Mastering the art of decluttering your closet and your mind

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By: Putting Me Together

Photo Credit: Putting Me Together

I've mentioned here and there how, while I'm not a minimalist, Benson (blogger's husband) has inched his way closer and closer to becoming one over the years. Not only is he against clutter, but he is simply against storing things you don't need regularly--even things you would need once in a while. (He would rather just borrow or get it when you actually need it.)

Benson really lives by the phrase "a cluttered house is a cluttered mind." And while my tolerance for a little clutter is much higher than his, we still both feel emotional and mental weights when we are surrounded by stuff we don't use.

Recently he's been reading a book on the Japanese art of decluttering which compelled him to purge his closet, among other things. Not like he even had that much to purge! His closet was already minimal in my mind! Of course he suggested I do it too. I've done several closet clean outs since giving birth, so I was down to do another one...until I realized that I had to be a little more cutthroat this time around because we were playing by the book's rules. Plus, Benson was involved, which automatically meant more scrutiny over things I kept. Yikes!

Today I'm sharing the process we used as well as describing how the mindset from this book was slightly different than what I normally did, but really helpful.

Photo Credit: Putting Me Together

My Typical Closet Clean Outs

Typically my closet clean outs involved a lot of thinking. Like, why do I not wear this? Could I wear this if x, y, and z in the future? What would help me wear this again? And all sorts of other questions for analysis. This time around was really simple, but actually more difficult to do: a) take everything out of your closet, b) only put back things you LOVE, and c) put in another pile things that need to be tailored (that you would LOVE once tailored).

Why was it harder to do? Because before, when I let myself run through all the questions and analysis, I could talk myself into holding onto a lot more pieces that I honestly was not going to use.

The New Rules

So, I played by new rules this time. How it went, in more detail:

Take everything out of your closet. This part is a MUST. Usually I leave everything in my closet, graze my hand over them one by one, then take out items I'm ready to get rid of. But, taking everything out of my closet and putting pieces back made it feel like each piece needed to earn its place in my wardrobe.

Put back into the closet things you LOVE. Like, ones that you just love love love love LOVE wearing. Put into another pile pieces that need to be tailored (that you would LOVE once tailored). Like I said, this is simple in theory, but difficult in reality because of all those "what ifs." What if I might need this later? What if I could figure out how to style it? What if I'll actually love this later? Because I've been practicing remixing for several years now I feel like I can figure out multiple ways to use most pieces. But the real question is do I love that piece and actually want to wear it? That's different than being able to figure out how to wear it. I had plenty of pieces that I could have worn but didn't want to wear. There's no room for the "what ifs." Only things you love--and currently love--get put back. Not things that you once loved or could maybe possibly love in the future either! (We'll talk about those once-loved things in a minute.)

Since I'm great at talking myself into keeping things, I needed Benson's help. I ate a bowl of ice cream while Benson held up each piece and asked me if I loved it. Unless I needed to tailor it, if I hesitated at all (or was less than a 7-8 out of 10 in loving it), Benson chucked it. EEK!

To ease my pain we created a "closet purgatory." I already knew I wouldn't miss these pieces, but since I'm inclined to keep things I don't use it helped me remove them knowing I could "maybe" bring them out of purgatory.


Read the rest of Putting Me Together's decluttering journey, here.

Now apply this to your work space:
How to Declutter Your Home Office


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