Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Purging the Closets

In mid-Sept. I decided to go through the closets and get rid of all the clothes that a) didn't fit or b) have not been worn within the past year (excluding a few select items).  Since my son is 6 - his clothes are the easiest to go through.  Basically - anything from last winter and the year before (we sometimes are lucky enough to get 2 winters out of winter gear) - he outgrew.  Summer stuff that fit him this year, won't fit him next year.  Onto my big bed those things went.  Outgrown baby stuffed animals and small toys - threw them onto the pile while I was at it.  My son hates anything itchy, anything that binds, anything that has bulky seams and is allergic to anything made with the thread that looks like fishing line.  All those things also went on the bed because he just won't wear it - so why have it taking up space in his tiny clothing wardrobe when other kids can wear it?
My clothes I regulary purge, not that I have tons of clothes - it is just that I have very tiny closets and so try to only keep what I absolutely love.  Besides the grungy work clothes that I really need to keep because why ruin nice clothes?  If it doesn't fit or I really don't like it - onto the bed it goes.  I have this big fear that I will end up in the hospital someday and my husband will bring me all my very worst/ill fitting/most hated clothes.  Well - if I get rid of them, then that just won't happen, will it?  Right down to my socks.  Because after a period of time I will have a collection of socks that I don't care for.  So, good-bye!
DH's clothes are harder.  That involves talking him into trying on clothes.  And then reasoning with him that he probably won't gain/lose X amount of weight in X amount of time so that those clothes will ever fit him again.  However, I was successful in getting him to try on lots of clothes and added to the pile on the bed.
Oh, and all those pairs of uncomfortable or unworn shoes?  You know the ones - the ones you have to "dust" off every now and then so you can see the bottom of your closet through the haze of dust.  Yup, those got added to the pile.  Generally I will bag the boots with their boot liners so they don't get seperated, safety pin mittens together, etc.
All the "good stuff" gets bagged up and dropped off at the community "free shop".  The free shop is just that - everything in there is free, it is run by volunteers and there is a 5 item limit per visit.  I especially like to bring my sons outgrown clothes to the free shop because his clothes just don't get worn out before they are outgrown!  Practically new, some of his stuff.  And probably who ever gets his clothes will then return them to the free shop when their kids outgrow them or hand them down to a friend.  When we dropped this load off my son was very happy to be able to pick out a new truck toy and brand new package of playing cards.  It is a great way to teach him to pass things on and he gets a little reward for doing it.
Under my laundry table I keep an empty clothes hamper and as I come across things that no longer fit or have "issues" - I toss them into them into the hamper.  Sometimes I add outgrown toys and books.  You would be surprised at how quickly that hamper sometimes fills up.  Other times - it will take a long time to fill up, but at least it is there and it seems to be a system that works for me. 
Anything that doesn't make the cut for the free shop - I snip off the buttons if there are any, sometimes remove the zipper if I think I might use it on a little zippered bag and throw the item out.  Still, I always feel badly about throwing something out - but once it is on the bed, it has to either go to the free shop or be tossed.  No second chances!
Another rule I have - when I do go out shopping, if I bring in 1 bag of new clothing into the household, I generally try remove 1 bag.  If you think that when you go home you have to pick a few things to get rid of, sometimes that keeps you from buying things you don't need in the first place!  Except that growing son of mine always seems to need new things!  I tend to keep his wardrobe down to about 5 complete outfits, extra shirts because he tends to spill on them and additional outerwear because 1 set always seems to be wet.  Sometimes friends will tell me that they cleaned out their kids closets and had to get rid of say... 50 pairs of pants.  Huh?  Obviously they don't have to sew all their kids pants like I do, LOL!  Truthfully, I think sometimes Mom's are just so busy that they have no idea that their kids have way to many clothes to deal with.  But seriously, my son just has a little clothing wardrobe unit in his room (no closet) and most of his clothing has to fit in there.  And it has to be easy for him to deal with so he can put his own clothes away and get dressed by himself.  Everything has a place.  Well, his room in Canada anyway - in Austria his room has wall to wall storage.  But that is a story for another day.
The good thing about using my bed - I start and finish the project all in 1 day - because I want to go to bed at night!  So, how did I do this last purge?  Not bad, not bad at all...  awww, nice, fairly empty closets!  I love having room to slide my clothes around on the rod.  On empty closet shelfs I like to put a framed photo so I am not so tempted to fill the shelf up again.  It is great fun to open the closet and see some favorite photos instead of chaos!


Brenda said...

Again, I have been inspired by reading what you are up to.
I am working about an hour from home, my days are now - well, they could be more productive, but right now, they aren't - and doing a purge of things that are just filler, would make a HUGE difference in my home. And, I have considered the 'bring in something, get rid of something' for my shopping.... it's a great idea that I have not done yet. Notice the 'yet'.
To much stuff = to much clutter, which causes frustration and a lack of motivation.
Thank-you for this post today. It is something I have done, but not consistantly, and right now, my whole house is in desperate need of a purge. Thank-you again for the inpiring post.

Jeanne said...

I've used the "one piece out for every new piece in" rule for a while now. It helps hold the line!
Jeanne :)