It’s spring and I’m ready to change out my clothes! When I switch my winter clothes out for spring, I try to do a basic closet clean out. Normally this drags out over a few days and it looks like a complete disaster – and I usually end up doing a halfway job. This ability to organize my closet is just not my gift, however, my friend Peggy Barnes , a fellow blogger and a professional in the organization business, does have this gift. Since my job is finding the clothes and her strength is organizing them, I was thrilled that she was willing to make a guest appearance on Twisted Sash to give some fantastic insight as to why this is so hard for people and what to do to make the process easier. There’s a lot to tackle in a closet clean-out, and as Peggy says, “It’s not one size fits all”. You’ve got some decisions to make that only you can make. I’ll cover Peggy’s basics first and then give specifics on things like managing shoes and work-out wear in an upcoming article. This way you’ll have time to plan. Plus, managing all of this will be less daunting of a task if we break it out into smaller jobs!
Peggy has been a certified professional organizer and life coach for over 8 years. She helps women free themselves from clutter and not just in the literal sense. You see, Peggy believes there’s a connection between the clutter in our bedroom closet and the clutter that we allow to live inside us. This explains why I feel such a sense of peace once I’ve uncluttered a closet! I love Peggy’s common sense strategies. She’s warm and funny, but make no mistake, she knows every excuse in the book as to why you won’t toss it. She helps examine why we hang onto stuff and determine if it’s really serving us. Plus, she gives you a lot of things to consider prior to the closet clean-out so it will run smoothly.
Things to Consider in Advance
Schedule the Closet Clean
For most people, it takes five to eight hours to clean out their closets, so set aside the time and commit to doing it. If you can’t get it done in one day, set aside an hour a day and focus on one item of clothing at a time.
Where is the temporary closet?
Determine the place all your contents of the closet will reside during the closet clean out. Most of the time, it’s our bedroom but if it takes you longer than a day, you’ll need to put the items in another location so you’ve got somewhere to sleep:)
Do you prefer to go it alone or is it helpful to enlist help?
Understand Why You Are Cleaning Out the Closet
Why are you cleaning out your closet? Is it because you can’t find clothes or because you need more space? Maybe you just think that you should? Peggy suggests knowing your why so you can have a clear goal before you get started. This is your motivation!
Get to Work
Empty the Closet
Empty the closet(s). Ideally, you get everything out, all at once. If you can’t get it all out, take one category out at a time. For example, focus on your dresses first and then set aside the next hour for your shirts etc.
Tidy up the Closet
Wipe down your closet, vacuum and prepare the space for your clothes.
For me, this process is what I find most time-consuming. There are lots of types of clothes and considerations to make during this process. Here are four questions you should ask when deciding whether to keep in the closet or lose it.
- Does it look good? If yes, keep.
- Does it currently fit? If yes and you love it, keep.
- Is it authentic to your style? If yes, keep.
- Has it been in your closet unworn for a year or longer? If yes, lose it.
- Do the clothes still have tags on them? If yes, sell it.
What’s Your Excuse?
One of the things I addressed with Peggy was obstacles women face when cleaning out their closets. Peggy has heard it all! She laid out the most common excuses women use to keep clutter in their closets. She addresses these excuses with common sense solutions. I don’t know about you but I see myself in a lot of these scenarios.
Many women keep clothes because they plan on losing weight or they expect to gain weight.
Objection: I plan on losing weight.
Solution: If you aren’t currently working on losing the weight, don’t keep the clothes.
Objection: I”m afraid I might gain the weight back, so I want to keep my larger clothes?
Solution: Don’t self-sabotage your goals. If you have worked hard to get to your current weight, don’t risk gaining it back by giving yourself an out.
I’m Sentimental About My Clothes
Some of us are sentimental about clothes that might have been worn on special occasions. I bought these Dory dresses for me and my mini-me but we have both outgrown Dory. It’s time to let the dresses go but I’ll keep the picture:) For some of you, it might be an outfit you wore for a wedding anniversary or a graduation. I love Peggy’s solution on this one!
Objection: My husband bought this for me on our tenth wedding anniversary. I can’t get rid of it.
Solution: Keep a picture of wearing the outfit having good times with your hubby.
On some clothing, we’ve spent too much. We feel guilty about it and either let it hang in the closet with tags attached or won’t get rid of it when it’s no longer serving us. Some of us do both. We never wear it and we won’t get rid of it. Crazy!
Objection: I can’t get rid of this because I’ll never get nearly what I paid for it at a consignment store.
Solution: That may very well be true but keeping it is not going to add any value to it. Sell it or donate it.
Objection: I can’t get rid of the clothes that still have tags on them. I might wear them one day.
Solution: You might be an impulsive buyer. Walk away from what you want to purchase, take an inventory of your closet and if you dream about it, go back and purchase it. Sometimes walking away will make you reconsider your purchase. Another thing I find helpful with compulsive spending is using actual cash to purchase the item.
The bottom line is if you don’t love it, it doesn’t currently fit or it isn’t authentic to your style or has been hanging in your closet unworn for over a year, chances are you should ditch the clothing. It’s taking up space in your closet which is not only cluttering your closet but cluttering your mind.
Tip: I personally use Material World for my designer clothes. They pay you up front for select, brand name, quality items. They mail you a bag with a prepaid label and once they review your clothing will send you an offer. If you choose not to accept they will donate it on your behalf of mail it back to you free of charge. They are also a great place to shop for designer brands that have been gently used.
It Looks Good.. On Someone Else
How many times have you admired someone wearing a polka dot dress or perhaps it’s the bow on a pair of beautiful shoes? Maybe you take the next step and purchase something similar, just to leave it hanging in your closet.
Objection: It looked so good on that lady in the store and we have the same type of figure. Maybe I’m just not brave enough to wear it yet.
Solution: Own the mistake. Recognize you liked it on someone else but it’s not authentic to your style. Think twice before you purchase whatever it is in your closet that has tags on it (polka dots, or bows or prints). Maybe you just admire someone else’s style. Compliment them and move onto what works for you.
The goal idea this week is to make a plan. Start considering where your temporary closet is going to be and if you are going to have a partner in this venture. The next step is to put it on your calendar. Next week, we’ll get down to the nitty gritty and focus on solutions for storing some of the things that will serve you! Peggy has great tips so make sure you follow along!
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