Here we go again! Time to talk about the closet CLEAR OUT. As you might remember, I have spoken about this in the past and written a longer piece on the topic in our Quarterly magazine. This is something I feel extremely passionate about. So … here we go again!
This time I will keep things shorter and to the point. I want to give you a few tips about the “in between” clear out.
Where I live, spring is here and summer is fast approaching. Since our spring season is so very fleeting (!), I call this an “in between” time in my closet. I’m really not ready for sundresses (well, I should say that I am ready but Maine, however, is not) and so very done with wool sweaters.
Let’s get to the tips, shall we?
1. My goal at this time of year, in the “in between,” is to purge. This is a chance to get rid of items I did not wear at all over the winter. I am ruthless. So, tip number 1: BE RUTHLESS. Start the clear out with the items that are the most out of season (so at this point in the year for me, that would be wool and when I am done separating these woolens I put them in the basement in my winter tub). Pull them out one at a time and try them on. If you did not touch it all winter it should automatically go in the “give away” pile, no questions. Now, at the end of that section of the closet, I give out one reprieve. I go back to the “give away” pile and allow myself to pull back in one item but one item is it! This time around it was a broken in brown wool sweater that I did not wear at all this winter but I kind of wanted to play with wearing it this summer. I thought, perhaps, it could look cute and feel right with shorts on a cool summer night. We’ll see! If that sweater still has not been worn at the end of the summer it’s going out. Be ruthless!
2. The “in between” seasons tend to be a time of layering. So, you can be duped into keeping more layers than you actually need or wear. Even with 7 days in one week do you really need all those long-sleeved shirts? Do you need all of those tank tops? Do you love them all? So, tip number 2, BE REASONABLE. When you get to the tee and tank section of your closet make a count. How many do you have? How many do you really need? Base your answers on two realities: how often do you do laundry and how often do you wear layers. If they sit there untapped week after week they don’t need to be taking up space in the closet or in your world, you know that! Be honest with yourself even if it means getting rid of things you might wear.
3. In about a month I will be getting my summer tub from the basement and I will need to integrate those desperately missed pieces into the closet I am cleaning out now. So, therefore, it is important that I leave some extra space in this newly-cleaned-out closet. So, tip number 3: BE SKIMPY. If you live with a more sparse closet for a few weeks, before you get out the coming season’s items, you will get used to how clean and organized your closet can be. This means you are unlikely to junk it up again! It also means you will wear those pieces that you chose to keep during this “in between” season which is why they are there in the first place … to be worn!
And a few little side tips that can be used all year ’round for your clear outs:
+ Wear your pj’s or a comfortable outfit. You can easily try things on when you have clothing on that comes on and off readily. Our tendency is to just keep things that we think fit. Well, now is your time to really figure out if they do. If they don’t fit, don’t keep them!
+ Bring in a trash bag. Some things just can’t be given away, re-purposed or used as rags and that is just okay. It’s okay! I had to throw away a few pairs of socks this time around because they were just too worn to be mended or the elastic was just done in or I was just over them entirely and didn’t want someone else to put their feet in my dingy old socks. I am not a person of waste so I feel it’s okay to throw out a few items like these if need be.
+ Take organization to a new level! I mean, when else is your closet going to look this amazing? Probably not until the next clear out. So, that said, if you want to color coordinate your t-shirt pile, go for it! It’s so pleasing! Sure, it won’t stay that way forever, maybe not even for a day, but it can be so lovely just for the moment. On this last clear out I put all of my stripes and dots in one pile. Won’t last long but I sure do like it this weekend!
+ And lastly, have fun! My companions, Charle and Scotch, are always by my side when I do my clear out (I actually think they get sad because they think I am packing for a trip!), and that is always lovely company. I wear my headphones and pump the music up loud! I enjoy it the fact that when I am done I will have a closet full of things that I will actually wear. It’s inspiring and refreshing. At least I think so!