cleaning out my closet

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Cleaning Out My Closet!

I’m sorry momma!
I never meant to hurt you!
I never meant to make you cry; but tonight
I’m cleaning out my closet…

As part of getting ready to go tiny I’ve been downsizing my possessions. As a child of two pack rats, I believe that this will be one of my greatest obstacles. Last year I started the process of getting rid of the excess, and oh, my, I had no idea there was SO much of it when I got started.

Oh, clutter how I hate you. Let me count the ways. 1. All of that stuff makes it impossible to keep my house clean. I’ve been trying for years to organize the stuff, teach the kids to put their things away, and all that jazz, but the fucking light bulb finally went off when I came across the saying that “you can’t organize clutter”. This nugget of truth has stayed with me for years and got my brain moving towards minimalism and its principles, which is very high on the list of reasons why I want to live in a small space. 2. All of the crap that’s filling my home was also draining my energy. My house felt heavy when I came home from work. 3. But I think the worst aspect of having all that stuff is that it makes me feel like I can’t ever get on top of the ever expanding To Do list.

I’d estimate that I’ve decreased my stuff by around 30-40% since last January. It was painfully hard to get started, but once things start moving it’s addictive. At least once a month I picked an area and spent a couple of hours making piles for donate, recycle, trash, and keep. I’ve donated about 15 truckloads of stuff to nonprofit resale shops, and taken countless trips to the garbage and recycling bins. It is time to cut the all fat!

I’m taking the slow, painful path of decluttering instead of ripping off the band-aid. I would love to do something like the Minimalist’s Packing Party, but I just don’t have the balls to try it out.

This weekend I tackled my closet for the third time, and I feel like I’m making some serious progress toward a wardrobe that will fit in a tiny house closet. Third times a charm, right?

Before
This was my closet after round 2

Here’s the before picture that was taken after the second pass. It looks pretty good but I figured out another dirty little secret about the stuff that accumulates in our homes. It looks smaller when it’s in a closet, especially a walk-in closet like mine. You can’t really see how much stuff is in the closet without bringing it out into the light. I got this idea from reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I took the author’s advice and took every item of clothing from my house, grouped them together by type, and placed them out in the open. All of my hanging clothes were placed on a large table and all of my jackets and clothes from my drawers were placed on the bed. As you can see from the pictures below it looks like a shit ton more stuff than when it was hanging up!

The contents of my closet!
Holy crap! That’s a lot of stuff

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I went through each pile and evaluated piece by piece if it was an item of clothing that fit and brought me joy. This go around I was able to part with some vintage formal wear giving to me by my mother that I was never going to wear and been hanging on to for 20 years. I was shocked that at the end I had filled another 2 garbage bags full of clothing.

My Clothes After the Purge
Here’s all my stuff after the purge. It’s everything including shoes and non-hanging items

My wardrobe now consists of:
a pair of jeans
a casual pair of black pants
2 pairs of work pants
a black interview skirt
3 casual skirts
2 formal dresses
3 casual dresses
a pair of workout pants
a pair of shorts
5 casual and workout shirts
5 work shirts
3 sweaters
2 pairs of tights
1 bathing suit
4 jackets
a ski jacket, pants, and gloves
2 pairs of boots
2 pairs of sandals
a pair of flats
and a pair of unicorn pajamas (because I wear it all the freakin time when it’s cold in the house and because it’s AWESOME)

Closet After the Purge
Not too shabby!

Add it all together, and if I did the math right (which is dubious since I’m fighting off a cold so it’s entirely possible that I fudged it), I’m at 44 articles of clothing not including socks and underwear. It still sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Typing this out I see that it’s probably ridiculous to own 5 jackets when you live in Texas. If you haven’t checked out Project 333, do so now! It’s a minimalist fashion challenge to dress with 33 items or least for 3 months. It’s fantastic. I’m doing this challenge right now.

I think it’s going to take one or two more goes at the closet before getting it down to the right size. The places I’ve seen most often used to store clothing in from other tiny housers are built-in wardrobes about 2.5 feet wide or they have everything tucked away in a dresser. I’ve still got some work before I’ll be able to fit all of my clothes in that small of a space, but yay for getting one step closer!

2015 is going to be a big year for me. I’ll be continuing to downsize, finalize which tiny house plan I’m going to build, and if all goes well I’ll start building my tiny house before the end of 2015! Here’s to all things tiny in 2015!

Are you in the process of getting rid of things before making the more to a smaller living space? Where are you in your journey?