The Big Closet Clean Out

I did it! I did it! I did a total closet makeover!

I devoted this weekend to accomplishing a major closet clean out, discarding 8 bags of clothes and reorganizing all of my dressers and two closets.

On Friday, I told you all about my addiction to shopping and attachment to things. I’ve been holding on to several articles of clothing due to sentimental reasons for far too long. I couldn’t navigate my way through my closet and found myself reaching for the same few boring sweaters and jeans even though I have a multitude of options because I simply couldn’t find anything else.

Clothes were smashed up against each other with hangers pointing in all directions, sweaters lay in wrinkled piles on shelves, other pieces cluttered the floor and I couldn’t close my dresser drawers. It was stressing me out and I was ready for a change.

After Friday’s post, I received so many great ideas and support. Thank you to all that reached out to sympathize and offer great advice! I took it all to heart and used all of your tips.

I woke up on Saturday with determination. I was going to throw things out. I wasn’t going to get held up by memories and sentimental emotions. I was going to reclaim my wardrobe!

I started at 11:30 a.m. and finished around 9 p.m. It was a long and exhausting day. I discarded roughly 25% of the clothes that was taking up space in my home. My entire bed and spare bed was covered in clothes that was either being thrown out or given away. I then re organized all of my remaining clothes, categorized it by season, style and color and put it back into the closets and dressers.

The first 20 minutes were the hardest. I made excuses and stalled. But like Amanda from Notes From a Newlywed said, it got MUCH easier to say goodbye to things after the first 10 items.  I put all my summer dresses and fancier dresses in the spare bedroom closet.

The ending result felt so freeing. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted. And literally there was.  I couldn’t believe how much trash I was storing in my closets. In addition to my Thred Up and donation bags, I filled a huge black trash bag to the seams.

Here are some before and after photos:

closet clean out before and after closet clean out before and after 2 closet clean out before and after 3

Here are my closet clean out tips:

1. Make sure to set aside an entire day. If I had plans in the evening I would have never stayed focussed all day. Knowing that I had nothing else to do made me truly devote all my energy to this project. I put on some music and got into the zone.

2. Organize your space before you start. I made sure the room I was working on was clean and clear of all items. I made labels knowing that all of my discarded clothes  were even going to Goodwill, Thred Up, or the trash. (If you haven’t already, check out ThredUp, an online consignment store that takes your gently used clothing (they even pay for shipping) and pay you a portion of the income received from the sale of your items)

closet clean out piles

 3. Take out Every Single Item from you closet and dresser. Yes. Every single item. It was hard to not get completely overwhelmed by the mountain of stuff on my floor. But I stayed positive by looking at the empty space left behind in the closet and the possibility that it had.

4. Try Every Single Item on. Pick up each and every piece of clothing, examine it and try it on. Yes, this was exhausting. But, I was totally surprised by how many items that when I first examined them I thought, “Oh yes, I still like this!” and then once I tried it on I realized that it no longer fit or was not as cute as I remembered it. So yes, try everything on. I would have kept at least 20 items that I would never wear again if I had not done this.

5. Ask Important Questions About Each Item Each item begs to be asked important questions. As I tried each piece of clothing on I made sure to ask:

A.) If I were shopping right now, would I buy this?

B.) Does it fit? 

C.) Does this make me feel confident/pretty/comfortable?

D.) Is this currently in style?

If I hadn’t taken the time to ask these questions I probably would have found excuses to keep everything. I couldn’t believe how many things I kept around that I would never currently pay money for or that no longer fit or made me feel good while wearing it. This helped me get rid of too tight jeans and dresses, tops that were trendy 5 years ago, and shirts that were never really “me”.

piles of discarded clothes

 6. Realize memories live in your mind, not in the clothing. The hardest pieces for me to get rid of were pieces of clothing that held important memories for me. These included the mini skirt I wore out for my 21st birthday that was so short I can’t believe I ever wore it. The cover up used on my spring break trip to Miami from my senior year of college that was ratty but still smelled like sunscreen, burnt skin, and alcohol. And the top that I wore on Ryan and I’s first date that was so worn out I would never wear it again. All of these “kept for memory’s sake” items were so out of style or so worn out that they were thrown into the trash pile.

I followed Allie’s, from Everyday Adventures, advice and asked “Do I still love how this piece makes me feel?” Not in a “I loved the time I spent in it!” way, but in a “wearing this makes me feel confident and happy” way. And the answer was always “No”.  I said a final goodbye before tossing them aside.

7. Create a “Maybe” pile I still had a few pieces that I wasn’t sure I was ready to give away. They went into the “Maybe” pile. However, when I went pack to them at the end of the day 90% of them went into the giveaway pile.

8. Categorize Your Clothes As I was going through my wardrobe I began to categorize the clothing that I was keeping. I made a pile of summer dresses, formal dresses, short sleeve tops, long sleeve tops, sweaters, winter dresses etc.This way I could see how much I had in each category – which helped narrow down the choices even more. When I found I had multiples of similar items, I forced myself to get rid of one or two. No one needs 8 similar black tops. I then placed the clothing back into the closet in these categories to finding what I need when I need it easier. (I also color coded everything)

This project felt fantastic! I was actually excited to get dressed for work this morning because I could, for the first time in years, see all of my clothing options. Now I hope to not fall back into old habits and keep up this organization and de cluttering mindset. My whole mind feels more open today, making it easier to get out of bed in the morning and stay focussed. Tell me about your home makeover projects!

xoxo Katie