How I Reduced My Closet 50%


closetI am a master at impulse shopping for clothes, and then wearing something only once before it sits in my closet for years. Parting with clothes has never been one of my strengths. I know it’s illogical to own something for that long without utilizing it, but I always stump myself with the question, “But… what if someday I do want to wear this?” Come on, I know I’m not the only one who does that!

I just moved into a darling new downtown apartment, with lots of old fashion charm, and very old-fashion closets. Small closets, that is. My previous 6-foot long closet was packed wall to wall, so I had to do some painful – but necessary – purging in order to fit into the new one.

Here are some tips and helpful questions I asked myself while reducing my clothing inventory to half its original size:

  • First of all – work fast! Don’t hold up a garment for more than 2 seconds. If you dwell on how much you loved it when you first saw it, or how much of a bargain it was, you’re living in the past.
  • Get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the last year. You’ll probably wonder whether or not you’ll regret discarding it someday. Sure, you might! But that moment of regret is probably not going to eat away at you, and you’ll get over it fast.
  • I also owned a lot of multiples. Not necessarily identical garments, but similar ones. So I combined the similar shirts or pants into their own piles, then picked one favorite from each pile (whichever fit and flattered me the best with the least wear).
  • I applied these same rules to my shoes, and got a really cute shoe rack that hangs over the door to keep my new closet floors tidy and open.
  • Lastly, I allowed myself a few “what if” items to stay. These are actually shirts that I’ve owned since high school; I LOVE them and I let myself off the hook for keeping them around for nostalgic reasons. And I do actually wear them occasionally. This helped the process feel less overwhelming.
  • Now all I have to do is keep my clothing collection from growing again! I’ve developed a rule that if I buy anything new, something has to go.

    I’d love to hear comments and suggestions from your own adventures closet de-cluttering!


    7 thoughts on “How I Reduced My Closet 50%

    • February 22, 2010 at 9:15 pm

      Some more closet tips. Remove any items that don’t belong in the closet eg appliances, linen cupboard items. Use your closet for its intended purpose.

    • February 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm

      That’s a really great tip, Debra – thanks for your input!

    • March 4, 2010 at 12:22 pm

      I am in the process of de-cluttering right now, first the paper clutter and the clothes are next. This article was very helpful!

    • March 22, 2010 at 10:12 pm

      Rule No. 1: Remove all empty hangers!
      2- look at your clothes in daylight, where you can see the worn out patches and shiny collars that have to go
      3. Sort by item (blouses, slacks, short sleeve shirts, etc.) and then by color. You might be surprised how many black shirts you own! or white! or jeans of all sizes!
      Keep what fits you now (except of course those expensive black calf leather pants that fit you 3 years ago and might fit again if you keep working out and dieting)
      Do all of the above regularly, i.e., every 3 – 6 months

    • March 25, 2010 at 8:16 am

      I’m glad, Judy – good luck to you!

      Great tips, Leslie – thanks!!

    • March 19, 2011 at 11:23 pm

      Pretend that you are retiring (or moving for work) to a beautiful, lovely, and simplistic tropical island and only allowed to bring two suitcases. What pieces would you keep that you find the most use from? Sell the pieces you don’t want. Put them on eBay. Watch your “get rid of” pile dwindle while also getting cash, or, take to a consignment shop. Remember, those small closets are all people needed “back in the day” and frankly, most of the people back then were happier than those today! Less IS more.

    • March 21, 2011 at 8:55 am

      Great tip, Lindsey! If you live where it snows though, maybe you should imagine moving to a snowy island so you don’t forget your coat and long underwear. 😉

      Less absolutely is more!

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