Make a closet declutter work for you

It’s finally starting to feel like fall in Iowa. Well, some days it’s more like July of late and 15 minutes later the weather changes to a wet December. Oh, Iowa weather! Nevertheless this girl is ready to get back to some fall shoes! What better time to do a full closet declutter when transitioning seasons?!

Before we dive all the way in, did you start with decluttering your ‘start small’ space? If not, jump over to that post before digging in.
Can I be honest, I sorta did last weeks challenge. I cleaned up my portion and the straightened up the side of the fridge reminders. However, the bulk of the stacks were my husbands. Annnnd for Gracyn’s birthday party he slid those stacks inside a cupboard…some battles aren’t worth it. 

I’ve created a private Facebook VIP group for us to share within a like-minded community – I’d love to see your before and after pictures so inspire others! Be proud of any progress big or small.

So I completely get it if you didn’t complete it. It was a vague starting point, however, I hope you did start.

Let me take you back a year when my first closet gutting happened. I loathe, honestly loathe putting away clothes in the laundry process. We would live out of baskets of clean clothes. It was a nightmare! All the baskets would be tied up or literally falling over with so many clothes to be put away that they would get wrinkled. I got pretty good at recalling what item was in what batch of laundry, but after so long – no clue what was at the bottom. It was frustrating.

The result – cleaning my closet and dresser! A complete closet declutter went on and I didn’t leave my dresser out!

In respect to clothes, the more you have, the more you’ll have to wash, dry, fold and put away. I’m not preaching minimalist – but, being practical with yourself. If you need totes to store clothes in that aren’t just seasonal, you likely need to do this process even if you don’t live out of clothes baskets.

I’m sure you’re saying as you read,But Dawn, you don’t understand. I don’t have a large closet or dresser, so I don’t have anywhere for my clothes to go OR [insert your specific excuse].” It doesn’t matter. It honestly doesn’t. Whatever situation you are in you need to live within your scope. Just like money. We need to live within our means, same goes with our homes. 

Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of throwing your money away for a monthly storage unit for “stuff.” You’ll likely never use again, just get rid of it now.

Or maybe this is you, “I do this constantly throughout the year and have a box for donation(s),  so this really doesn’t apply to me.” Sister, I do the same thing since I have kiddos that grow out of clothes and we are done growing our family so less I need to save! Yippee!  Yet, I still declutter and AM doing this again in my house with you. Luckily, it won’t take me as long since I’ve discovered this system.

Where to begin

Think critically about what isn’t working for you in your closet space. The response can’t be “everything.” Let’s really try to find a solution to your problem here.
I initially started with ditching old sweatshirts to free up some shelving space in my closet, which lead to below racks of pants and dresses that I hadn’t worn in years! Or ever! Why keep them, did I get married in them? Did I create my babies in them…hmmmm…we’ll keep this PG-13 – NO! Why have these “things” been here taking up my time when they don’t serve me anymore?

I’m not a Marie Kondo watcher, but I’ve  run across some her content in Pinterest pins. I’m pretty confident that we would get along quite nicely.
When you do this process I’m NOT going to ask you to gather ALLLLL  the clothes in your entire household and storage areas and dump them on your bed. Let’s be realistic here. What mother has the luxury of taking that much time to do this process? Not us.


Let it go, invite joy in

It is a liberating feeling, the first step in ripping the band-aid off from keeping way more than I or my family truly needs. As I decluttered each part of my house, I didn’t feel overwhelmed when I came home after a full day of work and daycare routine.

Don’t hang on to everything. Especially in your closet. Seasons change and so do trends.

You are suffocating yourself and your family with all the things which is robbing you of joy.

After last fall I promise myself that I would live with a “one in, one out” rule – wellllll, that might have slipped during this past summer season where I added but I wasn’t kicking an article out. Hence why I’m going through this with you now.


Make closet decluttering a priority

I give my “100% money back guarantee” promise that you will feel so much joy after doing this closet declutter first step. The stress will lift from your chest when you fill that first box of garbage, when you drop off a truckload at the donation center. Ahhhhh!

To make this promise to yourself, schedule a time on your calendar so it doesn’t slip away undone. Preferably in the next week. Yes, I said week because the following week I’ll be sharing the next phase and I really don’t want you to panic and feel “behind” already.

Want to stay accountable? – reach out to another friend you can share this post with and hold each other accountable. You can always pop into my private Facebook decluttering community to find fellow declutter-er’s to share in the experience!

If you don’t feel comfortable with someone else, consider me your bestie and give me a reply. I will hold your hand and help you along.


Letting go of the clutter 

In all honesty, I’m cheap. If I’ve paid full price for an item, I feel I need to keep it longer and give it a chance. In the past I’ve told myself it was a waste or that someday I’ll need it/want it. 

Let’s be brutally honest, if you haven’t worn it in 2 years, you won’t. Let it go. If you end up wanting that style again,  you’ll go buy a new “whatever it is” again if you really needed it.

Brace yourself, this will take some time in a day. The first-time process took the better part of a fall Sunday but only because I started during the girl’s naps and then let one thing after another take me to different stacks, shoe bins and dresser drawers all in my room. I didn’t leave my bedroom to clean or declutter any other area. 

Multi-tasking isn’t something I promote after realizing how little I can get done when spreading myself out across the house. For best results, I suggest you really need to lock yourself in one area and create piles or have totes/laundry baskets/boxes so you make it easy to get rid of items to donate for items that are too far gone – pitch! Things you keep, toss on your bed to refold and organize to fit better in their space after you are finished with an area.

I completely moved items from where they originally started. My t-shirt collection had severely outgrown the 2 dresser drawers (hence why I hated putting clean ones away since they were bulging out of their space.) I sorted through all items in my dresser and closet by analyzing them with the following questions…

Does this fit how I like it now?

  • Let’s be honest,our bodies change and so do styles.

Does this look nice enough to wear in public?

  • I have my good ole standbys that I love. For the most part, there were so many t-shirts shoved to the bottom that I didn’t even know I still had that had practically decomposed down there. Deodorant pit stains, grease stains, holes, collars stretched beyond its elasticity.
  • We all need a few of these around but not enough to last you a month without having to do any wash.

Do I have duplicates?

  • Sadly, with some shirts I had multiples from races, fundraisers, work shirts – most times it was when I was pregnant, I’d need a larger size and then the time would come around that I’d need a smaller size (thankfully).

Do I need to keep this as a keepsake?

  • This one might have made you ponder – a t-shirt a keepsake? Well yes for me there are certain ones that are near and dear to me. I’m a runner and sometimes the t-shirt is your medal or memory trigger to why that race was important.
  • Specific cause a group fundraised for, bachelorette party shirts. See?
  • This could apply to your wedding dress or other special garment you might have on hand to decide to pitch or keep?

I used these 4 questions to quickly go through every aspect of my dresser and closet. Sweatshirts, tank tops, dresses, shoes. You have to part with things. Plain and simple. Once you can let go of a few items it does get easier. Let go and move on to analyze the next area up for review.


Limbo items

Now let’s visit those “in between” items. You don’t love the article, you might not have worn it yet, the style was a stretch out of your comfort zone, you get me right?

For these FEW items. I repeat: each category should only have a few! I didn’t let half of my wardrobe sit in this indecisive space, otherwise the whole process would have been a waste of time and energy.

TIP: If they are hung items flip how the hanger goes over the rod the opposite way as the rest of your keepers so the item stands out. These limbo items should go towards the front of your hanging area so you see them and give them a week to two weeks to have a chance to be worn and see the light outside of your room. If not – it’s gone! You didn’t care to wear it during that time, then it’s not that
great of a piece for you. Let it go.

Finished project
Hanging items OCD


Now I am closet OCD and my hanging items go in categories and by color for ease of selection. To me it only makes sense to at least put short sleeved shirt together, quarter sleeved, long sleeved, you get it. I’m not saying you must go that crazy unless this declutter force takes you there…follow it.

I want you to have that freeing feeling and happiness. Then you will be eager to jump into the next area – see you next week!

Make sure to join the Facebook decluttering community and inspire others as well as receive applause for your hard work!!


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