Monday, November 18, 2013

The Closet Purge: Trying It All On

Life happens fast.  Sometimes I get so busy rushing around that I let things go.  One day recently, I finally slowed down long enough to take a look around and realized the outside of my closet looked something like this.  I didn't have time to (and let's be honest, had a complete lack of desire to) deal with my shrinking clothing storage spaces, so I just started throwing everything into a tangled pile and complained (a lot) about not having a walk-in closet.    

My drawers were literally overflowing with clothing, my closet was busting at the seams, and I had NOTHING to wear.  Hidden in that pile is a full-length mirror that is so draped with clothing that I couldn't even use it anymore.  Looking for it in this picture is a little like playing Where's Waldo.  This kind of thing happens to the best of us, and let's face it, can only be ignored for so long.

It was easy for me to complain that my closet was too small or that I didn't have enough storage space for all of my stuff.  Even if I could store it all beautifully, would I wear any of this?  One day I decided that I needed to take control of what I could fix, and do a real closet clean out.  Not just the kind where I breeze through my closet and pull a few things for donation.  The kind where I am honest about everything I own and make a genuine effort to keep only what I will use.  This is how I did it in three easy steps.

1)  I dumped out every single drawer, one at a time, onto my bed.  Underwear that had been around since high school, gone.  Tank tops that I bought on sale for a magnificent discount at Old Navy a few years ago, but had never worn once, good-bye.  The cute t-shirt with a stain on it that I might want to use next time we have to paint a room in the house, not staying.  It was time to be honest about everything.  I made three piles:  what I was keeping, what I could donate (like that tank top), and what needed to go into the trash (underwear and stained clothing).  

2)  I have had my Ikea dresser for about ten years now.  I admit that I may be guilty of overstuffing it, and all of the drawers started caving in, which made them stop opening.  I had never intended to keep the dresser this long, but in the long list I have of things to buy, bedroom furniture wasn't at the top.  So I pulled out my hot glue gun and glued the drawers back together.  I am sharing this part with you because I know that I can't be the only person out there struggling with this problem.  So far this solution seems to be working.

3)  I tried on everything I owned that hadn't been worn in the past few weeks.  Everything in my drawers.  Everything hanging in my closet.  This included things that might be too big/too small/not the right season.  I stood in front of my mirror (and sometimes asked my husband his opinion) and took a hard look at each article of clothing.  It took me a few days to do this, and when it was over, I purged things I had been holding on to for reasons that no longer made sense (like because I owned it in high school and it still fit, even though I would never ever be caught dead wearing it).  I also added clothing back into rotation that I hadn't worn in a long time that I realized was totally adorable.  Winning!  

It felt good seeing empty hangers (tip: I use huggable hangers for pretty much everything, which not only gives me more space, clothing doesn't slip off of them.  ).  I liked rearranging my drawers, and most of all, being able to open and close them easily.  I could find things again, and actually see what I had.  I didn't buy anything, and purged a lot, but somehow I seemed to have so much more to choose from than I did before.  

I can't recommend the "trying everything on that you own" method highly enough for a real closet reality check.  Do you have any tips for doing closet purges?


Stephanie said...

I did a purge recently and ended up donating a giant garbage bag full of clothes to Goodwill. I didn't try anything on, though. I just went with the old, "Have I worn this in the last year?" question. If the answer was No, the next question is, "Have I worn this in the last TWO years?" If not, it gets donated. Period. If yes, then I ask myself whether I'd wear it again before deciding to donate it. It took me about an hour to go through everything but I need it to be a quick and painless process or I'll just hold on to it all indefinitely!

Kristina said...

I love a good closet purge. It always feels so good afterwards!!!
I am in the mood to do one but I'll hold off till after baby comes.

ShinyPrettyThings said...

Yay!!! I need to do like 5 purges hahaha

Mandy Crandell said...

Awesome! I so need to do this. Thank you for the motivation!

Amy Fashion Blog said...

I did a closet purge right before I moved to Germany

Michaela said...

I'm going to Ikea tomorrow, I need a couple of more storage items, both for clothes and cosmetics. I don't own that much in either category, but it's nice to have it organized properly.

SizzleandZoom said...

I have done this so many times it's funny but I haven't tried everything on. That's a good one. I have all pink huggable hangers-makes looking into the closet more enjoyable-if indeed that's the right word.

Lorena said...

Good for you ! I believe that purging the closet gives you a sense of freedom - letting go of items you dont need.
I am always editing the closet, I cannot just try it on and decide it takes me forever to let things go so I am always on a constant purge which i blog about once a month.
Just 2 days ago I did my earring drawer and over 13 pairs of earrings were gone, plus a few other things. Now I feel like I can see my stuff better.

Megan Diaz said...

oh closet i hate thee! haha...such a pain, but so necessary! Great job!
Hot Pink Day
Libi & Lola

E said...

That is some dedication. At this point, I have plenty of space, but my wardrobe could use some freshening (i.e. getting rid of things that don't fit/I never wear/are worn out).

I'm Erin

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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