Step 1: hydrate. [Champaign friends- Espresso Royale cold brew with vanilla and almond. You’ll thank me later.]
Step 2: choose one box for keepsakes. It doesn’t matter what size. The point is to have one home for everything you want to keep for its sentimental value rather than its usefulness. These things tend to spread around and sometimes disappear- I found stuff I forgot I even had.
Some fun finds: two coins from China and two from Israel [???], the last Christmas present my grandpa gave me before he died, and 8th grade Alle’s list of desired qualities in a husband [a good laugh].
Sort through all your keepsakes and keep only your favorites. I had like six letters my sister sent me at summer camp a looong time ago, so I kept the funniest one. Little things like this tend to pile up until they’re not so little anymore, and something that’s supposed to be fun and sentimental turns a little overwhelming. If you question whether or not you need to keep something, you probably don’t. If you love it and it brings you joy and you need to have it, keep it in your box!
Step 3: take everything out and try everything on. If you’re not willing to try something on, chances are you don’t love it enough to keep it. Clear out your closet COMPLETELY first and put things back in only once you decide to keep them.
Anything you keep should fit and it should be your favorite. I am so guilty of cluttering my closet with stuff I wouldn’t dare leave the house in unless I magically lost 20 pounds overnight. Also guilty of using those clothes as “motivation pieces,” so they have a purpose, right? I think if we’re honest with ourselves, they are mostly just discouraging. Get rid of them!
And if you’re anything like my beloved roommates and own approximately seventeen black and white striped shirts, think about how many you really need [the answer is ONE no matter how many you’ve convinced yourself you really need]. Pick your favorite and donate the rest.
Step 4: be ruthless but thoughtful. These are before and after pictures of my jewelry collection. Did I like my giant neon orange tassle necklace? Yes. Did I only buy it because it was on clearance and have I worn it exactly once since then? Yes. I have a few things that only go with certain outfits and I don’t wear very often, but I love those outfits and want to keep them. And that’s okay! Things that you like but don’t use or wear- and have no plans of ever really using or wearing- are things that should go.
I got rid of quite a few things like my big orange necklace and was still left with an abundance [clearly]. By getting rid of things I kinda liked but didn’t love and didn’t have anything specific to wear with, I’m left with my favorite neutrals that I can wear with anything and some fun pops of color that I know I will get use out of.
Step 5: Get rid of it!!! Between all my stuff at home and alllllll my stuff at school, I found a LOT I needed to give up. Why did I have four curling irons?! Three desk lamps? Thirteen thousand candles?? The longer you leave your stuff laying around, the easier it becomes to sneak a couple sweaters back in your closet or convince yourself you do need four pumpkin cinnamon roll candles. Pack it up and take it where it needs to go.
Champaign friends- Salt & Light is my favorite place in town to take things to donate. They’re open every day but Sunday to drop things off, all day! Karen’s Kloset is my favorite consignment shop to take any nicer, higher end items and brands. Plato’s Closet is also always worth a try!
This is my closet post-clean out. I got rid of a lot of stuff but I am clearly left with PLENTY, and it’s all stuff I love and will definitely wear. No more picking through a closet full of clothes that are too big or too small or that I just don’t really like. This really helps to simplify a morning routine!
If I gave myself one area to “cheat on” throughout the process, it was definitely shoes [as we can all see]. I did get rid of a couple pairs, but I kept most of them. Even two pairs of black tennis shoes which is probably for sure against the rules. Give yourself a little room to keep things that make you happy even if you maybe shouldn’t.
This can turn into a pretty lengthy process, especially if you have a closet and drawers and boxes under your bed as stuffed full as I did. But it’s so worth it! One of my goals this year is to simplify- my schedule, my social media, all my STUFF. If you feel like your life could use a little simplifying too, this is a great place to start!
**My cleanout & this post were inspired by A Simplified Life by Emily Ley. Read it!!!