Whenever the weather warms we feel inspired, energized, and ready to tackle the world – or at least our house projects! No project is too daunting in the spring. It’s a time of renewal and growth, especially as we await Easter. So much hope.
When the seasons change it’s a natural time to “clean house”. Everybody is creating their lists of things to clean. I want to encourage you to think organize FIRST. Once you’re organized, cleaning is easier because you have less “stuff” to clean around. According to the National Soap & Detergent Association, getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40 % of the housework in the average home. Sign me up! Cleaning is generally part of organizing and decluttering process but the overall approach to the project is different. I don’t like to clean, but I love to organize!
One nice thing about living in Minnesota is that we enjoy 4 seasons. The benefit of huge temperature differences is that we wear very different clothes in the winter versus summer. The downside to this is having all these types of clothes can pose a closet challenge as we try to keep all seasons and possibilities in our closet. The good news is we may not get tired of our clothes as quickly because we get a break from them.
If your goal is to be able to find the clothes that you like and the outfits that look good on you, then I recommend you swap out your seasonal clothes – no matter how BIG your closet is. What clothes should you have in your closet? ONLY the clothes that you love and wear now.
Some practical reasons to swap out your clothes:
Returns: You discover (and hopefully return) any borrowed items from your sister or friend that you forgot about. You also may discover clothing with tags still on them that may be returned to the store (clearly you didn’t love it if you didn’t wear it when it was brand new).
Trim Down: You’ll naturally evaluate what you have and thin out. Reducing inventory is great because you can easily find your favs (mediocrity can starve out fabulous).
Discard & Repair: You can throw away or repair items that have holes or are worn out.
Others in Need: Donating is an easy way to help those less fortunate. Donate any items that are out of style or don’t fit* but are still in good condition. There are many great organizations (listed in sidebar) that help people in need. If you’re not wearing your clothes, someone else could be.
Reduce visual clutter: If you keep your out of season clothes in your closet all year long, your brain has to work harder to ignore them and find what you're looking for. If you store them you will not be looking at those sweaters all summer long and you’ll be glad to see them in the fall: Like old friends coming home, creating positive feelings. Who doesn’t want that? If you’re not glad to see them, that’s a good indicator they need to find another home where they’re loved.
Freshen Up: When you pull your new season’s clothes out of storage, take them right to the laundry (or dry cleaners). You can start the new season on the right foot knowing what you grab will be ready to wear. (Yes, you’ll have more laundry that week but you won’t have to take the time smelling everything to determine cleanliness. (Is that really a good indicator, anyway?). Check for spots you may have to pre-treat before washing. This is especially helpful for items that we don’t wash after every use like sweaters.
Hang Ups: For many of us, when we pull our clothes off the hanger, the hanger stays where we pulled it from. Over time, this wastes space in between our clothes, making your closet overly full. Take the time to gather all your hangers and assign the ”hangers waiting for a job” to a spot where they don’t take prime hanging place. Take the time to ditch the wire hangers. This also helps you keep track of the quantity of hangers you have before you buy more. Now it’s easy to throw a handful of hangers into the laundry basket going back to the laundry room for the next load.
Easy Money: If you have items that may be more valuable, you may want to consign them.
*A note about clothes that don't fit right now. Items that aren’t your size anymore are tough. There are hopes that you’ll be “that size” again. I get this, I really do. I suggest “limited hope”. What this means is to keep only ONE bin of items that are not your size. You heard me say ONE bin, right? If you’ve gone through one year and those clothes are still more hopeful then realistic. I recommend they go to someone who can wear them now while they're in style and before parachute pants make a comeback (please no). Don’t keep this bin in your closet, unless you have a ton of room.
If you still have your wedding gown, old bridesmaid dresses, or prom dress consider donating them. If you have a photo of you in them, that’s all you need. They served their purpose in your life.
To encourage only keeping what you wear, keep a bag or container in your closet, bedroom or close by to put donations into when the mood strikes. When you pull something out, put it on, look in the mirror and say ‘blech!’, it can go right in the bin.
Many organizations will come and get your ‘I don’t look cute in this anymore’ items. They will pick-up right at your doorstep. Couldn’t be easier. If you accumulate items in your donation bag as you “do life” and schedule a pickup every time you get an email from these donation services, you will regularly (and easily) be free of the items you no longer use.
Ready. Set. Go!!!
Clothing Donation Ideas (drop off):
Operation Glass Slipper (http://operationglassslipper.org/)
-Formal dresses (wedding too) and accessories
Sharing and Caring Hands (http://www.sharingandcaringhands.org/)
Good Will (http://www.goodwill.org/)
Love Inc (http://loveincecc.org/)
Clothing Donatation Ideas (pick up):
Salvation Army (https://satruck.org/Donate/choose):
Clothing Donation (shttp://www.clothingdonations.org/)
-Specifically for Vietnam Veterans
Disabled American Veterans of MN (http://donatedavmn.org/)