Making your space as clutter free as possible can be a pretty daunting task.
Here are some tips and suggestions about how to structure a purge project.
One of the main concepts that I believe helps to get your thinking right in order to tackle a major purge is to split your stuff into categories, NOT spaces.
In other words you’re going to triage all of your clothing then all of your books and papers, then all of your furniture, despite where those items happen to be located within your living space.
This approach makes it easier not to get distracted and helps makes sure you’ve considered all of the items that need to be considered.
Also, purging by category is designed to start with items that are easier to make decisions about so that by the time you get to the difficult stuff you’ll be into your groove and kind of have the hang of it so that the difficult items, although still difficult, will not throw you for a loop and stall your momentum.
Let’s take a quick look at one of the main categories I suggest using when embarking on a major purge of your environment.
The category is clothing.
Although clothing is, in my opinion one of the easier categories to make decisions about when doing a major purge, it does have its own set of issues.
Most of us have clothes stuffed in our closet that we never wear.
As with all the other categories in a purge, get them all out and in one big pile and make sure you touch and connect with each item when considering whether to remove it from you space. If it’s worn out, has frayed edges, or is in need of repair. (Unless you consider this some sort of fashion statement)
Out it goes!
Then, (unless it’s seasonal and you aren’t in that season), If you haven’t worn it in the last 30 days, strongly consider removing it.
Speaking of seasonal, strictly seasonal items, a down jacket, gloves or wool hats for winter for instance are the only clothing items that you should keep in storage.
If you are saving it because you used to love it but haven’t worn it in months or even years it really should be on its way out.
It makes sense to split your wardrobe into work wear and casual wear of course, but each of those categories only needs about a week or a week and a half at most of clothing items. In other words a man would only need about 7 shirts for each category and 3 or 4 pairs of pants. Same for under wear and socks.
One good casual jacket or overcoat and maybe a fancier over coat for special occasions.
Depending on what you do for a living you may or may not need to wear a suit to work. In my case I used to have to wear a suit every day. (A suit being defined as matching jacket and pants for those of you who have never had to endure the torture.)
Now that I do most of my work from home, I find that I almost never wear a suit. I had six suits and several sports coats hanging in my closet that I realized I would probably never wear again. I kept the one I liked the most (A dark pin stripe) for special occasions, weddings, funerals, graduations etc. and donated the rest.
Your wardrobe is a very personal thing and should reflect who you are. Your choices about what you wear and when you wear it and therefore how many clothing items to own are of course completely up to you. There are no hard and fast rules about exactly how many pieces of clothing are too many or not enough.
Just understand that our goal here is to consolidate, and reduce. Eliminating complexity whenever possible. You will be amazed at how purging your closet will give you a clear, unencumbered, feeling of freedom and expansion. There will be room to breathe and the space to think more clearly.
Women’s wardrobes are more complicated and is an area I don’t feel completely qualified to give advice on. But just keep in mind that our goal is to reduce and eliminate that which is unused or unwanted.
You must be very self-disciplined and dare I say ruthless with yourself to pull this off. Again don’t keep something that you never wear just because you wore it on your first date with your husband. If it’s really that important to you then frame it and hang it on the wall. If not, out it goes!
I knew a forty year old woman once who had shoes that she’d worn in the sixth grade still in the back of her closet!
Please don’t be that person. If it’s not seasonal and you haven’t worn it for 30 days, you’re probably not going to wear it. SO why do you own it?
Understand that if you never wear it it’s only taking up space in your closet and clogging the arteries of your life.
Get it all out and in the purge pile. The things that don’t bring you joy or that you don’t find useful need to be thanked for their service and sent on their way to where ever else they can be useful. Or put out of their (and your) misery by being recycled or simply thrown away.
One of the resources I used to produce my up-coming video course on Purging and de-cluttering is a great nook by a woman named Marie Kondo called “The life changing magic of tidying up.”
You can get it on Amazon by clicking here
I don’t agree with all of the concepts in her book but there are some things that I tried that make a lot of sense.
One of which is folding and stacking things vertically. I feel she goes a little overboard with this concept. I mean she even mentions how she has asparagus and carrots stacked vertically in the door of her refrigerator.
But I gave this concept a try with my T-shirts and sock drawers and it really does work wonders.
You can see at a glance all of the t-shirts you have available and then select one and pluck it out of the drawer without having to dig down three levels and disrupt the whole pile to get the one you want. Kind of like picking a cd out of your cd holder. Not only is it convenient but it creates a ton more room in the drawer.
Also, I tried Marie’s idea of rolling up my socks, kind of like a sushi roll and stacking them vertically. This also makes it way easier to store and then select the right pair of socks and I have not had to fish around in my drawer to find a matching sock to complete a pair in months. Thus saving tons of time and relieving lots of frustration
Here’s a short video of Marie folding a t shirt
Trust me she’s not even kidding. Vertical is a very big thing with her.
Anyway enjoy, and remember to be nothing short of ruthless with yourself when purging you wardrobe.
Cary David Richards