I live in an older, small mobile home, a second home on acreage. And I’m really lucky to have it. In the Greater Vancouver Area it’s really tough finding a rental property. Forget about finding an affordable rental property. If you’re lucky, rent will only take up half your monthly income, but most of us aren’t that lucky. I am lucky to live in a place where my dogs are welcome and I have wonderful landlords.
There are two tiny bedrooms with built in closets. The room I sleep in has two closets, and the other bedroom has one tiny closet. All closets have drawers built in beneath them.
I don’t have a lot of space to work with, and there’s no way I can get by with a minimalist wardrobe.
I worry that I might become a hoarder. Then all I have to do is watch a couple of episodes of the TV show Hoarders. Talk about motivation to clean and declutter!
I’m frugal. I hate buying things. Then when I have these “things”, I don’t want to throw them away. What if I need them sometime in the future?
I fear that I have hoarder genes within me fighting to get out!
I’ve moved a few times over the years, and whenever I move I take a good look at my clothes and throw away or donate before the move.
Unfortunately, I usually end up downsizing one more time after I move, especially when it’s obvious my new closet space isn’t sufficient for my clothes.
Fortunately, I don’t have the hoarder mentality of holding on to everything. I do throw things away. It just probably takes me longer than it should! When I buy a new item of clothing, I try to get rid of a similar, older piece that’s in my closet.
Take it out! Take it all out!
Earlier in 2019, I finally got my butt in gear and organized my closet.
Check out the before and after pics!
Hmmm…. Well, mostly the stuff is off the closet floor except for footwear.
The first thing I did was take everything out of my closet and dump it on my bed.
So now I had a dilemma. I couldn’t procrastinate. If I wanted to sleep in my bed that night, I had to deal with the contents of the closet one way or the other.
Here I go. See what I did and then you can declutter your closet too.
These are a few of my favorite things…
We all have favorite clothes we like to wear over and over. We also have favorite clothes that are too good to wear regularly, but we want them on hand when there are special occasions.
Those clothes go back in my closet.
If you’re having trouble deciding, ask yourself why these clothes are your favorites.
What are your favorite colors?
My favorite colors are purple, pink, and turquoise blue. Clothes with these colors are probably going to end up back in my closet pretty quickly.
What about a favorite design? Or a favorite designer?
I really have no favorite designers. Unless you count Levi’s! Ha ha!
I have a lot of vests, and some didn’t make a return trip to my closet. Yay me! I got rid of a few vests that I haven’t worn in years, and I felt OK saying good bye to those Plain Jane vests. Many of my vests are equestrian or Western themed. There’s a vest with Mickey Mouse doing the scuba Mickey thing that I bought that in Paris when the Disneyland resort there was still known as EuroDisney. They’re fun and add a splash of color to my wardrobe.
I also have a couple of vests that are good when the weather is cold. Outerwear vests. They’re warm and comfortable and they can stay.
Try ‘em on!
Now that you’ve put clothes back in the closet that you love and want to keep, start trying on the clothes left on the bed.
This is very important. Do they fit?
Who else out there swears they’re not putting on weight and it’s just that your clothes keep shrinking in the wash?
If you have an outfit in your closet you haven’t worn in awhile, but are planning to wear it when you lose 10 pounds, and you’re on a committed weight loss lifestyle, then it’s OK to hang on to it. However, if you need to lose 20, 30, or more pounds and you haven’t been motivated to start a weight loss plan, you might as well ditch that item. Every time you see it in the closet, it’s just going to remind you that you haven’t met your weight loss goals.
Have you lost weight, but haven’t thrown out your bigger clothes because you’re scared you might put the pounds back on? I know how that feels. It’s the frugal person in me and the fear of throwing something away just in case I need it down the road.
As I lost weight over the past year, my jeans were falling off me, I replaced them with smaller sizes, and put the old ones in a box, ready to be donated.
Pants on the ground
Now here’s an embarrassing story. In April I took my bike for a ride. Well, first I had to put it in my car and drive it to the starting point of my bike ride. I was wearing my bike shorts, but I had my blue jean shorts in the car to pull on after the ride because I needed to stop at the grocery store to pick up a couple of things.
The last time I wore these shorts was last September when I was in Oregon and the weather was nice. I was down at least 20 pounds since I last wore them.
I pulled them on over my bike shorts – and they fell off! Oops. I’d outgrown them. Or is that out-smalled them? Bike shorts are made from slippery material so that didn’t help too much. So there I am in the grocery store holding the shopping basket in one hand and keeping the other hand on my hip so the shorts wouldn’t slide off.
Worst case scenario? The blue jean shorts would slide off and everyone would see my bike shorts. Big deal! Everyone who saw me riding my bike already saw those shorts.
Yup. That was the last time I wore those jean shorts. Washed them and put them in the donate box.
Moral of the story is – if your pants, jeans, shirts, skirt are falling off you, get rid of them. At our age we don’t need a wardrobe malfunction!
Fit to be Worn?
OK back to the clothes that are left on the bed. The ones that still fit.
And just because they still fit, doesn’t mean you should still be wearing them. We are downsizing here after all. Right?
Ask yourself if you still wear this piece of clothing? Do you have plans to wear it in the future? You might want to hang on to riding breeches if they fit and you plan to get a horse one day. Am I still kicking myself for selling a pair of chaps just because I didn’t think I’d fit into them again?
Not really. OK maybe…
Are the clothes torn? Missing buttons? Zipper doesn’t work? Throw them in the garbage.
Just because the shirt, sweater, or pants still fit, doesn’t mean you need to keep wearing them. As we get older our skin color changes, and probably our hair color changes. Whether or not you choose to hide the gray isn’t the point. The colors might not look good on you anymore.
Black can be aging on older women, showing off wrinkles, lines, makes our hair and skin look dull.
Is it still in style? Who else has sweaters and jackets with shoulder pads? I bought this cute pink and black number, complete with shoulder pads, back in the early nineties. What do you think? Is it time for me to give it the old heave ho?
If you have low cut tops, ask yourself are they age appropriate. And no, I’m not going to suggest a cut off age for “age appropriate”. I don’t need any more hate mail!
Does anyone have those pointy Madonna bras from the eighties in their lingerie drawer? At least I can say that was never my style! Are you waiting for them to come back in style? Let’s just get to the point! Ha ha! Either donate them to a museum or throw them in the garbage. The thrift shops don’t want your pointy bras.
What about platform shoes? I double checked my closet. They’re long gone! Make sure yours are too!
People hang on to clothes for all kinds of reasons. T-shirt bought at a Rolling Stones concert. Wedding dress. Something that brings fond memories.
Put them back in the closet. No regrets, right?
When I was younger my mother used to knit Indian jackets. These are heavy duty woolen sweaters, with a zipper, and have designs on them typical to what might be seen in Native Indian art like totem poles and other native symbols. They could have just about any kind of design. I always had some growing up, but the one Indian jacket I remember the best had a horse on the front, and two running horses on the back, one brown horse and one black horse. My mother said the toughest part was knitting where the horses’ legs were. Eight legs, two different colors, with white in-between. She knitted that for me when I was probably around thirteen. I wore it around my horse. I probably wore it everywhere. It got dirty.
When I was 20 to 21 I was in Europe and worked in Spain for awhile as an au pair. When I returned home, I discovered my mother had thrown out my running horses jacket. I was pretty pissed off about that. She must have been waiting for her opportunity for years. Obviously my mother never had a problem downsizing her closet! She said she’d knit me another jacket and I asked her to knit me the same one. She still had the pattern, but she said no way. Memories of the horse legs I suppose. We went to the shop and I picked out another pattern with a horse head on the back and a horseshoe over the front pocket.
I have another sweater she knitted a few years earlier, when I was 17 or 18. It’s like the original hoodie. A pullover sweater with an oversized hood. Forty years later, it’s still in my closet and I’ll wear it on chilly days.
Crap from your ex
Do you have anything in your closet that was a gift from your ex or items of clothing that he wore?
They’ve worn out their welcome on the sentimental map.
When the deadbeat and I split up, he left behind some clothes. I got rid of them pretty fast. An apartment in the next town burnt down and the moving company I always hire was collecting donations. The clothes deadbeat left behind went to a good cause.
Except for two polo shirts. These were actually very nice shirts. We bought them at the Red Dirt Shirt factory in Kauai. That island was one of the stops on a Hawaii cruise we took with my father, and we’d seen this company featured on the TV show, Dirty Jobs. We stopped at the store and bought two polo shirts for the deadbeat. I’m not sure why I didn’t get a shirt other than they were kind of expensive. I think we got a special deal buying two, maybe $50 for the both. One has a beach scene, and the other has a Hawaiian warrior.
The deadbeat took most of his clothes, so I’m not sure why these two shirts were left behind. Some kind of snipe aimed at me that I don’t quite get? Or did he just forget them? They were supposed to be good shirts, but he’d started wearing them to work and they got a little stained.
Anyway, I decided to keep them. Not so much because of sentimental value because of him. Hell no! These are unique souvenirs and I can wear them as night shirts. They were way too big for me to wear for daily living.
They came along when I moved and took up space in my closet for way too long. I never wore them. Except to model for this blog post!
Yeah, that’s a man’s size 2XL. Not happening!
I have much cuter nightwear anyway!
The Kauai Red Dirt shirts were finally removed from my closet earlier this year and put in a box to be donated. I still haven’t donated these clothes. Still waiting for a fire…
Gifts and special events
Have you ever got a piece of clothing as a gift but never worn it? Unless it has sentimental value or you’re planning to wear it one day, just get rid of it. There’s no need for it to take up space in your closet.
Unless you need to pull it out and wear it when the gifter is around.
If you need a Halloween costume or clothes for special events, put them back in your closet. There’s no need to keep buying new outfits.
All the items that didn’t return to the closet need to get packed into a box.
Or in my case, two boxes.
Put them in the spare room, or the garage, or wherever they can stay clean and dry. Give yourself some time to think about this. I mean, don’t put too much thought into this. This is just so you don’t have any regrets. The downsized clothes are in a box and out of sight. Maybe in a couple of months you’ll change your mind about something. You can still fish it out of the box.
Or maybe you’ve started on a weight loss plan and you’re doing really well, feeling positive, and you want to hang on to those skinny clothes for motivation now that the ball is rolling.
Donate, sell, or trash?
Eventually you’re going to get those clothes out of the house. The fact that you’ve got them in a box is because they’re fit to be worn, just not to be worn by you anymore. That means they’re not ripped, stained, missing buttons, broken zipper, or otherwise useless.
The choices with your old clothes are to donate them or sell them. This depends whether you’d like to make money off them or whether it’s easier to give them away.
I’ve put clothes up for sale on eBay and had some in a garage sale, neither with good results. You can try that, or put an ad up on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and maybe you’ll have better luck than me. You can also try a consignment shop.
When I donate clothes, my preference is to give them away to people who can immediately use them. Such as the donations being collected for the victims of that apartment fire I mentioned earlier.
My strategy is to hang on to clothes I want to donate until December because usually there’ll be a sad story on the news about someone’s house who burnt down, and they were probably renters and didn’t have insurance. So sad around Christmas. That above mentioned apartment fire – yes, it happened in December.
There are many thrift shops that accept clothing donations, and then sell the clothes. I just feel much better knowing my clothes are going directly to people who can’t afford to buy. My clothes usually go to battered women’s shelters and homeless shelters. These people can really use the clothes. If you’re a member of a church, often there are needy people who the church helps and they’ll accept donated clothing.
Do you have any tips on downsizing your closet or what to do with the clothes afterwards? Let us know in the comments!
Me in Action
Or maybe that should read me in inaction! If you have 10 minutes to kill, watch me have some fun talking about decluttering my closet.