Cleaning out my closet

I am pooped! After spending two and a half days de-cluttering my closets, I’ve managed to fill four over-stuffed, black trash bags full of clothes and shoes. It was a brutal, time-consuming process but I’ve made some major progress. In fact, I could probably get rid of even more stuff, but I’m afraid if I get rid of even more, I won’t actually have anything to wear!

So, like any other project I start, I hashed out a plan. This month, The Joy of Less by Francine Jay has been my go-to guide. In her book, she has a whole chapter dedicated to cleaning out your wardrobe and I followed every piece of advice in it. My plan boiled down to three piles: a trash, treasure, and transfer pile. I trashed any worn out, stained clothing, made a pile for the clothes I liked, and a pile for the clothes I wanted to give away. I then took the piles of clothes I wanted to keep and started separating it out even further – piles for work, social, exercise, gardening/house cleaning, and everyday life. From there, I got rid of even more clothes! I’m not kidding when I say Francine means business. I ended up pairing down 15 exercise outfits to four, seven work pants to four, 10 dresses to five, nine pairs of tights to three, and probably 20 pajamas to four. I paired down jeans, shorts, shirts, sweaters – I’m sure you get the picture. I did, however, draw the line when it came to my underwear drawer. Francine says a 10 day selection is all you need. She must be crazy! Based on my laundry schedule – I need at least a month’s worth. Even though I ignored her advice here, I still give myself a pat on the back. I paired down 54 pairs of underwear to 30. Ladies and gentlemen – that is progress!

As you can imagine, my treasure pile decreased rapidly and my transfer pile grew up and out. Here’s the transfer pile and the four trash bags I stuffed it all into. Come tomorrow morning – I’ll be donating it all to a few local thrift stores: Salvation Army and USAgain.

My next steps are all about maintenance. I’d like to actually pare down my wardrobe even more, but figured I would institute two rules before doing so. Rule one is a suggestion Miss Liz gave me. It’s called the hanger rule. Anytime I wear a piece of clothing, I’ll turn the hanger around so I know I’ve worn the shirt. If in a year I have hangers that are not turned around, it’s in the trash they go! I’m also going to institute a rule Francine talks about in her book. It’s called the one in one out rule. If I want to buy something new, I can. I just have to get rid of something else in my closet. That may be a hard one to follow – but I’m determined to stick to the plan. Thank you, Liz, for all your help and honest opinion about the countless outfits I tried on – I couldn’t have done it without you!

I can say I feel really liberated after doing this. It’s almost as if a weight was lifted off my shoulder. I am no longer occupying three closets in the house and my clothes aren’t piled in a big heap on the floor of my closet or on top of my dresser or on top of the dryer or in three different laundry baskets in the basement (sickening, I know). I seriously got rid of so many clothes that everything I own fits into ONE closet! Sure, it’s a tight fit – but it’s all in there. And I am so proud of that. It’s almost scary how much energy it gives me to do the same thing to every other room in my house. I think I just added a bunch more to my to-do list around here.

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