This year, I rang in the New Year by taking a four-day weekend solely for the purpose of cleaning out my closet. I hadn’t tackled this task since 2012 when I spent another long weekend changing all my hangers from a tangle of plastic to space-saving velvet hangers. One of my better life decisions.
Both weekends were hard and frustrating. Tears were shed, brows were furrowed, and curse words were shouted. I needed every bit of those four days to sort through the rubble and regain control of my life.
You may think I’m being dramatic here, but I am not. When my closet is in order, my life is in order. It’s amazing not to start my day with the stress of digging for something to wear that makes me feel good.
Through the struggle of those four days, I kept revisiting these 3 easy steps to clean out your closet that kept me motivated and on track. They aren’t easy in the sense that the process is painless, but they simplify the process and keep you moving until you eventually have a duh moment.
- Ask the tough questions. Don’t pull a hanger out of the closet and ask yourself “Will I ever wear this again?” because the answer is probably “Well, yeah.” and back in the closet it will go. Instead, ask yourself “Do I love this?”, “Does this make me feel good about myself?’, “Is this something I wear the heck out of?” If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then it can go back into the closet. If there’s a no in there, then it’s time to part ways.
- Seriously consider the “maybe” pile. If you’re like me, you’re on the fence about most items in your closet and the maybe pile quickly becomes the yes pile. You can’t just get rid of something on the off chance that you might might lose 20 pounds or get invited somewhere fancy. Yes, you can. And you should by going through your maybe pile and asking yourself “Would I pull out cash and buy this again right now?” If you wouldn’t buy it again, you shouldn’t keep it.
- Follow through. Before you even open your closet doors, make sure you know where the nearest donation center is. Have trash bags ready and your car backed up to the front door. Make it easier for you to get unwanted items out of the house instead of into the basement. I ended up making two trips The Salvation Army and two trips to the dumpster, in total removing 32 trash-bags of debris from my closet. I haven’t missed a single thing.
Once you’ve achieved the zen state of closet organization, have a plan in place for evaluating what goes into your closet moving forward. For me, that’s making sure it’s something that makes me feel good, that fits right now (no buying something a size smaller because it was on sale and I just renewed my Weight Watchers subscription), and I can easily incorporate it into three different outfits with what’s already in my closet.
So far, nothing has made it into the closet this year and I’m still marveling at all the extra space.
Do you clean out your closet regularly? Any tips for making the process less painful?