Tips to Purge Your Closet
Early in the new year seems to be the time when everyone puts their goals or resolutions into action. We all try to eat healthier, exercise more, maybe spend more time reading or journalling and get our lives more organized. For myself and I'm sure many of you, a major area of disorganization in my life is my closet. Usually twice a year I try to do a full closet purge and it's always so refreshing. While I'm no expert by any means, I thought I'd share a few of the helpful tips I use when trying to de-clutter my closet.
1. Set aside enough time to get your closet organized
In the past I've thought "oh I'll work on my closet a few minutes at a time over the span of a week" and from personal experience I'll tell you that doesn't really work. Set aside 1-2 hours and just get it done. Put on some music, maybe start up your diffuser with some essential oils, do whatever you need to do to ensure that you're ready to tackle your closet all in one go. This ensures the closet purge actually happens and saves you from a week of total chaos and even more disorganization. That, or you don't end up ever finishing and then what good was starting?
2. Grab 3 bags or boxes. One for items to donate, one for garbage and one for pieces that need to be repaired or altered.
The closet purge is going to be a time of self reflection and some serious Marie Kondo-ing so make sure you're prepared. Going through your closet you're going to separate items that need to be repaired or altered for a trip to the tailor (or a talented friend or family member who can help you out!), those that are in good enough condition to be donated, and those that just need to go. In true reduce, reuse, recycle fashion, we'll take some old clothes that have just been worn out and if they're the right material, we'll cut them into cloth sized pieces and use them for dusting or cleaning rags. But if an item of clothing is falling apart and you wouldn't wear it yourself, don't donate it. Lastly, with the clothes that are left that you do wear - separate them into spring/summer and fall/winter piles. I understand if you live in a climate where you can wear shorts in the winter that this exercise might not apply to you but for many of us, it does. When we moved into our new home, I set up a clothing rack downstairs where you'll currently find hanging all of my rompers, maxi dresses and other pieces that I won't be wearing until the snow melts. This leaves way more room to see the clothes that I can actually wear right now. I highly recommend investing the $13 if you have the room for it.
3. Empty out your entire closet. Everything. Yes, everything.
Okay so this part might seem a bit overkill but trust me, you'll be amazed at the treasures you might find hiding in the deep depths of your closet so take the time to 100% empty it out so you're dealing with a blank slate and can accurately asses every item.
4. Get real with yourself
One of the hardest lessons I've learned happened when I was 16. It was summer time and there was a huge storm that caused lots of flooding all over the city, my family's home included. We lived in a bungalow and when I turned 16 I moved to a bedroom downstairs. On the day of the storm I came home to find our deep freeze floating in the basement and we had almost 5 feet of sewage *gag* backup in the basement- where my bedroom was. Our home was declared a biohazardous danger zone and we were not able to live in it for the summer until the demolition of the basement and construction was complete. Everything I owned was ruined. All of my memory boxes with old letters from friends and photos and keepsakes, all of my clothes, shoes and purses, makeup and all- garbage. I'll tell you then that as a family we all learned a lesson. As we pulled the few rubbermaid tote boxes out of storage that were high enough to be saved only to find that they were full of junk we weren't happy was saved our new motto became "if you wouldn't wade through 4 feet of shit to save it, then don't keep it". Over 10 years later I still think of that often. Other lessons: don't keep anything in the basement in cardboard boxes - rubbermaid sealable containers all the way.
I share this lesson because this is one of the questions I ask myself as I organize my closet. Firstly, I try to remember the last time I wore the item - if it was over a year ago, it might be time to go. Next up, I think "how do I feel when I wear this" - if it doesn't make me feel awesome, why would I keep it? Then lastly I think, if the house were on fire or flooding or whatever bizarre circumstance you can conjure up that would cause you to run to your closet and just grab a stack of hanging clothes - and I grabbed this item, would I be happy I took it? Just a few questions for you to consider.
Now, there are a few circumstances that I've run into that cause a bit of a dilemma while I'm cleaning out my closet....
a) "But it was expensive"
If it's an item that you splurged on and maybe now regret because you don't wear it often - sell it. Have the item dry cleaned or repaired if need be then sell it online or take it into a consignment store. You won't get your full money back but it will be a good lesson learned and, it's better than taking up room in your closet if you'll never wear it anyways
and b) It doesn't fit now but......
Oh boy do I get this one. My weight tends to fluctuate so that at any given time I have several sizes of clothing in my closet. If you're holding onto clothes that are WAY too small - that can be unhealthy in terms of putting pressure or maybe unrealistic expectations on yourself of what size you should be. On the other hand, if you are holding onto clothes that are 2 sizes too big, let those go too! Try to only keep clothes that fit you currently or are maybe just a size difference from what you are at the most.
I know this seems like a lot and well to be frank, it is. Take enough time to truly get your closet organized and then follow through on donating, recycling and having repaired all of the clothes that need to be. Putting in the work over one weekend will be so worth it when you open your closet only to find pieces that fit you, that make you feel fabulous and that you love to wear.