I used to live in a house built in 1941 that had tiny closets. It always amazed me to think that I lived by myself in this 2 bedroom 1 bathroom cottage and yet families were raised in this home of approximately 1,000 square feet for 60+ years. You could practically fit that house in the hallway of some of the McMansions that are being built today and yet it felt like a perfect size to me.
…Until it came to the closet space. Let’s face it, we all have more stuff today. Everything from shoes to clothes to furniture to home accessories is mass produced and relatively inexpensive. We live in a rich country that can afford many luxurie and encourages impulse buying. I’m not judging, just stating facts. We have more, we do more, and life is moving faster than ever.
While this is typically a sign of progress, it can be paralyzing for those who don’t relish creating systems and organizing all of these possessions. When I had a closet that was three feet wide, I had to be selective about what I brought into that space. Typically, if I bought a new shirt, one had to go out. If I bought a new pair of shoes, it was to replace a pair that was no longer going to be worn. It was an easy process.
Now that I’ve got a bigger closet and live in a larger house with more people, I still have to be thoughtful about what I bring in because it can get lost easily. Part of the responsibility of ownership is assigning a home for where those items are going to be stored. Part of my helping people live with less stress is to help them go through their closet and make decisions about what they really need to keep in their closet and thus their lives.
Seasonally is a good regular schedule for cleaning out your closet. The first day of the new season is a great reminder plus it gets easier the more you do it. The more you dread it, the more you probably need to do it. While it is hard to transition closets in the South because it can be 30 degrees one day and 70 the next, at least once every three months you should evaluate what you’re wearing and, more specifically, what you’re not.
If you buy something new, know what you’re going to wear it with and for what occasion. Your clothes need to suit your lifestyle, which is why I no longer own a suit! If this item is to replace something else, then remove the older piece. If it’s been longer than 2 years since you last wore the item, barring special sentimental pieces, (I’m not a complete heartless minimalist) then you can probably pass it on to someone else to wear or use. If it doesn’t fit, what will make it fit? If you’ve got to lose or gain more than 20 pounds (and aren’t currently or recently pregnant) you probably should let it go. If it needs to be repaired, take it out and get it fixed so that you can wear it and not have to evaluate it again.
Just remember there are people who need your donations and will be happy to accept them. It’s always good to pass on items that just don’t suit, please, or fit you. Help others and help yourself by donating what you no longer need. Call Neatsmart if you need help scheduling your closet clean out. 🙂