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Friday chatter: How often do you clean out your closet?

ballerina-slip

I had a major closet cleanse this past weekend.

I am pretty bad at getting rid of things, especially things I like or feel sentimental attachment to. I know I’d feel better without the clutter of stuff I don’t use, but it’s just. so. hard.

So my strategy this time was to challenge myself. I told myself that I needed to get rid of 30 individual items. These could be anything, from dried out nail polish I hadn’t gotten around to throwing out to cheap sparkly hair pins I’ve had sine I was a teenager.

Then a funny thing happened. When I got to 30 items, I decided to make it 50.

I got to 50, and I decided to try for 100.

By the time I was done, our living room was full of trash bags for donation, mostly clothing I never wear. I was even able to move all my clothing onto a single garment rack for the first time ever. I think I might start hunting for a pretty vintage armoire to put it in, now that it will fit!

Decluttering is addictive. psychologically, it makes you take a closer look at what you really need and what acquisitions are made on flimsy emotional pretext instead of true benefit.

I’ve also noticed that for the past week, whenever I think of acquiring something, I immediately think about how easy it will be to part with down the line. I went to the thrift store this week and didn’t buy a thing. And I was fine with it. I wasn’t disappointed that I didn’t find anything. I was almost relieved.

I do not aim to live a spartan, minimalist existence by any means. But I think it’s good to jolt yourself once in a while.

How often do you go through a major clean out like this?

PS: The slip above with embroidered ballerinas in tiny lace tutus is one of the things I really couldn’t bear to part with.

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On , Alice said: | worldsastage.net

I love cleaning out my closet! I have been living abroad with a small wardrobe for the last few months, and sometimes I can’t stop thinking about how excited I am to get home and get rid of a lot of stuff.

It can be hard for me because I do a fair bit of amateur theatre that I mostly costume from my own wardrobe, and so every time I am about to get rid of something I think: “Will I regret getting rid of this? Could I possibly use it for a show?” When I graduated high school a few years ago I got rid of a lot of stuff that I have really wished I could have back, and sometimes that prevents me from getting rid of something even if I don’t really want it.

A lot of my stuff are beautiful vintage pieces that don’t fit quite right, but have sentimental value, and so I can only get rid of them if I can find someone who I know will take good care of them. That slows the process considerably, too. Perhaps I should start a small textile museum…

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I feel the same way about my vintage. I especially have a few pretty evening dresses I rarely wear, but have a hard time letting go of. Some of them don’t fit me at all. Actually, most of them.

On , s j kurtz said: | erniekdesigns.blogspot.com

I (takes a deeeeep breath) gifted a lot of my vintage to a theater program and a couple of the teenage girls in it. I won’t fit them again, I won’t wear a black and white striped wool strapless dress again; I faced reality and moved them to those who desire them.

That, and it’s ant season, so time to clean out the closet and bait.

On , Catherine from Canada said:

I have several beautiful, or sentimental, or precious (or all three) clothing items that I hang on the upstairs hall doors, with those over-the-door hook things. Like a red silk kimono that was a wedding present to my parents (from my oil tanker captain father’s mostly Japanese crew), my wedding dress (Mexican cotton and cotton lace, yeah, I was a 70′s bride), a knitted jacket I made for one of my sons, my daughter’s duponi silk grad dress. I rotate them sometimes just to change things up a bit.
Also, I’ve accumulated some beautiful lace bits, lace collars and lace pincushion covers and the like. I got a bunch of blank canvases, painted them the same colour as my walls and pinned the lace to them with pearl headed pins, then hung them on the wall of my dressing room/office.
I want SEE these things, not just know I have them tucked away somewhere. Any shortening of their lifespan by having them out and on display is counter-balanced by their being loved and seen daily, I think.

On , Jessica said: | ayenforcraft.blogspot.com

I love this! What a great idea for incorporating some beautiful, sentimental pieces into your daily life.

On , Jenny said:

It took me years to find my vintage, and I have no plans to get rid of it (and I refuse guilty about it, either). I have, among other things, a gorgeous Ceil Chapman dress, in silver and pale blue tulle, which I got for a song on ebay. The seller took the measurements on the outside of the dress (and since it’s covered in ruched tulle, it’s significant). Maybe my daughter will wear it when she’s older.

Having said that, I found the idea of making a goal of throwing 30 things away inspirational; I may well work on that tomorrow.

On , Alison said: | alisonesther.com

I have a garment rack and I can’t fit both my summer and winter clothing on it, so twice a year I have to haul all of my clothes out of the attic and make the switch. So I purge my closet about twice a year. I’m pretty good about throwing things out. I moved like 4 times during one summer in college, and it got easier and easier to throw stuff out each time.

When I graduated from college my mom flew out and we went through my closet and threw out most of my clothes. I will admit, there ARE a handful of things I regret throwing away. But generally, I’m all about tossing stuff out.

I am obviously more emotionally attached to stuff I’ve made myself, but after only 2 years of sewing and knitting my own clothes, I’ve already thrown a few things out without thinking twice. Hoarding clothes definitely isn’t my problem – it’s the yarn, fabric, vintage sewing patterns, vintage knitting magazines, everything from the Jo-Ann Fabrics notions aisle…

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Yeah, it’s so hard to get rid of sewing and craft supplies, because there’s so much possibility there! I did do a purge of yarn a while back, where I loaded up all my leftover single skeins and gave the whole box away to someone on twitter. That was really nice, because I was never going to use them all!

On , paige @ LPD said: | luxperdiem.com

I just had a brutal cleanout! Getting rid of things I had sewn that just didn’t work for me, which before was like unimaginable. Why keep it if you’re not going to wear it. I did allow myself one of those plastic storage boxes full of sentimental clothes like prom dresses and band t shirts, but no more than one box! I felt kind of horrible at first, but not having a ton of laundry is definitely a plus.

On , Amy said: | ladymockingbird.com

Turn those band tshirt a into a quilt!

On , Fooniks said: | needleforthoughts.blogspot.com

Usually I have these cleanouts whenever I feel like I have gathered too much stuff and should get rid of a few things. Usually it’s about twice a year. And I don’t get rid of a lot of things at once. About 10 items in one go. I am trying to be organized and I keep all the things that are my “I’ll do it later” projects that I want to revamp somehow in my sewing room, so I do have a pretty good overview of things I have in my closet and never wear.

I used to get really heartbroken over the stuff I threw out, but now I just toughen up and throw out or give away things that are worn(and can’t be repaired) or things I don’t wear basically never.

On , Jennifer said: | sortingbuttons.com

I tend to do a mini-clean of my closet four times per year, when I do a small rotation for the seasons. (It’s not a full-on rotation every time, just pulling out a few things and putting a few away each time.) When something has been packed away for 3 or 6 months and I pull it out again, it’s easier to feel the gut reaction: ‘Oh yeah, I remember this, I love it!’ or ‘Ew, I’d forgotten aout that, I don’t want to wear it.’ Also, for clothes that are going out of season and being packed away, it’s easier to see those for which their whole season has passed and they haven’t been worn, so clearly they weren’t wanted or needed. So in that rotation shuffle I usually get rid of a couple of pieces. I also tend to do the same in January, since I often get clothes for Christmas and use the time to get rid of some of the more ‘tired’ items.

I live in the UK, where closets (in my experience) are smaller than American ones. I have about 3 feet of hanging space and 3 dresser drawers right now, so I try to ensure that one season’s clothes fit there. Keeping space as a guideline is just the most practical way, for me, to determine when purging needs to happen. If it starts to feel cramped, I do a quick edit.

Probably the things I have the hardest time getting rid of are those which have sentimental value – like the dress I wore on the first date with my (now) husband – or those I’m simply tired of but aren’t worn out. Getting rid of those makes me feel picky and guilty!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

That’s really true about doing the rotations. I think I mentioned that feeling in a recent post, where you pull it out of storage and feel like, “what is all this stuff?”

My closet space sounds about the same as yours. I have moved everything to one garment rack, plus I have two drawers (plus socks and underwear drawers). I think you’re right that generally closets are bigger in the US, but not so much if you live in an old house. Our house is old and teeny!

On , Yvonne said:

I usually cleaned out my wardrobe once every year, but now I can happily say, that since my last clean out 1 1/2 years ago there is nothing that I would want to give away anymore since I’m more aware of what I need to buy or sew.

On , Adri H. said: | adriprints.blogspot.com

Seasonally. I put stuff away seasonally, and when I take it out for the next year, it gives me a fresh perspective on the item. That’s usually the way things get weeded out. The toughest part for me is to get rid of things I made… hand-knits, hand-sewn items that just do not fit anymore. Those are the toughest to part with.

On , Ashleigh said: | mishmashmade.com

Nice work!! I just did this last week as we are preparing to move and had the same experience while shopping as you did. I thought about how easy it would be to put the items I was looking at in that pile and walked out of the store with nothing! Thanks for sharing, closet cleansing is a great discipline but not easy to practice. Hope you’re having a happy spring in Portland!

On , Robin said:

I only cleanse my closet when I move. Now that I own a house again, I won’t be moving for a long time, and I have already been here for several years. It’s getting pretty crowded and I am building up to it! I live in the country and getting items to the Salvation Army is a bit time consuming and can only be accomplished on a Saturday. There are some obstacles, but containing the project to x number of items is a great idea for taking that first step.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

That is the danger when you own a house, isn’t it? I’m the same, because this is my first house, and before that I only really lived in one place for a year or two at a time.

I think I have a little bit of a fear of the chaos of too much stuff, and how it can accumulate for years and years when you live somewhere a long time. I don’t want my possessions to feel like a burden, and they often do.

On , Juliana @ Urban Simplicity said: | urbansimplelife.blogspot.com

I couldn’t have parted with that slip either–so pretty! I clean out my closets pretty regularly because my ridiculous Victorian closets can only hold a total of 30 hangers (there are two half-width closets that are 13″ deep–it is ridic.) I do rotate my clothes seasonally, and keep the out of season stuff in a soft plastic bin under my bed, but I wish we had enough closet space that I could just rotate the hangers around in the closets, or keep one season in one closet and the other season in the other in the hall, but I’m not there yet. I tried it for a few years, (but still had to keep the darn maternity wardrobe under the bed) and I just couldn’t remember what clothes were where, and I also didn’t really have enough of each season to last me without wearing through everything I owned in the season. I’m probably slightly too far the other direction now, but I’m in the middle of spring cleaning too! Onward!!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Have you tried those slim velvet hangers? I love them!

On , Isabel said: | acraftyscientist.wordpress.com

I’ve done a couple of clear-outs when I last moved home but I really need to have a deep sort out. My clothing is only in one and a half wardrobes (but could be less!) but my biggest problem is all the T-shirts (short and long sleeves) and knitted items (cards and jumpers). I also have a few pairs of trousers that I need to just give away. I need to be ruthless and the Wardrobe Architect is a great excuse :)

My mother in law has a new item in-old item out policy (which sounds great in principle) but my mum cannot get rid of anything, which has its problems but also means that I can have the lovely 100% wool cobalt blue polo neck that I used to wear at Uni and has been in storage in her house since :) To be fair to my Mum, there are not many places that will take used clothing in Portugal. Luckily, in the UK we have many charities which will take donations happily. So no landfill for my clothes unless they are in tatters!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I love that policy, and tried it myself for a while, but it’s so easy to forget or put off. Instead, I’m trying to throw out a thing a day right now. So far, it’s mainly been old empty bottles and junk at the bottom of my drawers, so it’s surprisingly doable.

On , Isabel said: | acraftyscientist.wordpress.com

One object a day? For how long? Sounds brutal :)
I have become more ruthless with throwing stuff away but getting back into bad habits… Time for a decluter!

On , KathM said:

As a note, UK charity shops will also take wrecked clothing. I normally bag it separately and tell them that it’s rags – but they can be re-cycled and the charity will get money for them so don’t send wrecked stuff to landfill either!

On , Isabel said: | acraftyscientist.wordpress.com

Kath, I was not aware of that! Will start collecting clothing for rags as well…

On , Laurel said:

Rags. Interesting topic. When my parents married, their housekeeper gave them a big bag of slean,folded rags for a wedding gift, saying they’d need them, and she was right. As new householders, they had no old T shirts or towels to tear into rags. No dust cloths, no car washing or paint rags. I keep a basket in the alundrey and when something is absolutely beyon use, into the rag basket it goes.

On , Laurel said:

Let’s try again: “clean”, “laundry, “beyond”. Too early for spelling.

On , Isaboe Renoir said:

I’m definitely a “spring” cleaner; some people start resolutions each January, I clean up and clean out my entire house over a few weeks time. But like many others here I go through closets and drawers each season or opportunity of change. And not just clothes, but everything – cooking do-dads, books, DVD’s, games and puzzles; as others have mentioned if my reaction is “I forgot I even had this!” and it’s not an ooh let’s keep it someplace nice follow-up reaction, then it goes.

My parents and grandparents were all the “we’ll keep it just in case” type, but people didn’t collect nearly so much stuff back then (or there wasn’t as much stuff to collect), even I can remember the difference. I try to keep to that low level of accumulation, but also have less difficulty letting go of things. I think seeing some of my older relatives’ severe emotional attachment to objects and their inability to let them go because they’re “Still good!” inspires me to evaluate my attachment, does it bring me joy, do I have space and if it’s still good but I don’t want it then someone else can use it (you then realize that maybe it wasn’t that good and nobody really wants it!) It takes practice but you can get there!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Yes to all of this, but especially the last bit. When we had a garage sale last year, I had a few things that were so hard to part with, but when I put them out, nobody wanted them! Ha, what an eye opener.

On , SizeMode said: | sizemode.com

One of my friends and I are avid thrift shoppers. We wear our purchases and then exchange them, or re-donate. Its cool deal because many times we are drawn to the same item, so we have the pre-set agreement to trade when we are tired of using it.

In addition to this, I try to gather my girlfriends together and do a clothing swap once or twice a year. Everyone gets to shed some closet fluff, maybe replace with a new style or color….and then the rest goes to the women’s shelter. I think the funnest part is that we close all the curtains, and have a mini fashion show for ourselves. Its great to have all that female energy and enthusiasm.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Both are great ideas! I love naked lady parties, and have gotten some surprisingly good/useful stuff from them! I definitely take more than I leave with.

I also find it much easier to part with things that I got for free or for cheap, which I think is both good and bad. Good because it’s less likely to become clutter, bad because it feels more disposable to me.

On , Nina said: | toftsnummulite.blogspot.co.uk

I hardly ever do this, but I don’t have that much clothing to begin with. Of course I do still have things I don’t use and should get rid of (oh yeah, sparkly hairclips from teenage days…), but I find it easier to do it slowly – sometimes I’ll just catch sight of something and feel, ‘OK, I don’t need that any more’, then it goes in the Oxfam bag in the hall closet. (It always does feel good to take that bag and donate its accumulated contents, which I guess happens 2 or 3 times a year.) In recent years, though, I have got much better at not acquiring so much stuff in the first place, which makes a huge difference – and letting go of unwanted gifts immediately has become kind of essential with my shopaholic mother-out-law around!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Ha, gifts are a whole other can of worms! I feel so guilty when someone spends money on me for something that I don’t want. But how does keeping it around help? I don’t know.

On , gabriel ratchet said:

since i live in layer land, where it’s never really one season or another, i don’t rotate my clothes seasonally. i’m also an “open storage” sort of person – out of sight is out of mind and therefore ought to be moved along to someone who can use it. however, what’s in sight has to be neat and not cluttered looking. i keep things down to a level where opening the door to my not huge closet isn’t an exercise in frustration. the WA project encouraged me to open up more space. i earned myself a tax deduction and a $40 gift card at nordstrom by sending a box to the fashion project and affection from my sister for sending her a box, and i’m working on a project to felt a bunch of really worn sweaters (this is sometimes not intentional :p ) that i plan to re-purpose into a blanket. or maybe slippers. depends on how this felting thing works out….

On , Jet Set Sewing said: | jetsetsewing.com

We live in a small space so I have one closet for clothes and one closet for sewing items. I go through my clothes closet twice a year to get the seasonal stuff front and center. At that time, I have what I call a “toss without guilt” day where I get rid of anything I don’t think I’ll wear anymore. Having a small closet really makes you think about what you bring in the house as well.
Now if I could just be that disciplined about my sewing stash!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I love “toss without guilt day”! You should declare it a holiday.

On , sewintheforest said:

I think sewing has really helped me be less attached to my clothes. Before I started sewing I held on to clothes that were different sizes as my weight fluctuated throughout the years with the motivation that “one day I’ll fit into it again”. I was never satisfied with who I was in the moment and was constantly trying to loss weight or tone up so that those precious clothes I owned would one day be the prize I could don in public again. Sewing has allowed me to be happy with whatever size I am (funny how now I am the healthiest I have ever been!) and take pride in the clothes I have made. Now, I purge when I have worn my clothes out…and I mean threadbare! It’s a totally different kind of purge: looking for pilling or stressed seams and being totally ok with having to make something new because I understand fit better now than when I first made and outfit- or I’ve learned a new technique that improves my overall sewing quality. Ask me this question 5 years ago and I would have been on the side that never throws anything out, just in case. Now, I hate to part with beloved items but it’s a completely different feeling, more of nostalgia but with anticipation that I get to replace it with something else I will love!

On , Amy said: | clothhabit.com

Oh, it IS very addictive! I just did this exact thing last weekend, and got it all down to one tiny closet… I was inspired by your Wardrobe Architect posts, but I really needed to clear everything out as a first step. And thank you so much for mentioning the Into Mind blog–it’s given me so many great ideas. I actually printed out her page on Wardrobe Detoxing and took notes as I was clearing things out. I wanted to remember why I was drawn to certain things, but which never worked or rarely got worn. Or why something became so sentimental. The nail polish and accessories were fun to declutter. I should do that every year. Those things get so out-of-sight-out-of-mind after awhile.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I know, her blog is so outstanding and I’ve learned so much from it!

Jewelry, makeup, and nail polish are all things I need to clear out more often.

On , Lady ID said: | peppermintandpaisley.com

I tend to do this every two-three months.

What I do usually though is to keep a bag in my room for clothes to give away. When I am in my closet and notice that I always skip over the same item repeatedly, I either move it to a more prominent place in my closet, decide if I need to alter it to work better, OR it goes in the bag.

Sometimes I hang on for sentiment but I try not to do that too often.

On , maddie said: | madalynne.com

I was pushed by your Wardrobe Architect to purge my closet, but the idea to whittle my wardrobe down to the bare bones – only including pieces that are essentially me – came to mind when I wrote my self interview. In it, I said that my dad is a no nonsense type of man (emails to him must be under 3 sentences), but this taught me to not clutter my life with the nonsense and to only fill it life with the people and the things you want and can care for. I was referring mostly to people and stuff like cars, books, etc, but I didn’t apply it to what I wore and at the time, my closet was giant. Over the past couple of months, I’ve taken and hour to throw the clothes away that aren’t me. I set a timer and this is because the less time I had to mule over ever article of clothing, the more stuff I would throw away. It was sort of a race but if forced me not to second guess my decision. Was it me? Did I love it? Quick… yes or no! It worked, and my closet is now smaller than it’s ever been, but EVERYTHING is 100% me.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

What a great technique, I might have to try that!

On , Anne said:

I feel most compelled to clean out my closets and reduce any other kind of clutter right after watching an episode of “Hoarders”! I’m telling you, it’s the best motivator ever! Goodwill has certainly benefited (at least from me) from that show and should consider being a sponsor. :-)

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

oh my god, my parents watched that show at my house once and it freaked me out! Most of the people on the show obviously had mental and emotional problems, but I think everyone is fascinated by it because we see those tendencies on a smaller scale in ourselves. It’s a little scary and definitely makes you want to clean.

On , Sarah said: | fashbrickroad.blogspot.co.uk

Good idea, think I’ll challenge myself next time!
I probably have a good clear out once a year and two or three small ones in between! Since moving out of my parents a year ago I’ve realised I don’t need half the stuff I’ve got so I’m trying my best to down size, with out becoming too minimilast.

On , carol said:

I do a regular purge of my closet and home because I abhore clutter. I love to be efficient in my life, and after moving several times in a short period I prefer to have less to deal with. It’s refreshing to go through your closet and know that everything you have fits and works well with your style. Also it feels really good to know that someone else is enjoying an item that was just sitting in the back of your closet, collecting dust.

On , Jessica said: | ayenforcraft.blogspot.com

I guess I do this about once or twice a year, plus whenever I move, which has been, on average, once or twice a year (ha). Often at the end of a season, as I’m packing things up, I’ll look over garments and evaluate which ones didn’t get worn a lot, and then have to be honest with myself about why that was. Maybe it’s objectively great, but I just don’t love it as much as my other sundresses, so really, it shouldn’t stay. And to make things easier to part with, I try to tell myself: remember how excited you get wen you find certain things at the thrift store? This might just be it for someone else! Why deny them that pleasure just so you can have it sitting in your closet?

Haha, somehow when I think of it that way, it gets easier. Although I do like the above comment about giving yourself 1 box, max, for sentimental garments.

On , Andrea said: | zoopolis.wordpress.com

All of my clothes for all seasons fit in one closet (small–1960s house) and one dresser. I’m not really a clothes shopper so I don’t accumulate much (in a first-world sense, at least), and I tend to get rid of things when I see something in a closet or drawer and realize I haven’t worn it in two years and likely won’t again. Then out it goes. There’s a bag in the basement for ongoing clear-outs, and when it’s full I send it off for donations.

Same thing with books, where I do accumulate a lot: I have my favourites bookcase in the dining room for those things I love and read over and over again and will never part with, and then a number of bookcases in the basement for things that are iffy; and once I realize I won’t read it again, I pack it up for donations. Sometimes I feel badly that I’m not trying harder to get my money back by taking them to a used bookstore or consignment shop or whatever, but really at that point I just want them out of my house and it seems like too much of a hassle.

What amazes me is this: I’m not a shopper, except for books and fabric, and yet my house is full of crap! How does this happen? It’s like it breeds in the closet at night. I’m not attached to stuff and I’ll get rid of it if it’s not being used, no problem, but my house is still packed with it. It’s amazing how it creeps in and you don’t realize it, or even notice how much you’re buying.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Lucky for me that Kenn is relentless with books and regularly sells them back on amazon unless it’s a book one of us loves and will re-read.

I don’t think I buy much either, but I often feel like the clutter multiplies if I don’t keep on top of it. I can’t even imagine how much more difficult this would be with kids. I have so much respect for parents.

On , Andrea said: | zoopolis.wordpress.com

Well, thank you. :) It’s true that Frances’s toys and crafts stuff and clothes adds another level to the clutter thing. I was very proud of her this year, though. She filled an entire big blue recycling bag with toys she felt ok giving away, which is a very big deal for her. She gets quite attached to them.

On , Carole said: | miasews.blogspot.com

Sewintheforest had a wonderful, thoughtful comment that resonated with me. I no longer have to keep clothes in different sizes because I can sew for the size I am! Meanwhile I have a house that is too big for me, with several large closets, all stuffed with clothes. I try each season to weed out that which I have not worn that season, but somehow stuff seems to keep accumulating. My answer is not to sew less, but to sew more thoughtfully. Or buy less fabric…that’s the hard one. OTOH, I have very few shoes…

On , Laurel said:

A friend lost a lot of weight but kept all the beautiful, tailor-made suits even though they were way too large for his new, slim body. What an error – it just gave him mental permission to gain weight again because he always had something wonderful to wear as he expanded. The awful struggle to lose the weight all over again was accompanied by an equally hard task – eliminating everything in each too-big size as he dropped the pounds. Now he”s only got clothes that fit his slender self.

On , Dottie doodle said: | dottiedoodle.wordpress.com

I’m playing the minimalist game this month, where you declutter one thing on the 1st, two on the 2nd and so on. Not sure how far through the month I’ll get – I think it’s over 400 things by the end!

On , Becky said: | sew-and-so.blogspot.com

I usually do about twice a year– at the end of the summer and at the end of the winter, or whenever it starts getting too cold/warm for certain clothes. I usually just limit it to the couple of items that didn’t get worn, but I did get rid of a much bigger pile this time around, either just because stuff didn’t fit anymore or it just didn’t feel like me anymore. The Wardrobe Architect series was really good for helping me be a little more ruthless than my clotheshorse tendencies usually allow for.

On , elle said: | underalteration.blogspot.co.uk

I tend to tackle this seasonally, in spring and autumn. But I’m also limited by wardrobe space, so when things get crowded I’ll institute a one-in one-out policy (I’ve got one of those going for shoes at the moment), which helps keep me mindful about new acquisitions, as it means I’ll have to part with something else!

I’ve recently had what felt like a very helpful wardrobe purge, largely due to the Wardrobe Architect series! But also aided a lot by the Into Mind blog, which I found through your posts. Thank you so much for the link to that – there is so much thought-provoking and useful stuff there.

On , [email protected] said:

I try to clean out my closets seasonally. I’m firm about getting rid of stuff that I haven’t worn the previous season. It’s the everyday clutter that is my ruin.

On , Amy said: | ladymockingbird.com

I am also a seasonal closet cleaner – I weed things out as I switch my wardrobe every fall and spring (I’m really looking forward to starting on this springs as soon as the weather is “officially warm”). I also keep a giveaway bag in the bottom of my closet for when I come a cross things that somehow slipped through my seasonal cleaning hat I just can’t stand the sight if anymore. When it’s full I make a trip to goodwill or buffalo exchange. I also try not to buy any new hangers and attempt to live by the “new in, old out” rule – if I don’t have an extra hanger for something new, something old has to go.

My biggest struggles with getting rid of things are gifts (serious guilt – I’ll only get rid of it if it broke, or if I don’t see the person who gave it to me very much any more), things I’ve made (seriously, how do you get rid of that stuff? – it’s like your baby – old and ill-fitting as it may be!), and FABRIC. Although I successfully cleaned out my stash in the fall – so ehow it’s doubled since then! My problem is since I work in the fashion industry, I happen upon a lot of fabric for free – and lord help me if I ever just pass it up!

On , Kate Hampshire said: | katykookaburra.etsy.com

I’m with everyone else with the seasonal de clutter. My mum decided to get rid of some beautiful wool skirts that she had made and which were now too big for her (she’s 90 now) so I took them off her and made them into bags. Every time I use them they remind me of her and the fabric is such beautiful quality.

On , Mizjayne said: | empireroom.com.au

I’m a seasonal sorter. I have a trunk beside my bed where I store my out of season clothes & a space bag in the top of the robe for winter sweaters. I have a rail in the wardrobe for my dresses, skirts, pants, shirts, 22 cardigans ( yes I wear all off them) & jackets, 2 small drawers for underwear & one drawer for singlets/t shirts/long sleeve tops. My bloke has the same.
Then I have a rack in my studio for vintage clothes, costumes(I’m a costume designer) & my vast coat collection. I have 2 rules when it comes to acquiring coats they have to be under $60 & I won’t have too many until I have more than Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I’m getting really good at moving things on though. I’ve started with one in, one out rule & I try on everything before it goes in the wardrobe at the change of seasons. I have one other trunk in the garage for sentiment items & things I think I might need for a show in the future.

On , Mizjayne said: | empireroom.com.au

I have also joined the 40 bags in 40 days declutter challenge. We have had a family gathering, a 16th birthday (tonight) & 18th birthday next Saturday to prepare for & we have got rid of so much clutter, sentimental rubbish, obsolete electronic equipment, paperwork, rearranged furniture.
Tonight it made it all worth it when one of the kids said ‘Your house is so hipster. Nothing in our house is this cool’

On , Bec said: | bowsandbunnies.wordpress.com

I am pretty brutal when it comes to getting rid of clothes. I clean out my wardrobe 3-4 times a year and either sell, donate or chuck out things that I don’t wear. I have noticed that as I sew more and buy less the volume of clothes I get rid of is smaller.

On , Kat said: | coutureacademic.com

I’m ruthless about this. I’m constantly editing my wardrobe, sometimes not really throwing away or giving away but sometimes just putting it away to see if I miss it later on. I actually have gone back and retrieved stuff, but more often than not it’s a donation!

On , Nyssa said: | shoesandblues.com

I do this too — I hang clothes in the spare room to see if I will miss them. I call it The Twilight Zone. I think I have fetched one garment back, everything else has been donated.

On , Amy said: | eatdrinkmakedo.wordpress.com

I do a major evaluation once or twice a year and get rid of damaged things I can admit I won’t mend or that are unmendable, things I don’t wear or that don’t fit anymore, etc., and I keep a bag or box in the closet to toss stuff that needs to go into as I find it in between.

However, I am in the middle of a one-year new clothing “abstinence” project and so I’m not throwing much out right now. Doing that and taking my time working through the Wardrobe Architect project in the meantime is giving me a lot of time to make thoughtful decisions about what I want to keep, toss and add when my abstinence project is over.

On , Molly said: | mygrandmotherslegacy.wordpress.com

I try to do a deep clean like that once a year for myself, but since I also have 4 children for whom I go through clothes a few times a year (purging, giving away, etc), I have not gotten to my own things for a while. Hope to do it this spring. Thanks for the inspiration!

On , Brenda said:

I try to clear things out about twice a year. Recently I decided to purge some things that were in perfect condition, like new, and I had a hard time with that. But they just either didn’t fit or weren’t the right style for me. I packed everything in the back of my car but it had been sooooo cold here (southwestern New York state) that I procrastinated on dropping it off at the Good will. Luckily, I happened to be talking to a new acquaintance who had just moved here from sunny California and found out she really didn’t own many winter clothes so I asked her if she was interested in taking a look at my stuff. She ended up taking it all! What she didn’t keep she gave to another friend. I felt so much better knowing my clothes were going to be worn by someone who really appreciates having them! Now when I see her I always check out what she’s wearing and am so happy if it’s something I gave her!

On , Melanie said:

I did this a couple weekends ago. It almost broke my heart to part with some wonderful things that I’ve sewn myself, but things no longer fit. No point keeping things I can’t get into. I realized I’d been keeping a lot of stuff I never wear or am waiting to lose enough weight to get into. It all went away including some sweaters that were old enough to vote.

On , Sarai said:

It’s not often I find someone with my name!! :-) Following your blog!

On , janet @ ordinary mom said: | ordinarymom.ca

I am planning this for the month of April. Not just cleaning out but going through everything and either revamping it to work better or donating it. Excited for a smaller but better closet!

On , els said: | creatievemie.wordpress.com

I recently did a major cleanout of my closet altough I don’t have a certain schedule to do so.I”ve been following your wardrobe architect series,so I decided to act on what I”ve learnt.Every item that was not quite right(fit or stylewise),went to charity.What I could refashion went in my UFO box and everything that was too old or worn out went in the trashcan.Now I have a wardrobe that fits me perfectly and goes together well.No more strays in my closet!I also have some great ideas for some new additions I’m planning to make for the Me-Made-May’14 challenge.

On , Chris said:

I cleaned my closet out to the bare walls twice a year. I also have a rule if I buy a new clothing item I must remove to 6 month hold bag. I rarely take anything back from the hold bag before its off to the donation center. This last year a did a huge clean sweep of my shoes.

On , Jen said: | thefabledneedle.com

I used to move every year and purged each time but then I lived in the same place for about 7 years. I forced myself to get rid of a lot of stuff even then, but when husband and I packed up and moved out of state I realized I still had way too many things. We were in limbo for 4 months while we looked for a place to buy and it was nice only having the essentials, plus a few fun/sentimental things. I dreaded having the movers bring all of our stuff! Our place is small and while I could theoretically use the entire attic as my closet I want to put all of my (current season) clothes in my small dresser and clothing rack. I was really reluctant to reduce my wardrobe further but now, finally, I’m just tired of it all. I don’t go to an office anymore, nor do I live in an environment where constant consumption of material things is part of the daily exercise (not to mention the fact that I have a mortgage). Now my question is, can I garden in it? Can I lounge/work at home or hike in it? Because that really all my life consists of! (Though I hope to get back to sewing too.)

On , donna said:

I do a major closet clean out at the end of each summer but also if I have been busy working for several weeks and the laundry has piled up and there is “nothing” left to wear,….while I am catching up on my laundry I try and make a plan to wear what is left in the closet or give it away. It is easy to do it then because my closet is not cluttered. Sometimes with the usual clothes I grab on a day to day basis in the wash I rediscover an old favorite.

On , Jen said:

Well, I was doing really well, until I started refashioning things! The good thing is my clothes are getting tweaked to be just right for me; the bad thing is everything is potential fabric for sewing/refashioning now! At least most of the items are now somewhere other than the closet… although they didn’t leave the house! :} (And, hey, it got me back into sewing- yay!)

On , Patricia said: | stenaros.blogspot.com

I really hate to part with things too, but have found if I take a picture of the item it’s much easier to let it go. I have a feature on my blog called “Requiem” where I share the photo and tell the item’s story. Then I’m happy to let to go back into the world. A few years ago I was able to do a major purge of vintage dresses I wore in my 20s that haven’t fit for years. It felt great to recount the fun times I had in them and it felt great to send them out for someone else to have good times in them.

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