Welcome to Project:Simplify‘s first hot spot! I hope you’ll join us as we declutter, clean, and organize one small part of our homes each week, for the next five weeks. Together, we can harness the spirit of camaraderie to make what’s normally a chore into something a bit more fun. Who doesn’t like to cross things off a list?
The first hot spot might surprise you. After all, almost nobody mentioned this as an area they really want to tackle this spring. But I have very specific intentions with why I’ve chosen this spot. Even though it may not be high on your priority list, I’ll bet it’s an area that needs attention.
What is it?
Hot Spot #1
This week’s hot spot: your wardrobe and closet.
Yep — this week we are going to touch every. single. item of clothing in our wardrobe, and make a decision whether it stays or goes. We will then find a new home for the items to pass on, organize the clothes that stay, and take inventory of what we might need in the future.
Why our wardrobe?
You might be surprised that I’m assigning us a low-traffic area, when we probably have many other hot spots that are more visible and annoying.
I have reasons.
1. Let’s take care of ourselves.
Let’s face it — moms are notorious for taking care of everyone else but ourselves. I’m generalizing, sure, but more often than not, we’d organize our kids’ clothes before we do our own.
Going through our clothes and deciding what’s worthy to wear is a treat. Let’s start Project: Simplify off on a good note by doing something mostly for us.
2. We’ll set an example.
Some of you might have reluctant spouses or kids. Perhaps doing this project first — where you don’t need their help too much — will motivate them to help you tackle other areas in upcoming weeks.
3. It’ll motivate you for the rest of the hot spots.
I don’t know about you, but for some reason, I’m more productive when I’m groomed and ready to go for the day. Finding clothes that fit and work well on you makes it easier to put yourself together. I visit my closet daily, even if no one else does. Reaping the fruits of our organizing labor each morning means a jump in spirits for tackling the rest of the house.
Photo by Darwin Bell
Assessing our wardrobes
Here are the tools you’ll need this week:
- a large box labeled “give”
- a smaller box labeled “toss”
- full-length mirror
- cleaning supplies (check Appendix A in Organized Simplicity for my homemade recipes)
- any organizing supplies you might want — hangers, shoe storage, and the like (don’t get too fancy here)
- price tags and a pen or marker (optional)
Here’s the basic plan for attacking your wardrobe:
- Make sure all your clothes are washed and in one place.
- Set aside all items you already know you don’t want — wearable in the “give” box; unwearable in the “toss” box.
- Try on all the rest of your clothes — no cheating.
- Anything that doesn’t fit well, put in a separate pile.
- Anything that isn’t the right color on you, put in the “give” box.
- Anything that has un-mendable holes or stains, is unwearable, or underwear that’s seen better days, put in the “toss” box.
- Once your closet and drawers are empty, clean them.
- Hang, fold, and put away the clothes you know you’re keeping.
- Reassess the items in your doesn’t-fit-well pile.
- Tackle your shoes, jewelry, and other accessories.
That’s it. Easy-peasy, right? Head here to download and print the supply list and steps (written above), so you can tack it somewhere visible, near your closet.
A few tips…
I’ll say this again and again throughout Project: Simplify — if you hem and haw over all your items, you’re overthinking things. Use the motivation of a tight schedule to just make a decision.
If you’re truly not sure about something. Set it aside for a few hours. Then come back to it.
Use your mirror and camera, and be objective.
Set aside sentimentality over an item, and let the mirror tell you if the clothing really looks good. If you can’t tell, take a quick photo of you in front of the mirror, and look there. For some reason, it’s easier to tell how something really looks on you through a camera.
Know your colors.
Photo from shutterstock
It’s hard to know what colors really look good on you. Here are a few subjective ways to tell what works:
• When you’re complimented, what colors are you wearing? If you hear “that shirt looks really good on you” every time you wear it, perhaps it’s the color. The right colors make us look alert.
• What do you enjoy wearing? We often like what looks best on us.
• Do you prefer gold or silver jewelry? If gold looks better on you, often that means you’re warm-toned. Silver jewelry looks best on cool-toned skin. Head here for details on how jewelry preference can help you find your best colors.
• I’ve heard that the one shade that works for absolutely everybody is eggplant. Who knew.
You probably wear the same 10 items.
I know I do. I’m not saying you should only have ten items, but if you’re like me, you grab the same jeans, the same skirt, the same shirt most days. These are the things you love. Are the rest of your clothes hanging in your closet worth the space they occupy?
You can also use the list in chapter 14 of my book that lists the top ten things fashion guru Tim Gunn recommends for women (it’s on page 190). I added about five more on the next page.
Analyze why something doesn’t quite fit.
Perhaps you’re like me, with a baby, and in that still-losing-baby-weight stage. If you have clothes in a range of sizes, you need to evaluate why.
If there’s something you know looks good on you, but you can’t quite wear it right now (breastfeeding, anyone?), store it out of the way — but not too out of the way that you forget you own it.
If it doesn’t fit well because — well, it just doesn’t, then put it in your donate box. There’s no reason to give your valuable closet real estate to things you won’t love wearing.
Don’t bother donating clothes that won’t sell.
Please don’t donate grossly stained or holed clothes to charities or shelters. Unless they specifically say they’ll take them, it probably causes more work for them because they’ll have to toss it. Go ahead and toss it yourself.
Label yard sale items immediately.
As I mention in my book, it’s much easier to price and tag yard sale items right away, instead of waiting until the week of your sale. Simply tag and price your items now, and then toss them in your “give” box — you’ll be so glad when it’s yard sale time.
Photo by Erich Ferdinand
Deal with your “give” box this week.
After you’ve gone through your wardrobe, deal with your give pile right away — divide it by items to sell, items to give to people you know, and items to donate to charity. Post your clothes to sell on Craigslist, eBay, or wherever, right away. Don’t wait until “you have more time” — there’s no time like the present. Bring your clothes to the resale shop or charity this week, too. In fact, take an “after” photo of you getting rid of these items!
By the end of Project: Simplify, you might be on a first-name basis with the guy at the donation center.
Finish by Friday
Do your best to finish by this Friday. Post your before-and-after photos either on the blog or on the Flickr pool, and then come to Simple Mom to link up (I’ll provide a spot on that day’s post). Spend the weekend resting, relishing in your work, and oohing and ahhing over everyone’s accomplishments as you browse the links.
This week’s giveaway
Everyone who participates in this week’s hot spot — and then links to the before-and-after photos on her blog or the Flickr pool — is automatically entered to win this week’s giveaway! As I mentioned earlier, all the prizes are tools to help further simplify your life, not more “stuff.”
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.
It will address the gunk that is keeping your inner body from feeling high energy and successful weight loss, as well as the outer ways clutter and disorganization are contributing to feeling heavy, stuck and exhausted.
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!
Ready… Set… Go!
Alright, are you excited? I am. Set an example for your family, and get a great start to Project: Simplify by overhauling your wardrobe. I can’t wait to see your photos on Friday.
Alright, fess up — what’s one thing you know you’re getting rid of this week? Got a bridesmaid dress, Doc Marten boots from the 90s, or ill-fitting t-shirts taking up space? The first thing to go for me — the yellow cardigan Kyle doesn’t like on me.