Closet organization, simplification, reconsideration.

 So far it has been a rather unproductive summer, but isn't that, by definition, what summer should be?  Lazy, relaxed, sleepy days poring over books and avoiding work and heat? No?
Well, anyway, my first goal for the summer was to go through the mess that was my closet, which contained probably 8 years worth of clothes.  My goal was to simplify my wardrobe, keeping only the few things I know that I will wear and getting rid of any ill-fitting, out of style, or worn-out items.  I also wanted to organize the closet to make it more user friendly and easier to access all of my clothes.  And finally I wanted to sort the clothes that didn't make the cut into piles to sell, donate, or alter.  You can see the finished, organized, product to the left... this is my temporary organization system, as one of my longer-term goals is to select a permanent closet system to install that does NOT involve a set of parallel hanging bars!

I ended up with several laundry baskets and bags of clothes to donate or sell.  Here's how I made decisions:
  • Sell:  any clothes that were name brand and still fairly new styles I took to consignment stores to sell. 
  • Donate:  I try not to donate anything that is in TERRIBLE condition, but chose older styles that consignment stores would not buy back.
  • Give away:  I kept some of my name brand clothes to give to friends, as we sometimes do clothing exchanges.  I kept specific sizes that I knew were appropriate or clothes that I knew they would want or need.  
Finally, I held back a few clothes that were ill-fitting to be altered.  I bought a couple of Groupons for alterations a few months ago so I knew I could get some of my favorite items altered for a reasonable price.  Here's how I made my decisions.
Denim pencil skirt... one of my staples.
  • Favorites:  Clothes that I wore often or that I loved and couldn't bear to part with made this cut!  For example, a denim pencil skirt that was one of my staples, that made it easy to find something nice but still casual-me to wear to work, so it is well worth it to have this one altered!
  • Expensive or name-brand items:  I had a few items that I got from Anthropologie or JCrew on sale, that I didn't spend a lot of money to purchase, but that were worth more than what I would get back by selling them or donating (obviously).  So these items made it to the "alter" pile.
  • Now or later:  I divided my "alter" pile up into "now" and "later" piles... although having clothes altered saves money over buying new items, the cost can still add up.  So, I chose  3 items that I wore most or that are in season to have altered first.  The rest of the items are grouped together in my closet and I will take a few at a time to be altered later, spreading out the cost. 
Anthropologie dress...met my second requirement for the "alter" pile AND is in season now!
JCrew pant

So, that's the story of how my once-disastrous closet got it's organized groove back!  I know cleaning closets can be overwhelming, especially if you have years worth of clothes that you've hoarded away, stuffed into every nook and cranny of available space in the dark, deep places of the closet.  You've probably kept those clothes thinking "I'll be able to fit into those again one day!" or "I can't get rid of that, it's nostalgic!" or "I have to keep this, it's my only dressy black dress!"  Like me, you are probably overwhelmed by the range of purposes that each item of clothing fulfills and hate that you cannot seem to simply have one or two tops, one or two pants, one or two dresses like all of those Real Simple articles advertise!  You probably have your fitted t-shirts, your dressy t-shirts, your cleaning t-shirts, your running t-shirts, your slightly-stained-but-still-wearable-under-a-cardigan t-shirts, etc.  It can be daunting to make decisions, and then immediately after purging your closet of the burden you begin to think about buying new clothes to fill it back up!  Well, I'm fighting that urge and taking stock of the absolute necessities before each new purchase!  I want to keep my closet empty enough so that every item is visible and I can easily take a visual inventory of my needs.  I want to buy only when I have a need to replace.  I want to avoid excess.  I want to avoid overly-trendy items that I wear once and then realize that it was a terribly disastrous idea!  These are my new goals for my closet!

Who knew I could be so inspired to write so much about my closet!  Well, stay tuned for upcoming posts about future summer projects and my goals for Summer:  The 2nd Half.