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1000 Item Declutter Challenge: Starting with my Closet

My closet….safe to say it needs…something.

Lately I’ve been feeling weighed down by stuff.  I feel like my house is always in a state of disorganization (yes, I know I have two kids…but still!) and more stuff = more to clean.   I’ve also started thinking about our family’s future plans…which may include downsizing our living space in the next year or so.  The thought of a smaller space with less stuff (like an Ikea model house – and I’m only half joking!) is so appealing to me right now.  So I’m feeling the urge to purge!

Every once in a while, I go on a “clearing of clutter” tear.  My big problem is that I suffer from “but I might use/miss/need that one day” syndrome….particularly when it comes to books, clothes and baby carriers.   I do the thing where you go to clean out your closet, find that shirt you haven’t worn in two years and think “my this is cute; really should keep it” and then proceed to leave it hanging for another 6 months.    Carriers are the hardest to destash – you might have noticed that it’s a bit of a hobby for me right now and I know that once my kids are older, I will sell the bulk of the stash off.  Books…books are practical, right?  Jesse and I both have ridiculous numbers of books – 5 large bookcases overflowing with them in fact.  How to decide what is essential?  Which leaves us with clothes…I’ll start my efforts with clothes.  I should also add that right now I’m focusing on my stuff – Jesse doesn’t really hoard (unless we are talking books or baseball caps) and the kids…well, that will come in time.

I’ve decided some ground rules and a challenge are in order; these apply to general decluttering I think but are written with my closet in mind.  First, “rules”:

  • Focus on having fewer things I love a ton vs. lots of things I like a bit.  This most clearly applies to my closet but I hope to get brave and apply it to the carrier stash…baby steps!  I don’t spend a ton of money on clothes, or rather I tend to buy cheap clothes or things on sale.  I don’t have any particular reason to dress up at the moment – no work clothes (although I still have some left over from my teaching days…5 years ago!) – so mostly I need functional (breastfeeding kinda puts a damper on my love of dresses!), comfortable, and cute (I’m not really a yoga pants girl) with some workout clothes thrown in the mix.  A few months ago I splurged on a dress from ModCloth that’s so me; makes better sense to invest in that one dress and wear the heck out of it than to buy 5 Old Navy dresses for the same amount and never wear them.
  • Forget about “wasted” money.  One purging problem I have is the nagging thought of how much I have invested in things that I need to ditch.   Take some of my nicer, rarely worn items that are leftover from my teaching days.  Or things I bought or was gifted that never quite fit right.  I have this urge to sell them to try to cut my losses – and there’s nothing wrong with that – but I also need to balance time invested in selling with the need for clean shelves.  I may try to consign or otherwise sell some of my nicer things but if they don’t go quickly, to Goodwill they go.
  • Wear the heck out of things I love.  That fabulous ModCloth dress I got…I’ve only worn it a handful of times.  Partly because it’s a bit tricky to nurse in but primarily because it’s “nice.”  Well, that’s just silly, right?  If I never wear it, it will hang there and go out of style in the meantime.  Better I love it to pieces (like my favorite skirt that I finally ripped a seam out of the other day…good thing I’ve started sewing!).  Time to wear that sucker to the park and a play date!
  • Shop in your own closet.  I’m also bad about forgetting about items that I wore a few times and then shoved aside.  Every time I do a solid sort of my closet, I find some forgotten item or combo that turns out to be a favorite.  Yesterday I tried on a never-worn skirt…turns out it was perfect with the top I had on so now I can wear it!
  • Be brutal about fit and style; just because I love it then, doesn’t mean I need it now.  Another problem that I have is letting go of things that I like…but that don’t fit me or aren’t exactly in style anymore.  Those pants that I love to bits when I was teaching…yup, they should go because that was 8 years ago.  The adorable sweater set that I’ve always loved but is a hair too short…um, my torso isn’t getting shorter so that should be rehomed too.

Now, who is going to come hold my hand and make me stick to this??

I’m the sort of person that loves a challenge and loves to “win” even if the competition is only with myself.  But it helps if said competition has an audience 😉  So here we go!  In cruising the internet the other night in search of inspiration, I stumbled across the “1000 Item Declutter Challenge” over at Musings of a Midlife Mom (I really dig the “spend less; live more” message she has).  Just what I need.  So I’m starting my own personal challenge – even set up a geeky spreadsheet to track items in and items out (aiming for a net of 1000 items out).  I’m not counting trash as outs or necessities (food, household items) as ins.  And I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

If you have any fantastic decluttering tips, I’d love to hear them.  Or join me in the challenge and let me know how you do!



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Published in Simple Living