Three Steps to Letting Go of Unneeded Clothing…

The Reason

As I’ve mentioned previously, the past year has been a constant process of cleaning out our home to make us “fit”.  We have too much stuff and too little space and I’m sad to say that my clothing-hoarding-tendencies are a big part of the problem.  I recently decided that it was time for a close look at the clothing I owned.  It was time to purge all that was extra.

After much reading and thinking on the subject I came up with a three step plan for sorting out what I owned that was unneeded – and, oh boy!, there was a lot of unneeded.

Step One

I started this process by removing all the clothing I had in closets, dressers, boxes, bags, the upside-down, etc.  Everything I owned needed to be revealed.  The clothing was removed from its hiding places and draped over my couches according to type.  Pants were in one spot, lounge-wear another, shirts, dresses, tunics, you get the picture.

 

Step Two

Once everything was laid out and ready for sorting I set up other sections of the living room (I did this on a day I was home alone because it was super chaotic!).  The sections included: donate, sell, keep (off season), keep (summer capsule), garbage.

Step 3

Finally I stripped down to my undies (again: see the part about doing this while home alone) and began sorting through.  I was in my undies because I knew that most things would need to be tried on and I wanted that to be as quick a process as possible.

It was important to start this process with the clothing that held the least sentimental value to me: pants.  I was able to quickly and easily try them on and decide if they fit.  If they didn’t fit or showed too much wear?  They were gone.

The exception to this was two pairs of brand new, tags still on, jeans that are one size below my current.  I know that you should always get rid of the “maybe-I’ll-fit-this-again” clothing.  But I also know that my weight fluctuates a lot and that I’ll probably be needing these at some point in the next 12 months or so.  That’s just how my body is and so I plan accordingly.

The most difficult were the dresses.  Dresses hold a ton of sentimental value for me.  I was on a roll by the time I got to them and I was fairly ruthless.  I still ended up keeping a few pieces that will never again fit me but that are so cool, and hold so much meaning, I couldn’t get rid of them.  They’ve been placed in the hall closet and I’m thinking about how to store them.

This part of the process was both the most difficult and the easiest for me.  It only took about 40 minutes to sort through over 200 items of clothing.  I was ruthless!  So much of this had been in the closet for years, unworn.  I knew that I wasn’t going to wear it and that someone else would probably get good use of it.  So, to the thrift store I went.

The Results

In the end I donated 129 items of clothing, 13 pairs of shoes, and put aside 7 items to sell.  I kept 22 items in my summer capsule and held onto 11 pieces of lounge wear.  All active wear that was in good shape was also kept.  I kept a number of items for fall/winter that were placed into an under-the-bed bin.

I’m not going to lie.  It took two weeks and a second look into the thrift store bags for me to let those items go (8 were retrieved to stay with me).  And that’s okay.  129 items is a truly insane amount of space to free up!  And it’s so nice getting dressed each morning knowing that everything hanging in my closet fits, looks good, and is ready to wear!

Making My Closet Function (on a Budget)

Our closet has been an issue since day one of living together.  Only one side had hanging space and all shelves were filled to capacity with stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff.  I have wanted to re-do this closet since Alex moved in and this summer I finally had the time!

Closet, all done

 

I started off by measuring the side of the closet that I wanted to re-do and drawing the space.  I wanted to have a small dresser in the closet, some shelves for accessories, and some space to hang long items.  The only difficult part of this was finding a dresser that was narrow enough to fit into the space.  Luckily I stumbled across the ASKVOLL from IKEA in my research.  It was small enough to fit but big enough to hold my under things, lounge wear and active wear.  It was the same depth as the wall so it wouldn’t stick out once in place.

My plans.

 

This was a pretty simple project.  I needed to buy a closet rod ($15 at the Home Depot) and the ASKVOLL ($120 at IKEA).  Aside from that I planned to cut down one of the existing shelves into 3 pieces and re-use the hardware from the previous shelving.

I was also forced to sort through everything on those shelves and decide what really needed to stay, donating the excess to the thrift shop.  I managed to clear out space in our spare bedroom closet for towels and sheets (what I wouldn’t give for a linen closet!).  As you can see below, emptying these shelves and finding homes for everything was by far the worst part of this project!

This is actually a pretty tidy version of our closet, pre-work. It’s embarrassing.

 

After sorting through everything it was a simple matter of removing the shelves, having one cut (by a wonderful friend) so that I could re-use it as three smaller shelves, installing the closet rod and the new shelves.  Oh, and putting together IKEA furniture.  Always a joy…

The end result isn’t the closet of my dreams, let’s be honest.

That being said: it functions and it functions well.  It holds all of my clothing easily.  I can get dressed in the morning quickly and have my accessories all within an easy reach.

My accessories shelf (with a few old friends guarding my jewelry box).

 

The best part?  It only cost $135!

I struggled a bit with buying anything at all for this.  Had I had more time I might have waited to find the dresser used online.  Part of my move towards simplicity is the effort I am making to buy less.  And I’ve bought a number of larger items at IKEA lately.

That being said, I’m not looking for perfection.  I am looking to simplify my life by having less stuff and being more organized.  I’m certain that this IKEA dresser will last me a good long time and I’ll be able to pass along to someone else to use once I’m done with it.

The final great thing about this renovation is that it allowed me to get rid of my large dresser in our bedroom.  I was able to use that space to create a mini-office area for myself which is something I’ve been wanting for a long time!

All in all I’m really happy with how everything turned out.  It’s simple and functional and our bedroom feels so much more organized now.

Do you have the closet of your dreams?  How do you make sure your closet functions?

Megan

Welcome to Moving to Simplicity!

I have been toying with the idea of starting this blog for over a year. It all started last May (2017) when my boyfriend moved into my small condo. He brought with him an extra cat and a full household of stuff. We’ve spent the last year sorting through our belongings, again, and again, trying to make everything fit into our small space.

It was shocking to me how much stuff we had to get rid of. Even more shocking was the fact that we didn’t miss it at all. Throughout the past year our energy has been focused on spending money on things that will make our space function better.

A hanging table for the deck and two hammocks.

Under the bed storage bins.

A system to make our eight loads of laundry each week take up as little space as possible.

The one thing I didn’t delve into too closely was my wardrobe. I knew that I had years (a decade?) worth of clothing stored up in the house.  Most of it hadn’t been touched in years, and much of it was in-case-I-get-back-to-that-size pieces.  I didn’t love getting dressed in the morning.  It was stressful and I gravitated towards the two or three comfortable outfits I owned.

At the same time I began to notice that the items I was purchasing were wearing out within a few washes. Jeans had holes in the thighs, T-shirts were pilled and out of shape, zippers broke, fabrics became discolored.  I was frustrated with throwing clothing into the garbage!

I felt like my wardrobe had suddenly become disposable.

So I began to look for something different and I discovered that there was a thriving #EthicalFashion movement. I discovered that I could become a part of it!

I began researching companies that made clothing built to last.  Clothing with environmentally friendly fabrics, made in ethical factories, with a low carbon footprint.  The prices were higher but as I began to invest in some of these pieces I realize that they were worth the price.  They lasted.  They looked great.  I felt good about wearing them.

I began to toy with the idea of a capsule wardrobe.

Throughout this website I plan to document my journey towards a capsule wardrobe, showcase brands I love, and show how I am learning to live more consciously.

I have so much to learn and I want to share it as I go.

I want to help you learn to own less, and own better.

I hope you join me on this journey!

Megan