Project: Simplify ’11: Hot Spot #1 revealed

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon 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.

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:

  • hangers
  • a large box labeled “give”
  • a smaller box labeled “toss”
  • full-length mirror
  • camera
  • 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:

  1. Make sure all your clothes are washed and in one place.
  2. Set aside all items you already know you don’t want — wearable in the “give” box; unwearable in the “toss” box.
  3. Try on all the rest of your clothes — no cheating.
  4. Anything that doesn’t fit well, put in a separate pile.
  5. Anything that isn’t the right color on you, put in the “give” box.
  6. Anything that has un-mendable holes or stains, is unwearable, or underwear that’s seen better days, put in the “toss” box.
  7. Once your closet and drawers are empty, clean them.
  8. Hang, fold, and put away the clothes you know you’re keeping.
  9. Reassess the items in your doesn’t-fit-well pile.
  10. 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…

Work quickly.

I’ll say this again and again throughout Project: Simplifyif 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.

• Learn more details at sites like The Chic Fashionista and Color Me Beautiful.

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.

Join the Conversation

Comments

  1. I’m going to do this because my closet really doesn’t look very good but I have to admit I actually don’t have enough clothes. I have two pairs of jeans that fit. One is ripped in the crotch and I’ve had to patch it and the other has a broken zipper. I probably have about 3 decent looking shirts. The rest are old t-shirts and I have about 10 of those and most of them are full of holes. I’d like to get rid of all the clothes I hate and all the clothes that don’t look good on me/ don’t fit right but if I do I won’t have anything left to wear. I think I need to invest some time and money into a new wardrobe.

    • avatar
      melanie keck says:

      Wow I thought that my three pairs of pants was bad. and I have a few more shirts than you. I did set aside money this week to buy me some clothes. the last time I did this I ended up spending it elsewhere. but not this time. This money is for me to buy new clothes. I need them it is beyond a want it stage and it sounds like you are in the same boat. set aside a little to go buy some clothes!

      • avatar
        jennifer says:

        Girls, this was me a year or so ago. I found out that I was also isolated because I never felt I had decent clothes to go somewhere. I encourage you both to find a few things you love, that fit you well and that you feel good in and build a good wardrobe from there. It has helped me so much. I didn’t spend s fortune either. I found some shirts from Target that I really like but that are also very versatile and I have them in several colors. Then you can have a clean closet with things you really use, not useless stuff that mocks you in the closet.

  2. Bummer!!! I just did this yesterday! I didn’t take before pics. I should have waited, or maybe I can take a picture of my “after” closet and all of the clothes, hangers, and trash to show the improvements from “before”!

    • Candice, I’m with you! I started this project late last week. I need to pick up the pace and finish though.
      I give so much stuff away that I’m amazed that I ever have anything left to give. I’m determined to simplify my life however, and when I look around and see all this “stuff”, I know there is still more I can do.

    • avatar
      danaldrman says:

      How weird. I just did this last week too! Wonder how I’m gonna get those before pictures now… lol

      • just did mine last week, too! I like the idea of taking the “after” picture and the pile of stuff that was removed.

        • avatar
          ryland4change says:

          YES! Tsh NAIL on HEAD! Perfect!
          I’ve been through numerous courses on cleaning and organizing including FlyLady’s program Brooke Noels Extreme Home Makeover and Make Today Matter program and poured through tons of books and websited on the topic of simplifying, cleaning, organizing etc.. AND after all of them, I know:
          This is exactly where I like to start! I switch out my wardrobe 4/5 times a year by seasonality and colors and it always jump starts my efforts to get the house back in order!
          I actually had to work my way out of a deep winter funk a few weeks back and did exactly this… bye-bye wool sweaters in drab colors hello spring!

        • avatar
          Jennifer says:

          Okay, I was going to say that I just did this last week, but to be honest, I only did half of it last week. I did the cleaning out of the closet (closets actually) and the boxing of giveaways, but those boxes are still in the house and the yard sell items are not priced. I had to clean multiple closets just to organize mine because I live in an old house with tiny closets. My husband uses the one in our room and I have been using our son’s closet (he’s tiny, he doesn’t mind, yet). I figured he would mind someday, so I cleaned out the dormer closet that houses non-Christmas holiday decorations, moved the linens into there and moved my clothes into the dormer (half size) closet that already had a clothes bar in it. No before pictures. Bummer. But it was very liberating.

  3. What a great idea and a perfect place to start. My wardrobe is in serious need of organizing, I’m slightly afraid of what I will find in there, lol.

    http://www.mywallabygold.com/blog and
    http://www.mywallabygold.blogspot.com

  4. I am going to do this this week, question…what do I do with my husbands stuff that takes over half of my closet?

  5. Ah – good topic. I JUST did this last week. Oops!

    A good blog for wardrobe advice is youlookfab.com. She has a lot of archives on the closet subject.

  6. Oh, I am so excited about this! I was just thinking this weekend that I wanted to clean out my closet for spring, and because I’m so sick of trying to get dressed and feeling like I have nothing to wear. Of course I have clothes to wear, I just need to weed out the stuff I really don’t wear, and organize the stuff that I do wear in a better way.
    Thanks for starting out with this hot spot Tsh!

  7. avatar
    Connie Gueits says:

    My family and I just moved to Japan. And just got our household goods, this really is the perfect place to start and i am going to do this to mine and all 5 of my kiddos closets!! We have got alot of downsizing that needs to happen. Yay, let the organizing begin!!

  8. I am so excited to ge this done this week. I know I have soooo many things to get rid of from my wardrobe as well as my husband’s. We have both lost weight over the past year and I have put off getting rid of the “too big” items. We live in a very small house and share a VERY small closet. Starting this one first thing tomorrow!

  9. This weekend was all about deep cleaning the house. As I was going in the bedroom, I thought that maybe it was time for a closet decluttering. Thanks Tsh. I love the concept of starting in your own personal space in this series.
    Katie

  10. This weekend was all about deep cleaning the house. As I was going in the bedroom, I thought that maybe it was time for a closet decluttering. Thanks Tsh. I love the concept of starting in your own personal space in this series.
    Katie

  11. avatar
    Carrie Eacker says:

    YEs, throwing out all the clothes that I think will FIT ME someday. :/

  12. I’m so excited to do this project, but completely bummed because I also did this last weekend. I don’t live in an area that does well with garage sales, so I just plan on donating all the clothes we’re getting rid of. I’m not quite done, so I guess I can do a “before” pic from where I am right now, to an “after” pic when I’m completely done! I’ve already gathered up about 10 grocery bags worth of clothes and I am already feeling better about my closet!

  13. Oh NOoooooooooo! This is the one spot I was hoping it wouldn’t be! Mostly because I’m scared to take the before pictures! But I’m planning to do it anyway! I’m being very brave. You will see.

  14. I did this back in December! I got rid of 3 kitchen size trash bags full of clothes. I’m down to one pair of jeans that fits, one pair of black pants that fits, and a couple pairs of pants that I can get into but don’t fit well. I will try to do this clothing purge again. although I did get rid of a lot last time! First thing to go? The shirt my husband doesn’t like on me.

  15. I recently put a “donate” box in my laundry room. If I don’t love an item enough, I toss it in there before it finds its way back to my closet.

  16. avatar
    Tiffany says:

    You might add one other option to your list – sell your clothes. I recently cleaned out my closet and found that while I had some great pieces of clothing, they just weren’t the right color for me. So I put them on eBay and sold everything!

  17. Tsh, I DO have a bridesmaid’s dress, Doc Martens from the 90s, and a pile of ill-fitting t-shirts. Ugh, lots of work to do!

  18. awe thank you Tsh. I so often forget about me and my needs trying to keep above water with the rest of the housework and children’s things.

    having a 7month old I have lots of illfitting clothes. I boxed up all my ‘prepregnancy’ clothes and after the hormones calmed down I did purge them because I wanted to repurpose some of the underbed storage. What I haven’t addressed are the clothes I am actually wearing. I often get partway through the day and find myself tugging up my jeans as only 2 out of 6 pairs really fit decently, the rest were ‘I need to get out of maternity clothes’ purchases where I had limited time and bought anything that fit over my new-mum-tum.

    badly fitting jeans will be the first into my donate box. and ‘work’ shoes I haven’t worn since I got pregant with ds1 5yrs ago.

  19. I’m really motivated and eager to start, my husband is trembling from fear, since I talked about this project.
    I shared your link through my facebook.
    I’m start to take photos of my chaos and and see what results we have for Friday.

  20. The last weekend I cleaned my wardrobe. But I am sure i have more clothes. This project is perfect to me.

  21. I’m so glad we’re starting here! This will help ease me into the big declutter!

  22. Yay, it has begun! :D

  23. Gosh, this is such an opportune choice. I ‘nearly’ made a start yesterday. Better take the ‘before’ shots and crack on.

  24. avatar
    Michelle Malette says:

    This is actually a really, really good one for me. Means I will be forced to catch up on laundry so I can see what I actually own, sort out the junk in my closet that reaches up to the bottom of the hanging clothes ( things waiting to be donated or kijiji’d) and go through my clothes & get rid of the stuff that is in bad shape. And there is TONS of all three of these things to get through. I have a really limited wardrobe & because I care for kids in my home, I tend to not worry too much about how much or what I own until I need to go to the arena, facilitate or attend a meeting etc. I’m not sure I can actually make myself post before pictures….. :(

  25. avatar
    Becca S says:

    You picked the worst (best!) spot in my house for me to start with! My walk-in closet has not been organized since I moved in last summer… like you said, so many other things and places take priority. I’m so glad to have motivation to clean this problem area!

  26. We just did a big donation run, and what do you know… I got rid of a bridesmaids dress from 2006! A very formal, and ill-fitting dress at that! I am looking forward to cleaning out my closet again though with the tips you’ve given! Thank you for your inspiration!

  27. YIKES! finish by friday? i started last saturday and i’m not done:))) i love a challenge! i’m going to do my best!!

  28. My husband and I actually cleaned out our closet about a year ago and got rid of A LOT. But…I’m realizing as I read this post that there are a lot of clothes in the closet I haven’t even touched in the past year so obviously there is still some de-cluttering to do! Plus a lot of dust-bunnies in the closet corners!

  29. Great place to start. I look in my closet every day for a “new” item to wear that has not been worn as much as the others because I do wear the same 10 tops all the time. I only have two pairs of pants I wear but my bottom drawer is filled with “repair another day” pants.

    My only problem… I don’t have a digital camera to take any before and after pictures. That’s okay, I’ll know what a change I made :)

  30. Oh man…this so needs to happen! For me it’s the ridiculous drawer of bras that will never fit again!

  31. Yahoo! I got tired of carrying clothing around the world for ALL the wrong reasons and took drastic action a few months ago. . . three babies and multiple military moves forced me to get intentional. What really excites me about Project Simplify: being able to share our “aha” moments and inner transformations here as we address the clutter–physical and otherwise. This is gonna be huge. GO, GO, GO GIRLS!

  32. This was the last area I thought we’d be working on… but my bedroom is a complete disaster and needs my attention.

    Wondering if this is the time to ship my wedding dress to my mother-in-law so she’ll have it to make a 1st communion dress for my daughter and maybe a few baptism gowns if there’s enough excess material…. or a dolly dress for the doll she made my daughter.

  33. avatar
    Christy says:

    OK-I’m going to do this step by step even though I already cleaned out my closet (and my kids’ closets) all weekend! I have 3 bags of my clothes I’m giving away, and several boxes of consignment clothes for my kids to take from the house! But, I will admit, I did not clean, I did not try on EVERYTHING, I am still wondering about some items, and I definitely did not pull out things under my bed or in every drawer! So, here goes…

  34. Oh Tsh how did you know? Our walk in is one of THE most neglected places in our home. No one sees it and so it just gets ignored. Thanks for the walk through. *deep breaths* I can do this!

  35. I just want to say “Bhah!”
    I did a fantastic job on the bedroom part last week, painting and decluttering. I didn’t do my closet ’cause I’m scared. LOL.

    • Is that “bhah” a good thing or a bad thing? ;)

      • It’s one of those “I don’t really want to do it and now I have no excuse not to:)”

        I’m actually 28 weeks pregnant so trying on clothing may not be part of my cleaning but I know a lot of what is in my closet I no longer wear. A lot of “business wear” and I’ve been a stay at home mom for 3 years (a good thing!!!) now with no plan of going back. It just seemed so final to part with it all. :)

  36. My goal this weekend was to put away all the clothes that were piled on my dresser…that did not happen. I want to get this project done so my bedroom can feel more restful. Time to go gather up my supplies!

  37. Yay! This is exactly the place I was hoping to tackle next. :)

  38. I did this about a month ago, but I think I am ready to do away with more. Now that we have been through winter I still have stuff in there I haven’t worn for most of the winter, and now is the time to part with it. Thanks. I hope I can find the energy at night to tackle this. Working full time doesn’t give me so much extra time at night yet.

  39. kind of a bummer… i just did this 3 weeks ago! no pictures!!! :( on the flip side… it has been WONDERFUL having our closet be organized and cleaned out. we brought 3 LARGE trash bags full to goodwill… a bit ridiculous! maybe i’ll tackle the kids closets instead….. :) Have fun everyone!

  40. avatar
    Nicole W. says:

    The author of the blog You Are My Fave did a fabulous job explaining how a camera helped her decide which clothes looked best for her month long “Cardigan Challenge”: http://youaremyfave.com/operation-cardigan-complete-is-my-fave-plus-the-next-steps/

    Thanks for the inspiration to purge my closet before I pack up my winter clothes and postpone the decision making process for another year!

  41. Of course I started cleaning my closet this weekend! At least my “before” picture won’t be nearly so shocking but there is plenty still to be done! I’ll have to enlist my husband in order to make a real difference! 3/4 of our closet is his stuff!
    I seriously pared down my clothes about a year ago, but I know I didn’t go far enough!
    My drawers definitely could use help! I have WAY too many t shirts taking up space! I even have some pretty scented drawer papers to use after I get everything cleaned out!

  42. So funny that so many of you “just” cleaned your closets this weekend! Perhaps this series will encourage you to not clean until you hear the next hot spot. ;)

    • I was just about to post that my husband and I just cleaned out our closets. I do have to admit though, I’m not quite done. Maybe this week I’ll focus on organizing my kids clothes too!

  43. I have a rule when a new piece of clothing comes in, one must go out!
    Still heading upstairs this week to weed through my closet and look forward to joining you throughout this series.

    Deborah

  44. Oooooooh, no. I am *terrified* of what lurks in the depths of my closet. I don’t even ‘get dressed’ from there- my clothes are stacked on the rocker in the corner. Eeek. Yikes.
    Must go bolster with coffee. Am considering putting this off until evening, when I can bolster with WINE!

  45. I was secretly hoping this would be first, since it’s the worst and if I didn’t do it first, I might be too whooped after tackling other hot spots.

    Thanks for the fuel. Time to start my engine. I dread posting before pictures, but it’s only fair game, right?

  46. This is going to be so good for me. I can already think of 3 dresses that no longer fit and need to be sold and an ugly sweater for the donate pile!

  47. Man. I walked through our house last week and took pictures of my hotspots. Very embarrassing to see from a photo perspective. The closet was on the list. Big walk in. It is a gathering place for a LOT of things.

    This is a great painless place to start!

    So is this just the wardrobe or do we need to tackle the rest of the space too?

  48. Perfect! My wardrobe is mostly pared down, but my husband and I share a walk-in closet that has become home to a lot of other stuff. One of the perils of paring down in one area is that the freed-up space can easily become a dumping ground, and that is what has happened to our closet! Yarn stash, boxes of photos, etc. Looking forward to this project!

  49. My Doc Martens?! *sob*

  50. Hi Tsh! I just clicked over from The Inspired Room, and I’m so glad I did…

    I’ve been thinking a lot about SIMPLIFYING lately. I’m getting married in October, so my goal is to purge all the unneccessaries before then; this is the perfect push to get it done now! I’ve been debating my closet situation for about a week, and I guess this is the week to just clean it out!

    Thanks for the push. :)

  51. I’m definitely going to have to do this project twice! Here, I only have the clothes I could pack in a suitcase (and fear not, I still have things to get rid of…). At our permanent home…everything I’ve been able to live just fine with out for 6 months : /

    Thanks for mentioning that breastfeeding and pregnancy are legit reasons to keep clothes that don’t fit (but will once again next pregnancy or after weaning)!

  52. Yay! I did start some of this yesterday but it was just my dresser. The piles were still pretty sad. I’ll take a picture of my giveaway bag, eBay pile, and keep pile. I’m proud to say my keep pile was very small. Now with all of your great tips, I’m ready to tackle the closet. 

  53. It’s funny that in all the times I purge my closet (I think I remove stuff monthly), I still haven’t let go of that bridesmaid dress! Thanks for the push to get rid of that awful thing ;)

  54. We moved 6 months ago and at least half of my clothes-I-don’t-wear are still in tubs. So I will go through those – realistically – and clear out so I only have two tubs of off season clothes. I don’t hang everything and that helps to feel less cluttered. I, too, only wear 10 pieces!

  55. Yay! Was hoping we would tackle this. Feel like I have a closet full of clothes, yet nothing to wear. Thank you, Three Babies in Five Years.

    Off to take some before pictures!

  56. I’m so excited about this hotspot. It’s an area that causes me lots of stress and lost time. I’m starting today!

  57. avatar
    Margery Hilburn says:

    Here are some ideas as an alternative to the “toss” pile.

    (1) Make cleaning cloths.

    (2) For blue jeans and other sturdy fabrics, I am cutting them into squares to make a blue jean quilt for my son’s bed.

    (3) Hem too-short pants into capris. (I am quite tall, and somehow end up with too-short pants in my wardrobe. I think they are long enough, and then they shrink up to an inch in the wash! I also hem my kid’s pants into shorts when they blow out the knees too badly to patch.)

  58. This closet cleaning chore has been hanging over my head for awhile now, this is just the motivation I need to get going. Thanks.

  59. avatar
    Sarah M says:

    All my capris! I never wear them because my husband doesn’t like them on me! Why oh why have I kept them this long??? You are so right Tsh, if you can get rid of your sweater, I can get rid of these space hogs too!

  60. I’m thinking about the stilettos that I bought myself for my 40th birthday that don’t fit quite right and I can’t really wear unless I’m going to nightclub…which I don’t do because I’m a mom.

  61. I’ve got clothes I’ve hung onto just because they were my mother’s (she passed away 7 years ago this month), but she would have gotten rid of them by now. :)

    • If there is something special from her, or something with fabric you love, you can always use the fabric for something new. I have a friend that specializes in making RememberMez, aprons and other items from such fabrics. But the trick is to not set it aside in a pile forever.

  62. How do you deal with off-season clothes? I definitely have a winter wardrobe and a summer one. Off-season is usually stored neatly in tupperware containers in the garage. A couple problems – I forget what is in there! And at this time of year, there is always a pile of give/sell that is winter and no one wants to buy winter at this time of year, so I end of storing that too. Any tips?

    • Wait a few months and sell your clothes closer to the season. So you might have a few months of storing them, but then you’ll always have clothes to take — the ones you plucked from the purge before. Make sense?

      I simply store my off-season clothes on the shelf in the closet. But honestly, I don’t have too much of anything, so I can fit it all in my dressers and closet. Anyone else have ideas?

  63. Well, this should kick start my 40 Bags in 40 Days nicely. And finishing by Friday will be a huge challenge, but any progress is good progress, right? Thanks for the inspiration and the clear directions–silly as it sounds, I can get overwhelmed in the middle of projects and not know where to go next with them so this will be a help for me. Thanks & good luck to all!

  64. Hmmm,

    This one is going to be a challenge because I really don’t have much in my closet. I clean it out pretty regularly. My hubby, on the other hand, has more clotes than Macy’s. Really. And each time I try to get him to purge, he refuses.

    However, I am still going to see what I can clean out. My closet is very clean, but I know my drawers could use some cleaning out.

    • I didn’t realize there were other women out there in the same boat! I regularly clean my section of the closet, but all that seems to do is allow my husband to take over more of it with the clothes he refuses to get rid of! And he doesn’t keep it in order either, which is why I hope SOME DAY we can have separate closets. I don’t care that I’ll have the little one, it will be clean, organized and only have the stuff I wear (plus my wedding gown!)

  65. Don’t toss those panties that have seen better days! My grandma takes her worn panties with her on trips and then throws than away at the end of each day…disposable panties! Then you don’t have dirty panties to haul home with you in your dirty laundry bag.

    • LOL! My first thought was that I was going to finally toss all of my panties and start over fresh!!

      Thanks for the tip!

      Now..someone tell me how to convince my husband to take me somewhere so I can throw out my panties!

  66. I actually did our closet when I was decluttering our bedroom back in December/January. But I still have some clothes and my jewelry box which could use a good clean sweep. I’m looking forward to starting this project.

  67. avatar
    jennifer says:

    I so need to get my closet organized. Can’t wait to get started!

  68. I did this a few weeks ago, and it felt SO wonderful! Even got hubby to do his side – amazing. I am definitely getting rid of that old bridesmaid dress, and I’m happy to have found a few things I will love again after I get them altered this week. Instead of taking up space, they will be like “new clothes” to me! My favorite is the 60′s dress and jacket I recently inherited from my grandma. It will be my Easter dress.

    Since I’ve already done my closet, I will participate this week by cleaning out the worst closet in my house – the guest room. It’s been getting under my skin for months. And because my mother-in-law is visiting this week and will need it, there’s all the more motivation :)

    Thanks Tsh! I’m enjoying your book!

  69. Ok. I have another question. What is the best way to organize tights and nylons? I have a whole drawer full (leftover from the days of when I worked outside the home). I don’t wear them often and can never find what I want.

    • I have a jewelry box with large square separators. I use that and roll up each pair in a different hole. Go through Walmart and look at their plastic storage organizer area. Check out drawer organizers- even the long slotted ones for knives, forks, etc. Those can be very helpful for stuff like this.

    • Since you don’t wear them often, do you need a whole drawer full? I say get rid of most of them, then simply ball up the remaining ones and tuck them nicely alongside your socks.

  70. If you are an “older” mom like me, and have a teenage daughter with some style sense, this is easy. I just did this a few weeks ago. She was a great help. She was honest as to what looked right on me and what was stylish. I got rid of a huge portion of my clothes and have never looked back. It was almost like going on TLC “What Not to Wear”.

    • This is a good point…but I actually need my mom’s help with fashion! That’s why I like baby girl fashion…who else can get away with bold stripes or sweater pants?

  71. some jeans. I just bought new ones (from the thrift store) a few months ago but two pairs that I love because they have beautiful embroidery on them really don’t fit me…so I never wear them except as a last resort. so okay…I’ll get rid of them! sigh…

  72. Here is a link to a lovely blog post about a simple wardrobe that I found inspiring and very do-able. I’m using it as a guide for my closet organizing.

    http://www.studyinbrown.com/brush-strokes/2010/3/3/clothing-and-whats-enough.html

  73. I’ve already been doing this is little chunks this past week, this will give me the motivation to finally get it DONE and make a list of what I need to replace! Just one stumbling block – what do I do with my wedding dress?? It’s been hanging in my closet for almost 14 years!

    • avatar
      Robin Guthrie says:

      Yea, I got married 8 years ago, and to this day, it hangs in a dress bag on the back of my bedroom door. ugh. Sentimental attachment dang it! I REALLY don’t care, but just think that I SHOULD keep it. Wish I knew someone that needed one. I have no children, so I don’t even have anyone to pass it on to. Ideas?

  74. my heart sunk when i saw the first step is our CLOSET! *whine whine whine* but, i can do it. and the first things leaving this house are the pants i wore 2 babies ago that my hips just aren’t going to squeeze into again.

  75. I actually got rid of two huge bags of clothing/stuff from the bottom of my closet last week! I’m going to go take another look, though, thinking about your list of what to get rid of (except that being 7 1/2 months pregnant I’m NOT going to try things on!). My goal (which I just came up with right this minute) is to have another huge bag out of there. And luckily, I have a very organized friend who encouraged me last week and volunteered to take anything I don’t want out of the house to the thrift store so I won’t have to carry anything heavy. :)

  76. I am so excited that this is where you picked to start…two months before I turned 30 I decided I needed to put myself first more often. On Friday I turn 31, think it will be a great way to start the next year…my stuff organized.

  77. My husband has been bugging me to do this forever. It’s the perfect time too! Leaving for Spring Break on Saturday and I have no idea what fits and what I need.

  78. I am SO glad this is one of the hot spots we’re doing. (I’d be gladder if this weren’t the week I am going to be late doing it, though; can’t really clean up my closet from 150 miles away…) I’ve been thinking this would be part of doing the master bedroom & actually thinking about what clothing I need to purge, so at least I’ve got some of the thought process out of the way…hopefully that means I can knock it out quickly when I get home on Friday…

  79. I am very excited about this! My closet needs a good clean-out. The first things I am going to toss are the old t-shirts I keep around that are stained or holey…

  80. For the past month I have been saying I need to do this! I have a handful of items that don’t really fit well because I just know I will loose that extra 10lbs to fit back into them!

    Also, I am now pregnant so I can’t really try anything in my wardrobe on, because none of it fits. But I do know what I need to gt rid of. Thanks for the ump start on this project!

  81. I love this plan! I stumbled across this while I am already knee deep in unpacking my closet. I can share one idea that I heard years ago and have used on and off with great success since then. When you’re going through your closet and have those items that you keep but aren’t things you wear in your “top 10″, often you’ll find that you don’t actually wear a lot of them. Take everything in your closet and hang the hangars backwards so that the hook goes towards the wall. Mark a date on your calendar 3 months out (or 6 if you prefer). When you pull out something to wear (and actually wear it- not just try it on and then put it back) and then put it back washed turn the hangar back the normal way. In 3-6 months when your date comes up on the calendar go through and remove all the backwards hangars and re-evaluate them. If they are off season or fancy dress then you can probably save them for another 6 months to check that you really will wear it. If it’s in season and you haven’t worn it in half a year then it’s fairly safe to get rid of! Thanks for the inspiration. I’m looking forward to seeing what other areas are coming in the following weeks!

  82. Wow. I just went and took my “before” picture. I don’t want to put it on the internet! :) we removed our closet doors when we moved in because they were floor to ceiling steel beasts, and you would think that would require us to keep it clean. Alas, it does not. It will be clean by the end of the week though. :D

  83. I have a question. Do you literally mean just the wardrobe, or do you mean all clothes (i.e. stuff we keep in the dresser as well)?

    • All our clothes. By ‘wardrobe,’ I mean our collection of clothes, not a piece of furniture. I know… I debated naming it something else, but I couldn’t come up with anything. :)

  84. Man. You had to hit right where it hurts, huh, Tsh? :) I was proud because I had my home fairly clean (at least if you didn’t open too many cupboards or closets) this weekend because we had people over last night. My husband and I got real motivated and cleaned out/organized the garage on Saturday, and I did tons of work on my kids clothes as far as tagging for resale, storing by size/season, etc. It’s not totally done, buy I made a big dent. The one thing that is still horrendous IS THE MASTER. And the main problem is clothes. Laundry is my nemesis. I have extra problems because I’m 24 weeks pregnant and there are maternity clothes all mixed in with regular clothes. And in there are too big maternity clothes, too small maternity clothes, clothes that’ll probably fit right after the baby is born, clothes that will take some time to get back into, and that doesn’t even account for my husband’s clothes. UGH. But I can do it! I’ve already taken a photo of my terrible laundry room piles, and I’m about to go take (ultra ridiculously embarrassing) photos of the master closet/clothes piles in my room. I told my husband about this week’s hot spot, and he just smirked. Then he saw me taking photos and said, “You’re going to post those on the Internet?!” YES! Wish me luck!

  85. There couldn’t be a better start to PS than the closet for me, since hubs already emptied it trying to find his spare truck key on Friday night. Which now makes it a bedroom and closet purge. Ugh. Here we go!

  86. I usually do a closet cleaning this time of year anyway, but not usually so thoroughly. This will be good for me! As you can tell by the name of my blog (The Wardrobe Miser) I tend to hang on to stuff for longer than I should. And I’ll tell you right now, I’m not getting rid of my 2 pairs of jeans with holes in the knees. :)

  87. Oh Tsh thank you thank you thank you. I feel like I just recieved a fantastic gift.

    I have been concentrating so hard on sorting out the visible aspects of our home, I had completely forgotten myself. I’ve been walking around in ill-fitting jeans since my second son arrived 7 months ago, I have one pair that fits ok and the others were all ‘need jeans asap because I can’t bear to wear maternity anymore’ buys. I know I’ve not been taking care of myself so well recently, and it’s affecting my mood.

    Yesterday I passed a shop I love with a sale. I ‘invested’ in a new cardigan and two necklaces (half price at a price I would like to pay full price) because I’d decided I was fed up of ‘making do’ and wanted to feel good as I am now, a couple of sizes bigger than prepregnancy. Now I just need to get on with the rest of my closet, make my good items sing out and get rid of the things that are bringing me down.

    to top it all, my copy of your book arrived today. I wish I could sit and devour it all right now, but it will have to wait. chapter 14 is open and I’m hoping I’ll get to the end of it before I go to bed tonight.

  88. Excited and overwhelmed about this starting point. My problem, is that our walk-in closet is the dumping ground for so many others things too. It is most definitely the scariest place in the house! ;-) It’s going to be a big, big project, but I’m up to the challenge! I don’t even like walking in there now!!

  89. Dare I say it – how exciting! We moved into our current house six months ago, but the closet still looks like we just moved in yesterday. Piles of clothes we haven’t worn in over a year, packed into bags and laundry baskets… I’m kind of thrilled that I have a “reason” to go through the closet, dressers and drawers (even the basement!) to get rid of the clothes we don’t need or wear.

  90. Love this ‘hot spot’…especially the reason–starting with me as Mom is a great example and will fuel my energy moving forward!

    I too did this recently. But like so many other women commenting today-I only did the purge halfway. Throwing out what doesn’t fit or ‘almost’ fits is a difficult step. And I’m a dedicated simplifier!

    My fav personal tip: Use local consignment stores. I have a great relationship with the ladies at my local store and it’s taken the sting out of getting rid of favorite items that don’t fit or don’t work anymore. I know I’ll be seeing some friends when I go in to spend my ‘free’ money on something that will fit well and serve me better after my items are sold!

    See all you wonderful people on Friday–I can’t wait for the before/after pics!!!

  91. Can I tell you one of the greatest organizing tips that I’ve heard? At the turn of the seasons, take each hanger and turn it with the short side facing to you. When the time comes to switch out your clothes for the next season, all of the clothes that are still hanging “backwards” you didn’t wear, and you know are probably a good candidate for the donate pile.

    (I’ll admit, I’ve rescued a few pieces for sentimental reasons)

  92. I figured this would be a hot spot, but I’m (pleasantly) surprised it is 1st. It has been at the bottom of my list for a while. I told my husband (he’s inboard too) that the closet would be at the top of the list after the 5 weeks if it wasn’t taken care of during the 5 weeks. Woohoo!!

  93. I started this last month but didn’t get to finish it as far as drawers, etc. My closet is strange because it’s built into this anteroom that I use as my craft room/office. The visual clutter of the closet can drive me nuts so I started a donation pile. I used Peter Walsh’s suggestion of hangers facing a certain way, when you wear it you flip it the other way. At the end of a few months you can see what you really wear.

    Thanks for my motivation this week and a reminder to put ME first. ; )

  94. Oh Boy. Okay, I’m going to do it. Those pre-kids size 6s have been laughing at me everytime I walk in to my closet anyway. Yikes, I can’t believe the first spot is the closet. Was not expecting that!!!! A full length mirror? Really? Oh Boy. Here goes nothing…

  95. Perfect timing, I’ve been thinking about how I need to do this! I found a pair of jeans in my drawer last night that has several holes. Why am I hanging on to them still? I can’t wait to get started :)

  96. I’m off to do this now. I’m not blogging or taking pics (though the giveaway sounds cool), just taking part because it’s a good idea. :) Thanks!

  97. I am actually about half way done with my closet, but oh my goodness it needed more than a week! lol So I will try to finish up by friday with y’all!

    I love your blog!

  98. Funny that this is todays, since I JUST did this over the weekend. But for me that sad thing is I do not have a closet. All my clothes must fit in a 6 drawer dresser. And to complicate things, I am 6 months pregnant and have 2 sets of clothes right now I need out.

  99. I am SO glad this is the first hot spot!! I have been getting the itch to do this, but keep putting it off because I feel like I should work on the “public” areas of the house first. Thanks for giving us permission to do something nice for ourselves first! My twins just turned 1 year old and I think my body has finally settled into the shape and size it is going to be — so I am ready to purge the old clothes and only wear things that fit and make me feel good. I’m so ready for spring!

  100. Yay for this! Cleaning my closet was on my list for last week, but it never happened. I’m so glad it’s the #1 hotspot b/c we’re having a garage sale on the 19th and it needed to get done,

    I know I’m getting rid of SHOES. Yep, I said it. Goodbye sweet, impractical shoes.

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