Friday, March 18, 2011

Project: Simplfy - Weeks 1 and 2

One of the blogs I follow, Simple Mom, is doing something called Project: Simplify, and encouraging their readers to "roll up their sleeves and clear the clutter" from five different "hot spots" in your home. Each hot spot is announced every Monday (over the course of five weeks) and you are encouraged to declutter, clean, and organize that area (and blog about it) by that Friday. The project started two weeks ago and – unfortunately, I only really found out about it last Friday (the day you were supposed to be done with the first hot spot), but I love this idea (and a good challenge), so I'm trying to participate, although not necessarily in the same time frame. Eh, better to declutter in my own time, than not to declutter at all. (I think that was Shakespeare, right?)

The first hot spot (announced last week) was your wardrobe and closet. (See link for more details on how Simple Mom suggests tackling this.) I was excited to take on this project because I had just been thinking about what I would wear that very night (we were going out to dinner with a group of friends from church and I wanted to look casual, but cute), and was feeling like I had "nothing to wear." Plus I've been frustrated with my master closet situation for a while. I felt bad because Ryan really didn't have near the space that I allowed for myself and I knew there were lots of things I could probably get rid of. Also, as the winter season is almost over now, I knew for a fact that there were lots of items hanging in my closet that did not get worn once all winter, so they really ought to go.

Simple Mom encourages you to take lots of before and after pictures and document your thoughts throughout the process, so here goes:

Master Closet – Before

It's hard to tell from the picture, but our master closet is sort-of L-shaped, and you're not seeing the corner or other small ("L") side here (where Ryan's stuff was).

My thoughts as I purged ALL THIS STUFF:

Yes, that's carpet in my master bathroom.
We hate it and intend to change it
one day. For now, please forgive.

  • I got rid of almost all of the button-up shirts I owned because I've come to the realization that, with a few exceptions, they are just not my style. They usually don't fit quite right, and I need to stop hoping that they will.
  • I don't know why I feel the need to maintain certain key items in my wardrobe, like a plain white button-up blouse, for example. It's as if I feel like every wardrobe should have one, in the event you need it one day, but I never wear it! Gone.
  • It was fun to rediscover items that I haven't worn in a while, that do still work. It was almost like getting a couple of "new" items that I'd actually had all along.
  • If I couldn't justify wearing the item (or outfit) that night (as I mentioned, we were going out), I will probably never want to wear it. It's outta here.
  • If I have to do a little dance to get it on, it doesn't fit. Get rid of it.
  • Sentimentality is not a legitimate reason to hold onto an item of clothing. I was surprised by how many things I was keeping because they were what I wore in my engagement photos, or to my bachelorette party, etc. (Lots of these items were linked to around the time I got married, actually, which was five years ago! Time to go!) There is one exception to that rule. The blouse I was wearing the night Ryan and I met (it was white with black stripes and ruffled sleeves – sounds kinda ugly, but was really cute, actually) stays. It does not take up space in my closet, however, but lives in the back of a dresser drawer, where I refuse to part with it. It just makes me happy and I can't part with it.
  • Although I got rid of at least four pairs of jeans (maybe more – I forgot to count), I decided to keep one pair of older ones to wear when painting or doing other potentially clothes-ruining projects. But just one!
  • I spent nine years of my life in the corporate world and had built up a fairly substantial work wardrobe in that time. I've gotten rid of quite a bit of it since becoming a SAHM almost two years ago, but I was still hanging onto several pieces that I thought I might still wear someday. During this process, however, I figured that by the time I go back to work (God-willing), all that stuff will be outdated anyway, and I should be able to justify getting new stuff at that time. I kept a handful of items that I might wear for other formal occasions, but only a few.

The "work" pants that I got rid of.
I think there are  14 pair here!

The work pants that I kept. Seven.

Unused hangers after the purge.

Sweaters and jeans used to take up three
of these shelves. I got it down to one
and a half!

I even got Ryan to go through some of his things and get rid of a handful of items. Motivated by the offer to share more space for his stuff, we completely reorganized how we managed this closet. Instead of me getting the top AND bottom of the "prime real estate" (the space when you first walk in the closet) and him being stuck back in the "L" in the back corner, we now divide it top/bottom. I get the top (this was my idea, after all!) and he gets the bottom.

We also divided our shoes up in a more logical manner. We actually have two closets, the walk-in in our master bathroom and a standard size one in the bedroom. Previously, I had shoes in both and his, again, were shoved back in the corner. Now, all his shoes are in the other smaller closet (sorry no photos of that one – we didn't do a whole lot in there except for the shoe thing) and all of mine are in the walk-in.

We also bought and installed a new light fixture. The previous one (again, sorry for no photo – hindsight is 20/20) was really dim and nothing special. This new one has four adjustable 50-watt halogen bulbs along a track and is AWESOME! I feel like a hot-shot celebrity with a spotlight shining down on me and my (sadly, less than Hollywood-worthy) wardrobe every time I walk in. Smile.

So, here are the "after" photos. Maybe not so impressive from the pictures, but it sure does feel nice to have things better organized and well-lit. And the giant box that's headed to Goodwill makes me feel great, too!

Main area - me on top, Ryan on bottom
L-corner - me on top, empty hangers and
my shoes on bottom. (Ryan doesn't have
enough stuff to fill it all up anyway.)

Project: Simplify - Week 2, which started this past Monday, featured the next hot spot – paper clutter. Due today, let's just say, this one didn't happen. I have intentions of still trying to work on it – it's something that needs to be done anyway. But it obviously didn't happen in time, so you'll have to stay tuned for more on this one.

I did take some "before" pictures, though.

Computer desk clutter. Eek!

Kitchen counter clutter. Aack!

One (of several) random drawers with an out-of-control
magazine/catalog/book collection. Oy vey!

See, I told you it needs to be done! Looking forward to finding out what next week's hot spot is and sharing more de-cluttering revelations with you.


  1. What a good idea. I think everyone can use little de-cluttering now and then. I'm motivated to de-clutter my own closet now! Fun! (Did I just say fun to de-cluttering my closet??) ;)

  2. Ha ha ha! It kinda was fun, Jack. It was a rush anyway, but I'm an organizing nerd!!!

  3. I totally love reading "Oy vey!" on someone else's blog! Good job with the decluttering! Doesn't it feel great?!