Do you want to know a daunting task? Cleaning out your closet when you have a lot of clothes to reorganize. And you also have a small closet to work with. Double whammy.
Let me start out by saying that I DREAM of being one of those people who have a capsule wardrobe of only forty or so items. And someday I WILL get there. Baby steps, friends.
The History and the Lesson
Matt and I had a HUGE walk-in closet in our last house, and I did more than my share of filling it to bursting. Frankly, I love clothes and shoes and all the girly things. My wake up call happened when we went from lots of closet real estate to a much smaller space in our fixer upper farmhouse. I also work full time, so I have more “office” clothes than many. That did not help matters.
Moving to a much smaller space made me realize some things I’m not so proud of. I wanted to change my lifestyle to something much simpler. And the process of moving opened up my eyes to exactly how much STUFF we had, none of which made me happier. I had more than enough clothing, to the point where I realized I had clothes hanging in my closet that I had never worn. That was a shameful moment for me. I don’t have money to throw around or waste on impulse purchases or retail therapy regrets. I needed to quit living like I do. If I was going to become a minimalist, I certainly had to stop living like a maximalist. I landed in this place of excess because of bad habits, like shopping because I was bored. Or because I needed a pick me up after a bad day.
My Closet Cleaning Reality Check
The catalyst to cleaning out my closet was the fact that spring hit our little neck of the woods. It was time to switch out my closet to warmer weather clothing. I put it off a little longer than usual because Northwest Ohio tends to be cool and rainy through the month of May. And, to be honest, I was dreading this task more than a bit.
Shoulders squared and ready to do battle, I approached my current, and still overcrowded closet. Dun, dun, dun. I lived to tell about it and today, I’m going to share my process with you. You can also check out my video.
Start with Shoes
I took all of my fall and winter shoes and laid them out on our king size bed. Soon to follow were all of my spring and summer shoes.
I am not proud of this photo. Yes, I have a problem and I’m the first to admit it. To give myself a little bit of grace, many of the shoes you see here are older than I would like to admit. I still loved many of them! However, it was time to inspect and decide. Good shoes that were no longer comfortable but in good condition were put in the donate pile. Those more worn out than I realized went into the toss pile. Here’s a photo of how things looked after the shoes were sorted accordingly.
Now for the clothes.
I went through the same process as the shoes, reviewing the items that were going to be put away until next fall and winter first. Then I moved on to all of the spring and summer clothes I had in storage. And yes, once again I realized I honestly don’t need to buy one new thing to wear the entire summer!
More casual items like t-shirts and shorts were put away in these storage bins I got a few years ago. They fit perfectly in our bedroom armoire. After culling through it all, hours later, I had a few bags of clothes and shoes that were ready to be donated. Little victories!
On to the closet cleaning situation.
Matt worked really hard on this space. I love the shiplap walls he made himself and installed, the lighting, the painted wood floors. However, he made his side of the closet mirror mine and he is 6’4″. It’s no easy feat to hang anything on the top rod in this closet without a step ladder. Therefore, it made sense to hang longer items like dresses and pants from that rod. Blouses and skirts went on the bottom. Shoes were filed away on the shelves that face into the center of the closet space. Here’s a photo of what that looked like.
Ha, right? Still way too many clothes. So I had to develop a strategy to whittle more down in this massive wardrobe in the future. This is how I am doing it.
How I’m Keeping My Closet Organized
- At night, I hang the next day’s clothes on the hook you see here, along with any accessories like a purse and shoes. I pull the jewelry I am wearing out the night before. Try as I might, my mornings are already busy with chores that need to be done every day before work. I need to be out the door and to work at a certain time. It only takes a few minutes of my time to set things out the night before and makes for a much less stressful morning.
- I am determined to make a concerted effort to wear everything that’s now hanging in the closet and in those bins. I think it will likely take all summer based on what I see! I will make a note of how I feel while wearing it, how it fits, any compliments I receive on it, and so on. This will help me determine if it will continue to be a keep item or a future donate item.
- An empty bag in my closet will hold future donation items. This small addition will greatly improve how quickly this process will go next year at this time.
- IF I decide I need anything new, it’s going on a list and I will ONLY shop for those items, nothing extra. I need to be very focused in this endeavor in order to change my bad habit of impulse purchasing and buying things I don’t need.
Can a maximalist become a minimalist?
I am determined to be living proof that it can be done. The simple lifestyle I envision in my head and in my heart doesn’t support having an excess of things. However, I also know Rome wasn’t built in one day. I know I can’t just flip a switch and have it be so just because I say it. I realize I will have to learn restraint and fight temptations. I have to keep my eyes on the prize. Because I do really feel that having less is more, that saying no in a world that always wants you to say yes is just fine, that going without can be a blessing.
Are you ready to go on this journey with me towards simplifying and scaling down your lifestyle? What have been some of your struggles along the way? Do you dread cleaning out your closet too? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.