I am a purger. It is very rare that I hold onto anything that is not an absolute necessity. This can be a flaw for me, as I get rid of things that should be kept for sentimental reasons. I do not like clutter, so throwing something away, or giving it away, is cleansing for me. With less "stuff", I feel like I am able to keep track of everything. I feel like the overall space is neater.
My husband is not a purger. He also isn't a hoarder by any means. But to me, he keeps too much stuff. He has an entire dresser drawer stuffed full of socks and underwear. I have one little container with all the socks and underwear I need.
There is a place in the middle where we can meet. He could purge some socks, and I could add to my sock collection, and the world would not come to an end.
The only exception to this is shoes. Even this purger knows you can never have too many shoes!
How do you know if the clothes in your closet need to be purged? Or if you need more items? Take a clothing inventory! This will help you make smart, intentional, purchases to create a complete wardrobe that works well together. If I don't do this, I end up with four shirts in emerald because I know emerald is an "in" color for fall, but I have no bottoms to go with them. Or, I play it safe and only buy black and white, because then everything goes together. But it's boringzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
This process will assist in organizing your closets and dressers, which will eliminate clutter. If you search (through my favorite search engine) for "clothing basics checklist", you will find several ideas for basic clothing that will provide a solid foundation for your wardrobe. Find these pieces in your closet, then build on them with seasonal pieces and accessories to create your signature style.
Once you have completed the steps below, you will be able to keep one copy of the inventory for each person in your Family Planner, and keep one copy in your purse. Or, e-mail the inventory to yourself and keep it on your smart phone. When you are out shopping, you can refer to the list. You will know what pieces you need, and what sizes to get!
Print your clothing inventory, one for each person in your household. I like to write down ahead of time how many of each item I need. My son wears jeans to school. I will write down that he needs 6 pairs of jeans. One for each school day, one extra in case something happens, and he does have other pants that he CAN wear if needed. Now you have created a basic clothing checklist within your clothing inventory.
Decide which room you will start in. I am starting with my son's clothes. School just started, the weather is changing, and I need to know what he has outgrown and what will be needed to get him through the fall and winter months.
My son is almost 11. He has the ability to change in and out of his own clothes rather quickly. So each season, he puts on a "fashion show" for us. I sit in the play room with the girls, we turn up the music, and we watch him dance around with his clothes. It is a fun, silly activity. We are together as a family, and there is a lot of dancing and laughter. A great bonding experience, and we are being efficient! After each outfit, he discards the clothes into the following piles:
Keep - Active: This pile is for every day wear. He will wear these clothes to school.
Keep - Grubby: The clothes that still fit but have a stain, or are on the small side and won't fit all season. He will wear these in the evenings, to do chores, or for lounging on the weekends.
Give Away: These clothes are in good condition, but are too small. They will either go to Goodwill, or be sold in a garage sale if we plan on having one soon. Wash everything in this pile, even if it was in a dresser ready to wear. Then place it in a bag/box in the garage until you are ready for your garage sale or drop to Goodwill.
Trash: These clothes no longer fit, but have been thrashed to the point that they are not suitable to give away or sell.
I also have two girls, both under the age of three. They are not able to dress themselves. Trying to wriggle them in and out of their entire wardrobe would be like spending fourteen hours wearing a blindfold, grabbing handfuls of wet, limp noodles, stuffing them into a straw, while a baby kangaroo kicks you in the stomach and a squid attaches itself to the top of your head and screams, "Mama! Mama! MAMAAAAAAA!" Instead, so as not to cause permanent psychological damage, I put one outfit on them that fits well. I then use this as my "master" outfit. Then I remove all of the clothes from their room, and after they go to bed, I sit peacefully on the floor in the living room, watch Parenthood on DVR, and compare each item of clothing they have to the "master" outfit. I separate each piece into the same piles listed above.
Now that all of the clothes are separated into piles, I take the Keep - Active pile, and organize it by article of clothing. I will do the same for Keep - Grubby pile, but I will keep those stored in his closet in a separate area. I will run the Give Away pile through the wash, and then it will go into a box or bag. The Trash pile will either go in the trash, or a sewing scraps pile, or in the garage to cut up and use as rags. Following is an example of types of clothing:
Long sleeve tees
Long sleeve button up shirts
Short sleeve tees
Short sleeve golf shirts
Long sleeve onesies
Short sleeve onesies
I will do the same thing with accessories later this month. If you would like to address that now, you can add the following piles:
Next, with your printed list, tally the number of pieces you have in each category. Compare that column to the "Number Needed" column, and you can easily see what you need to buy.
Make a note of what sizes fit well. Some sizing changes by brand, so if he has a favorite shirt, I will note the brand and the size. I will also make notes of favorite colors and off limit colors.
My kids are fairly easy in that they wear the clothes they have. Adults have more psychology going into what they wear. Does it fit exactly right? Is it still in style? Is it a good color on me? Does it make me feel good about myself? DO THESE PANTS MAKE MY BUTT LOOK FAT?!? When you are editing your clothes each season, you will also need to be editing based on what you actually wear. If you haven't worn that neon orange blouse in two years because you are nervous about the color, you need to get over it. Either wear the blouse, or give it to someone who will!
I do not store clothes that are not in season. I do not do this for two reasons. The first, and main reason being that we live in a place in California, where I can usually get away with wearing flip flops all year if I feel like it. The second reason is that I do not keep a bunch of excess clothing items, so I do not have a need to store anything.
If you need to store out of season clothing, then start thinking about the storage space in your home. Where will you store your clothes? Under the bed? A hall closet? Garage? Attic? Basement? Decide where you have the space, and declutter closets to make room if necessary. Make sure the space isn't damp, and is protected from the environment. Space bags or a plastic container with a lid would assist with this. Complete a separate inventory for each bin, and tape it on the outside of the container, or place it right inside, on top of your clothing for easy reference. Keep the original in a file or on your computer, so you can reference the inventory without accessing the bin once you have stored it.
In addition to storing out of season clothes, you may have two little ones that are close enough in age that you will have hand me downs, but the clothes will not go immediately from one child to the next (there might be one or two years before the next child can wear the clothes). Use the clothing inventory to make a note of the clothes and sizes, and store the inventory with these bins as well. There will be no guessing when you go looking for stored clothes about sizes!
Now that you have your out of season items stored, and your basics and favorite pieces are ready to go back into your closet, look at what you have and then look at your closet. What is the best way to display your items in your closet? Jeans folded and placed on the top shelf? Do you need to buy a shoe rack or bins? Do you need any special hooks or hangers? Are you able to make any special purchases to make your closet a dream closet? Like uniformed hangers, or a small vanity and mirror? Decide how you want the space to look, and then reorganize your clothes to fit that.
I use a large rectangle shaped plastic food container to store my kids' socks and underwear. Shirts in a dresser end up looking like this. In real life, it looks like that for about three days. Then my daughters like to get into the drawers and play dress up. That's okay. I take care of it during my Daily Zone time. And this phase won't last forever. One day, I will have neat drawers all the time!
Since everything is cleared out of your closet, if you have the time, you can also take this time to paint or wallpaper the space. When I have time, I would love to do something like this in my son's closet:
And this in my girls' closet:
Side note: are you following me on Pinterest yet? Please do!
As mentioned earlier, we will address accessories later this month, but here is the order of my closet:
Short sleeve blouses
Long sleeve blouses
Short (but not too short) skirts
On the side shelves in the closet, the order is:
Now your clothes are organized, you have a fresh idea (and a list!) of what you have and what you need. Take a step back and enjoy your newly organized spaces!