cleaning closet out

Here’s the evidence: 5 HEAVY trash bags in clothing & accessories alone. Wow……just wow!

Well, I did it.  The closet.  I knew it would be tough but I made up my mind to part with most of my clothing.  Most people would say “But WHY??”      Well, for a number of really good reasons.  I’m going through some major life changes and I’ve recently experienced my own personal – shall we say – epiphany.   I realized that too many things and issues were “cluttering’ my mind.

Update:  6 months later, I am still happy I did this.  I’ve only looked for a couple of items I no longer own and it was really no big deal to realize that I had donated them.

I used to scoff when I would read or come across the saying that your surroundings were an indication of your inner mindset.  I tried to keep things clean but always felt like I just couldn’t keep up.  Most moms can relate to this.  But I began to mentally see myself as not able to keep up.   I attributed my inability to focus and keep up to other things.   And as most Americans do, I thought I had a ‘space’ problem and not a ‘too much stuff’ problem.  I think deep down I knew the truth because about three years ago, I bought a book on minimalism and read it cover to cover.  I just never took action.

The amount of stuff in our small home (approx. 1500 sq ft) never seemed to stay organized and my mind gradually became as cluttered and unfocused as parts of our home. My clothes were spilling out of baskets in the closet.   If you don’t think this can have negative impacts, think again.  If you can’t think straight, stay unfocused and are constantly running late because you made one adjustment here and then there – well, it can mess up your relationships, career, finances and much more.

So, after the bedroom and bathroom, the closet came under scrutiny.  I donated five large bags of clothing and accessories to charity.  One of my girlfriends heard I was cleaning out my stuff – and asked me to send her a box.  So, I shipped a 23 lb box of clothes to Michigan.  (You’re welcome, Veronica)

Next, I looked at the clothing items I still couldn’t toss.  One of the minimalist blogs I scanned suggested storing them for 6 months (seasonally) and if you didn’t miss any of it during that time, then toss it.  Seemed reasonable to me so that’s what I did.  Since Spring is here, I packed a box with my gloves, scarves, winter boots, etc. and put them in the attic for next year.

One key rule:  For everything, if I hadn’t worn it or used it in a year, it had to go.

Definitely a more clean closet!

Definitely a more clean closet!

After that, I hung everything in categories (most worn, business or dress wear).  Then something weird happened.  That new part of me that emerged with the aforementioned epiphany?  Well, she decided to color code her T-shirts and blouses.  Yes, I know!  Crazy, right?  But when I get up in the morning – I know if I’m in a T-shirt mood, dressier T-shirt mood or blouse mood.  I can go right to the top I want and my jeans, pants etc. are all lined up next to them. Work out clothes neatly stored, too.   Vastly decreased the time I spent staring aimlessly into the closet!

Update:  6 months later. I’m still mostly color coded on one side of the closet.  I have to remind myself not to slack off pretty much daily.  But I’m doing it. I’ve also taken to putting my high heels on alternating sides of the baskets on the shelves.

Since I had previously organized and labeled stuff in my pantry (think baskets and cards with names of what’s in them) – and attacked my bathroom cabinets, I started to worry that all the years of having too much clutter may have triggered a case of OCD.  So, after everything was complete, I took the time to Google the signs of OCD and was relieved.  Given the amount of dog fur on my living room floor, the overflowing trashcan in my sons’ bathroom and at least two crooked pictures on the wall, it appears I’m not in any danger of having OCD any time soon.

So what’s my next minimalist adventure? Minimalist guides all say that an important step is organizing your junk drawer.  Okay, I can do that.

Hmmmm… Which one?