Closet Clean Out Challenge! My Weekly Check-in

The other day as I was decluttering my bedroom, I came across a few of the journals that I use to keep when I was younger. I could not resist taking the time to re-read some of the passages and then re-read them again to my husband when he walked in the room. Needless to say, two hours passed by and I had barely gotten any decluttering accomplished. Still, it was a fun trip down memory lane that provided a lot of smiles and in some cases laughter! I have changed quite a bit from my early twenties and thirties. However, in each year of my life that I read about there was a recurrent desire mentioned…I wanted to spend less…get control of my spending…be more financially responsible…pay off my credit cards. It got me pondering how much I’ve changed and grown in so many ways, and yet so little in other aspects. In fact, here are three New Year’s resolutions I jotted down in my diary for the year 1997:

  1. Go through my closet and donate what I don’t wear.

  2. Sort through my makeup and get rid of what I don’t use.

  3. Clean out my kitchen cabinets.

  4. Write more.

  5. Spend less.

All of those resolutions could be mine today! Reading that was motivating to me. After more than 20 years later, I do not want those goals to be listed on my next New Years Resolutions list! I am happy that I can finally say my closet is organized, I am writing regularly, and have committed to decluttering. Now I need to keep it going and make room for NEW goals to set in my life.

I completed another week of avoiding beauty and fashion bloggers. Not surprisingly my urge to shop online remained low. I think I’m going to incorporate the blogs back in this week….with some parameters to follow. These parameters are:

  1. Do not watch the Youtube videos or read these blogs everyday. Allow myself two days a week to indulge.

  2. Do not watch the blogs if I am already feeling the urge to shop.

  3. Only watch the blogs if I feel it will provide me some information that I am looking for. This may include review of a product I’m already interested in, or tips on a fashion or beauty technique.

  4. If I like a product the blogger is promoting, wait a day (or more) before purchasing. Give myself time to “mull” it over.

As for my decluttering, I only completed about half my goals for last week (due to my diary interruption). This next week I’d like to complete the other half and also declutter my master bathroom cabinet and medicine cabinets! My decluttering progress may be slow, but I am getting things done. I try to spend even just a few minutes each day decluttering something. For instance, I had about 10 minutes yesterday and instead of sitting down on my computer to pass the time, I quickly emptied out one shelf in my bathroom cabinet. I was ruthless in getting rid of anything that I did not use (even if the product was still full). I have four more shelves to get through, but by devoting a few minutes at a time here and there, I will get the job done. So don’t wait until you can find a spare hour…that may not happen, but you are certain to get 10 or 15 minutes. Use that time and do whatever you can! You will feel good to have accomplished something and will be motivated to find more time to do more.

Let's discuss clothing and the closet…..

There were two instances this week where my husband complimented me on how I looked. He said I looked beautiful and loved my outfit selection too. Naturally, this made me feel great, but it also made me think “I need to wear these outfits more” instead of “I need to go out and buy something new to look beautiful”. I could finally see the value in owning less outfits that I truly loved. Having too many items in our closets can be overwhelming. Too many choices only leads to confusion, and also chaos if you can’t find what your looking for. This is only intensified more when our closet is cluttered with items we don’t even love that much.

Let’s take the challenge to REMOVE at least 10 items from our closet over the next week. Let’s start to get rid of the clothing items that we truly don’t love and start building ourselves a closet filled only with things that make us feel beautiful, even if in the end we own much less! Here are some thoughts that I will be following this week as I purge my closet:

  1. Start with the area of your closet that is most overwhelming. I own too many piles of jeans…time to do a major reduction here!

  2. Trust your first instinct. Look at every top, sweater, cardigan, blazer, and jacket. What is my immediate feeling when I see it? The very first feeling. Sometimes I will look at an item and feel “No. This is not for me. I don’t really like it”. But then a few moments later I’ll think “Well, maybe it’s ok. It does match those pants I have and although I don’t wear it maybe I should.”. This time I’m listening to my initial thought because that is the truth before my overwhelmed, confused thoughts start to interfere. If you are really unsure of an item, remove it from your closet and put in in a box or bag someplace else. If you don’t go searching for it after 3 months you can be certain to let it go. I’ve done this several times and history has shown I always get rid of the items I put on hold!

  3. If it’s too tight, too big, or too short….say goodby to it…you’re not going to wear it. I use to own a pair of jeans that I loved except they no longer fit me well. I’d squeeze into into it and see the muffin top and then take them off and put them back on my shelf. Each time this happened I felt down on myself thinking “would I ever be able to fit in these jeans again?”. Remember to only keep items that fit well as they are the pieces that will make us feel good about ourselves.

  4. Learn from mistakes. Try to recall why you purchased an item you didn’t really love to begin with. Were you influenced by someone else? Were you buying it for your fantasy self? Did it not fit well, but you thought you wouldn’t mind? If you can remember what led you to purchase an item that you never wore or never truly loved, then you can set up some shopping rules for yourself going forward. I noticed that I never reached for items in my closet that were purchased from two specific stores. I was drawn to these stores because they were very inexpensive, but in the end I never wore what I purchased. Now I have a rule not to buy from those stores no matter how appealing the clothes may seem. I try to stick with stores and brands that I know fit well, are good quality, and that I have loved in the past.

  5. Get rid of like items. Pick your favorite (or favorite two) and move on. I can tell you right now that I have too many white button down shirts in my closet. I don’t even wear a white button down shirt that often. I plan on choosing my two favorites and donating the rest. Two is enough.

  6. Try it on and take a selfie. If you hesitate about an item then take the time to put it on and take a pic. I know this can slow down the cleanup, but you will be happy that you did it. Looking at a picture of yourself wearing the item will give you clarity as to whether you love it or not. If you are still not sure then let it go, because this is all about only having things we know were love in our closets.

  7. Have a pad and pen handy to jot down anything you may need to purchase. For instance, if you do not love the black cardigan that you own, but must own a black cardigan, then write it on a list of items you need to purchase. If you can live without the “not very loved” black cardigan, then let it go. Otherwise, hold on to it until you can purchase one you love.

I hope you will join me on this closet cleanup challenge. Let’s put our energy and extra time to really working on paring down, organizing, and building ourselves a closet that makes us feel good.

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