Project: Simplify ’11: master closet results

Welcome back to Project: Simplify! How did it feel to devote a week’s worth of energy to your wardrobe? Refreshing? Frustrating? A bit of both?

If you were like me, you worked in five minute spurts. You pulled out everything from your sock drawer, then had to go change a diaper. A little later, you photographed your sweaters, and then had to finish dinner while helping your daughter spell words for her story.

Such is life for a parent and home manager. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I truly enjoyed working on my wardrobe this week, separating the wheat from the chaff. This is a process I do about every six months, so thankfully, it only takes me a few hours all together. I find that when I do a little at a time, throughout the seasons, streamlining my wardrobe becomes a much simpler, almost cathartic process.

Here are a few more tips to help keep your wardrobe free from unnecessary clutter.

1. Keep a list of what you’d like to have.

You know what it’s like… You’re getting dressed for church or a date with your husband, and you think, “I really wish I had a short-sleeved shirt in blue.” But when you’re actually in the store, you’re overwhelmed and your brain flatlines.

Jot down a few items on your wish list — keep it practical, of course — and tuck it in your purse. Then when you’re out, you’ll have a better chance of remembering what you do need, and not accidentally bring home a 12th pair of khaki shorts.

2. Flip the hangers.

Several of you mentioned this on Monday, and I had completely forgotten about this trick (so thank you for the reminder). If you’re not sure whether you truly do wear an item, flip the hanger around. Leave it that way until you wear it. If it’s still flipped backwards the next time you declutter your closet (in six months or so), you don’t wear it. Chances are, you don’t need it.

Mandi had a great idea and turned all her hangers around, so she could see how often she wears everything. As she says in her vlog, most of us tend to wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time.

3. Keep the self-esteeming clothes in eyesight.

I used to think that if I kept my jeans from college in plain view, I’d be motivated to get back in shape so I could wear them again. Instead, it depressed me.

If you’re pregnant, just had a baby, or breastfeeding, it’s okay that a lot of your clothes don’t fit well. As mamas, our bodies ebb and flow throughout the seasons. We were made that way. Tuck those clothes you think you’ll wear again eventually out of immediate view — either farther back on the dowel rod, or folded and tucked on the upper shelf.

Don’t store them so far out of sight you forget about them. Just tuck them away so that when you open your closet door, you first see your happy clothes.

4. Invest in better, not more.

This is a mantra throughout my whole book, and you’ll hear me say it more than once during Project: Simplify. Go for quality over quantity! I’d rather have two pair of jeans that fit me perfectly than ten that fit me so-so.

If you have ten pairs, chances are you grab the same two anyway.

This is challenging for me sometimes, since I love thrift store shopping and get 90 percent of my clothing there. If an item nearly fits, or is almost your color, don’t buy it. It’s not worth the precious real estate in your closet.

My before and after

So here you have it.

My closet, before:

My stuff is on the left; Kyle’s is on the right.

Here’s a close-up of my clothes.

Here’s my jammies drawer.

And here are my shoes.

And my closet, after:

As you can see, Kyle has yet to do his side. We’re not perfect around here, by any means.

Here’s a close up of my side, where you can see some of my hangers turned. And yes, I arranged my clothes roy-g-bivly.

The jammies drawer.

Here’s another drawer.

And here are my shoes and purses, after (I only got rid of two pair). I had a certain three-year-old that insisted he help.

And here’s my stash headed to the thrift store:

Now it’s your turn!

You don’t have to publish as many photos, by any means. Just a simple before-and-after shot is great — as many or as few are perfect, but in order to link up, you do need at least one before and one after photo.

Share your progress by linking below. Click the blue button that says “Add your link,” and follow the instructions. Copy and paste your blog post’s URL (NOT your blog’s home page — it should look like this:, not like this:

If you don’t have a blog, no problem! Submit your photos to the Simple Living Flickr pool, and then come back to link to your ‘before’ photo below. Copy and paste the photo’s URL.

I will leave the link submission space open throughout Project: Simplify (which ends on April 8), so even if you aren’t able to finish your master closet for a few weeks, you are welcome to share your link between now and the end date. However, to be eligible for this week’s giveaway, you must submit your link before this Sunday, March 13 at 8 a.m. CST.

And what is this week’s giveaway? Let me refresh your memory…

Cleanse Your Life

Simple Mom contributor Lisa Byrne, my favorite health coach and mama of three, is starting a new, LIVE, six-week class called Cleanse Your Life. This is a program designed for moms who are ready to feel vital flowing energy again, move past weight loss plateaus, and regain clarity of focus and thought.

The class will last two weeks, and each module will come with a pdf workbook that has worksheets, exercises, recipes and complete resource lists, so all the background work is done for you — which frees you up to actually do the cleanse and feel the results.

The immersion delivery schedule will allow you to make major progress is establishing your detailed plan while giving you ample opportunities to ask questions and get personal coaching along the way. You will also only need 20-30 minutes for each module — no need to do research, sort through lots of information or read long articles. Lisa did all the back end work for you and provides you a clear cut, streamlined way to create something personalized in a fraction of time.

I’m super excited about this new course. I’m in the middle of her Designed for Wellness class, and let me tell you — it’s life-changing. I love Lisa’s realistic, friendly approach to whole health.

One of you will win a coveted spot in Cleanse Your Life, valued at $129. It starts on March 21, so it’s a great way to start the spring season. And I’ll be joining you!

Alright, I’m psyched to see your progress! What was the hardest part of decluttering your wardrobe? Was there anything that was surprisingly easy?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Still, slowly, working on this, and wondered if anyone has a brilliant maternity clothes organizing idea. I’m 29 weeks pregnant and currently have all of my maternity clothes in a laundry basket in my bedroom, since my (small) closet is full of my regular clothes. It makes finding what I want to wear very difficult, but I hate to pull all of my regular clothes out of the closet for just a few short months (plus I have no place to put them!). Any ideas?

  2. Try folding your clothes (jammies) and placing them vertically. It saves spaces and it’s much easier to see and organize.

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