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Just in case you haven’t heard it before, I want to start by reminding you that your clothes are supposed to fit you, you are NOT supposed to change to fit your clothes. If it’s your first time hearing that statement, feel free to sit with it for a bit and think about what this means for how you approach your relationship between clothing and your body. Pinching waistband on your jeans? Puckering on the sleeves of your blouse? This does not make you a bad person or a failure! In fact just the opposite. Our bodies are supposed to change over our lives. You are growing and evolving and becoming. 

Also, our society’s narrow, rigid beauty standards decide which sizes to produce and promote. These standards are unattainable and harmful for the average person. From store to store sizes vary extremely and one size in store A could fit totally differently in store B. In short, the size of your pants does NOT dictate your worth as a person. 

Time and time again we see and hear of people holding on to items of clothing in hopes of reaching their “goal weight” to wear it. What many don’t realize is you can reach that size and still not feel like enough. Trust me, fitting into that dress on your back shelf won’t mean your life suddenly “falls into place.” In fact, it may be at the cost of your mental health and wellbeing. So if you find yourself with clothes that no longer fit I encourage you to let them go. Resist holding on to the things and ideas that no longer serve you. I personally went through my own closet between moving apartments and made a pile of all the clothes that no longer fit. Although I knew keeping them would not be helpful I also wasn’t comfortable with simply throwing them out. If you’re in a similar position, here are 3 tips for what to do with those clothes that no longer serve you: 

1. Sell Them

If some of the clothes are “brand name” and in good condition you will likely have a buyer interested in purchasing them and giving them a second home. And a little extra money in the pocket certainly doesn’t hurt! Nowadays you can try selling your items at local consignment shops or through online shopping platforms such as ThredUp, Poshmark and DePop (UK based). 

2. Swap/Exchange

Some people enjoy holding swap parties with their friends and peers to exchange clothes you no longer want with one another – it feels like a new wardrobe for free! If you and your friends are all varying sizes (which is NORMAL!) throw in some accessories (e.g. I’ll swap you this sweater for that purse, or exchange those shoes for earrings!). 

3. Donate

Your old clothes that no longer serve you can find new life for those that struggle to put clothes on their back. Donating the clothes that no longer fit is a great way to do a kind thing for both yourself and others. Some donation shops include: Goodwill, Salvation Army, Local Charity Shops (UK) and clothing banks typically located at grocery stores! 

Not only do these options reduce waste caused by the fashion industry, but they also free you from the burden of trying to change yourself to fit society’s ridiculous beauty standards. Win-win much? Instead of living to be the smallest size, try simply to live. I recognize it can be discouraging and frustrating to no longer fit into the clothing you used to. But I’m here to remind you that is normal and a part of living life in full color. 

By: Maddy Weingast, Assistant for Therapy for Eating Disorders and Body Image