Saturday, August 22, 2020

6 Closet Cleaning Tips For Mere Mortals, Plus A Fun Before-And-After Makeover

I've done 2 big purge/organize jobs the past few months: first a teacher's guest room completely filled with boxes of supplies and paperwork, and then my friend Christie's bedroom closet.

I'm the type who likes to organize OTHER people's stuff, so while my house is... fine...? I was literally calling my friend Karen (the teacher) and asking if I could come over and organize her guest room a few hours each night to de-stress. :D 

I don't have any fun before and after photos for Karen's room, but I *do* have some from Christie's big closet project. Not a big closet by any means, but definitely a big project:

This is from a video Christie sent me about a week before we began. I was so excited to get in there that I didn't think to take any "before" pics until the last day, oops.

That video doesn't quite show all of the top shelf, but it looked like this:


Actually, this is after I'd started pulling down clothes on Day 3; it was tight-packed against the ceiling the whole way across.

The clean-out took 3 afternoons, with Christie and I working about 15 hours total, all just on her side of the closet. In the end we donated 10 stuffed contractor-sized garbage bags to thrift stores, took another 2-3 to the trash, and filled 1 more with things to sell.

Now her top shelf looks like this:



And here's the full view:


Ahhhh. So much better.

Christie's husband's side was already neatly organized, so I didn't touch anything on the right: 
 



 Sharing a closet with Christie has been hard on her hubby's anxiety - and it was mostly out of concern and love for him that Christie finally asked for help. I'm really proud of her; she went into this ready to work, and I think literally gave away half her closet.

And now their two sides match!



This was one of the first times I've worked side-by-side with someone for a clothes closet purge, which can be a lot more personal than other areas of the house. I learned quite a bit, so I thought I'd share a few tips that might help with your own closet, or when you help a friend or loved one.

Huge caveat right off the bat: I'm no Marie Kondo, but I'm convinced her "technique" of piling all the clothes up to the ceiling before you begin is the worst thing you could ever do, especially to someone already feeling overwhelmed or who has anxiety. So please, don't do that.

Instead, my first tip?

1) Start with what you can reach/what's on top, and work your way down.

 The top of Christie's floor pile was purses and bags, so that's where we began.

Once she was done purging those, I found an organizer that would hold what was left:
 This purse organizer is only $8 Prime, and it displays your bags like art! I'm a big fan. We hung this on her bedroom door, so Christie can grab one on her way out.

2) Clear a staging area (like the bed) and ONLY pile on one category at a time to sort.

My first hour with Christie I made the mistake of putting 2 categories on the bed at the same time: purses and fun socks. Christie immediately lost focus and ping-ponged between the two, to the point that I had to remove everything but the bags so she could finish one thing at a time.

 
 The pile of "Only Sweaters"

If you're helping a friend organize, remember to be patient. Deciding what to purge requires enormous mental energy, so do the pre-work for them by presenting them with, say, only flip-flops. Then only sneakers. Then only dress shoes. (I had 5-6 categories just for shoes, but trust me, it goes faster this way.)

While you're waiting for your friend to sort/purge each category, you can be pre-sorting and filling bags with the next few categories.


3) Have 3 labeled trash bags on hand at all times: "Thrift", "Trash", & "To-Sell"

As you fill each bag, tie it off and take it out of the room. Don't leave it there as clutter or a temptation to re-visit the things inside. John and I also took the bags with us after each visit, putting them in our car to drop off at a thrift store.


4) Try photographing personal mementos instead of keeping them

Christie had a few sentimental things that she knew she'd never wear or use again, but that held great memories. After watching her battle internally over a pair of hand-painted sneakers for a few minutes, I suggested she photograph them for her FB album. After that I noticed she photographed a few more things before placing them in the Thrift bag, and I was so dang proud. Obviously some mementos you should keep, but if you or your loved one is waffling, sometimes taking a picture is enough to help ease that pain of giving or throwing it away.


5) Use "First Order Retrievabilty" to dictate where things go

First Order Retrievability is a fancy term that means the stuff you use the most should be the easiest to get to. (I learned about it from Adam Savage, and I've been mildly obsessed with the concept every since.) I know that sounds like common sense, but often we're so usded to our own "system" and "giant mess" that we don't realize how much easier it could be. So think about what categories you use every day, and make those front and center. Then put the once-a-year items way up high or at the back of the rack.



6) Don't buy ANY new containers, furniture, or "organizers" until AFTER you've purged.

This is a tough one, because we all love to shop before starting a new project, right? And c'mon, have you SEEN The Container Store? But the fact is, you probably don't need more bins or cute cubbies or hangers; you probably just have too much stuff. So purge first, then assess what you have, THEN go shopping for the tools you need to organize what's left. That's how I knew which purse organizer to get for Christie, and later which sorts - and how many - of specialty hangers to buy.

So where do you put the newly organized stuff if you don't have new containers yet? Large shopping bags. I brought over a huge pile of bags, and we used those to store sorted categories until we knew where we wanted to put them.

In the end we did buy a few helpful things for Christie's closet, though, so let me show you those:


First, these 17 qt storage bins from Walmart are fantastic: small enough to take down and access, clear so you can see inside, & large enough to hold a decent chunk of clothing. John and I cut chalkboard vinyl into cute labels with our Cricut, so the bins could also have erasable labels.

Once you have your space organized the way you want it, I recommend putting labels on EVERYTHING, including your drawers.

 
 These drawers aren't quite done; Christie's still figuring out where some things go. So we left the labels blank for now.

 There are lots of specialty hangers out there, but the classic skirt-clip tier is almost always useful:

 I bought this 3-pack on Amazon, but we only used one for skirts; the other two are for Christie's wide-necked shirts.

 Christie has lots of long dressy tank tops, so I went looking for hanging solutions. I found some really cool specialty hangers, like this:


But most were around $7-8 each, we needed at least 3, and - I think we've established this before - I am SUPER cheap.

So when John and I made a quick stop at Burlington and I spotted this 3-pack of pants hangers for only $4, I started brain-storming:


Here's what I came up with:

These are 1-inch binder clips.

 I hung 4 of Christie's tanks on each side, for a total of 8 shirts per hanger - but I just realized I could have added 4 more clips on the top bar, to hang 10 shirts. D'OH!


Her tanks are so light I'm sure we could have hung more on each clip, but that would get messy/hard to access.

We added binder clips to all 3 hangers, so now 24 of her dressy tanks only take up this much room:
 

I placed them on the end of the rack with a little extra space, so she has room to get to everything.

We didn't use this idea that's all over Pinterest, but I still wanted to share it:


Shower curtain rings!

This is great for stretchy tops that won't show wrinkles, but since Christie's are more dressy & loose I wanted hers hanging flat.

  Down on the floor we have a large "memory bin" of mementos and a few other non-clothing items:


That's also a completely empty bin with some spare hangers on top, so she has room for more.
Woohoo! 

And I'll end with the silly thing that makes me smile:


Kigurumis are those adult onesies so popular with the anime crowd. That's a raven and a snake, since Christie's a Ravenclaw & her hubby is a Slytherin. :D If you have a kigurumi with a hood, please try this. I want to see all the fun pillows!

And there you have it: a few closet-cleaning tips for us mere mortals. Now it's your turn: what's your best tip for cleaning out an over-stuffed closet? Do you have any favorite organizing tricks?


Which reminds me, throwing it back to something REEEEALLY old school Epbot: remember my flip-flop hangers


 Aww, baby's first viral DIY post. Happy sigh.

Believe it or not those hangers are still going strong nearly 10 years later, though these days they're holding less flip-flops and more of my scruffy old sneakers:
 
Spot The Cat.

I wouldn't advise doing this with NICE sneakers, but these are old ones not worth displaying with my rainbow of Chucks up above, and it keeps them off the floor for vacuuming. (The orange pool noodles in the back are in 3 pairs of boots.)

What's that? You want to SEE my rainbow of Chucks, this time in traditional rainbow order?




Well, I mean, if you insist. ;)

John bought me the blue & purple pairs for my birthday in May, so I finally have my full rainbow. Seeing this every day as I get dressed - and then choosing which color to wear - is one of those little joys we all need more of this year.

K, sorry for the sidetrack. Now, hit me with your closet organizing tips!

65 comments:

  1. I need. That. Beautiful. Rainbow. Of sneakers.

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  2. This is cool! �� I'm always baffled by people storing their shoes with their clothes though, I have smelly feet no matter how often I wash them, and thus smelly shoes as well. Wouldn't want my clothes to pick up the smell... We keep our shoes in the hallway instead.

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    1. I agree. Shoes go separately from clothes!

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  3. I wish you lived closer; my closet would REALLY benefit from some major organization. I’m so overwhelmed by the mess that I canNOT handle the mere thought of trying to fix it. 😩

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    1. There are professional organizers you can hire to help!

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  4. I love hanging storage bags on the back of doors, but hate what the hangers do to the door finish. So... I got adhesive hooks to hang the bag from! They come in different weight capacity but these worked for me: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/your-account/order-history/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search?opt=ab&search=hooks

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  5. Sometimes you are like my long lost sister. I freaking love organizing stuff...mine..others it doesnt matter. Just let me get in there! Lol

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  6. I love love your rainbow Chucks wall !! My husband is Christie - he really struggles to throw things out . I love organising stuff. I'm better at kitchens than clothing though . I use clear plastic shoe boxes for my Melissa shoes (they smell like bubblegum), to protect the shoes and stop my closet smelling like bubble gum. I really like what you did with Christie's closet - such great tips too. And I am totally getting my onesie and rolling it so it looks like a pillow.

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  7. I found using rubbery shelf liner, cut up into strips, and then pinned onto hangers a cheap way to keep slippery shirts from falling off m.

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  8. Taking pictures can also help a grieving loved one let go of items of the deceased. I finally talked my dad into letting go of my mother's clothes by photographing all her tops and dresses. He would occasionally ask if I still had the photos (I just kept them digitally), but never looked through them -- just a comfort to know he could.

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  9. I'm in awe of your mad organizing skillz! I truly need to purge my closet, but it's *mostly* semi-organized.

    On a different note, I really need Converse to step up their game and offer wide-width shoes. My caveman feet cannot fit into Chucks, and I really WANT to wear them in ALL the colors. :(

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  10. I have found Flat, plastic hangers at IKEA (10 for under $2) they take up far less space than the round plastic. I also like the trick of hanging clothes backwards at the start of the year and see what you use over the next 6 months.
    I work at a fitness clothing store so I have not leggings than any person should need. I love the pant hangers so I can organize by style and layer them down instead of taking up so much space across the rack.
    This closet looks SO good, I’m sure she will feel less stress in there.

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  11. I have recently vowed to not accumulate more stuff. Easy right because I'm staying home. But, my main trick when I did shop or go to yard sales, etc. was to ask myself "Do I need this?" Emphasis on the word need. If yes, then I buy it. If no, but I want it anyway, I ask, "where will I put this? or How will I use this?" Usually, thinking about those questions keeps me from buying things I don't really need.

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  12. Those over the door shoe bags are also great to organize a million cables and power supplies in the office (or, you know, office supplies, I guess), baby supplies, or my favorite--all the random flotsam that I need when I travel (particularly on cruises, remember those?), like sunblock, extra batteries, chargers, camera accessories, belts, small games, medicine, toiletries, etc etc. I also use the closet bar sweater organizers (think fabric hanging organizer with 5 'shelves') in my costume closet. Each shelf holds either 1 large or 2 stacked smaller plastic bins, with sorted costume accessories--Renaissance, old west, steampunk, wig supplies/hair ornaments, jewelry, hosiery, etc. The shelf in my closet is too high for easy access, so this gives me the shelf space I need where I can reach it. (The high shelf holds the wigs on wig stands, and some other larger costume bits that don't fit anywhere else.)

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  13. This is the kind of content I can get behind. I am such an organizing nerd. (You want satisfying? Try helping a friend who quilts. We spent a few hours going through her fabrics one night.)

    Nice work! And congrats to Christie for reaching out for assistance! Though I must say I am honestly shocked at how many sweaters she has for living in Florida. Your cold is my decent here in Illinois.

    I do want to ask, am I the only woman who doesn't get the multiple purses thing? Seriously. I have one. It's black. It does what I need. I don't get why people need to switch purses. Meanwhile, my mother is the Imelda Marcos of handbags, so it's not genetic.

    Also, I have one of those fancy tank top hangers (several, actually) and they're great, but this was a really interesting hack! I wouldn't have thought to use binder clips to help hang anything.

    --Yet Another Jen

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    1. I tend to be a one purse at a time for daily use person, but I have special ones and I keep them forever so it's more a collection than using them all all the time... It's the tote bags that are my kriptonite. I have five of the same general style of leather "shopper" totes in rotation.

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    2. I have one bag for everyday use and one clutch for really fancy. I don't get purses) or shoes) either. My 7yr old daughter on the other hand LOVES bags and purses and always has at least four stuffed with "necessities", such as teddies or recent paper clippings... So definitely not genetic.

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    3. You aren't alone! I also have ONE purse, black, and don't switch. Or understand the need... XD

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    4. LOL, I'm exactly like you re purses! Mine current one is actually a small 'man bag' because it was the most functional thing I could find :-D

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    5. I've never been much of a purse person; most of the time the pockets in my skirt (I won't buy or make one without pockets, which can be limiting in itself) is all I need. Also, I'm less likely to leave it behind somewhere....
      Sandra

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    6. I made myself a purse out of one of my sons Army uniforms he destroyed during training. I wouldn't change it for the world. But then I've never used anything but a clutch to take into stores; the purse stays in the car holding tissues, inhalers, etc. As a cashier, I've waited on women digging in a purse the size of a compact car, dumping out used tissues and god knows what trying to find their credit card (loose in the bottom for heavens sake!) I zip open clutch, card is in it's slot and ready for action!

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    7. I use a single purse for years. And when I finally have to replace it, the process of moving everything over is AT LEAST 1 hour to organize and find a new home for everything. So I can't imagine how people switch every day to match an outfit. I know they make inserts to make this easier, but I doubt most people are using those. How do they do this? No idea...

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  14. I love, love, LOVE organizing other people's stuff! I think it is super fun. Which makes other people think I am crazy, LOL! But for real, since it's not my stuff, I can be much more objective while helping them purge and sort. Loved all your tips and looking forward to more in the comments.

    My tip would be don't let the person deciding wander off in the middle. Have water, kleenex, snacks etc and only leave the room for the restroom. Otherwise, you catch them in the kitchen, chatting on the phone when they were only supposed to be getting a water. I mean, obviously you don't want to be a jerk about it, but I find having the little things on hand make it less likely for them to wander off.

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  15. I don't have a lot of space for storage (probably half of what I see in Christie's space), so I do a winter/summer changeover. Checking clothes before I put them away - for cleanliness, needing repair, whether I think I want to wear it again etc. Then re-checking them before they go onto hangers.
    My biggest tip is hanging the hangers the wrong way around when I change over season, then hanging them the right away when I wear the clothing. If the hanger hasn't been turned around, the clothing rarely makes it back into storage for the next season. Unless it's something I really love and then it might do two seasons unworn before I let it go.

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    1. I'm another summer/winter closet split. Summers here get into the low 100s, winters get below 0 on occasion, usually just into the teens (F), and winter stuff takes up a lot of room (thick and fluffy!) I rotate in late April (after Easter so "white shoe Sunday stuff") and early October ("black shoe and getting cooler"). My family has a storage unit, so the boxes of clothes and heavy coats go there.

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  16. As much as I often loathe being a size that's hard to shop for (I'm a size 10 1/2 shoe - almost never exists - and a 34 inch length pant), it definitely keeps my closet nice and tidy. That's not to say I don't have other storage areas that are in desperate need of purging/organizing . . .

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  17. I'm just constantly baffled by the amount of clothes/bags/shoes/etc that people have. So I guess my closet organising tip is a rather obvious "don't buy anything new until something else is worn out"

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    1. A lot of people love clothes, and love shopping for clothes. It makes them feel better. For other people it's toys/action figures, jewelry, yarn, home goods, etc. My weak spot is craft supplies and junky antique decor, ha. My point is we all have things we like to shop for that bring us joy - and in that context I find it's much easier to understand, and be kind.

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    2. Yeah, I don't get having that many clothes. But I don't enjoy shopping and too much stuff makes me extremely nervous so there's that. Always have this fear that something with with 8 legs is hiding in there somewhere...

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  18. I haven't done the shower curtain rings, but we had a tie rack in our closet. My husband no longer wears ties on a regular basis, (think weddings and funerals) so I got him to weed them down to a few favorites. The rest went to Salvation Army, and rack now holds his few ties on one peg, his belts on another, and the rest are used for my decidedly NOT dress tanks and nightgowns. This has cleared out a whole drawer in my dresser for other stuff! The only real tip I've taken from Marie Kondo is her folding technique. I even went out and bought one of those folding boards, but I'm finding even with that, XXXXL shirts take up more space than those XS ones they showed her organizing on TV. Another incentive to lose weight!

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  19. I love those clear totes. I have too many mis-matched ones and I’m loathe to buy more when they’re perfectly usable. Getting all your hangers to be the same color would visually look cleaner, but for me that falls in the same realm as mis-matches bins.

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    1. Not gonna lie, seeing all those different colored hangers gives me anxiety. Are they perfectly useful? Yes. Does it bother me? YES, but it's not my closet.

      Perhaps Christie and/or Jen could color-coordinate the hangers, so that all the t-shirts go on one color, and long-sleeved shirts go on another, something like that, or maybe Christie gets one color and her husband another.

      (Note that I am anal-retentive enough that I've put key tags on my hangers to label what shirt goes on which hanger. I'm *that* particular about my hangers. It really saves me mental energy when I hang up my clothes after doing laundry, though.)

      --Yet Another Jen

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    2. I actually did start color-coordinating the hangers; you can see most of her short sleeve tees are on white hangers, and her dresses are on fuschia and purple - but as soon as I left she'd start mixing them up again, because she "likes all the colors." :D

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    3. Girl YES. All those different colored hangers made my brain itch! LOL

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    4. I check the thrift store for bags of hangers in the style i like (I almost always find them!) and donate back any colors that don't match what I need: white or black for husband and me, blues and greens for my kids. Pink or cream go back to the thrift store.

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  20. I love organizing other people's stuff, too! Every time I go for a long-term visit to my mom's house I clean out a closet or a cabinet. My own stuff is a complete mess, but I already know what's there, so there is no thrill.

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  21. I think there's a deep need right now to clean and get one's affairs in order, related to COVID. When we were in lockdown, I kept imagining that I accidentally died quickly and my sisters or daughter would have to sort through my very disordered bedroom. (I am currently caring for my 94 year old mother in her home, and consigned to my former childhood bedroom, with most of my things in storage - so it's hard to pack your life into one room!)

    I spent most of the lockdown clearing and sorting. I promised myself that in May I would start having fun in lockdown and doing crafts - and then was called back into work at the beginning of the month! So there's been some backsliding, but MOST of my things are in order.

    I also gave my daughter the codes for my computers and phone and storage space, just in case. I don't mean to be macabre, but this is at the root of my sorting this year.

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  22. I had to read the label on the "Disney Sweaters" bin twice, because it looked like "Dissing Santa" to me.

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    1. I'm showing this to Christie so she can re-label that bin now. Bahaha!

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  23. OOO- I WISH I was organized! It's just not how my brain works, unfortunately. I have learned a few tricks, keeping like things together (swimming bag supplies, or lunchbox supplies) & ALWAYS hanging my keys up. But I really like the tank top solution, & I LOVE the kigurumi idea! I'm almost 60, & if I want a minion or a dragon costume, then I can have a minion ot dragon costume (so there ;-) & now I know how to store them
    I so wish you lived closer...

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  24. I didn't have the time (or mental energy) for a deep dive into organization like this, but my closet was in a similar state of chaos, so my approach was to play the "10 things" game. Any time I had a burst of energy or some free time, I'd pick up/sort/put away 10 things, then stop. The only rule was that the 10 things had to have a permanent home to count towards the 10 - no moving piles around! The 10 things could be literally *anything* - a spilled container of binder clips? Put 10 of them away and get a little mental boost for the day. Ten items of clean laundry that had been languishing in a pile? Fold and put them in the drawer for an easy "win." Now that the closet is mostly whipped into shape, I keep playing the game to ensure it never gets out of control again :) (Also useful for long-term maintenance in any part of the house!)

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    1. I love this! I don't have the physical energy any more for big projects, but I can do 10 things at a time :-)

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    2. My husband and I play this "game" sometimes too when we are cleaning or organizing. It really works, and adds some fun to those boring chores.

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    3. I do something similar, with my rule being "5 minutes or 1 square foot" of cleaning, whichever I can accomplish first.

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  25. Shower curtain rings!! I must try this. I like Marie Kondo - but it is annoying to fold everything that isn't hung. And it's probably time to do another purge. Sigh.

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  26. I am disproportionately distracted by the rainbow Chucks not all being laced the same way XD

    As for tips - I am bad at doing big purges, at some point I notice that I am not getting rid of stuff anymore, simply folding things nicely back on their shelves, which at least looks nice for a little while. But I always have a 'donate this' -bag available so that whenever I come across something I feel is time to get rid of, straight it goes into the bag.

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    1. Same here! I always have a donation box in my closet that fills up 1-2 times per year. I look through everything one final time right before donating it, but chances are if I haven't missed it for the 6+ months it's been in the donation box, I probably don't need it any more.

      I'm terrible at shopping--most purchases are made because I need something specific in a hurry (like a dress for an event or new work pants because my old ones tore) so there are very few things in my closet that I really love and feel the need to hold onto.

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    2. I keep the "donate" bag in the laundry room. When I decide that it's time to get rid of something, I put it in the bag after washing it, so I know it's clean. When the bag is full, it goes to the thrift store.

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  27. Why do people have so much stuff? Quarantine/Retirement/Empty-nesting has shown me that I only need one or two house dresses, and an outfit or two for grocery shopping/going out of the house. I generally don't get that dirty, so I can wear the same thing more than once. Podiatry issues make it so I can only wear two pairs of shoes. Many of the most successful people have a "uniform" to reduce decision fatigue. (Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, etc.)

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    1. Some people enjoy collecting or having lots of options. I have a fairly small work wardrobe, but I have a ton of dresses and other fun clothes because I love dressing up. I go to a lot of events with different themes (such as a group that does themed meet-ups at the Disney and Universal theme parks). And I have a lot of shoes both for that same reason and because I do a lot of community theater that has lead to a collection of lots of boots and vintage-style shoes. Some people enjoy the simplicity of a small wardrobe, but others of us take great joy in our clothing collections. Just different preferences for different people. :)

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    2. Yes, YOU only need one or two house dresses and outfits. As an active mother of three who works in a professional environment outside the home three to five days per week, I need many different types of clothes and shoes, ranging from workout gear to playground grubbies to professional dresses/blouses/slacks. Plus I take a lot of pleasure in building a wardrobe, planning outfits and accessories, and wearing them at home and out and about. Different strokes.

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  28. Give your friend whatever reassurance they need when they purge something. When I let something go, I tell my husband "I'm letting this go. Aren't you proud of me?" and he says, "hey, you're letting that go, I'm proud of you. Good job". Not, "FINALLY!"

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  29. Jen, something to think about too is this: "how much work am I willing to go to keep this neat. The multiple skirt hangers are snazzy, but I know me, I'd fumble around with it and drop the whole thing on the floor Every. Single. Time. So for me, a bin (without a lid 'cause that's an extra step) is what helps me keep things corralled. I can manage chucking it in there; done. Or open shelves, with nothing stacked. Each person's miliage varies, of course, but maybe something to keep in mind if you're working with multiple people.

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  30. This is really helpful! I love Marie Kondo and have used some of her strategies, but I totally get stuck with clothes. And I didn't know what to do with stuff between going through it and putting it away. Thank you! You've given me hope that I can get through my disaster of a bed room <3

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  31. I like the department-store clear skirt hangers with the hole at the top. I hang multiple skirts or shorts and link the hangers on each other, saving some space while also being modular. Saves me the dumping on the floor part that someone above mentioned. If I want I can take the whole chain off the closet rod, or just the bottom one or two hangers.

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  32. Part of my dream last night involved running through an impossibly large department store, in which all the shoe racks were in rainbow order... it wasn't until I woke up that I realized where my mind borrowed that image from! Just wanted to randomly share that. =-)

    I wish my closets looked as good as these!

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  33. I share a 1930s closet with my husband. It's maybe 3 feet wide and definitely not walk in, unless it's completely empty. I completely swear by Wonder Hangers. Those combined with lightweight but sturdy non slip hangers let us hang everything that has to be hung. That's for my dresses, skirts, dress pants and blouses, and for his dress pants and work shirts (mostly polos). All the t-shirts and jeans are folded in dresser drawers. We don't have much choice! Without the wonder hangers I doubt even just my stuff would fit in our tiny closet. And it's easy to separate the sides of the closet, for his stuff we drop the right side of the hanger, and for mine we drop the left. So all of his stuff is on the left facing center and mine is on the right facing center. It works for everything but a handful of long dresses. They get to hang all on their own.

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  34. My self imposed rule for keeping it tidy: if I bring a new item in, I have to put an existing item in the donate bin. One plus is I never have to buy new hangers!

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  35. I also live in a cooler area: I use ziplock bags extensively. Put clean sweaters in a bag, squish out the air and they go into storage for the summer.
    I have a small collection of vintage suitcases, and off-season clothes get stored there. I still get a frisson of excitement, taking clothes out of a suitcase!

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    1. This totally clicks for the way my brain wants organization. Thank you so much for this idea!

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  36. Just came here to say that I am generally just a reader of this blog, but I am so excited so I had to share. I have been looking for storage bins for my quilting stuff and saw those 17-qt Walmart bins. I clicked on the link, was pleased with the price and the look of them. So my husband and I measured my space and we ordered two sets, they are going to be great! Am just waiting for them to arrive so I can start organizing!

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  37. Late comment here, but I wanted to thank you so much for these tips. I LOVE to organize and I think all your advice/steps are appropriate and helpful! I also agree 100% that piling EVERY item of clothing on a bed would be overwhelming, especially to someone new to organizing. (My husband and I would watch people doing that on her show and say, "Where are those people going to sleep tonight??")

    The one thing I will say from experience is that Marie Kondo is correct about seeing your things differently once they're off the hanger/shelf/closet/etc. In our old house, we had wall-to-wall built-in bookshelves in our home office. (Gosh, I miss those.) Anyway, they were overfull for years with books we couldn't DREAM of getting rid of. But the minute we pulled them down and stacked them on the floor to get ready to pack, we were suddenly able to fill two boxes with books to give away. Funny how that happens!

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  38. I paid a friend to come over and help me organize and purge (and then my husband got a job in TX, so we went from calm thoroughness to "shove it in a box and figure it out later"). The biggest gift she gave me was in going through my jewelry boxes, and separating out broken items, and things that won't fit around my monstrous neck. It was very easy for me to look things over as a group, knowing that they wouldn't fit (the better pieces will go to an estate jeweler to make sure there isn't anything valuable that should be sold).

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