If you’re struggling with space and trying to get more organized in your home this year, you may be facing challenges to just get started. The topic of cleaning out closets (and other space) has come up in conversation with several friends over the last few weeks, so I’ve been taking notes on some of the best methods for closet clean outs!
So many of us hold onto items for far too long … a worn out pair of boots, a sweater from college, and ill-fitting pair of jeans from the early 2000’s. It may have been a special article of clothing that was worn to an important event, maybe something that cost a lot and is hard to get rid of, or just a piece that’s outdated. For sentimental or other reasons, we sometimes hold onto those pieces for just a little too long! (That pair of boots from 10 years ago, a college sweater, or the tights that have holes in them now … set them free!)
If you’re like me, the Keeping Kind, I tend to hold onto things for far too long. Even when an article of clothing is out of style or doesn’t fit well, I sometimes have a hard time letting it go. We sometimes joke about “Marie Kondo-ing” the item where we thank it for its service and then let it go! Decluttering your belongings can be compared to cleaning out your mind, according to psychologists, releasing dopamine, the feel-good hormone. We actually feel better when we organize areas of our home. Less clutter = happiness!
Looking to get started? Here are some helpful tips I’ve picked up along the way:
- Make it fun! Turn on your favorite music and give yourself a time limit. Set an alarm for 15 minutes or a half hour time slot, and see how much you can accomplish in that time.
- Tackle a small area. Pick one section of your closet or your bathroom: maybe the skin care drawer or just one stack of t-shirts. Smaller sections are easier to get through, and you can move through your belongings a little bit at a time and feel accomplished.
- Be the bag lady. Be prepared to put each item or article of clothing into a designated place. Have a trash bag ready for anything that’s not worth donating and a donation bag for items that you can happily give away. Here are a few ideas for places to take donations.
- Move quickly. As soon as you’re finished with your small section, do something with the bags. Walk the trash bag straight into the garbage can, and stick the donation bag directly in your trunk. Nothing is more frustrating than staring at a pile of donation items in your hallway for a month. I also make a mental note of exactly what day and time I plan to deliver the donations so that they don’t hang out in my car forever! Some donations services will even come to pick it up!
- The One-Year Clear: If you haven’t worn or used an item in a year, it’s probably time to Elsa that item: LET IT GO! Unless there is some majorly sentimental reason (your high school letterman jacket can stay), then it’s probably time to part with it. Sometimes I’ll even try something back on just so I can see how bad it really is. When I think to myself, “I’m never going to wear this!” I drop it in the donation pile.
- Revel in the Reveal. I actually take a picture of the new, cleaned space so I can look at it later and feel great about it. Dopamine Hit! I recently cleaned out my daughter’s closet (6 trash bags later), and I revised the pic several times that week to bask in the glory of the clean space!