Let’s start by stating the obvious…
You have too much stuff in your closet
The feeling of being weighed down by possessions is palpable and affects us every day. It’s time to pare down your belongings. Most of us have at least one or two areas in our homes that could use a purge.
The start of a new year puts people in the frame of mind of renewal, so this might be the perfect time to begin.
Having a plan will help you get started easily and reap immediate rewards. Try this method. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you can see tangible results throughout your home.
Start in your bedroom
Every day begins at your bedroom closet, making it the ideal place to start de-cluttering. Your success here will carry you through to other areas of your home.
Take everything out of your closets and create four distinct piles: Now (the clothes you wear regularly), Someday (the clothes you will fit into again or finally find an occasion to wear), Never (the clothes you never wear), and Seasonal (swim suits, ski jackets, etc.). Be honest with yourself. If it will help, invite a friend over to lend a hand.
The critical step
Take a deep breath and move everything in the Someday pile to the Never pile. It’s bold, but necessary. You wake up and get dressed today, not someday. Needing to pick through clothes you can’t use is a daily drain. Your mind catalogs everything it sees and working past all of the garments cluttering your closet every day takes its toll over time. This is the hardest step, but you can do it!
Let’s take a look…
Now that you’ve sorted everything, what do you see? If you’re like most people, the Never pile is much bigger than you thought it would be. It’s normal for the Never pile to amount to 40% or more of the items in your closets. That means that 40% of your closet space and your valuable time is wasted.
One more time
Go through the Now pile again. Once you’ve seen how much room you are wasting, you will be empowered to be more critical and reduce even further. Go for it!
Before you do anything else!
You might find your resolve wavering and feel an urge to start moving things from the Never pile to the Now pile. Before that reflex kicks in, put everything from the Never pile into trash bags. Don’t take this as an opportunity to revisit your choices. Store the Never bags out of the way for now, preferably in a location where you don’t often spend time. The basement, the garage, or a guest room will do.
In addition, store your seasonal items away from your every day items. Clear plastic bins are perfect for seasonal storage. Label these bins clearly and stow them in your basement, garage storage, or on a very high shelf away from your daily sight lines.
Enjoy your success for a week
It is important to note how good it feels to spend less time searching for things in your closet and to start your day looking and feeling good. Reveling in your initial success with bedroom closet storage will empower you to take on other areas of the house.
The final step
In one week’s time, after you’ve enjoyed the incredible benefits of an uncluttered closet, visit your sequestered Never bags. Don’t open the bags; just look at them. Can you remember everything that’s in them? You probably can’t. At this point, a smile should be creeping across your face. These items have served you well, but it’s time to move on. Resist the urge to open the bags one last time. Take them to the Goodwill, Salvation Army, or your local thrift store for someone else to enjoy.
More good news!
You can use this technique on every room in the house. Go through your kids’ closet and filter out the things they’ve outgrown or haven’t worn in a while. Your pantry is likely stocked with cans and boxes of food that you will never use. A garage or basement are often the last sanctuary for Someday and Never items and it won’t be difficult to get rid of 60% or more of what lives there. Try to donate or recycle whenever you can.
Clearing all the excess from your house may take a little time, but it doesn’t need to be painful. Go through your house one area at a time, remembering to savor your success every step of the way. When you are finished, you will wonder what took you so long to get started.
Ginny Snook Scott is the Chief Design Officer at California Closets. She has over 25 years experience with California Closets and has helped over 1,000 clients create custom closets and organize their home. Connect with Ginny on Google+.