Wednesday, November 14, 2012

15 days to a simpler home: day 11 - bedroom closets

Today, we are getting into the place in our homes that tend to hold the most amount of clutter, and items that we just plain don't need to hold on to: our Bedroom Closets.  We tend to hold onto a lot of these items longer than we should for a variety of reasons.

Argument 1 - I spent good money on this.
Yes, you did; and hopefully you made good use of what you spent your money on.  Regardless, if you aren't wearing it anymore, it is taking up space in your closet, and that space is valuable.  If the item is still worth something, see if you can sell it on consignment, or even on craigslist.

Argument 2 - I'm holding onto it because it has sentimental value.
I totally get this one! That's why I saved my wedding dress.  But pretty much, it stops there.  I have a theory that we don't actually need the physical item to bring back those memories; we just want to see them.  So take a picture of the item, or yourself in it.  Or better yet, when you go to important events, or have special moments wearing a specific outfit, take a picture then.  The photo is just as good as the actual piece, but it takes up so much less space.

Argument 3- I'm saving it because it might fit again one day.
I get this, and my suggestion is this: move the items that don't currently fit you, out of your closet.  Put them in a box with the date on it, and set a goal date for when you want to wear these again.  Moving these items out and regaining the space for pieces that do fit will be helpful.  Plus, how does that make you feel to see a closet full of clothes that you can't wear anymore because of their size?  That's not a great way to start any day!  And, this goes the other way, too!  If you have recently lost weight and there are clothes in your closet that are too big, congratulations! But, get rid of those clothes now! Either have them altered, so you can still wear them, or donate/sell them.

Let the closet-purging begin!  First, go into your closet, and pull out everything that you know for sure that you don't need anymore.  Shirts, pants, dresses, shoes, accessories, all of it.  These items can be instantly set aside for a garage sale, or donated.
There are probably a ton of items that you said to yourself "I might wear this in X amount of months".  This is where you flip all of your hangers around so they are open towards you.  When you wear an item, flip the hanger back the other way.  Then, in 6 months (Set a reminder on your cleaning checklist!), pull out everything that is still flipped the wrong way.
See in the back there where all of the hangers in a row are facing the right direction?  That's where my summer-specific clothes are, and they are not getting this treatment right now, because obviously I'm not going to wear a strapless, floral print dress in the next 6 months.  I recommend starting this at the beginning of every season to weed out those items that you no longer need.

The other exception to this is for staple items like a little black dress, or black pumps.  I work from home and don't go to fancy parties very often, but keeping these around is still a good idea, even if I don't use them very often.  Having duplicates of things that are rarely worn is not a good idea, though.

This goes for jewelry too, especially costume jewelry.  Those pieces can take up a lot of space, and moving out those old pieces opens up space for new items that actually go with the clothes you own (and not all the items you just donated!).

Now that you know exactly what you have, you can get to organizing the space.  We got the laundry room all organized the other day, and now we need a place to put all those clothes, in an efficient way.  Before we moved in, our closet was a fairly blank slate, and we were able to maximize the space to meet our needs.

Using a combination of closet organizers, shelving systems, and even a cheapo bookshelf from Walmart, we created a space that is very easy to manage and navigate on a daily basis. 

Shelving, and bins to hold socks and underwear.
More shelving for sweats and hats.
Matching hangers, because I'm a little bit crazy...
Tiny boxes to hold unmentionables.
 More shelving for shoes, and a place for our laundry baskets.
 Customized shelving unit for shoes, and bins below for socks and sandals.
 I'm not lying folks, that is all the purses I have!
 I also customized the space with some moulding to hang heels, and a jewelry frame for earrings and necklaces.
 And a hook board for hoodies and scarves.
We also have plans to add a full length mirror to the back of this door.  That will keep random accessories from ending up in our bathroom, because that's the only place we have a mirror!

In general, with clothing and accessories, I think less is more.  Instead of buying three pairs of $20 jeans that are going to fall apart in a few months, buy one pair of $60 or $80 jeans that you can wear for a few years.  The investment is well worth it, because you have a higher quality (and probably nicer looking) item, and you will spend less time shopping (which probably leads to spending more than we should, anyway!).

You can apply all of these concepts for the other bedroom closets in your house as well.  Get down to just the items that are currently being used, and maximize the space when organizing.  Make sure every item has a home, so putting away clean laundry will be easy for every member of the family.

Read the Other Posts in this Series:

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