I am not big on New Year’s resolutions. I break enough promises to myself on a regular and I just don’t need that added pressure. I instead decided this month to try new stuff and see where things go from there.
One task that’s been a consistent issue for me is laundry. I absolutely despise doing it and before my latest organizational project, it was always a huge ordeal. Piles of dirty clothes would take over my bedroom floor and because I hate doing things I hate, I’d typically delay laundry until the very last minute. When there were no more towels, socks or other essentials and the only thing left to wear in the closet were evening gowns, I’d finally drag my butt to the basement of my building to wash everything. It would take forever to get done and a few weeks later, I’d be back in the same boat.
Talk about a vicious cycle.
After watching this cool doc called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things on Netflix and learning about capsule wardrobes, I thought the beginning of the year would be an excellent time to clean out my closet and start on a new path.
This “new path” consists of a lot less options than before. I essentially purged everything in my closet by separating the clothes into 4 piles: donate, trash, maybe and keep. The donations got bagged up right away as well as the trash. The keep items were hung up or folded and put away according to color/season. I went through the maybe pile to try each item on to see if it fit and then thought very deliberately about whether or not it was something I could see myself wearing anytime in the future. I did the same thing with all of my shoes and got rid of anything that was damaged or impractical.
There are several different methods to the purging process but this is what worked best for me. There are also blogs that I’ve read that suggest a list of 20-40 specific items each closet should have. I didn’t think this was the best route for me because everyone’s style preferences differ. One blog had cargo shorts on the list and I don’t think I’ve worn a pair of those in about 4-5 years so needless to say… I wasn’t going out to purchase a set just to have.
I split the project over two days. I purged all night on like a Saturday and Sunday morning, I got up to put everything in its proper place. In total, I’d say the whole process took about 4-5 hours.
Though I have a lot less clothes, I feel a ton more creative. Having less forces me to come up with new interesting ways to wear the things I have and getting dressed in the morning is a breeze. Before cleaning out my closet, I’d already considered developing a work uniform. I may still pursue that later but for now, utilizing what I have already seems to be working quite well.
Sometimes, we hold on to a bunch of stuff just because. I know that as a young person, I never had a ton of options and as an adult this informed some of my decision making. I would never consider myself a clothes horse because shopping gives me too much anxiety but I did have a bad habit of keeping things for no real reason. Maybe I was afraid of letting go and not having anything.
Cleaning out my closet helped me gain a new level of appreciation and gratitude for the things I do have and it also served as a cool trip down memory lane! Stuck in a tote under my bed were a bunch of papers from college that I’d saved and a draft of my very first newspaper article. It was crazy reading that and realizing just how much I’ve grown.
I didn’t realize that taking this seemingly simple first step, would impact other parts of my personal and professional life. I’ve developed some other really great methods of getting organized at the office and with my day-to-day schedule and it has helped me out significantly. I feel better equipped to focus on the things that deserve my energy most.