(Don’t) Keep it in the Closet, or Let it Go: Clearing the Wardrobe

One recent Friday morning, I woke up with one thought in my head: “I must get rid of all this clutter. I need to do it now.”

Dresser drawers could hardly close. Baskets of laundry overflowed onto the carpet. Outerwear hung on the chair and laid on top of the bureau. The mess was all I could see. I could not hide the mess because there was nowhere else for it to go.

This is not going to be one of those posts that refers to those anti-consumerism, pro-minimalism books. I haven’t read any. This is me dealing with a problem that has been developing over time.

Flashback story time: Since Hurricane Katrina, I have had a hard time getting rid of any of my belongings. I lost the majority of the things I owned in that storm–I went forward with only what fit into my backpack for the evacuation, which I thought would last a weekend. I returned home after a few months. I’d gained weight from all of the stress eating and I had the shopping budget of a graduate student on a small teaching assistantship stipend. I had but a few ill-fitting garments to my name.

Every time I have moved over the past ten years, I have gotten upset about throwing away or donating anything: papers, letters, clothes, books, gifts that I didn’t like and couldn’t use, and so on. Stuff became me. Cleaning my room or apartment was physically and emotionally exhausting.

Over the past couple of years, I have gotten much better about letting my belongings go when I don’t need them anymore. I don’t feel a need to hold on to clothing that doesn’t fit anymore or to craft supplies I can’t use anymore, specifically.

So, during a recent weekend, I told myself that I would rid myself of the majority of it and I would feel better. I chose zones to work through: bureau, shorter dresser, closet, storage bins. I gave away yarn to knitters and crocheters. I put clothes that are too small for me (most of what I had) in bags to send to Goodwill, except for a few items that a friend wanted, which I gave to her over the weekend. I culled the scraps from my fabric storage area and put them in a separate bin so that I could have a better idea of how much dress/skirt/blouse yardage I had. (Turns out, I don’t have a lot. It was mostly scraps.) I plan on using the remnants/scraps for bias binding, small craft projects, and stuff for babies.

Here are some photos showing some results:

bins for storage
The top bin contains my scraps. The middle bin contains a few too-small items that I’m saving for later.
Empty Bins
These used to hold knitting supplies.

Not pictured: multiple bags of clothes destined for Goodwill, multiple bags of rags and tiny scraps.

I felt a huge sense of relief when I was done. Everything was organized. I could see what items of clothes I needed and could shop or sew accordingly. I wasn’t using brute force to shove a pile of t-shirts into a drawer that’s already filled to the brim.

I don’t need to hold onto items that I can’t or won’t use now, or in the future.


2 thoughts on “(Don’t) Keep it in the Closet, or Let it Go: Clearing the Wardrobe”

  1. Cleaning things out is so good for the soul and it’s very rare that you actually regret throwing anything out. It always feels better to give unwanted things to someone else, but to be honest most of the things I throw out would not be of any use to other!. I find it hard to throw out scraps of fabric that are really not big enough for anything.. maybe I should start making Barbie clothes? 😉


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