This is something that I try to remind myself whenever I want to buy something new. It doesn’t always work, but hey I’m trying.
Reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ you have can improve your life and happiness (I use inverted commas because stuff doesn’t necessarily refer only to material possessions but also toxic behaviours, thoughts or relationships). Quality over quantity. Downsizing doesn’t mean that you’ll be living less of a life, it means you’ll have your best and favourite things around you, and you’ll have more time to focus on other areas of your life such as relationships, friendships, health, spirituality, hobbies.. whatever it is that makes you happy.
Clutter also has a way of zapping your positive energy. It’s chaotic and can cause feelings of anxiety, frustration and guilt! I know personally I can’t get anything done unless I know things are ordered and clean. Call me neurotic or OCD, but I just prefer it when I’m not distracted by a messy environment.
In an effort to live more simply, I took on the task of streamlining my wardrobe (and even made over $400 selling items on the cheap at my friend’s garage sale!). And to think that this was from stuff that was just sitting around, taking up space. I deposited half my takings onto my credit card, and half towards buying something I really love. Compromise right?
De-cluttering and downsizing can be overwhelming, so here are some tips to help you get organised (I’ve written these specifically for your closet but the same general guidelines could apply to all areas of your home):
Dump everything out onto your bedroom floor. All of it. Every sock, every shoe, everything.
- Go through each item and ask yourself: Do I use it? Do I like it? Do I need it? Answer “no” to all of these and chuck the item (by “chuck” I mean donate or sell). Be ruthless. Remember the aim of the game is to downsize and surround yourself with things you love and actually use.
- Get rid of anything that is falling apart and beyond resurrection, ill-fitting and not worth getting altered*, is unflattering or makes you feel miserable, or simply that you think it could have a better home.
- Clean your wardrobe. Give it a good wipe-down. Add some lavender oil to your cleaning water or place some scented sachets throughout for a fragrant touch.
- Get rid of all any wire hangers. I’m not going to tell you go out and buy a million new wooden hangers because that’s going to be a super expensive exercise, especially if you visit specialty storage shops. Plus if your wardrobe is small, wooden hangers can take up a lot of space. You can find very reasonably priced wooden hangers (for silks), metal-clip hangers (for pants and skirts) and slim plastic-coated hangers (for everything else) at discount variety stores. The key is to use sturdy hangers that won’t snag or pull of your clothing out of shape.
- If you need more space or storage, buy some plastic cartons (again I buy these at discount variety stores) or Space Bags.
- Divvy up your clothes into sections. I use “Work”, “Casual” and “Dressy”. I also have a “Coats & Jackets” section. Living on the Gold Coast means we rarely use these items so I keep them separate and to the side – out of the way of getting dressed everyday. Choose whatever works best for your lifestyle.
- Sort clothes into type and colour within their lifestyle groups.
- Put the items back into your wardrobe. I hang most items but it depends on your space. Fold chunky sweaters or heavy or embellished dresses. I have a chest of drawers where I keep the daggy home stuff, pyjamas, gym clothes, socks, swimmers, infrequently worn accessories etc.
- Display your handbags, accessories and hats so you don’t forget about them.
- My shoes are lined along the wall (some in boxes, some not – just depends whether I kept the boxes originally and how often I wear the shoes). They are kept under each of their corresponding clothing sections. That means boots under Coats & Jackets, heels under Work, flats and sneakers under Casual etc. You could take Polaroids and stick them to the boxes for easy viewing.
- Store jewellery in clear drawers (I buy mine from Officeworks, and are great for organising my makeup also).
Cull & clean..
Once you’re done, you’ll be able to see so everything you own which will encourage you to use the items more and hopefully buy less. It’ll also be easier to stay organised.**
As you can see, I’ve got a lot there but I promise I am trying to buy only what I need and love, and taking care to look after my possessions. It’s a work-in-progress.
MORE LOVE, less stuff xx
*Take a trip to the cobbler and tailor if it’s worth it. Fixing something you already own is most likely cheaper than buying something new and also less wasteful.
**I came across a handy tip the other day: Once a year, turn all your hangers the wrong way around. When you wear the item, put it back the right way. After one year, whatever is facing the wrong way around can go straight to Vinnie’s. De-cluttering made easy!