I get it. You've already read 75 blog posts about tossing out those clothes you're completely over and all of those picture perfect closets you scroll past on Instagram are now getting eye rolls, because who actually has a closet like that?
I have nothing to wear. That's a bold statement as you stand there in front of the closet just staring, not bothering to move anything around or dive in to really take a look. Just stand there thinking maybe the perfect top will fall off the hanger and magically appear saying pick me! Nope the blank closet stare continues. Most of the time we do have something to wear. It might not be exactly what we had in mind for the day or our night out, but it will do. So we reluctantly put it on and then go shopping the next day. That top that used to be the perfect thing to wear, isn't so perfect anymore. It needs a replacement. So the cycle continues. Well I was sick of the cycle. Sick of saying I have nothing to wear and then shopping to replace things I already had, because then I had two or three of them. My clothing was crushed together like a trash compactor in my closet. Filled with new and old clothes, waiting to be replaced with the next best thing. I could scream when I think of all the times I thought I had no clothes. I shopped for every occasion, and every non-occasion. I shopped when I had a bad day or saw something cute in magazine. I shopped, just to shop. So I did what any shopaholic would do when they are throwing in the towel. For one year I tossed items every week with the same enthusiasm I had as a shopper. I filled garbage bags up and donation boxes like it was an Olympic sport. Every week I couldn't wait to see what I could let go of next. But I didn't replace anything this time. I wore what I had for about a year and a half. If I got the urge to say I have nothing to wear, I just sucked it up and wore what I had. This wasn't easy at first, it was horrible actually. There were weeks I would wear the same pair of pants or yikes! the same shirt. These strange preconceived notions of never being seen in the same thing twice in the same month flew right out the window. I let it all go and I completely could care less. I became a reformed shopaholic and it felt wonderful. Then Friday happened and I said the dreaded 5 words, "I have nothing to wear"
My new gig requires a business casual dress code. I've been in jeans for the last 5 years. Then yoga pants on the weekend. I knew about the dress code in the interview, it was mentioned a couple of times. I just didn't let it sink in I guess. Won't be an issue at all is what I told myself, until I went through my closet. I looked for those black pants I used to have that went with everything, they were gone. Then I looked for my gray dress pants, which I had, but I seemed to be that size in another lifetime. My clothes all fit in one closet now, not three. They are perfectly spaced, organized by color and when you open the closet it's all there. Every single item I own. There are no tops that are going to magically appear. In this case...I have to shop.
Make an investment in your closet, one that requires a well thought out plan. But don't over shop.
I'm not saying over shop. Don't over shop, ever. It will make you crazy, overwhelmed and lacking serious space. Space in your closet and lacking space within your life. Shop when you have to. Take inventory and try things on. Keep practical colors, items that you can wear with other things. If you haven't worn it, don't love it and don't need it then donate it. In my case a new chapter in my life has caused me to re-evaluate my closet, and created the perfect lesson in shopping. It is somewhat refreshing to know that this time when I head out to the stores it is not to buy a bunch of things I don't need and that don't fit. It is in fact to buy clothing I do need. Every dollar will be spent, not wasted. When I open the closet I will say, I have something to wear and I also have learned my lesson.
Don't buy it unless you love it and need it. Don't toss it if you need it and love it. Don't under any circumstances think for one second anyone cares that you wearing the same shirt twice in one week. If you are it's because you love it. When I head out to shop this week I can confidently say I need some new clothes, but I won't be over shopping.
Our stuff is everywhere. It's packed in our garages, our basements and our closets. We have it sometimes hidden under our beds and stashed away in kitchen cabinets. Sometimes it's just sitting there collecting dust, other times it might make it's way to the trash when an unexpected sighting occurs. How does it all end up there? Years of living in our homes sometimes create these mountains of unused, unworn items. As time goes on we're busy living our lives. We're watching our children grow and doing what we can to keep them active. We're heading to work so that we can maintain a good life, take vacations and occasionally relax. We are also accumulating more stuff as time passes. Our inability to purge what we do have suddenly creates crowded garages, basements and at times just closing the door and ignoring it. So where do we begin letting it go? Enjoying life is #1 on our lists. Yes the cleaning can wait if it's a beautiful day. Sitting down on a rainy afternoon to dive into a book or watch a movie is also so important for our well being. Our ability to stay busy is just as important as the act of taking it slow. So sometimes when we think about the purging process we say to ourselves, I will get to it another time. Have you ever considered the idea that another time could be today, and that it could actually be fun? Starting today and going through the process will free up time in your future calendar. Having fun with the process might make de-cluttering a frequent occurrence. Those days when you're relaxing will be even more amazing because you will never say to yourself, I shouldn't be doing this when there is so much to get done. Here's 3 fun ways to de-clutter and a list of a few of my favorite organizations that make giving back not only rewarding but very inspiring.
1. One day a week create a challenge. Have everyone choose 5 things- 5 to donate, 5 to toss and 5 to bring back to where they belong in the house. Even if the kids aren't interested, you still just got rid of 10 things and 5 are back where they belong!
2. Take pictures of the rooms in your home that are cluttered then visualize how you would love for them to look. Visualizing in our minds how we want to transform our spaces is a powerful tool in starting the process. Decide what can stay and what needs to go, even take the photo with you to work and ask some trusted co-workers or friends. Before you know it you will have purged the space and now that room is your favorite spot in the house. An improvement in one room will spread throughout the house.
3. When you shop have a one in one out challenge. If it's clothing head over to the closet and donate or toss an article of clothing, a pair of shoes or even a piece of jewelry. Maybe you purchased a video game? Head to your child's video game collection or even your basement where items are hiding. Donate or toss one item and that new item will replace it. This rule can be the same for magazines, kitchen gadgets and even books.
Here are links to some of my favorite organizations that give back. Read their inspiring stories, share them with friends and thank yourself for a job well done throughout your de-cluttering journey. Also look within your local communities for more ways to donate.
Shoe donations http://www.soles4souls.org/
Bra donations http://freethegirls.org/about/
Greeting card donations http://www.stjudesranch.org/shop/recycled-card-program/
Professional attire donations http://www.dressforsuccess.org/whatwedo.aspx
Here's a photo recap of just a few of my client closet projects. The intention is to allow you to become inspired within your own home. Always remember your space is a part of your life and journey, meant to tell a story about yourself and those you share your home with. Every piece counts. Creating simplicity, organization and getting creative with incorporating the things you love into that space is so important! Maybe you are considering installing new shelving systems, similar to those pictured. Maybe you're just starting the purging process or strolling through stores looking into options for becoming better organized. Regardless of the inspiration you find keep one thing in mind, keep it simple and take it one step at a time!
Before heading to stores evaluate what you have and what you will be letting go of to determine what is needed in terms of storage. It can be overwhelming to see so many different ways to store items, however having a clear vision for your closet space is an important tool within the process!
The hanger difference! Before and after!
Items I used to give the shelving a little boost and incorporate organization, a basket and bin from Target and my favorite Martha Stewart labels from Avery. Take the initiative to work through those sweaters, tank tops and t-shirts that are taking up shelving space! Store them, colorized, in baskets to save yourself time. Use labels to identify the contents!
Yes you can use shelving for shoes! The shelving units shown here, in the top right photo, are from Ikea. Perfect solutions to display heels! Once the shoe boxes were gone I was able to maximize the space by using over the door shoe organizers as well as pant hangers to hang the boots. Keep it colorized and like with like to easily grab and go.