The Purging Process

I had been meaning to organize my closet for some time. My large weight changes over the last 3-4 years (both losing and gaining) resulted in wardrobes at multiple sizes and it’s just not feasible to keep every size in case I grow (or shrink) into them. I don’t have the room, and finding the current size that fits by searching through a crammed closet was causing me angst. My taste in clothing has hanged drastically over time, as well, and I wanted to simplify my wardrobe to a more basic selection…mainly solid dress shirts (shirt and long sleeve), My superhero logo t-shirts, and handful of jeans. Plenty of clothes to give me multiple, interchangeable outfits, all appropriate for my current lifestyle and job, without overwhelming me or my closet space. In addition, I know the unworn clothes can be used by people who need them, so I felt guilty having good clothes (and by good I mean in good condition, not expensive by any means) hanging there, unworn, taking up space.

For some reason, cleaning out our closest can be daunting for many of us. Maybe because we don’t want to admit we’ve gained or lost more weight than we’re comfortable with, and it depresses us to acknowledge our clothes don’t fit any more. Maybe because we’re optimistic we’ll change sizes and be able to wear them again. Maybe there are emotional attachments to some of the clothes. Maybe we feel we spent so much money on the clothes and shoes it seems waste to get rid of them. Or maybe it’s such a big job, we just don’t want to do it. I know I procrastinated for some time, but it was time, so I dove in. Here is my process:

  1. I work with one type of clothing at a time (sweaters, pants, t-shirts, dress shirts, dress pants, jeans, shoes, etc.) and make your sort piles: the keep pile and the donate pile. I don’t allow for a maybe pile. Generally, if it’s a maybe, it’s a no. I have to definitely want something to keep it.
  2. I only keep clothes that actually fit right now. If I am almost in a different size, it’s OK to keep one size up or down, but not 3 or 4 sizes.
  3. I remove duplicate clothing and palates from the keep pile. I don’t need 4 solid blue dress shirts of almost identical shades, and I certainly don’t need multiple pieces of identical clothing. For me, I like to have one or two shirts of every color of the rainbow (ROYGBV) plus a black, brown, white and grey shirt. I also like one pair of pants in every color available: black, grey, blue, brown, khaki/beige, and khaki green.
  4. T-Shirts are always the hardest for me, as I love almost every t-shirt I have since they’re all giraffe and superhero themed. So I have to apply tough love and decide on specific shirts. I pick my favorite version of a character and discard the other. (Guess how many Green Lantern tees I had.) I generally prefer logo shirts to actual pictures of the heroes, so that’s what I kept.
  5. Safely hang my spo-shirts back up (3 of them). Those will go with me to my grave (and, yes, they all still fit!)
  6. Once I have my keeper piles, I bag up the other clothes and immediately place them in the back of Mogo (my Forester) so they are ready to be dropped off at a local donation center the next time I head out.
  7. Make sure all my clothes are hanging on white plastic hangers. (We have multiple colors, but I prefer all one color hanger and we have more white hangers than any other color.)
  8. Refold all my shelf clothes.
  9. Organize my clothes by color palette: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, White, Grey, Black, Brown. Multiple colored shirts get hung by their dominant color.
  10. Gather up and sort the extra hangers, which will be placed on Freecycle or offered up to friends and family members.
Just a few leftover hangers….

And that’s it. The whole process takes about 3 days from start to finish, but it always feels good to have it done and to have a much more manageable wardrobe of clothes that all fit me well.

The finished product.

Next, I have to start laundering and ironing all the dress shirts I haven’t worn in 2 years before I return to the office on August 15th. Sigh.

To leave you with something far less mind-numbingly boring, here are some pictures of Harvey, lounging in the puppy chair in the sunshine on the back porch today:

8 thoughts on “The Purging Process

  1. I love your clothes sorting process. I have a similar one too. And I had a Forester once, and I named her Barb. I miss that car, but after 10 years I had to trade it in, and got a Toyota Rav4 instead as the Subaru dealership here is less than desirable.


  2. I sorted and culled my closet when I retired 5 years ago. Bye-bye work clothes! I kept one good outfit for going to special occasions and that’s it. I reduced my t-shirts to only the ones I actually wear on a regular basis. Plus a few shirts. It’s about time for me to cull again and get rid of the things I kept “just because” but haven’t actually worn in the past 5 years. One MUST be ruthless about these things.


  3. That closet space made me jealous. For the past year, I’ve had to use a closet that was at best 4″ wide. When I prepared for my move last year, that meant only keeping my hanging shoe/accessory organizer and about 10 days worth of clothes.

    I can’t wait to get a normal sized closet again in a few months.

    Liked by 1 person

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