drawers into my cupboard but once I’m done, I feel so proud. From that day onwards, I feel a thrill of pride and joy every time I dig into those drawers. I can’t wait to get the rest of my clothes into drawers, and organized by color!


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