Spring is finally here in all of its colorful, fragrant glory. This season of growth and rebirth is a perfect time to purge your closets. I learned these tricks after my husband and I moved into our first apartment together. It was smaller than anywhere I’d lived before, and upon assessing the stacks (and stacks and stacks) of boxes, I realized I had entirely too many things. We just didn’t have room. Even though I’d shipped everything across the country because I was convinced I needed all of this stuff, I gradually learned to live with less. Three years later, I don’t miss any of it, and it made our subsequent moves much easier!
Here are a few ideas (from a reformed pack rat):
When you buy something new, take something away.
With limited closet space, I was literally forced into this system, but it works, especially for clothes. Every shopping trip, I would come home and take out as many pieces as I was putting in. Another way to think about it is not to add any hangers. You need to empty a hanger to have somewhere to put your new things.
Ask yourself how often you wear or use it.
This is very subjective. I can convince myself I wore a pair of jeans “recently” even though I haven’t fit into them in 2 years. (Le sigh.) To combat those perceptions, I will separate my closet into two sections: worn recently and not. You can literally put a marker on the hanging bar, like a zip tie or pipe cleaner. Then, after I wear and wash something, it goes back on the “worn recently” side. After 3 months, anything on the “not worn recently” side gets taken out (unless it’s truly out of season).
If you have a hard time letting go, put it away for 3 months, then revisit.
I still get attached to some of my things. Perhaps I’m too sentimental, I don’t know. But with those things, I put them in a “giveaway box” and leave it there for 3 months. If I don’t miss it in that time, it gets donated. I find this is an especially useful tactic for my husband’s things that I desperately want to dump, and he is still attached to. “We’re just… putting it aside for now.” Baby steps!
Sell what you can, then donate the rest.
With our recent move, I boxed up everything I decided I didn’t need anymore (using the methods above), and had a yard sale. A few of the larger, more valuable items I sold on Craigslist and ebay. We made enough money from the yard sale to cover our moving costs (yay, motivation!), then I packed the rest in the car and took it to the donation center. This is where it gets tricky… You can’t talk yourself into keeping things again just because they didn’t sell. It’s tempting; I know. Take it to the donation center that day and don’t look back!
Voila! Now you’ll have so much more space; the trick is not filling it back up again, but we’ll save that for another day.
Have other great tips for spring cleaning? Share them in the comments below!