Why is it that today’s closets are bigger but they seem to hold less stuff? It is the same reason that our houses are bigger but we still don’t have an empty chair to sit on. I’ll let you in on a little secret….it is because we buy too much stuff! I remember my closet as a child….then small, my walk in closet now…big, and guess what, they were both crammed with clothes! I recently worked with a client who had a closet that was, what others called “a mess”. Her problem was simple….she had too much stuff. There is a law in physics that says you can only put 127 shirts in a closet before it implodes (ok, maybe there isn't that law but I would have paid more attention to physics class if they covered laws like that!). So how do you get the clutter of clothes closet under control and call it by its real name “walk in closet”.
· What really works is to invite same sized friends over and have them help you go through your clothes. They can take home your discards. There should be a warning here that says too much wine and you may leave with a bikini that is too small. Too much wine also causes your friends to take too many of your clothes and leave you with nothing. This works great (with wine in moderation) because it forces you in a fun way to get rid of those gently used clothes that you just feel guilty getting rid of. You know those blue jeans that fit you funny after you washed them, but you just can’t get rid of them because you spent $150 on them….but you would feel awesome if one of your friends could wear them and feel great in them.
· Sort by categories that make sense to you. This may mean that you have work clothes, casual clothes, exercise clothes and dressy clothes. Or this may mean pants, long sleeved shirts, short sleeved shirts and sweaters. Maybe you sort your clothes by season Winter/Fall and Spring/Summer. Many people find it helpful to sort only by color. My shirts are sorted by sleeve length and then by color.
· Look at your sorted piles and assess. Ask yourself questions like….why do I have 12 black t-shirts….why do I have 18 comfy sweaters. This is a hard step but look at those piles and try to divide them each in half and only put what you “love, love” back into the closet. If you just kind of like it, don’t put it back in the closet. Be realistic as to what you are going to wear. Do you really wear all 12 black t-shirts….I bet you really only wear 4 of them. Do you really wear all 18 of the comfy sweaters….I bet you really only wear 5 of them.
· Put all of your sorted and purged clothes on wooden hangers. Why? Because it makes your closet look neat and tidy, and if it looks neat and tidy, chances are you will keep it that way. Try this trick: buy one box of 24 wooden hangers and when you wear something and put it away, place it on a wooden hanger. This process helps you focus on what you really do wear. Buy more hangers and keep going for a few months. Set a date in the future to look at the clothes that do not have wooden hangers and get those clothes out of the closet. Promise me you will do it…pretty please.
· Buy velvet hangers for the items that are slippery and fall off the hangers and find their way onto the floor. There is nothing worse than putting the clothes on the hanger only to find it on the floor wrinkled and covered in cat hair, and I don’t even have a cat.
· Store any off season clothes in a closet elsewhere in the house if you must. But if you are ruthless in your sorting and purging tasks, you should be able to put everything back in your closet.
To Simplified and Joyful Living,