Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Purge Project Part 1: The Tiny Closet

I was at the beach at the beginning of the month after a few nights of waking up in a panic with nothing to organize when I read this very well-written reflection from Meghan O'Rourke about her closet cleanse from the August issue of Elle Magazine.

"Dude," I said to my beach buddies, "I want two women to come to my house and make me get rid of everything that doesn't fit me well and then go shopping with me to find grown up pieces that make me look awesome." We quickly came to the conclusion that having personal organizers and stylists à la What Not to Wear probably costs thousands of dollars and that Elle Magazine probably paid or helped pay for Meghan O'Rourke to have these ladies help her out in order for her to write her piece about her amazing and life-altering closet cleanse and wardrobe makeover. 
I was inspired to put my need to organize towards my office area, which, in addition to being a junk room, had also become a closet and clothing storage room despite the built-in drawers in our bedroom. 

Step one of the purge was to get rid of some of my clothing, but I didn't know where to start because whenever I looked at the mess that was my junk room, I felt like I was slowly suffocating in quicksand:
So. Many. Clothes. Must. Breathe. Can't. Do. It. Slowly. Suffocating. Under. The. Clothes.
I decided to start small with one wall and a tiny closet. I went through the built-in drawers in our bedroom that I never use, yet were oddly stuffed to capacity with clothes (not pictured), the overstuffed clothing rack in my office (not pictured because it's on the other wall) and the smallest wall of my office that housed a cabinet stuffed with clothes, the small set of drawers stuffed with socks and underwear, and the tiny closet stuffed with shoes, hats, clothes, scarves, and belts:
All aforementioned storage areas were stuffed to the brim.

Before I started this purge, I'd never been able to shut the closet door due to all of the crap hanging on the overstuffed hooks. That's sad. 

My guidelines for getting rid of clothes during this purge depended on my answers to the following questions:
1. Have I worn this in the last two years?
2. Do I like this? 
3. Do I wear this size anymore?
4. Honestly, will I ever wear this size again? 
5. Is this in style? 
6. Do I have memories of this hurting when I wore it? For me, this question applied to shoes, but I guess you could make it work for any piece of clothing, amiright?

I also decided to embrace and love two aspects of my personal style without guilt:
1. I love t-shirts and although they must stand up to the purge, I will keep all of my favorites-- even if they fill up a whole drawer. 
2. I love Converse and although they must stand up to the purge, I will keep all of my favorites-- even if they fill up a whole shoe rack. 

I set aside two piles and ruled that as long as both piles fit into one Rubbermaid storage box, I was allowed to keep them:
1. Big Jen clothes
2. Lil' Jen clothes

When I obsessively and unhealthily lost 50 pounds a five years ago, so many ladies at Weight Watchers were like, "Oh honey, get rid of everything you have that will remind you of your old self! That way you'll have more motivation to keep it off!"
Mmmkay, ladies.
Listen. I did that. And then I gained some weight when I started eating again and I was like, "Where the eff are some pants that fit me?!"

I did get rid of anything size 8 and size 16 because I haven't worn those clothes in more than five years. 
Being a size 8 for a little while was fun, but then I gained weight when I drank water or at more than two M&M's. 
Being a size 16 after knee surgery was not fun. I have stayed away from that size for long enough to know that if I ever need that size again all of the clothes I had will be way out of style. 

I didn't try anything on during this first clothing purge. I just pulled everything out and looked at it.

Here is the end result of the first purge:
It was probably more than seventy pieces of clothing and who knows how many pairs of shoes. I counted seventy-three empty hangers and was left with a few empty drawers. I'd estimate that I actually purged about 100 pieces of clothing and shoes.

I dropped off my first load to 360 Degrees, which is my favorite consignment store. I donated everything they didn't take (which was a lot) to a domestic abuse women's shelter.
Here is the before and after of the Tiny Closet Wall:
1. The tall cabinet is now in our breezeway holding my outdoor workout gear, foam rollers, and winter boots.
2. The set of functional, but ugly drawers is now inside the tiny closet.
3. The Converse shoes are now hanging somewhere more discreet. I also purged one pair, even though I was okay with keeping all of them. 
4. The piles of stuff on top of each storage unit are now sorted and were either purged, tossed, or organized.
Ah, finishing the first wall and seeing the possibilities of the room was and still is a great feeling. 

On Thursday, I'll write about the second clothing purge, which was much harder than the first. 

Other posts in this series:

1 comment:

BroJoe said...

I've finally gotten a bit caught up. Next time, the rest of the summer! It's cray. I've been reading from the recent to the older. It's like you're getting less mature when I read chronologically backwards. ;-)

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