Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Whole House Purge: Clothes & Linens

So far we've talked about the bathroom (or I guess, bathroomS for you fancy people) and the kitchen.  Two easy places to find extra things lurking.  Another one I can almost always find something(s) to get rid of: my closet.  And I'm not just talking about Matt's part even though that would be pretty easy for me to do some eliminating.  Even with watching my spending more with the allowances (I know I mention those often but they really have worked so well for us) I still have too much in my closet.  I don't want to admit to the internet how many pairs of shoes I own but still claim to be somewhat of a minimalist. 

Since we store our bed linens in our closet (and Luke's in his dresser), I am including those here.  And we'll start with them because they are easiest!

Count how many beds you have.  You, at most, can justify 3 sets per each size bed.  We have three sets for our bed (one flannel, two cotton), three for Luke's twin bed (one flannel, two cotton), and three crib sheets (all cotton, do they make flannel crib sheets??).  I have sold used sheets at a garage sale (sorry if that grosses you out).  If one of our non-flannel sets wears out on our bed, I doubt I will replace, I'd be fine with two but it is nice in the warmer (non-flannel using) months to be able to strip the bed and immediately put new sheets back on without having to wait for the laundry.  But not so nice I'd immediately a buy a replacement set. 

If you have a guest bed you probably need an additional set of sheets or two depending on how often you have guests and if the guest bed could share sheets with any other bed in your house.  Multiple beds of the same size would easily cut the number needed per bed.  If we had say, 4 kids, I don't think we'd have 12 sets of twin sheets.  But multiple sets is definitely a must for night training kids.  We, thankfully, have never had to change sheets twice in one night but it's nice knowing we could.  (Also nice, not having to change the sheets every day but that doesn't always happen.  Yay potty training.)

We do have a few extra sets of pillowcases because sometimes it's nice to change those out between laundry cycles but otherwise that pretty much sums up our linens.

Clothes - Adult (kid stuff coming tomorrow)
This is how I go through my closet and how I would encourage Matt to go through his closet, on the once a year I get him to sort through stuff (unlike my multiple times a month through my own clothes).   I will admit that it is hard to empty all your clothes out at once and start some completely fresh.  We have a HUGE closet that also stores the above mentioned linens, our sleeping bags, 5 Star Wars Lego sets (a few to sell when the price appreciates and a few for Luke when he's older), a swiffer, our international travel things (money belts, plug adapters), luggage, and an old hat of my Grandma's.  Our closet hasn't been completely empty in 10 years (although I have some major reorganizing plans for it so it might happen again before the year is over so I can repaint???).  BUT the more you can empty at once, the better.

Like I said, it's hard to empty everything out at once, for sheer volume (unless you are a true minimalist with like 2 pairs of shoes and 5 shirts).  BUT I do try to pull out all like items at once.  Like pull out all sweaters at once.  All t-shirts.  All socks.  All underwear.  Empty each dresser drawer (one at a time if that's all the room you have), each shelf of your closet, and all your hanging things (in like batches if needed).

Go through what you have.  Don't keep any more than necessary.  This sounds easy.  It is not.  I keep basically what I'll need of each item to get me through a laundry cycle (two weeks for us).  That means, in season, I will wear all my t-shirts every two weeks.  I will wear each of my long-sleeved tees every two weeks.  By laundry day I like to have pretty empty drawers of the basics.  (Obviously things are never completely empty because we have seasons here and I don't wear all my dressy clothes every two weeks or even ever month.)  (I also am pretty lucky that I don't need a separate work and regular wardrobe.)

Easier said than done.  I can attach an emotional memory to almost everything I own.  But it needs done and your space will thank you! 

For instance, I used to have 60+ pairs of underwear.  (Some of that thanks to the free coupons from Victoria Secret).  Now, with taking extra showers after running 3-4 times a week, I go through almost all my underwear every laundry cycle (underwear is something I am perfectly fine having a few extra of, you never want to run out of clean underwear, but I had at least double what I needed.).

I had a lot of basic t-shirts, the kind from high school/college.  I narrowed it down to my absolute favorites because I don't wear old t-shirt very often besides yard work and/or working out.  I think I have about 5 now. 

I've narrowed down my socks to 14 pairs of ankle socks and 14 pairs of winter socks (I have stolen all of Matt's tube socks that are knee high on me and wear those, and other socks of my own, all winter.  He hates those tall socks but I LOVE them.  They are so warm and don't ever fall down or get all scrunched up in my boots!)

We all have those items we hold on to because they used to fit.  Or because you spent a decent amount of money on them.  Or because you used to wear it all the time.  I can remember roughly what I paid for everything in my closet and roughly how long I've had it.  It can make it hard to get rid of things if I feel like I haven't gotten my money's worth yet.  Or if I knew I watched the sales forever to buy it, talked myself into keeping it, and then ended up not liking it as much as I wanted to. 

BUT there is a wonderful freedom from letting go of what you don't need/wear/actually like.  This is personal for everyone and my examples might not necessarily apply to others but I think almost everyone could come up with a few things they don't actually wear but are holding onto for other reasons. 

It took me awhile to get rid of (almost) all my old professional clothes.  I kept my favorite pair of shoes and one sweater.  Everything else has since been donated.  I have a variety of shirts/pants/shoes/scarves/etc. that I've bought and kinda liked, kept, and then ended up not wearing.  Off the top of my head I can come up with 4 things in my garage sale bag that I just bought last year.  I just replaced a pair of jeans I've only had about 8 months just because I didn't like them so I never wore them.   Sometimes I try to talk myself into keeping something, tell myself I'll start wearing it, and then have it sit in my closet another few weeks before finally moving it to the garage sale bag.  Your gut instinct is usually right.  If you have to convince yourself you like something, you probably don't like it enough to keep it.  If you don't think you actually like something, you are probably right.  Toss* those items and move on.   (And by toss I mean into a donation bag or garage sale pile or something, don't actually toss into the trash.)

Sure, I've gotten rid of at least 4 things I bought just last year.  That sucks.  But I've learned something about my actual shopping/wearing habits from it.  I just did some Old Navy returns today for items that I had liked online, almost talked myself into keeping and then realizing, no, I didn't actually like how they fit and they needed to go back (I didn't actually wear them besides trying on).  I've learned from other things I have kept and then not worn.  If I don't immediately love it on me, I need to return it.  And I have gotten much better about that with all my purging and cleaning.  I've noticed patterns of what I get rid of.  I don't buy those things anymore.  I don't know that I'll ever have it completely figured out but I'm getting a little better with every clean-out.

This is my favorite part of every project.  Even though you likely didn't empty your whole wardrobe at once, still try to figure out the best way to organize things when putting them back.  I've moved sweaters between our closet and built in cupboard, moved pants between hangers and the cupboard, changed shelves, etc.  Make it as easy as possible to get dressed in the morning. 

Be proud of yourself that your drawers can open easier, that your rack isn't packed full (if they don't open easily you need to get rid of more!!).  It really is a wonderful feeling to not need to use all your space (we also have a lot of clothing storage space but we use so little of it we have room for sleeping bags! Lego sets!)

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