Whether you are looking to sell your home, like some who visit Fresyes are, or just wanting to enjoy a more organized, easy to navigate home, clutter can be your arch enemy. The awful thing about clutter too, is that it so often you can spend hours getting rid of it only to see it return in six months to a year.
In recent years, I’ve found myself wanting to simplify my belongings in my home and pare down to just what is needed. I read a blog that has a lot of great tips about how to simplify your home and why you’ll be glad you did, as well as another that talks about building a “remixable wardrobe” of clothing that works well together, making it easier to get dressed each day and look put together. That blog‘s author, Audrey, recently decluttered her wardrobe using the tips provided by “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” the same book I’ve been reading and I found her post about the process inspiring.
Over the past week, I have decluttered my own wardrobe (everything from formal dresses to my fuzzy socks!) and I believe that with the help of that awesome Tidying Up book and insight from my favorite bloggers, I’ve finally accepted certain things about closet decluttering and my wardrobe that will stop the recurrent cycle of clutter and even prevent me from buying things that I don’t need. Here’s what I did that worked for me, and I think may work for others too.
Step 1: Go through every area in which you store clothing, shoes or accessories, one by one.
Take EVERY single item out of that space. Yes, you really have to take it all out. Lay it on a bed, the floor, whatever works, but take it out.
Step 2: Inspect each item and begin creating two piles – keep or donate/sell by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do I love this? (Not like, but love!) When I wear it, does it make me feel good?
- If yes, move to the next questions – if no, place it in the donate/sell pile
- Does this fit me well now? (Not when I lose or gain weight, not if my arms get a little more toned, but now)
- If yes, move to the next questions – if no, place it in the donate/sell pile. You don’t need to keep things around that make you feel less than every time you see them!
- Is there anything about this item that makes me not choose to wear it often? (Are the sleeves slightly snug and uncomfortable? Does it require a belt on the waist and you don’t like how that feels? Is it a tad too low/short for work, but too dressy for outside of work?)
- If yes, move it to the donate/sell pile
- Have I worn this in the past year?
- If no, move it to the donate/sell pile
- Is this item useful for my lifestyle? Do I have a purpose for keeping it?
- If no, move it to the donate/sell pile
- Am I keeping this because it was expensive and I feel guilty getting rid of it?
This is a tough one… but if the answer is yes, chalk it up to a lesson that cost you $20+ buck in what you don’t actually like and move it to the donate/sell pile (I know, this sounds really hard – but if you do it, once you let the item go, you won’t really think about it again except when you’re shopping, and it will help you… I’ll explain in a moment.) The dress shown below was an expensive lesson for me. It was “pretty cute I think…” in store, but I didn’t love it. I ended up not really liking it on myself that much and never wore it once.
- Am I keeping this because I am hoping it will eventually go with something I purchase in the future?
- If yes, and you don’t intend to buy the pairing item in the next pay period, let it go. If you haven’t done it in this amount of time, are you really going to buy/find the missing match? Probably not.
- Is this item stained/in need of tailoring/worn out/faded/outdated?
- If you answered yes to the first two and you care about the item enough to try to remove the stain or repair the item, put it in a “to fix” pile. Decide how much time you’ll give yourself to fix the items in that pile (no more than a month) and if they’re not done by then, they go. If the other questions are a yes, give it a hug and send it to the donate/sell pile.
- Tell yourself: “Just because I’m no longer keeping this item, does not mean I didn’t appreciate it.” Once an item has served it’s purpose, it’s ok to let it go. Honest!
If you’ve asked yourself all of the questions and find yourself still on the fence about an item, score the item on how much you like it on a scale of 1-10. Anything you’d give less than an 8 to, shouldn’t take up valuable space. The goal of decluttering is not only to make things more visually appealing, but also to make getting dressed so much easier, as you’ll know that any item you put on is something that you’ll love and that fits you well!
Step 3: Start moving forward.
- Look at your donate/sell pile and notice any commonalities between the items you chose not to keep. Did you get rid of a lot of items with horizontal stripes? A specific color? A certain type of fabric? All tops that required you to wear a camisole underneath? Flowy shirts? Tight fitting pants? Whatever you notice, make a mental note so that the next time you shop and are tempted to buy an item that is similar, remind yourself it will likely become another pricey lesson in what you don’t actually like. (Don’t fall for the, “but it’s a good price and a nice style – I should buy it, right?” trap! If it’s not perfect for you, it’s a waste of your hard earned money!)
- Keep the rating system in mind when you shop, too. When you try it on, is it at least an 8 out of 10? If not, put it back!
- Donate the items you have chosen to donate. Choose an awesome local non-profit like the Salvation Army, Marjaree Mason Center or My Sister’s Closet. These great organizations will use your donations to help others in need and provide you with a receipt upon request. (If you file taxes in a way that allows you to write off charitable contributions, you can usually write off up to $500 in donated goods annually with receipts!)
- Sell the items you wish to sell via Craigslist, Ebay or clothing specific resale sites like Tradesy or Poshmark
- Reorganize your remaining items in a way that makes the most sense to your lifestyle. I have my closet divided by article type (sleeveless, short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, long sleeve, sweaters, jackets). Make it easy to find what you’re looking for.
- If you keep in mind the questions you asked yourself through this process, it will become very difficult to buy items you don’t love and reclutter your wardrobe again!
I hope that you will give these tips a try. I’m really enjoying how easy it is to get dressed in the morning now, knowing anything I pull out of my closet is going to be something I really like! Not to mention the fact that before, my closet was so crammed with stuff (much of which I no longer even wore!) that I could hardly find things, and now it’s so easy to find each item! If you do give this a try, I’d love to hear how it goes!
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