Closet Purge - anyone care to join me?

jamie_mtJuly 15, 2008

I'm facing a major purging of my closet this well as my hubby's closet. We have far too many clothes, and now that I have the laundry caught up and a good routine in place for keeping it caught up, we need to streamline our wardrobes.

It's quite a daunting task though, and even though I was firm about wanting to get it done Sunday, the weather was nice, and we ended up out in the yard again. Then there just wasn't time or energy left to tackle the closets.

I realize now that we should have done this during the weeks I was catching laundry up - just not putting anything back in the closet that we didn't want. But we didn't, and time to sit down and do it all at once seems to be difficult to carve out now.

I was thinking maybe I should just do a section from each closet every night. Take 15 minutes to purge clothes from my closet, then 15 minutes to grab a section from hubby's closet and have him tell me what to donate from that. I don't know how well that will work for him, but I know it would work fine for me. Maybe I should just through my closet nightly, and then grab him this weekend to get his done all at once.

I used to just take everything out of my closet, and only put back what I was keeping. But my closet is in the office, and I really don't want to lug all those heavy clothes to the bedroom to sort, then back to the office again to hang what's left. There's not time to do that after work anyways, what with dinner, laundry, workouts, kitchen chores, etc.

In any case, I think my main problem is just "doing" would anyone like to join me in a week-long closet purge of several items daily? We could report back here with our daily tallies...I want to keep a list for tax purposes anyways.

Anyone interested?

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I'm interested. I'm not sure I'll have the fortitude to do it (it is so hard for me get rid of clothes!), but okay, I'll give it a try. 15 minutes per day, right?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 5:43PM
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I did mine when my DH went to respite. It really wasn't hard and didn't take that long. The getting started part is the hardest.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 6:09PM
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Yep, just 15 minutes. I'll do mine after dinner, and post my tally here tomorrow morning. I'll look forward to seeing what you can part with too, Harriet, thanks for joining me! :-)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 6:45PM
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When I clean a closet, I take everything out, then wash the walls and floor, then I carefully put back only what "belongs" in the closet. The rest either gets put away in its proper place or thrown away. It's the only way!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 8:46PM
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Ya know, I was gonna say that I have already purged my closet. Last year, I got rid of everything that I didn't wear, for one reason or another. Then I got myself clothes I would wear. But my tiny "broom closet" gets disorganized very quickly. So maybe I will join you. I need to figure out how to arrange everything so that it isn't just a jumble.

Jannie is right -- the best way, if possible, is to take everything out, see what you have, and only put back what belongs. Then it's time to make the tough decisions about where to send the stuff that no longer belongs.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 7:17AM
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I'd like to join in.

While taking everything out may be "the best way", I'm with jamie_mt at the moment - it'll get done imperfectly, or not at all! LOL

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 9:14AM
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Welcome in, embees and maryliz...good to have you join us!

I think there's really no "only way" to get things done. That's just perfectionism talking, and I don't have the luxury of indulging in that sort of attitude just now. I've been waiting for the time to do it "perfectly" for months now, and it's not happening. So this just needs to get done, even if my method isn't perfect. My ultimate goal is to reorganize the closet and "revamp" my wardrobe, but I can't do that until I get rid of all the extraneous "stuff". So this gets me going.

Anyways, here's my "donation" list from last night:

Fancy Dresses: 5
Dressy Shirts: 4
Dressy pants: 3
Skirts: 2
Casual Tees: 2
Sweatshirts: 1

I was trying to remember the way things are listed out on the tax calculator...I may have to go find it again and print it out.

I failed to get rid of 3 skirts that I'd planned to ..they were a size larger than I thought they were, and I'm only one size away from being able to wear them (I've been working out religiously and losing weight). They're classic "business" skirts that go with everything - my "little black dress" if you will, so I did decide to keep those after all. I'll revisit them in 3 months, they'll go if they still don't fit. I just couldn't give them up yet. :-(

I did get more done in 15 minutes than I thought I would - which is what normally happens. :-)

More tomorrow - good luck today, ladies!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 10:43AM
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I admit, taking everything out of the closet is not for everyone. My closet has a 20" wide door, a 36" wide bar for hanging clothes, and two shelves above. I'm not using the floor for anything right now, except as a place to stow an extra bed pillow.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 10:49AM
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I purged my closet quite drastically a few weeks ago, but that was the clothes, not the boxes on the shelves. I would like to join you and see what more I can get rid of.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 10:59AM
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I used to have a closet like that, maryliz - insanely difficult to keep everything organized in, and it always seemed packed even with a "normal" amount of clothes.

Now I have a long "wall-length" closet, but half of it is filled with boxes of yarn I never bought or asked for, and most of that is going to be donated with these clothes. I want to be able to use the whole thing again, if possible - I'm hoping to put out of season clothes in one side, and "in season" clothes in the other, so I can just switch which side I use when the weather changes. That's the goal, anyways. I don't have another place for storing clothes, so it all has to stay together.

Welcome, brugloverz9...boxes, shoes, handbags, yarn...anything you need to purge, join right in. :-)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 11:32AM
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This may give me the boot I need to make a change.
Our master BR closet ended up much smaller than I would like, but it works fairly well. Still, I keep some stuff in it that is not "clothes"--primarily have some bins of linens. I did this because I was determined to keep things at point-of-use (these are master-BR-type stuff) and not have things spread out thoughout the house.

However, I do have the freedome to shift lesser-used items to a kid's bedroom closet, and I now think I want to make our closet just for clothes/shoes/access, even if it means having some blank space. I'd rather keep clothes in the closet because I really do forget what I own otherwise, and prefer to "see" what I have so I'll either wear it or toss it. (not keeping winter coats there, though)

The linen-type stuff is up on the less-convenient shelves, but still, that would be a place I could put lesser-used clothing and still "see" it.

In doing this, I suspect I will figure out that I don't need some of the linens any more and will come out better all around!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 12:27PM
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O.K. I got started on my closet...not exactly a purge, more of an organization but something I saw and thought was a great idea and wanted to try myself.
Also more like an hours worth than 15 min, but well worth it as far as I was concerned.
This post gave me the incentive I needed! Thank you, Jamie!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 12:43PM
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Oops -- forgot about it completely last night. I'll start tonight.

We actually have three closets that need purging of clothes: our bedroom closet, the hall coat closet, and the closet in our office/guestroom. In addition, there's a bench in the entry area of our living room that's full of shoes, some of which we never wear. And then there's the laundry room -- stuff we don't like that ends up languishing on the clothes line for, like, years. Time for it to go!

brugloverz -- are you sure you're not "shoeloverz"? :)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 4:33PM
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Earlier this week, I posted a garage sale ad in our local paper...for this Sat. I'm taking a break from purging our house....I like this subject!! The only thing I'm not touching is hubbie's closet...and he knows that if he doesn't do it, he has no right to complain or share in the proceeds!!

Deadlines work to motivate me.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 4:49PM
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I did an office closet purge last night, and boy did it feel great! Got rid of a big trash bag full of odds and ends--pens, dried-out White Out, rubber bands, paper clips, old file folders, markers, extra copies of photos (like when you use the Kodak PictureMaker copying thing and you get 4 on a page and you only need 2?), lots of things that I hadn't even touched in years (the instruction manual for my OLD cellphone?!?). After the sort-and-toss, I was able to remove some bins and add one or two that matched the others, so it looks much neater!

I also purged my decorating box: magazine clippings and web printouts of decorating styles I like(d). When I bought my townhouse a few years ago, this box was so important to me, because I needed to figure out how I was going to make this place mine. From a banker's box full of clippings, I'm down to one thin file folder. The file folder for "window treatments" was chockfull, but it was time to admit that those were ideas I was never going to carry out. Beautiful flowing sheers in the bedroom? Nice idea, beautiful photo, but considering my work schedule and the fact that I sleep later than most people, those would never work for me! The two file folders marked "kitchen"? Well, for me in this economy, a kitchen makeover won't be coming soon, so most of those clippings and Gardenweb kitchen forum printouts--gone! (Besides, there will be even more counter surface choices to pick from 5 or 10 years from now!)

This really felt good!

It also made me look around my house and see so much that I just don't get pleasure or use from anymore. So it's garage sale/eBay/Craig's List time!

And maybe this year I'll be making my drop-off visit to the Salvation Army a bit sooner than the week of Christmas.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 11:00AM
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You're most welcome, brugloverz...that looks amazingly neat and tidy. Now I have to ask - do you actually put your shoes back in those boxes when you're done wearing them? I've always admired people who put thier shoes away neatly when done with them, because I'm the lazy person who can barely remember to kick my shoes off into the hall closet (most of the time I kick them off right outside the kitchen door as I'm feeding the dogs after work). I can't keep them in my bedroom closet...once I take them out, they never make it back! :-)

Good luck with your deadline, patser! I'm not a garage sale person, but my bags of clothes are piled in the living room, ready to be donated this weekend! I should take them straight out to the car, but since I don't get my "15 minutes" done until around 11pm, the living room will work for now.

Harriet, after my closet is done, I have my husband's closet to help with, and the laundry area too (a rod down there - hubby has left lots of clothes just hanging there *forever*), and I want them either put away or gone!

I walked out the door without my PDA this morning (something that never happens, but it was a "Murphy's Law" morning today), so I don't have my tallies for last night with me. I'll post them after my lunch break...

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 11:02AM
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jamie_mt are my tallies for Weds. night:

Sweaters: 3
Tanks: 4
T-shirts: 3
Dress Shirts: 1
Dress pants: 3
Skirts: 6
Jeans: 1

Hubby was sitting there watching me last night, and I told him I almost got rid of some sweatshirts his mom had given me for christmases a few years in a row (they're just not really my "style", but it's entirely possible she'll ask after them - she's like that). He said, "Why not? If you don't like them, donate them!" So I think some of those will end up in tonight's tally...

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 4:12PM
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Today I got to the dresser in the guest room, which I am trying to have ready for company in a few weeks. One drawer had a comforter and throw blankets in it, another wedding albums from my children.
Left out the blankets incase they are needed for my visitor, the albums I put in an under bed container. Took out the cotton fabrics that was in it and now have to decide to get rid of them or start sewing again.
I also took down some un named boxes in the front hall closet. They were heavy and much to my surprise they were my coffee cup collection from a kitchen clean-out. I put them right out in the garage to get rid of. I may keep one or 2 but the rest are going by the end of the week.
Also gave my daughter a bag full of health and Oprah magazines that I was going to put into recycle. My grand daughters a crocheted blanket, a shopping bag full of stationary and an ice cream maker along with recipe books.
I feel really good about my "emptying out" that I am doing! My grand daughters think I am the greatest and love being the recipents of my recycles. My daughter is not quite as happy as they are!
Jamie...I only just labeled the shoe boxes yesterday. The shoes that I most often wear are on the floor under my desk! I didn't even make a box for them as I know they won't make it back there!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 8:08PM
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This is all I managed to do:

3 pairs of shoes
3 pairs of slippers
1 jacket
1 top

However, the closet floor is now visible, so that's something! (DH and I both have big feet ...)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 1:19PM
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Margie, in the spirit of making the organizing work with how you are instead of against, what about a really nice looking basket from the import store under your desk that is the right size for the number of shoes you routinely abandon there??

For years my DH rolled his eyes about shoes all over the house (one of my fairly few routine mess-makings), and finally one day he said to himself, Oh...she does this, I don't like seeing them, I love her, I'll just pick them up and put them away myself.

This was a great moment in marital happiness for both of us!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 1:30PM
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bronwynsmom... Good thinking, thank-you! I did get a metal basket from the thrift shop that I am now keeping about 3 pairs of frequently worn shoes in under my desk! It is keeping my room neater.
I read in one of the books, I think it was in "Organizing from the Inside Out" to put storage by point of use. Love this idea. Otherwise I am setting myself up to fail.

The organized ones in my closet are for the ones that I seldom wear!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 2:14PM
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Whew! Busy day at work today...but it's almost over.

Good idea about the basket and "storing where you use it". I do that a lot, and it really does help me stay both organized *and* neater.

Harriet, good job...every little bit counts!

My tally for last night - and my last one, thank goodness:

Shirts: 5
Sweaters: 3
Sweatshirts: 2
Tanks: 1
Pants: 1

And with that, I feel like I'm "done" with the clothes purging. Hubby's heading to a friend's house tomorrow night, so with my "alone time", I'm going to dig in and finish the job - shoes, handbags, and that darn yarn. After I get those sorted out, I'm going to finish organizing my clothes - cool weather clothes in one side, warm weather clothes in the other, and I have a hanging organizer to put in for socks, underwear, and "foldables", so everything will finally be in that one closet (rather than some in the master bedroom dresser, some in a bathroom drawer, and the rest in my closet).

I'll admit it - I want my clothes sorted on the rack by color and type too. I used to have them like that, and then things just got out of hand with too many clothes.

I think the only things I really need after looking at what's left is a pair of navy dress pants and a black blazer. Perhaps I'll treat myself to a shopping trip on payday for those two items (I hate to shop, but these two things would "round out" my wardrobe for a long time).

Thank you to everyone who joined in, no matter what you were organizing/purging. It really kept me going knowing others were doing the same. I'll try to post back later this weekend with the final results (and to see how everyone else made out)! :-)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 5:58PM
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I'll join in too but not til August/September! LOL

I like to start the new school year out with a clean out of the things I just know I'm not wearing anymore, the summer things I didn't touch this year and anything I just don't want to wear for the next school year.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 6:43AM
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frizzle...Please start a new purge when you are working on yours! It is really a big help to come here with a report. Keeps me keeping on. I have so much to go through that I am sure I will be still going at it then!'s been fun! I am sure you are enjoying your efforts.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 11:15AM
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Doesn't it feel great when you get it done. It never takes as long as you think it will (at least for me) when you get started.

I am done with mine and now cleaning junk drawers (night stands). Thanksfully most of that is junk or going to good will. I have four 8 x 10 picture frames in one that I never used and never will...out the went.

My DH's night stand was all junk except for a few batteries. He always kept his cards but never looked at them so they are now waiting for the garbage man.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 1:57PM
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brugloverZ9 are so right about it feeling good! I even have a bounce to my walk since I have been getting rid of stuff. I feel lighter.

One question...does DH know that his stuff is waiting for the garbage man? Sometimes mine doesn't and sometimes I feel a little bit guilty, but if I ask him he will NEED it, even though he hasn't looked at or worn it in years!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 2:01PM
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I'm not completely done organizing my closet yet, but it felt really good to drop two bags of clothes, 1 bag of purses, and 1 bag of shoes off at the second hand store on Sunday afternoon! And Saturday night, I did get the "current" side of my closet organized, so it's been a breeze not only to put laundry away, but to find stuff too. I had two hanging organizers that I attached to the rod, and I decided to just fold all of my casual clothes and store them in one organizer (hanging shelves), while work and nicer clothes hang between the two organizers. The second organizer holds underthings and socks, all separated by color and type, so getting what I need when I need them is super-easy. On the other side of that organizer, between the wall and the closet door frame (dead space where it's harder to reach stuff) is where I put my rarely-used but need to keep stuff...halloween costumes, blazers, and dressier fare. I'll have to post a picture when everything is done - I have to say, I'm pretty proud of it so far. :-)

I still have a lot of work to do - the floor still needs to be cleaned & organized, the yarn still needs to be banished (or at least reorganized), and the shelf above my clothes rod needs to be cleaned and put to better use.

So, anyone want to stick with me for another week? Tonight I think I'll work on the top shelf for 15 minutes, since I'd like to fold my sweaters and store them up there, rather than hanging as they have been...though I'll need a step-stool to keep in the closet to make accessing them easier.

Does anyone have one of those hanger holders to put hangers on after you take clothes off of them? I was wondering how those worked for people (or if they do...). Not that it's hard to fish empty hangers out of the closet, it's just kind of a pain to try to hang on to them all on the way downstairs with laundry so they don't get all tangled together. I thought if I set one of those on the floor, I could just toss the hangers on it as I take clothes out, then carry the whole thing downstairs (as opposed to tossing a loose pile of hangers in a laundry basket).

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 12:22PM
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I never ask my DH if he needs anything any more because he would keep everything. Things that I know that he really wants I hold on to but the rest goes away. Most of that stuff was old cards, batteries that weren't any good, leather work that we bought to sew (been in there for years) and stuff like that. Paper backs that he never read and don't interest me I put for Good Will.

Years ago when he would "clean out the garage" he just shoved stuff from one side to the other. When I clean out the garage the garbage men cry.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 1:39PM
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Jamie...I will be glad to go for another week! Yesterday I started to clear out some book! Some for the thrift shop and some for my DD.
I also found a lady on Sat. we will take fabric to make quilts for children in orphanages. I have 2 flat rate boxes filled that I plan to send out this morning.
So, yes, yes, yes...I will continue with you anther week! Count me in!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 1:52PM
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When I first joined the challenge, I took a "before" picture, then found one shirt that doesn't really flatter me, back in the closet where it's hard to reach. (The door is narrower than the bar.) So I removed one item.

A few days ago, I started to read "Emotional House," and accidentally flipped the book open to a page that lists the five categories of clothing storage. (I'll be sure to start another thread someday soon, since this is great advice.) One of the categories is "clothes that have been worn, and can be worn again before laundering." That is my biggest problem. I have no way to segregate those clothes from the rest. I am glad that I joined the closet clean out, even though I don't have much to purge. I badly need a different kind of organization scheme to make the most of my tiny closet.

Today, I took out all the sweaters that sit on the shelves. I can't reach them without a stepladder. I might be able to force myself to get rid of a few, but they're mostly keepers. I'll dust the shelves and put them back in a compact fashion.

I'll let you know how it's going in a few more days.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 4:33PM
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I finished my closet a few weeks ago but this is still making get to all the junk drawers. Did I mention I have enough candles for the entire city I live in. Need to go through all them and find one place to store them instead of a few here and there.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 9:03PM
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Sure, I'll join in. My closet isn't full of clothes, but I bet I'll find some shoes & purses & maybe a hat (!) or 2. What really needs ousting is the big box of stuff that I intended to give as gifts, but never did. Time to get rid of it.

Can anyone tell me where to get a garment bag made of cloth? Some store was selling them years ago, but I haven't seen them advertized lately.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 11:21PM
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The purge/garage sale was completed Sat. All unsold items did not pass "go" and instead went directly to the charity shop. I thoroughly cleaned the basement on Sunday.

We're cleansed!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 5:51AM
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    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 8:04AM
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Maybe this thread is the best place to put this, so that people who are interested in the "closet purge and reorganization project" can find it.

According to the book, The Emotional House, the five stages of clothing are:

1) Soiled, requiring laundering or dry cleaning
2) Freshly laundered, waiting to be folded/ironed and put away
3) Damaged, requiring repair
4) Stored in drawers or closets, awaiting selection
5) Clothes that are too clean to launder, but too dirty to put away

That last category leapt out at me. In my home, there is no definite place for "wear it again" clothing. Every day, I have to figure out what to do with the clothes that are still clean enough to wear again. And I never do anything consistent. Sometimes, those clothes go on hangers, mixed in with the rest. Sometimes, they go on the hooks I added to the closet door. Sometimes, they pile up on my dresser, inviting more clutter.

A light bulb turned on. Time to change my physical setup, and my habits!


Think about the five stages of clothing. At your house, is there a proper place for your clothing in each of these stages?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 8:58AM
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patser, Congrats on a successful garage sale and cleaning day!! :-) I bet that feels good to have it all done and looking spiffy...

dd50, I have the same problem with candles. I finally dedicated an entire shelf in the hall closet just for candles, holders, and such. I'm slowly working my way through them, but since I often forget to light them, it takes awhile! But at least I can find them to switch scents/colors for the seasons.

Plow in, I saw fabric garment bags yesterday online - check out either or know I saw them on one of those sites. I was thinking I should get one for a gorgeous halloween costume dress I have in the closet, to keep it nice for future use.

I'm here this morning to admit that I got nothing done on my closet last night. Mainly because Mondays are my "manicure nights", and I normally don't get started on that until around 9-9:30pm (because I need to get all my other "chores" done so I don't mess up my nails once they're polished). I just forgot to get 15 minutes in on the closet before that, so I'll have to start tonight instead.

Maryliz, thank you for bringing up those 5 stages of clothing! I tend to store clothes in need of mending in the closet until I get them mended (clean, of course). Normally it's just been buttons, so I can usually fudge and wear them anyways (shhh!). I need to actually get them *done* though...sewing just isn't my favorite past time, no matter how easy the project. I am getting one of my mom's extra sewing machines this weekend (so I can mend a pair of hubby's pants, and make some tablecloths)...I'm hoping to just get all the mending done right then.

I don't iron, so all our clothes go directly from the dryer to hangers to the closets, and I'm pretty good about putting them away post haste. Laundry is all organized & I'm working on storage...but that 5th one is my nemisis too. Clothes I've worn once and can be worn again get tossed (gently) into a corner of our bedroom, which isn't the ideal way to store them, but it seems odd somehow to put them back in the closet (and I'm lazy).

I'll be interested to see what other people come up with to combat this...hubby has the same problem as well - he puts his on a chair on his side of the room. I keep thinking maybe hooks to hang them on?

This ties in with the "sometimes you need to buy something new" post as well. Now that I've cleaned out my clothes, and I'm working on organizing, I've decided that a double rod would make the most of the space I have available between my two hanging organizers now. So I'm planning to buy a simple unit that just hangs from my existing rod to add another lower rod, and I'll hang pants/skirts on the lower rod, and shirts can hang above them. That will also give my clothes more room between them, "breathing room", and maybe it won't bug me after all to re-hang already worn clothes back in the closet if there's more space between hangers?

The extra rod I want has hooks on the sides too, where I could hang my belts (which currently hang on hooks in the bedroom). Then I could "repurpose" the hooks in the bedroom for clothes...

I've decided to replace my mish-mash of wire and plastic hangers too (with padded satin hangers). When I like the way something looks, I'm much more likely to make the effort of keeping it looking nice and neat. :-)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 11:30AM
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Oh, is it too late for me to join in? I was inspired by this thread and took on the linen closet the other day and now am onto my own closet. It's way too small (even though it's suposed to maximize efficiency a la California Closets), I have way too many things I don't love and the few things I do, I can't find! So I'm motivated. Also going to get through my kids stuff too. I've found it doable with the 15 minute strategy, otherwise, it would be too daunting a task.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 12:42PM
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Coleen, it is never to late.

Just wanted to mention that my girls did their closets also last week and I already brought the stuff to Good Will.

What I use to do with things that can be worn again was turn the hanger around the other way. This way I knew that I had already worn it. I live in FL now and I don't have that problem anymore. LOL!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 9:22PM
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I worked hard over the WE and got my packages of fabric off on Mon. morning. I took off yesterday and today from sorting. I will be back on it again tomorrow. Today I went to an exhibit in SF from Chihuly. It was terrific, I got up and left early to beat the traffic going to the city and got there 3 1/2 hours before my scheduled time to enter. Luckily they let me in early. The day before I decided to cook and bake to use up some zucchinis from my energy left either day for organizing and purging.
Tomorrow I will be back at it again!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 10:20PM
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Yesterday, I tried on all my sweaters, and decided to pitch a few. They never were part of my closet purge last year, and now I know why -- it was too hot!

I also found three long sleeved shirts that have been hanging in my closet since the weather was still cool and crisp. One had a small spot. I washed all three. I hate to take something out and find that a tiny, invisible stain has become dark and permanent!

I am also getting hubby to try on all of his sweaters. He doesn't have many. He rarely wears one, since his office is kept so warm in the winter. At home on the weekend, he wears cardigans. He can't even wear one to his parents' house for Thanksgiving or Christmas because they keep their house so blasted warm. I asked him why he even needs sweaters, if he never wears them. He said his mother gave them to him, and would ask where is this or that sweater. I need to work on the "tyranny" problem. ;-P

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 8:17AM
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Coleen, jump right in, and welcome! :-)

I took some pictures this's still very much a work in progress, but you can see what I'm dealing with here. This is the side of my closet I'm working on now:

All of that space used to be just packed in with clothing smushed together, so it's nice that there's actually room for hangers to move on the rod now, and there will be more when I get that extra lower rod to add to the center section. To the right of that pink/purple organizer is where I have my "rarely used but need" clothing - blazers, camis, and fancier fare for those once-per-year holiday parties.

The other side will just be used for off-season storage, so I'll organize those clothes by type and color, but that's it. Above the off-season clothes will be room for the yarn that I'm going to keep, on the shelf beside where my sweaters are now (in tubs or corralled somehow).

Last night I cleaned out the boxes that I was using for shoe storage on the top shelf of the closet, and replaced them with my sweaters, in box tops for easy sliding. My shoes have mostly moved to the hall closet, aside from 4 pairs in the bottom of that organizer on the left that are rarely worn, but still need to be kept "just in case". I've decided I want to fold my sweaters and sweatshirts, and store them on that top shelf, though I'll need to get a step-stool to keep close at hand so I can reach them without pulling the piles over.

Obviously, this does not really look very nice, and I can see that the sides really need to be much higher to keep everything in place (and I'd like to be able to stack sweaters at least 3 high, so there's room for my sweatshirts too). So I'm going to clean out these wire shelves (previously used to hold things for my home business, now kind of a "catch-all" spot):

and reassemble them on the closet shelf to hold my sweaters/sweatshirts. That will also create another shelf above them for storage, and I think I'll put my gift wrap storage up there (to get it out from under our bed, where I always forget about it).

I've been waiting to clean the closet floor until garbage day, since our dumpster was full. Today was pick-up day, so tonight I'll focus on cleaning the closet floor. I'm not sure I have the energy to tackle cleaning out those wire shelves yet, but I might start on that too.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 12:02PM
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I moved from my closet today to the guest room closet. I am having a guest the end of next week and had no place for him to hang clothes. I had the closet packed full with a dresser plus Christmas decorations. I spent hours on-line looking for another form of hanging clothes, like a free standing rack. I used to have an over the door rack for clothes, but since we put in a new door it doesn't fit anymore. After my hours of searching I decided to add a post...and got the answer...empty out the closet! So that is what I have been doing! I was able to move some of the things to my front closet since I purged that out a bit recently. So everything is falling into place. I didn't get rid of anything from the guest room but did alot of organizing of stuff. That is still in the future for me!

Jamie...your closet is coming along nicely! You must feel good about it!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 9:48PM
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Thanks, bruglover! I do feel pretty good about my progress so far. :-)

Congrats on finding such a simple solution to your problem!! I can honestly say I never would have thought of that, but it's partially because of how *I* travel. I've never actually unpacked clothes while traveling. Granted, I don't iron, so I don't generally own anything that will wrinkle badly, but it was a completely foreign concept to me when I first traveled with my husband to see him unpack his clothes into hotel drawers. I've always just "lived" out of my suitcase, no matter where I went.

Anyways, I'm sure your guest will be much more comfortable for all the organizing you put in. :-)

Last night, I got going about 10pm, and ended up spending an hour and a half on the "bad" side of the closet. I didn't take "before" pictures, just dove right into the mess. And while I still have all that yarn to sort through (and untangle/cut apart), it's now much more organized so I can see what I have, and pull portions out one at a time to go through. I also sorted my "cool weather" clothing into type and color, so it's easy to see and get to.

Here's what that side looks like now:

I've decided to leave the sweatshirts hanging for now - there's plenty of room, and it won't hurt them. Those boxes on top the shelf are both full of yarn, as are the containers below on the floor, but I'll sort through them eventually. Then the sweatshirts may move to that shelf.

And I finished the floor on the other side, so it looks like this:

Much better, I think. The basket on the floor is for hangers once I'm done with them, so it's easier to carry them downstairs. They are jumbled now, but that's because there's three different types. Next payday (the 31st), I'm replacing all of my hangers with satin padded hangers. They won't tangle up as badly, they hold the clothes a bit higher on the rod, and I think they just look nice. :-)

The table underneath is an antique I don't really have a place for. So I think I'll get some baskets to fit on that lower shelf, and use them for belts and whatever else I need. I've decided I don't need a second lower rod after all - there's plenty of room on the main rod for all my clothes, even spread out. :-)

Finally, I've decided to take the doors off the closet, and replace them with curtains. I feel "stifled" by the small amount of space I have access to with these big doors, and having to move them around when I need something from the other side. With curtains, I'll be able to access my whole closet at once, which means I won't have to just use the left side for storage, I can keep my cold weather clothes there permanantly, and just use different areas of the closet as needed. I have a wonderful full-lenth mirror surrounded by mosaic stained glass that my mom made for me - it's in the hall right now (sitting against a closet door that it's too heavy to hang on). I think I'll set that in the center of my closet, and attach the top to the shelf above, so it's right there where I'm dressing in the mornings (and out of the way of the hall closet door).

That's about all I can do for now (aside from sorting yarn). I realized last night that I can't take down those wire shelves until I make curtains for that window, because it opens towards the neighbor's house, and I dress in there every morning. So the "stuff" on the shelves blocks the view from the neighbors'. ;-) My mom is giving me one of her old sewing machines this weekend, and around payday, I'll head out to find some fabric to make matching curtains for the closet and windows in the room (or I'll find some I like and buy them...either way works for me).

Anyone else with progress to report?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 11:43AM
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I didn't clean anything yet, but I just wanted to mention that I hang clothes which are still clean back in the closet with the buttons undone. I also hang them in the front on my left-hand rod. That way I know they've been worn before.

Now I'll get to cleaning out the junk on the floor. It's about time.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 10:41PM
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bruglovers, I am just green with incredible envy for your chance to see Chihuly!! Was it an exhibition or 'in action'?

When I lived in Seattle, I got to see him work at Pilchuck Glass when it first opened. What a special treat.

For those of you that have no idea of what we are talking about, Chihuly is Dale Chihuly of Seattle, a very well known glass artist.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 12:49AM
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Barbara...Thank you! I do feel fortunate to have seen the exhibit. It was an exhibit. I had no idea it was even in SF or who Chihuly was until my DIL told me last week.
It was unbelieveable! Glass that filled a room with a couple of pieces. I took many, many photos and although the SS was only 1/10th of a sec. they turned out well. The primary colors were so stimulating to my brain, that I am still hyper from it!
Let me see if my shutterfly link works here...

Here is a link that might be useful: Chihuly Exhibit

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 11:07AM
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Jamie...O.K. back to closets! I love it that you are adding photos to your posts. I can see so much better in a picture, than reading the explanations.
You are really making a difference in your room with curtains and all. I wanted to suggest that you might want to buy sheets instead of fabric. Often times it will be cheaper!
I bought a large plastic container while at BB&B the other fits my artifical Christmas tree, so I was able to pack it up and move it to the garage. It was in a cardboard box in the guest closet. Also got another under bed box, so I can move more stuff,
Yesterday I dropped off a shopping bag of books to the thrift shop and a shopping bag full of bags. They were thrilled to get the bags, so they wouldn't have to use money to buy them. I learned about that here...I have learned so much on this forum.
Thank you everyone for your input!

About a place for guests to hang clothes...I got that from this forum too. I do hang clothes when I visit but usually leave folded clothes in my suitcase. I think it is nice though to give my guest a choice. I did also find a behind the door hanger that fits on my new door. So that will be a second option for them.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 11:20AM
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Thank you for posting the Chihuly photos, I was so mesmerized looking at the photos I can't imagine what on earth I would have done at the exhibit seeing it live! The lighting really made the difference. I have seen a few of his pieces in museums, and the lighting is nowhere near as stunning.
I know, off topic, so I'll pull my senses back together and go clean something.

Thanks again. Barbara

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 11:35AM
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Good luck with the "junk", plow-in! :-)

Hmmm...I really have a serious hang-up (no pun intended, but funny when I realized it) about re-hanging clothes I've worn, but want to wear again. It makes no sense (my reluctance), because logically if it's clean enough to wear again, it should be clean enough to go back in with the "clean" clothes. But alas, I just can't make myself do it. I tried, and just couldn't. Total mental block of physical movement, and all that.

But I do think hooks on the wall might help, and I'm planning on re-organizing our master bedroom (which is where those clothes normally end up, on the floor in there) when hubby is out of town in a couple of weeks. So I think I'll try a row of hooks on the wall for each of us to put "worn but wearable" clothes on, and see how that works.

Bruglover, thanks for the sheet suggestion. I have some sheets that would work - I actually had them tacked up there at one point, but I confess, since it's our office, I want something a bit more...sophisticated for the windows (and our windows aren't as tight as they should be, so I'd like something thicker for insulation in winter). A good seamstress I am not - so I've decided to stick to the tablecloths and placemats I wanted the sewing machine for, and buy the curtains for the office.

My husband has some wine colored velvet balloon shades downstairs in the billiards room - if I could find those in dark green, that's what I'd like on our windows in there. Then dark green suede panels for the closet would complete the look nicely, I think. I'll run out next weekend and see what I can find. There are some good sales on curtain panels right now, from what I see online, so I should be able to find them for a decent price.

I think now that the closet is basically done, and I just need those wire shelves & curtains to complete it, I'm going to make the rest of the office my project for next week. :-)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 11:59AM
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OK, I think I am nearly done with my closet reorganization.

Maybe it won't last, but I decided to color code the hangers.

I have about a dozen shirts of woven fabric that I hang. I switched them all to metal hangers, so that they'll take up slightly less horizontal space. The four dresses and two jackets are on green plastic hangers, which I found by looking through our hanger collection. I found one of those multi-skirt hangers, unused, in the guest room closet, so that gives my hanging bar a little more breathing room. I put a red plastic hanger in as a divider. The blue plastic hangers will hold the clothes that can be worn again before washing. I also have some hangers with clips, to hang pants by the waist, so they can air out before wearing again. I had been using them to air out pants before, then started using them for the new skirts, which are now on the "multi" hanger.

Maybe I'll get fancy and sew something to hang down from the red plastic hanger, like pockets, but I don't know how I'd use something like that, so I'll wait and see. I might not even need the red hanger after a while. For now, it will help me see the dividing line when I am tired and want to get rid of my clothes and head to the shower.

I redistributed the folded clothes (knits and t-shirts) between my dresser and closet shelves to maximize the storage space. I tried moving things around a few different ways before finding the current arrangement.

I categorized the shirts in my dresser drawers by sleeve length, so that I can choose shirts depending on the weather, then I made a list of the colors. I hope the list will save me some digging. At a glance, I'll be able to see all the possible choices, and not miss something just because it is on the bottom of the pile and out of sight.

I found two wicker baskets upstairs and put all my exercise clothes in them. Before, exercise clothes just kinda got lost by being stored all over the house -- even down in the basement storage room where I keep exercise equipment. The wicker baskets ended up on the floor of my closet, which had been unused 'til now.

Making the list also helped me to realize that I have plenty of clothes, most of which I bought after my major purge last year, and that I won't need to get anything new for a looong time. It will reduce the temptation to bring home anything new.

The list will also help me identify a few key pieces which I might get in the near future. If I limit myself to those, I'll get the maximum number of clothing combinations with the fewest additions. I really just need one dark jacket. I have all the formal dresses and church clothes and everyday, casual clothes I'll be needing for the next year or two.

I still need to figure out one place for the clothes that need repair. Right now, most of them are in a pile on my sewing studio floor. (In the way!) I use plastic tubs to store my quilting fabric. I'll get one more for clothes that need repair.

I'd post "before" and "after" photos of my closet, but I don't think anyone would be able to see any difference! The only difference I can see is that the sweaters are arranged more neatly, and there is a bit more room on the hanging bar. The real difference will be that I can find and put away my clothes more easily.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 1:05PM
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I also have a problem with putting back among my clean clothes, clothes that I have worn but feel that I can re wear before washing. I have a chair by my bed and seem to pile up those clothes there. Of course piling them causes them to need to be it defeats the purpose.

Today I got an additional under bed storage container packed up and did further work on the guest room. Still have some stuff that I don't know what to do with.

By the time my DH guest comes I am going to be beat! Lucky for me the second full day he is here they are going fishing for the day and the 3-7th day the two of them are taking a trip to Lake Tahoe. I will be able to rest then. I already have a movie and pizza night planned with a gal friend.

The good news is that I will have 10 days between when my first guest departs and my Mother arrives and the guest room will be all ready for her arrival...not like usually when I am working on it up until the day she arrives!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 10:11PM
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Maryliz, that's what matters...congrats on all that hard work done!!! :-)

Bruglover, well done! Wow, I bet you'll be more than ready for a few days "break" soon. I'll let you know how my hooks work for "worn" clothing.

I took the doors off my closet this weekend - still don't have curtains for it, but I wanted to just make sure it was what I really wanted before spending money on it. I have to say, while I do definately want curtains so I can "hide" the busy closet colors from view when using the office, I love, love, love being able to see my entire closet at once! Since I'm not going to move my clothes in and out by season, I decided to reorganize them into "work" clothes on the right, and "casual" clothes on the left (separated by that blue organizer where my T-shirts and jeans are). When I finished laundry yesterday, I put a pair of socks and a pair of underwear in each of six side pockets on that pink organzer, so I don't have to search for those things in a drawer every day.

I can't tell you how quick and easy it was to get dressed this morning. Aside from the yarn and my sweaters, I'm thrilled to death with how organized everything is in there! :-)

Now, on to the rest of the office...I'll post an office challenge post for this week.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 11:16AM
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