I Got Rid of 65% of My Closet, Here’s How

I Got Rid of 65% of My Closet, Here’s How
Back in December, I cleaned out my closet and got rid of 65% of what was in there. Sixty-five percent! It was a big undertaking but I’m so glad that I did it! Because it felt so good, I wanted to share the experience for those looking to purge!

The first thing I did was read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingI by Marie Kondo. This helped me mentally prepare and provided a set of solid rules to go by. So many excellent tips!

The second task was enlisting the help of a girlfriend who I knew could help me get the job done. The key is finding the right friend. Someone who—besides the willingness to help—provides moral support, is practical, non-judgmental (hey, we all have embarrassing things in our closet!), has a taste level that you can trust, and is good about getting rid of things. I had the help of my girlfriend Drew who I owe a big thank you to – BIG THANK YOU, DREW (<–if you aren’t familiar with her and her jewelry line, DYLANLEX, please do yourself a favor and get acquainted)!

From my experience, I found that this friend really serves as a mirror. Once we got started, I knew exactly what I should or shouldn’t keep based on the level of embarrassment I felt before showing her the item (read: self judgement). The mortification manifested for different reasons: some items were just FUGLY, others I hadn’t worn in years, and then of course there were the absurdities like that one Phillip Lim dress I couldn’t wear a bra with but without a bra ALWAYS scratched my nipple (ouch! what was I thinking?). There were many more impractical reasons to hold onto things (sentimental attachments excluded) and debating them with someone who was completely detached emotionally was extremely helpful.

As we cleaned, we did 3 other things that helped the process:

1. Piles were separated into: fix (ex: jeans that needed to be shortened, boots that needed repair, etc.), giveaways to friends/family, donations and sell.

I had a few piles for each category and labeled them clearly so that piles didn’t co-mingle. For example, giveaways to my mom, sister, etc. Donations for Goodwill, Dress for Success, the women’s shelter. And sell to TheRealReal, Wasteland, Crossroads.

After the clean out was complete, I tackled folding and bagging up the piles then carried them up to my car. The only items that remained were for The Real Real which I tried to editorially merchandise to make items more appealing to the buyer coming to my house.

2. For the clothing I was keeping, we hung on unified hangers (like these) facing the same direction, arranged by section and color coded.

3. We made a shopping list of things that needed replacements (ex: a new black cashmere sweater to replace the pilled one we gave away).

So, how did it feel to purge more than half my closet? To be honest, the initial feeling was ANXIETY. My closet looks empty! Did I get rid off too much? What was I going to wear? Should I have held onto ‘insert 20% of the items I gave away here’?

The anxiety lasted for a few days until it became very clear that getting dressed in this streamlined environment was a much more simplified process. I wasn’t bogged down by excess clutter. Those once jam-packed racks filled with items that I held onto for all sorts of impractical reasons were now lean and hanging with pieces I genuinely enjoyed wearing. It was a game-changer and getting ready has never been easier!

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23 comments

  1. This has been on my list to do for a while now. I have been continuously getting rid of things the past couple years, but it’s not enough. I need to devote a whole afternoon to purging, but it’s hard to find the time to do that on the weekends when I’d rather be doing anything else, haha. I know it will make me feel much less anxious to have more space and be able to find my clothes easily.
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  2. After moving into my home we made a walk in closet by tearing down a bedroom and it was full to the rim. But after having my baby and reading the same book you did I have cut my stuff in half willingly and have never felt better. Enjoy!!!!

  3. I recently moved to another state and did a major closet clean out! I really only kept neutral clothes that can be mixed and matched with other items super easily and I found that I’m so much happier now that I’m wearing everything that I own on a regular basis! (It also makes me feel more comfortable splurging on items I know I’ll wear all the time!)
    -Sisi
    http://www.modernbeautygirl.com

  4. I did the same! We are purging the whole house actually, and it feels great. Yes, there were anxious moments (and arguments over tossing some things out “honey, do really need 27 T-shirts?” but it’s been great. My motto was “be vicious!” if it doesn’t fit, needs to be fixed (and I know I’ll really never fix it, is a bad color on me, has any holes/stains, and most importantly, if it looks anything less than great on me, it’s OUT. We cut our closet more than in half. The really good stuff went to an online auction site, and all not so great stuff went to the thrift store. All the in the middle stuff we had an invitation champagne shopping brunch at the house and it went great! Made about $600 and had fun with friends. My goal is to now be super picky when I buy anything new. It has to be high quality and look great on or no-way-Jose’, even if it is a great deal (bargains are my kriptonite ;-). It took weeks to clean out the house, but soooo worth it. It feels like we can breath again…

  5. Great article! I completely agree with the feeling that it gives after having emptied the closet! I have done that myself yet I am unfortunately unable to really get rid of the boxes of clothes as there aren’t many options where I live!
    But as stated in one amazing book I have read, The Happiness Project, having a clutter-free apartment really has a good effect on us!

    All the best,

    LeRougeIsGood

  6. The friend is definitely the important bit, we are so emotionally attached to our clothes, having someone who is impartial makes all the difference – as hard as it is still!

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