Here is one of the many reasons my husband is the most thoughtful and caring of husbands: he has always believed that I should have my own closet. In our apartment, he took the (smaller) one in another room. In our house, he has done the same. Now, in my defense, I have protested against this – I don’t need my own closet, I don’t have that much stuff to necessitate my own closet, and I think it’s nice to share. He didn’t seem to buy my protests, which has always seemed very sweet and loving of him. We even had some nice shelving and drawers installed in the closet when we moved in, to help keep everything streamlined and organized for me. But to the greater point: over time, his current closet is going to be taken over by the new occupant in that room, Baby D. While he has a nice armoire that holds a lot of his clothes, the poor man would be left without room for his multitude of work shirts and suits unless one thing occurs: he moves that stuff into my closet.
My brain’s two reactions as we concluded this fact: 1. No problem – my space is his space. Happy to do it. 2. Oy, yeah, I definitely have waay more stuff than I thought I did. How is this going to work?
Well, we made it happen. I’m here to tell that this small and perhaps insignificant transition went smoothly and without a problem. He did some weeding out of older or damaged clothing and I did the same. I’ll be honest, I came across more to purge in the closet than he. Here was my process.
1. Go through all of the clothes: what hasn’t been worn in over year (pregnant or not?). Donate it. What is ripped/torn/worn out? Throw it out. What do you love to wear? Keep it.
2. Go through all of the shoes:what hasn’t been worn in over year (pregnant or not?). Donate it. What is ripped/torn/worn out? Throw it out. What do you love to wear? Keep it.
3. Go through any purses/bags/belts/accessories: what haven’t you used in the past year? Donate it. What is ripped/torn/worn out? Throw it out. What do you love to use? Keep it. (See where I am going with this?)
4. Pull anything that really doesn’t belong in the closet out – extra hangers (I always seem to have 100), dry cleaning plastic, socks, hats, whatever and find a better place for them all.
5. Categorize and organize what you are left with.
6. Label what you are left with if organizing in such a way that it’s not immediately visible. (Optional – but I love this step as a finisher.)
The verdict? I was able to separate my seasonal clothes and maternity clothes and store them in vacuum bags in our garage. That helped a lot. I was also easily able to get rid of three pairs of old and worn out work shoes. As to purses and bags – that was the biggest purge -including old wristlets and seldom used tote bags from college, (8 years ago!), I had about 10 to give away and donate. Huzzah! More room made its way into the closet.
Full disclosure, these are photos of the closet after I weeded out and organized. The true before pictures may have to be burned – it was that bad in there. It’s not a magazine-worthy closet, but it definitely got the job done working for one. Here is what we (kind of) started with:
It’s a decent sized closet and it has worked really well for just me. I know it will be just fine pulling double duty for my stuff and Jon’s work stuff.
My organizing of course included some nifty new bins for everything and some that were already being used. And, I felt the compulsion to label them. That has been great, actually, because some are so high up, I have no idea what is really in them at a first glance.
I’ve also added a few 3M hooks to hang the bags frequently use and have a new place to put our iron and ironing board.
So this transition has been simple and practical. We both have plenty of room and have been easily been able to keep it neat for the other. We even have room in the drawers for -wait for it- shoes! That’s how much stuff we were able to clear out and organize! Woot woot!
Any tips you’d like to add to the process of cleaning out your closets? Any advice for managing such an area? I’d love to hear it!