Clearing Space in Your Closet; Two in a Series

Image from  West Elm

Image from West Elm

While I know that many people are making due with much less, my husband and I are bursting at the seems of our just under 1,000 square foot condo.  It's our own fault. We own too much stuff.

We both love clothes and shopping (yes, my husband is a straight male and he loves shopping almost as much as I do - it's a blessing and a curse) and as a result, our minimal closet space is always overflowing. Our only hope is to regularly sort through everything and donate what we're no longer using.

Here's the method that works for me and has even gotten my reluctant husband to hand over a few items to the giveaway pile.

First, know that you don't have to tackle everything at once. Focus on one area at a time. You can clear out your dresser one weekend and focus on hanging clothes another. Or perhaps it needs to be as small as one drawer at a time. No shame in that. Tackle whatever amount seems manageable. There's a good chance the sense of accomplishment you'll get once that first drawer is finished will spur you on to do more.

Now, one at a time, take each item out of the first drawer and place it in one of three piles - keep, not sure and definitely donate. Definitely donate is almost always the smallest pile. That's okay. Return all of the keep items to the drawer, setting aside anything that needs to be washed, dry cleaned or mended. 

Time to sort through the not sure pile. This is always the hardest part, but if you can be honest with yourself about whether you will actually wear something, you're going to get better results. I find there are generally three reasons I don't want to put something in the giveaway pile:

1. It cost a decent amount of money.

2. It has some sentimental value to me.

3. I'm certain it will be the one thing I will want to wear next weekend, right after I have made the drop at Goodwill. 

I have to keep in mind that the money I spent is already long gone and if something is really valuable, then I take it to a resale shop to see if I can get anything for it before donating it.

It probably seems silly, but sentimentality is where I usually let myself slide. Old ratty t-shirt that I don't even sleep in anymore, but it was the first shirt I co-opted from my husband after we moved in together? It stays. I guess I'm just a sentimental sap at heart.

Finally, in all the years I've been donating used clothing, I have never, not once, wished I still had an item I let go of. If I haven't worn it in months, maybe years, I'm not going to miss it once it's gone.*

I try to run through this process regularly (at least twice a year) to keep the space clear and keep tabs on what I have. The best part? As soon as space is cleared, I get to fill it back up again. Lots of ideas on how to do that here


*In the interest of full disclosure, when I was four years old, I made my mother drive me to the Verdugo Hills Women's Guild Thrift Shop to buy back my favorite dress that she had donated without consulting me, but that's a different story. She didn't ask and it was my FAVORITE dress. Didn't matter that it had stopped fitting me at least a year before. I had to have it back.