I did it!  I finished a complete closet purging project and donated 70% of my clothes, shoes and accessories.  It’s been 4 months, and I haven’t missed anything that I gave away.  Less really is more when it comes to the belongings that take up space in our homes.





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238 The Big Closet Clean Out - Purging 70% of My Clothes, Shoes & Accessories








Full Episode Transcription (not edited):

[00:00:00] I did it. I finished a complete closet purging project, and I actually donated a 70% or maybe even a little bit more than that of my clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, everything. It’s been four months, I think since I did this project and I have not missed, I have not wanted anything. I have not looked for anything that I donated.

I gave those things away and I haven’t thought about them in a sense. The project. Was complete. Less really is more when it comes to what we keep in our home, the belongings that we allow to take up space in our homes. This is proof that less really is more. Did you happen to notice the title of this episode? It’s the big glossy clean out purging. 70% of my clothes, shoes, and accessories. And that’s true. [00:02:00] I really did donate 70%. Maybe even a little bit more of the things in my closet. This includes. Clothing, like all kinds of clothing shoes. Bags accessories. Anything that you keep in your closet is included in that 70% total. And this was a big undertaking.

It was a big job to complete. But when I say that I gave away 70%, maybe a little bit more than that, maybe closer to 75% of the things in my closet. When I did this huge closet clean out a few months ago. That’s exactly what I did. And it was totally worth the time that it took. And honestly, I can admit this.

I have not thought about I have not wanted, I really, truly, haven’t not thought about or gone to where any of the thing is that I got rid of. It’s like, I never even have them. I haven’t missed them at all. Now my closets, when I look at. The houses that I have lived in as an adult, like, and even as a child, my closets have always been organized.

Like the organization of my clothes has always been something that has been important to me. And I’ve mentioned this before, but if you’re a new listener, My very first memory of organizing anything for someone else. Was my friend’s walk-in closet when we were in fifth grade and I even color-coded her shoes on the floor, they were lined up and I put them in rainbow order.

So I can laugh about this now, but I really have always seen the value in organization, even when I didn’t know what that value really was. It was important to me to have things organized. So I could always find what I was looking for. I didn’t understand. And all the benefits today I do, but [00:04:00] then I did it, but I still put a value to being organized.

And of course, as an adult, I have lived in a different home this where I’ve had both big closets and small closets and medium-sized closets. And all of those have been organized. Now they’ve been organized in different ways, depending on the space that was available to me. And that’s how I want you to organize.

If you have a lot of hanging space, you are going to hang things that may be in your prior living situation. You had a lot more things folded. And the exact way that we organize it doesn’t matter in a lot of situations because we use this space that is available to us and we organized to the best of our abilities for what makes sense for the space that we have. Now I like things in categories that makes sense for organization.

It doesn’t matter if it is your pantry or closet or office supplies. When we categorize things, it makes them easy to find. But specifically in a closet, I usually take that one step further and I color code or where I rainbow order thing is within those specific categories. So it hasn’t mattered if I’ve had a large closet or a small closet, the system. I use for organizing are the same and they’re the same systems that I teach and that I use when I work with clients. A couple of years ago, like four years, almost four years ago, my family moved and we went from a climate that rarely throughout the year gets below 75.

And really for probably at least six months is above a hundred. So the clothes needed for that were. For warm weather and really hot weather. And when you’re not getting below 75 degrees at any point in the year, there really isn’t much of a need for winter clothing or cold weather clothing. Because you don’t have, you don’t have that need.

And so I, of course I [00:06:00] had a couple of things that I would wear when traveling or visiting colder places, but that wasn’t the bulk of what my clothes needed to be. Now four years ago, when we moved, we moved to a place where there are truly four seasons and the need for what you needed to wear to stay warm or cool, or be in a close.

That makes sense for the climate. It’s a variety of clothing to fit the weather and the change of seasons. And it’s constantly changing now. In addition to needing a different wardrobe in many seasons. The house that I’m currently in has a very large closet in the primary bedroom. And it has a lot of storage. Uh, it’s big.

One of my first projects that I completed after moving in was removing the closet system that was there because it was simply builder grade closet rods that were hung in a very unusual height. Not. Oh, tall enough for. Like long hanging clothes, but not. Also not tall enough to separate, to have two levels.

So kind of a weird closet configuration. So I took that out. I did this project myself and after removing that, then I put in a custom closet system that I was able to build and put together. And the reason I did that is because I could maximize this large closet space by having drawers and shelves and adequate hanging space for both. Double hanging and long hanging sections of the closet that were appropriate based on the, my needs for how I wanted to store the clothes that that I have.

So I did do that. That was one of the first thing is when I moved into this house and the closet is large enough that when it is properly set up and that is. With adding the drawers and the shelves and the things like that. I [00:08:00] don’t have a need for a dresser or other storage options. Outside of the closet, like in the bedroom. So all of my clothes and anything that you would typically store in a closet or a dresser or other storage for clothing or shoes. All of that is in this closet. It was not like that in my last house, the closet wasn’t large enough.

So there were dressers and other storage pieces of furniture that made sense to contain all of the items that I would typically like to have in a closet. So before moving, I did a big closet purging session and I purged a lot of clothes and shoes and. The, I typically do a closet clean out, I would say about every two years. And the first two years that I lived in this, a new state in this new place. And an with an, in a new house. I was purchasing clothes that filled the gaps of the things in my wardrobe that I needed for winter and for the cooler months. Because I simply didn’t have those in my wardrobe and those were needed for where I lived now.

So I was adding to the clothes that I had and I wasn’t removing anything. My closet stayed organized because it is a size that could take on the extra stuff. But I was adding a lot of items to different categories. So categories that were once very small for me were now becoming larger. And those. Those other things that I had Mo like more in the amount of items. I wasn’t getting rid of anything, but I wasn’t wearing those.

I wasn’t using a lot of those anymore. I was using a very small section of those bigger categories. Because the weather was different. And the needs were different. I was also noticing at this time that there were so many clothes that I wasn’t [00:10:00] wearing, just because of this difference in need because of the temperature moving from somewhere with extreme hot month after month after month in Arizona is different than what we have now.

So we had that. And then I was noticing that some of the areas of my closet were getting a little bit packed. Like they’re a little fuller than I liked, and it would be nice if the hangers. I could move about more freely on the closet rod instead of having everything. Kind of jammed together just because I didn’t realize that I would be purchasing more sweaters and sweatshirts and more of that kind of stuff, and those are big.

And so they take up more space. So I needed to reevaluate where something was worth and give the bigger areas to the clothes that now I had more of and switch around. And kind of get rid of some of the stuff that I just was simply not using anymore. I knew I needed to go through everything and do thorough purge or a ruthless declutter.

I know if you’re a longtime listener or you have heard me say those phrases before, because I needed to ruthlessly declutter, and I’m pretty good at estimating the hours that an organizing project or a decluttering project is going to take. And I knew that this was going to be a significant amount of time. It wasn’t something that I could get done in just two or three hours.

So I needed to go through everything and really ruthlessly, declutter, and be in the right mindset with a big chunk of time to take on this project. So I looked at my calendar and I could see the, in my schedule. I didn’t have time to do this for a couple of months. But I did see an a day with an opportunity and I was like, this is going to be the closet clean-out day.

So I told everyone I blocked that off and that time was dedicated for this project. I saw something that would work and I took advantage and I [00:12:00] blocked it off, even though it was a few months out. It seemed like it was so far away. And I was a little bit annoyed that I couldn’t find a time to do it sooner. But we know time flies and it quickly approached the day was here or that really leading up to it that week was here.

I knew what I had to do. And when the day arrived, I got to working on. That project. I had my game plan and I was ready to go. First thing in the morning, I started by removing everything. I was taking absolutely everything out of that closet. I used the same instructions and I followed the instructions and the technique that I teach in the simplified home masterclass, the same thing that I do with my clients, I even used some of the same cheat sheets.

And I went through this process and I did exactly what I do with clients in professional home, organizing home closet organization. Projects. Now I’ve seen these type of weeks work over and over and over and over and over again. So of course this is going to be the same way that when I have to do a project in my own home, I am going to approach my closet clean out the exact same way that I would a teach, or I would help someone or assist someone in a project that they’re doing.

So first things first I got started by removing everything. And when I say everything, I mean, everything. The closet was empty. Every drawer was empty. Every shelf was empty. All of the clothes were removed. All of the hangers were removed. There was nothing left in the closet on any shelf, on any surface onto the ground.

I took it all out and I removed everything from the closet and I put it in my bedroom and the whole way and the bathroom. In categories. So I had shorts were shorts and short sleeve shirts with short sleeve shirts and tank tops with tank tops and long sleeve clothes with long sleeve clothes, sweaters with sweaters. Sneakers [00:14:00] with seekers. Sandals.

We see a Knowles heels with heels. I categorize everything and it was pretty easy to do that because my closet was already organized by category. So for the most part, I could take these things out in sections and keep them categorized. I had to shift things around a little bit, but everything was removed.

It was in categories in piles. All over my bathroom and bedroom and hallway. And I did take time. Once everything was out to really clean the closet, to wipe down every single shelf and vacuum and get it all nice and clean. So when I put the clothes away, it was like it was going into a fresh, clean, and new space. Now. I will tell you, it took me almost two hours to remove everything from the closet and put it on the floor or bed or bench or on any surface really, and get everything out.

So it took me the two hours about, and everything was out. It was in categories all over. It looks like a giant mess. Now, if I were working with a client or if you are following a program that I’ve designed, like the simplified home masterclass to get your house. Completely in order and organize every single room.

And you’re following that plan. This is where I’m going to tell you, and I’m going to kind of give you this warning. Where these projects. Get worse before they get better. And this is the point where it looks worse. And you think to yourself, what have I done? This is overwhelming. And let me tell you that. It does it truly does get worse before it gets better.

I will have to get on Instagram. And to share some pictures from this project. So you couldn’t see because when everything was removed and there’s piles all over the place, if you were not expecting that and prepared for it to get worse before it gets better, it can be extremely overwhelming. [00:16:00] And this is the point where you’re thinking, how did I get myself in this situation?

I should have never done this. But I promise you it is worth it. Those piles of clothes and shoes and bags everywhere, and that big mass. It’s temporary and it really is worth it in the long run and those piles and those categories are intentional and they make a Visy cluttering apart go faster. So at this point I got to work and I touched every individual item. I put anything that I did not want, or I did not like, or I had not worn in the last year or so in a bag.

Uh, just a big trash bag. And those things were to be donated.

If I wanted to keep an item, which there was still a lot that I kept when I wanted to keep something, then I returned it to the closet, into the category. I kept to the. The categories together and I would put them back in the closet. So of course, I’m going to keep the like items together. They’re categorized, I’m returning the clothes to the drawer or the closet rod or the shelf, wherever their new storage location was going to be.

And I would put it away, keeping it by category. And then within those categories, when I’m putting things away, I am placing them S. With similar colors together. So like a rainbow orders type of organization within the category. And then I kept going and going and going and going and going until I had made a decision about every single individual item that was going back into my closet.

So when I’m telling you I was ruthless and I did a. Ruthless purge or decluttering. That’s exactly what I did. And I was very intentional. At making sure that I looked at every individual item and made a decision about, am I keeping this is this worthy of going back into [00:18:00] my closet? Do I have an intention to wear this in the next six months? Will I be able to wear this. Is this something I like, and if it wasn’t, it was donated.

If it didn’t fit in the parameters that I have said, and I have a list of questions that we reference in the simplified home masterclass and those questions make it super easy to make decisions about what you’re going to keep or what you’re going to donate. It prevents you from being stuck and. Getting into a place where you are stuck. Making a decision.

So I didn’t have to think about what needed to go or what needed to stay because I was following the guidelines that I know work. And one super important component of this is this is something I wanted to do. I wanted to clean out my closet. I knew it could be better organized. I wanted to be free of some of these items that were burdening me that were taking up space in my closet that were just into the way they were simply in the way, what I was trying to decide what to wear or find something that I was looking for, that I wanted to wear or use at a particular time. Those items were burdening me and I could get rid of them and donate them to someone else that could actually use them.

So I was in that right mindset to declutter as much as possible if I hadn’t used it in the past year. And I spent the next couple of hours working through the piles, putting things away and I kept going and I kept going and I kept going until it was all done. In the end. I had filled 12 trash bags, full of clothing and shoes and accessories and bags. And jewelry and anything that you typically keep in a closet. I had gone through. over 70% of my closet. Was in these 12 bags and I had a couple other like smaller shopping bags filled up with stuff. Th to donate as well. My closet was finally put back [00:20:00] together. There was, uh, a significant amount of extra space. It didn’t look like a ton of extra space, but the clothes could move freely on the closet rods again, the shelves and the drawers weren’t packed full there’s, extra space in, in some of my drawers and the shelves that had. probably. five to seven sweaters stacked up now had maybe three. So the clothes could breathe.

It was like everything. Good. Breathe again. And now it’s been a few months. I think I did this about four, four and a half months ago. The project has been completed. My closet has stayed organized. There’s still plenty of extra space. And I can honestly tell you as I record this for four and a half months later. I have not looked for anything that I donated.

I have not wanted anything. I have not thought about anything. I have not wished that I kept anything because. I got rid of things that I wasn’t using. I got rid of things that didn’t fit or that I didn’t like, or that were itchy or the style is just not me or I shouldn’t have never even purchased to them. I got rid of all of those things.

And now my closet is full of things that I actually use. I actually, where I actually like that’s what’s in my closet at this point. So the closet clean out, it was a huge success. I can say that because. 70% or maybe a little bit more of that, of those clothes and those belongings that I had, I have donated, I don’t own those anymore. I feel lighter. And I, it really, my closet is lighter on the items that are in there.

The items that I own. And I also feel good about giving away so many things that were in good condition that could still be useful and that someone else that needs those can use those things now and get those [00:22:00] things. When that is something that they need. So that’s another benefit. Now I’m sharing this story about the big closet clean out that I did at my house, because. You can do this too.

And I get lots of messages about people needing to clean out their closets. Maybe you will do a closet clean out and you’ll get rid of 25 or 40% of your clothes. Maybe it’s not going to be 70. Maybe it is. Maybe it’s 80%. It doesn’t matter, you don’t have to have a set amount. That you’re trying to get rid of, or a certain percentage that you’re trying to get rid of. You want to have clothes that you aware and that you use? Having an organized closet with less belongings in it. Has made it possible for me to wear more of the clothes that I have. And more of these clothes that are taking up space. Right now are actually getting used Where before I purged all this stuff in my closet, I had a huge amount of clothing and shoes that were never being wore. They were taking up the space, they were filling up the space, but I wasn’t using them. And we all know that there are plenty of studies that show that when a, we have more clothing in our closet, we actually wear less of the items that we own.

So it’s better for us. If we want to aware more of what’s in our closet than we needed. Needed to remove some of those things. And get rid of some of the clothing items that are taking up space and making it congested so that we’re really not having that mindset of wearing more of what we have. Instead we get in this a little rough because we’re overwhelmed with the amount that we have to choose from. And so we get stuck on wearing the same thing over and over and over and over.

When we have less to choose from, we will actually pick more of a variety and wear different outfits in different [00:24:00] pieces throughout the week and throughout the month, because it’s easier to see what we have and we know what we have them instead of being overwhelmed by the sheer number of things in our closets. So if your closet is a Lackey organization where it needs to be organized or you’re feeling like there’s too much, you look in there, you see that there’s too much stuff and it’s causing you to feel overwhelmed.

It’s causing you to be frustrated, make a game plan to simply tackle this project to work on your closet. Give yourself time, carve out time. Just like I did. If you have to look a few months into the future, if you have to make this something that you work on to. Two hours a night for a few nights to get it done, block off the time.

Uh, figure out what works for you and clean out your closet. Remove everything, follow the same program and the same tactics that I did. Clean everything out, put it back and organize your closet. You can do this too. And I promise you that it will be worth it for you when it is all complete. When the project is done and you are finally living with the benefits of an organized and orderly closet for your clothes, the same benefits that I am living with.

Now, you can do that too. So take the time, figure out when you can fit this into your schedule. And work on a big closet, clean out and your house as well. [00:26:00]






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lauren - intentional edit

Lauren is the founder of Intentional Edit, a home organization and lifestyle company focused on consciously editing to create efficient and organized spaces.  Lauren believes that a functional home that looks and feels good has a positive influence on all aspects of life.  Creating systems that allow for the home to function more efficiently, therefore, eliminating most of the clutter and chaos is her priority.  While trends come and go organization is always in style!


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