National Clean Out Your Closet Week: What’s In Your Suitcase?

Did you know?  The 3rd week of March is National Clean Out Your Closet Week.  Here are simple questions to ask and an easy activity to help you clear your closet clutter!

I have been thinking a lot about closets today.

I spent some time in a closet this afternoon (I love saying that), offering suggestions on how to put it back together after a recent paint job.  My client and her husband have a good selection of clothes but not too much, so we didn’t have to talk about clearing clutter.  We could focus on solving storage challenges (more shelves, higher closet rod so we can double hang one side of the closet, etc.), instead of trying to stuff too much in too small of a space.  It was a pleasure!

This morning’s client has been traveling a lot these last 6 months.  And I am sure that there are clothes in her closet that have not traveled with her on her recent adventures.  So, the question is – does she really need those left-behind items at all?  Her travels remind me of a decision tool I’ve used with clients:

  • Imagine you are packing for a 2 week trip.  Perhaps a new outfit every day, but re-use favorite items if you’d like?
  • Pile up all the items that you would take with you. Then..
  • Look at what is left in your closet   Perhaps there is A LOT left in your closet?

Perhaps it is time to clear some closet clutter?

Let’s look at those items that aren’t going with you.  Ask the question of each piece:  Why wouldn’t it make the trip?

Too formal:  Keep a few, of course – we do need at least some dressy clothing.  But, not too much.  Unless we wear really dressy clothes all the time, the selection should not outnumber or overcrowd the other items in your closet.

Too casual:  We don’t need too many of these, either!  A client had an entire pile of worn out t-shirts for “walking the dog or washing the car”, which is a great idea, but  – a Whole Pile of beat up t-shirts?  We reviewed the pile, kept the best 5 or 6 and freed up shelf space for more important items.

Uniforms or specifically work clothes:  True, work clothes may not go on vacation with you, but we can still look objectively at our work clothes, and recognize how much is enough and how many is too many.  30 pairs of pants?  42 dress shirts?  Too many.

Wrong season?   These can stay, but perhaps it’s time to swap out your closet seasonally, to create more space for moving around and using your day to day wardrobe.  I took my big Irish sweater off the shelf today – I only wear it for St. Patrick’s Day, so now is the time to put it away for the season!

Needs repaired, but I still love it: The answer, of course, is to get it repaired.  In the past 6 months, I have had a skirt shortened, shoes fixed and a leather backpack repaired.  Invest a little time and money in your favorites, and put them back to work!

Needs repaired, but I don’t care about it much anymore:  donate, sell, toss. Don’t let it occupy another minute of your time and attention, let it go.

Stained?  Old?  Scratchy?  No longer stylish?  You will NEVER choose these items as you get dressed in the morning.  Let them go.

I have no feelings for the item, one way or the other:  If you are battling clutter or looking for more room in your closet, you may want to go ahead and donate / sell  / purge your ambivalent items.  Using the Vacation analogy, it is highly unlikely that those uninspiring items will be your choice as you get dressed in the morning, either!  These items will never make the cut, which means they should not stay.

Spend a little quality time in your closet this week and play this game to make decisions easier!

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