( This is part 1 of a 2 part series. Part 2 is linked at the end of the post)
Personally, I think closets are the place where stuff goes to die and where evil is born.
We cram them full of as much stuff as we can manage, and then promptly forget it is there. Two houses ago I had a large walk in closet. One of my children could have used it as a bedroom. It looked like a war zone, and I rarely used one-third of the contents. Currently, I have no closet. Everything is neatly put away, and I use what I have. Yes, it’s taken adjustment mentally and physically. It also takes time to pare down to this point, but I no longer spend twenty minutes deciding what to wear in the morning since everything fits and looks good. I dont waste time searching for items, either. I don’t get frustrated hunting through closets for lost or misremembered stuff, only to buy a replacement just in time to find the missing item. I don’t have to shove doors closed and hope no one opens them again. I can see everything at a glance. I don’t lose weekends to sorting through and organizing closets. Here are some guidelines I have used in my own closets:
1. Closets are not primarily for long term storage. We use them to keep items we regularly use such as clothes, games, and linens. We may have one or two storage items per closet, but since we are not keeping things we do not use or love, we use what is in our closet.
2. We do not cram, stack or stuff. Face it, if it’s difficult to put away or difficult to get out, we just stop using whatever it is. When you clean out your closets only put back what fits reasonably. If it wasn’t one of the first things back in the space, you aren’t that attached to it. Go ahead and try this method. You will make sure the things you truly want are put in before anything else and in prominent positions. Assess what’s left. You can probably get rid of most of it.
3. Don’t fill empty space. I’m uncertain where we latched on to the idea that empty space is wasted. It’s perfectly acceptable to leave room for….nothing. I challenge you to leave space empty. An empty drawer, cabinet, or closest are not bad things. We don’t always have to pack every crevice because we can.
4. Stop keeping clothes you might wear one day. There are a million psychological reasons why we do this which I am not dissecting here. Aside from the fact that too-small clothes are discouraging and send guilt messages, they suck space, joy, and creativity out of homes. Get rid of them. Today. Keep things that fit, look good ON you, and that you actually wear. Stop worrying that tomorrow you will need something you don’t have.
5. Organizing is not minimalizing. I used to be an organization junkie, but now I am decidedly not. Organization says, “I can keep all my stuff if I can make it look neat while I store it.” Minimalism says, “I don’t have to keep what I don’t love just because I loved it at one time or I spent money on it. I can get rid of it if I want to.” Buying the lastest greatest closet organizer is a temporary solution at best. Eventually it too will become overcrowded and disorganized. The root of our problem is stuff gluttony. The way to kill a weed is to pull the root, not trim the leaves so they look pretty. Don’t organize. Minimize.
Stay tuned: Tomorrow we are taking a tour of my closets. Unedited. (You can see inside my closets HERE)