We kicked it into hyper drive on this one… get ready for the mother load. You’ve already seen the beginnings of the Master Bedroom here, but today you get to peek into the depths of… the closet. That’s right, you get your very own grand tour. Oh, but this is not just any tour. You happened to stumble across the HUGE-SPRING-CLEANING-SPREE! You know, just in time for the end of spring and all. 🙂 To refresh your memory, here’s an old shot of the closet, before we repainted and re-carpeted the room:
With the way our room is set up, we both have about the same amount of clothes storage space. We each have a small dresser, half of the big dresser, and half of the closet. And so far, it works out great… except for the fact that we were packing all of our spaces to the gills with clothes! Let’s just say that four years of college and a few moves have resulted in the accumulation of tons.of.things. As we don’t have an attic or basement, storage is a hot commodity around here and we’re pretty protective over it.
So the time had come to pare down. We started the task a bit randomly one morning and it snowballed into a massive clean out. But enough chatter, let’s get to the pictures. I won’t show you the dressers because, apart from having less in them, not much has changed. But here’s the closet, overrun with excess and clutter:
Confusing, huh? Let me break it down for you a bit further…
As you can see, we’ve got a lot ‘o junk happening in this closet. The crate/T-shirt system is actually a genius idea from Mitch, but I’ll save the details for the “after shots”, as it’s near impossible to understand with all of the clutter in the way. This photo also shows a bit of how we have divided the space to fit both of us (well, our clothes, that is). But how about a close-up of what’s going on in the top half?
And if you step into the closet and turn to your left, this is what you see (or saw, rather):
Yeah, we had a lot of work to do. And might I add that there are, in fact, two laundry baskets full of my sweatshirts/hoodies (that you can better see from the photo above). I have a problem, I know. But not to worry, the situation will improve by the end of this post! The process took a solid half of a day, but I cannot properly explain to you how great it felt afterward. So with that, here are the steps we took to get to the finish line:
Step 1: Go through each space. We actually did not take everything out, as is common for a lot of “cleaning out” tasks. Because we were both working in the same room and there were already piles everywhere, we kept what we were planning on keeping (haha) inside drawers and the closet to avoid “keep” clothes getting mixed up with “donate” piles. From there, we went through every drawer, closet space (we keep our shoes in the spare bedroom closet), crate, and basket and liberally pulled out things that “had to go”. We stuck to the “no mercy” rule and ruthlessly edited down our wardrobes.
Step 2: Sort the “to go” piles. We had been just throwing our “outtakes” into the hall, not worrying about folding, sorting, etc. After finishing, we finally took a good look at that pile (I wish I had a picture to show you) and realized just how much we had gotten rid of- it was HUGE! Rather than stuffing handfuls of the pile into trash bags haphazardly, we folded and sorted each item into neat piles to get a better idea of what we had actually cleaned out. Get ready for the shocker…That’s a lot of clothes! It was about this time that things were coming into perspective in the realm of how much we have (even after cleaning all of this out, we still have more than enough clothes) and how stressful life can be just by having too much. Needless to say, we were happy to see it all go. I took careful notes of how many of each item we were donating for tax purposes, but it was also neat to see how much we had accomplished in just a few hours! In total, we donated 3 coats, 6 dresses, 2 suits, 42 sweaters/hoodies, 40 skirts/pants, 75 shirts/blouses…
…13 pairs of shoes, 5 belts, 14 items of jewelry, and a few odds and ends.
Step 3: Bag it up. After we finished sorting, we gathered like items and packed them tightly in black trash bags. Helpful Hint: Label the bags as you go! This will help whoever is unpacking/sorting them down the line…
After all of the bagging was finished, this is what we were left with:
Impressive, huh? Well, we were impressed at least. 🙂
Step 4: Donate and throw out. Everything in the black trash bags got donated to our local thrift store (most will give you a receipt for tax purposes if you ask). However, these pictures don’t account for the large pile of things that we ended up just throwing away to save the world from mismatched, holey socks and stained T-shirts.
Step 5: Take in the view. It’s amazing how much of a difference our clean-out made, not only in our closets and drawers, but in our stress levels. We both agreed that from here on out, we’re going to try and pare down everywhere- other closets, hygiene and cleaning supplies, kitchen ware that we don’t need, etc. Let’s just say- we’ve caught the declutter bug. I know what you’re really wanting, though… those after shots! Here is the new and improved closet:Things to note: There are significantly less T-shirts than before (T-shirt disclaimer: I am a Youth Director and Mitch is in Sports Ministry, so T-shirts are kind of like our work clothes… so we have a lot. And we’re aware.). We pared down a lot of the clothes that get hung on the rods, and we were able to condense things on the top shelf to make room for adding others that were being stored elsewhere. Something you can’t tell just by looking (but I’m super proud of) is that I managed to get rid of enough sweatshirts to fit the remaining “keepers” into one laundry basket! Hooray! Now Mitch can use the other for his sweatshirts. This is our idea of a good time folks…
Since drawer space is limited and T-Shirts can take up a lot of room, Mitch came up with the idea of using a tower of crates to house them all. So far, this has been a saving grace when it comes to effective use of closet space. And how about that clean floor?!
It’s safe to say we’re thrilled with the new look. This might be weird, but both of us kept saying how much lighter the house felt afterward. Physically, I guess it was! I think that another lesson here is that stuff does not equal happiness. Actually, too much stuff= stress. And we plan on keeping the decluttering party going throughout the entire house, so stay tuned! For now, picture us saying: Ahh, so fresh and so clean!