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

 

 

A Call for Help! Addiction to Things

addicted to shopping

I have a problem. Two actually. Number one: I’m addicted to shopping. I know many of you share my compulsion to spend.

There’s the high of finding a dress or a purse on a spectacular sale. There’s the high of walking into the store full of clothes begging to come home with you and knowing that you’ll find something that suits you perfectly. There’s the dependency to have something new for each event or to commemorate a special event.  Don’t even get my started on online shopping. After a stressful day my hands can’t help put find their way to the keyboard, pounding out the keys to the url of my favorite shop and just buying something, anything.

Truly it’s an addiction. I’ve come to depend on the joy that overcomes me when buying something new. And along with the addiction to shopping comes the addiction to things.

addicted to shopping

Oddly, this is the only picture I could find of myself holding a shopping bag

Frankly, it’s disgusting. Like any other addiction, the need to spend money on new things in order to calm yourself or to feel happy is a little repulsive.

I’ve been trying to cure myself since this past Fall and I’ve done a pretty spectacular job on the shopping portion of my problem. Starting in September I started putting myself on a spending freeze. I  managed to not by a single article of clothing, shoes, or accessory from mid September until the end of November. It was refreshing. And you know what? I never wanted for anything. Yes, there were days when I found myself what I now like to call “online window shopping” where I browse websites, give myself an imaginary budget and go to town. I was never allowed to hit “Submit Order” though. Going inside a mall was out of the question. That would have been like an alcoholic burning for a buzz going into a bar.  It was forbidden.

Once I went through my period of fasting I was able to ease myself back into shopping. Buying here and there and mostly classic pieces that would be used on a more every day basis (compared to the party dresses, heels, and I’ll buy this just because it’s 80% off tops). I began to realize that I own tons of clothes that I never even wear.

But now I need to cure my second problem. My emotional attachment to clothes that I no longer need. I hold on to articles of clothing that will no longer fit me, are way out of style, or are too worn to be seen in public because of the sentimental value I have for them. If I’m being honest, I wear about 20% of the clothes that I own. 20%! Just take a look at my closet.

cluttered closetcluttered closet

(and this is just one of two closets. There’s also three dressers. And tubs under neath the beds….)

Most days I stand in front of my  mountain of clothes and think that all too familiar thought, “I have nothing to wear”. I usually find myself pulling on my favorite jeans and one of my few favorite sweaters.

This is caused by two things.

1. I give up on finding possible outfits because my closet is stuffed to the max and cluttered. 

2. Most of my clothes don’t fit my current personal style or lifestyle.

Like the addiction to shopping, the attachment to things is equally bad and restraining. I’m so attached to clothing and the false joy I believe they bring me that I can’t bring myself to get rid of certain things. I come up with hundreds of excuses, my most favorite are:

“Well this will fit once I finally lose 10 pounds”

“What if this comes back into style?”

“This would be perfect for _____ theme party or Halloween party”

I’ve read time and time again that de cluttering your life and opening room for new energy is liberating and leads the pathway to more happiness. Yet, I continue to let sentimental things define me.

I can’t get rid of the size zero jeans from ten years ago that I know my current size 8 – 10 self will never again fit into. That two sizes two small little black dress that I wore to a favorite night out with friends will never zip up nor will I ever have a place to wear it to. Old emo band t-shirts and sweatshirts collected on trips fill my dresser drawers to the brim. There is absolutely no reason why a grown woman needs to own 25 plus bathing suits. Yes, you read that correctly. I own over 25 bathing suits, that obsession started in my life guarding days where I basically lived in a bikini. Do I really need 3 pairs of pink pumps, or mini skirts made for 22 year old’s, or purses from college that are still full of receipts, movie ticket stubs, notes, and dried up lipstick.

I keep these items because they tell a story of my past. But are they preventing me from living with purpose in the present?

I’m feeling the urge to purge. It’s time. This weekend I’m throwing on my figurative hard hat and diving head first into my closets ready to get rid of anything that fits these rules:

1. Does it fit? (like truly fit, not “oh this will fit when I lose 10 pounds”)

2. Have I worn this in the last 12 months?

3. Is this in style or does it fit my current lifestyle? (ie 30 year woman who works in a very casual office who spends more nights at home than at trendy bars)

4. If I was shopping right now, would I buy this?

Here is where YOU come in. I need some support. I know this is going to be a hard weekend. I know I’m going to be paralyzed in my closet for hours, trying on countless items of clothes trying to find any reason to not say goodbye to old friends.

How do you purge your closet of unnecessary items? What tips can you give me? Have you gone through a complete closet overhaul and come out emotionally unscathed and in one piece?

Help me!!!

xoxo Katie

 

 

 

 

Fall Goals Update – Confession – I’ve Failed

 

 

fall goals

 

So, back at the beginning of September I made a list of Fall Goals. Honesty, I though I was being easy on myself. I promised you an update – and let me be honest. I failed miserable at my goals. Life once again got in the way and the idea of doing most of my goals made we want to run away from my house and curl up and take a nap.

I made these goals with the hope that I’d find a better sense of calm and happiness and I’m still on that road. I’ve always been known to procrastinate, maybe this pressure is exactly what I need.

Anyways here is my “update” (if you can call it that…because honestly It’s just me re-listing the same list as before as the changes are so small).

Clean out closets and donate clothes  I’ve started doing this. I threw out a bunch of clothes that I had hanging around since high school (yeah like 14-year-old sweatshirts) just for sentimental reasons. I also made a quite large donation pile. This was hard. It took a lot out of me. Queue eye rolls. But, I’ve made a dent. 

Resist buying any clothes until November  FAILED! I Failed at this pretty instantly, meaning I broke this rule only after 4 days! I ended up buying a few sale items from Old Navy and a new pair of boots (I DID return another pair though first!). But – I haven’t bought anything since the first week in September. Yay!

Organize office I cleared off the top of the desk….that’s it…the rest of the office looks like a storage facility. 

Print photos from wedding and other recent events for albums and frames  Haven’t even started

Learn more than just 4 settings on my camera   Haven’t even started

Wake up earlier on the weekends  Fail

Do more than 12 full push ups at a time   I can now do this! Yay! success at the easiest item!

Stop late night snacking and wining – step away from the cheese, pretzels, and wine  I cut back on this 50%

Do I need more motivation? Did I set my standards too high? If you read my post on living a happier clutter free life you know I’m determined to make my home a stress free place.   I’m still giving myself til the end of November.

  xoxo katie