Closet Clean Out

It’s amazing what several days away from everyday responsibilities can do for my mental health. I took a very laid back approach to blogging and didn’t do any freelance writing over the holiday weekend and it felt great to feel wrapped up in family.

I know I have a lot of catch up work to do today, but I’m feeling refreshed. I think some of my refreshed feelings can be attributed to the time I spent going through my closet yesterday.

Closet Clean Out

Yesterday, when Ryan and I arrived back in Ocala, I was tempted to immediately dig out our Christmas decorations and go to town. Instead I forced myself to clean out my closet and get a little organized before decorating.

I am currently about three quarters of the way through The Happiness Project and ever since I read the section of the book where the author discusses the importance of addressing the clutter in her life, my closet has been calling to me.

I went through everything in my closet and dresser including my clothes, shoes, scarves and belts. When I say I went through everything, I really mean it. I was ruthless and ended up with two big piles of clothes to give away.

Giveaway Clothes

Nothing was safe!

I divided my clothes into two piles: One to take to Goodwill and another to hopefully sell to Plato’s Closet and make $5 for 10 articles of clothing. The big bucks!

I ended up running out of motivation to decorate for Christmas after going through my closet and putting away all of the autumn décor, so I’m saving that festive activity for this evening!

Fall Decorations

Workout + Breakfast

It felt good to do some strength training at the gym this morning. After I spent 20 minutes on the elliptical, I hopped off to finish up my workout with a total body strength circuit.

When Ryan and I arrived home from the gym, I took a hot shower and then made myself a plate of scrambled eggs with a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel for breakfast.

Nature's Own Cinnamon Raisin Bagel

Cinnamon Raisin Bagel

Nice and warm!

Question of the Morning

  • How often do you go through your closet? How do you decide what clothing you want to give away and what clothing you want to keep?

When I found myself feeling wishy-washy about giving away a certain article of clothing, I took a cue from The Happiness Project and asked myself whether or not I’d likely elect to wear something else instead of that piece of clothing when deciding what to wear. If the answer was yes, into the giveaway pile it went!


  1. says

    Oh, you mean the closet that attacks me every time I open the door? *blush* Would you like to come over and do mine now? 🙂 I just said the other day that’s my winter project after the holidays. As far as when to give away clothes? When they’re too big for me. I REFUSE to keep “just in case I regain weight” clothes in the house. No way.


  2. Ashley says

    This post is exactly what I needed to motivate me to clean the clutter in our condo. I have been wanting to go through my closet and bins and just de-clutter for a while now! I know it will help me feel less chaotic. That will be my task today! Have a great day 🙂


  3. says

    Okay, so I probably go through my closets a bit more frequently than the average bear. Type A to the core, I’m happiest when I’m organizing, cleaning something out, throwing something away, or giving a “used treasure” to someone who would use it more than I would. When it comes to donating, there are a few rules I go by:

    -if I haven’t worn it in a year, it goes
    -if it doesn’t fit, it goes
    -if it does fit but it doesn’t make me feel amazingly awesome when I wear it, it goes

    This helps me make room for the better things to come. 🙂 I guess that’s the “empty shelf” mentality.


    • Elizabeth says

      Thanks for stating your donating rules.

      I need to follow your last one. “if it fits but it doesnt’ make feel amazingly awesome I need to get rid of i’.

      I have lots of stuff that fits me but I don’t feel amazing in it.

      I am going to clean my closet and apply this rule. Thanks ! Haley.


  4. says

    ahhh i try to clean out my closet once in the winter and once before summer to try and weed out any stuff I dont wear anymore. The only thing I can’t get rid of is a lot of my college sports stuff..even though it just sits there I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. I need to do something special with it!


    • says

      You should make a t-shirt quilt! You can send away for them online, and they’re kind of expensive, but a really nice way to hold on to clothes that have lots of good memories attached but that you’ll clearly never wear again.


  5. Kaylyn says

    The best piece of advice I ever got regarding cleaning out my closet was: “If you are on the fence about it and choose to keep it… you must wear it within one week… and if you don’t, you need to give it away.” It works!

    It also helps to put those items on hangers facing the opposite way so you know which items those were! 🙂


  6. Laura says

    Weirdly jealous that you did that…I typically go through my clothes about once a year, but I don’t think I do a good enough job of being realistic about certain things. My boyfriend looks at my closet and thinks I have WAY too many clothes (and he’s right) but I look at it and think that nothing really makes me excited to wear it. I need to whittle down…then I can justify buying more again 😉


  7. says

    Glad you had some great family time & are now feeling refreshed! I need to take a cue from you & clean out my closet, but I always hang onto things thinking that some day I may want to wear that, or if I just slim down a bit that may fit me again, LOL. Good for you on de-cluttering your life, now go enjoy putting out those x-mas decorations! At least you won’t freeze your fingers off hanging lights outside – I’m missing that part of FL right now!


  8. says

    I usually clean out my closet right before a move which has been about once a year or more for the past few years. A good tip I have learned is to hang up all your clothes with the hanger backwards, then in 6 months or so, whatever is still backwards (because it hasn’t been worn and rehung properly) has to go! It works well for items that aren’t seasonal. 🙂


  9. says

    My closet is due for a clean out too. I try to do it twice a year. I work at a university and for the first time, we are getting an extended holiday break (Christmas – New Years), I have plans to tackle my closet during my free time.


  10. says

    I don’t go through my closet nearly enough! I hate getting rid of old things, but I love bringing in the new…and my closet is bursting at the seems…it may be time to do a closet cleanout myself!


  11. Jennifer says

    I always have the worst luck at Plato’s Closet. I started taking my clothes to a local (nicer) consignment shop and have had a lot of luck with that! You don’t get your money right away (instead after it sells), but they give you 50% of what they re-sell your item for.


  12. says

    I’ve been purging around here too. But for me it’s been in my kids rooms, which is a difficult task because you have to admit that they are too grown up to ever need that View Master or Etch-a-Sketch again. Or the fact that my daughter has NEVER played with her Barbies and it’s time to admit that she never will. I find that giving them to a friend with smaller children than mine, and knowing they will still be enjoyed by someone close to your heart makes it easier. I should have NEVER watched Toy Story 3!!!


  13. says

    When I was losing weight over the last year, I was forced to constantly clean out my closet because nothing fit! Now that I am at a steady size, I haven’t done it in several months. There is something kind of freeing about getting rid of stuff you just don’t wear!


  14. Tara says

    I’m doing a wear what I own challenge, which includes cleaning out the closet. If I haven’t worn it recently, I try to wear it and if I don’t like it/can’t find another outfit for it/doesn’t fit, it goes bye. Makes you also realize how much of the same stuff I wear over and over again!


  15. says

    I lost about 10 lbs a year and half ago, and recently took 3 garbage bags full of clothes to the Goodwill. Now that I’ve gained a couple pounds from eating out so much and working from home, I wish I would have saved some of them. It feels so good having a clean organized closet though.


  16. says

    I LOVE to organize! I think I could be a professional organizer, I love it so much. Anyway, here are my closet tips. I hang everything in color order and grouped together (jeans, pants, shirts, sweaters, etc). After I wear an item, I reverse the hanger. I keep it reversed if I wear it again. After 6 months, I pull out all the clothes that haven’t been worn. I know they haven’t because their hanger never got turned. Then I decide if I want to keep them or not. I hope this makes sense! 😉 Glad you enjoyed the Thanksgiving break.


  17. says

    I love cleaning out my closet and do it several times per year. I know people who keep clothes FOREVER but if I haven’t worn it in a while, it goes in the donation pile.
    I have thought about consigning clothes before but I always hear the same thing, that the shops pay so little that it isn’t really worth the effort.

    By the way, is the layout of your blog different today or is it all in my imagination?


  18. says

    Good for you! I’ve been trying to work up the motivation to do the very same thing. I think seeing how much better it made you feel may finally encourage me to do it!

    I’ve been wanting to read The Happiness Project – I bought it for my mom for her upcoming birthday so maybe after she reads it I’ll steal it, haha. 😉


  19. Haley Southey says

    I wanted to buy the Happiness Project last week when I was at the bookstore, but I was told not to because my family may or may not be getting it for me for Christmas! Hahaha! I can’t wait to start it though!! It seems very motivational!! (:


  20. says

    I just finished that chapter, and cleaning out my closet (and the rest of my apartment) is on my to-do list for this week. We don’t have a Plato’s Closet here, so I’ll be holding onto those clothes until I visit my grandmother in Daytona 😉


  21. says

    I desperately need to clean out my closet, as well–I’m running out of hangers! Another idea I saw on Pinterest is to turn all your hangers backwards at the beginning of the year. When you wear an item you turn the hanger to face the “correct” way. At the end of the year (6 months, etc), you get rid of any still backwards-facing hangers. I have yet to try it, but the idea sounds good. Also, along with Plato’s Closet, there is a new site I found called Twice Clothing. You can buy gently-used designer clothes but can also sell your own. They send you a shipping label so you aren’t responsible for paying for it! I might try that out as well. Not sure how well they pay, but it might be better than Plato’s!


  22. says

    I JUST went through my closet and had the exact same technique – one bag for goodwill, and one to sell to a store called Buffalo Exchange. I made $100 there… it was so exciting! More $$$ to spend on Christmas presents 🙂


  23. says

    I really really REALLY need to clean out my closet and get stuff to the Goodwill. I’ve been putting it off for so long. I have a whole box of shoes in my closet that I haven’t worn in years. It’s sad, but I haven’t worn them, so I really should give them away. :'(


  24. says

    I definitely need to clean out my closet. My usual approach to getting rid of clothes involves replacement: get a new sweater, get rid of one I currently have. I tend to go on clothes purges every few years, and I’m definitely due for one: I realized a few days ago that I’ve been wearing most of my winter clothes since my freshman year of college and haven’t bought much new since then…and that was 2008/2009). No wonder I’m ready to replace what I currently have!


  25. Irene says

    I was also inspired by the happiness project to do a deep clean this weekend! My husband and I donated 8 or 9 grocery bags full of items to the salvation army (keep in mind good will is for profit, the salvation army is not for profit). We felt great about it, but it was so weird, this guy had parked his car right next to the drop off box and was watching people as they took items out of their car. It seemed like he was trying to steal anything of value that people dropped off and his car was packed with stuff. No one at the store seemed remotely interested in doing anything about it, so that tarnished the experience a little bit, even though we were able to put our items into the bin so I don’t think he took them. Even if he did, at least they aren’t in my closet anymore! I have big plans to go through our spare closet on the next long weekend we’re in town!


    • Ross says

      Hi, I noticed you mentioned Goodwill is a “for profit” company? Where did you hear that? I donated to Goodwill earlier this year it was still a non-profit company at that time. Just curious if something happened and I didn’t know about it!! Either way, it’s great you donated so many items! There are so many people in need out there!


      • Irene says

        Hi, I have been told this multiple times, but I’ve been trying to find a good source for it and can’t, so perhaps I’m mistaken. Its a bit complicated because some of the goodwill stores or centers are definitely non-profit, but I’m not really sure if the overall Goodwill Inc. corporation is non-profit (they don’t show up on Charity Navigator, the best website I know for looking up the financials of non-profits and charities). I’m also not exactly sure what the relationship between the corporation and the individual stores/projects are. I know there was a scandal that they were overpaying their CEO ($800,000 or so) which is a no no for non profit status, but maybe they resolved that. Anyways, my intention was not to stop people from donating to Goodwill, but more to point out the Salvation Army is a really good option too. The clothes get to people in need one way or another, so like you said, it’s most important to donate at all! Hopefully I didn’t mislead anyone here!


  26. says

    Every 6 months or so my friends and I do a big clothing exchange. We all get together and give our old clothes to each other. It makes it way easier to get rid of something if someone I know is going to take it and wear it. Now when I clean out my closet I can say, I fee like so and so would appreciate this more than me. Plus, I get new stuff out of it in the end!


  27. says

    I started going through my closet before we moved. And I took my tips from Monica at RER. She said put all of the hangers in your closet backwards. When you wear something, you put the hanger back forwards. In 6 months (or a year depending on how many seasons you have), anything that is still backwards gets donated (or sold).

    The Kidless Kronicles


  28. Katie says

    I do it on New year’s Day each year, I make a donate pile and a maybe pile, the maybe pile I put in a bag and whatever is still in there in June gets donated becuase I clearly don’t need it since it’s been in the bag for 6 months. I try to tell myself that it helps my wardrobe from getting stale!


  29. says

    I probably clean out my closet every few months but I should be better about it. I could make some serious money for that stuff instead of throwing it into the piles at Goodwill. Sounds like a good day to me 🙂


  30. says

    When it comes to cleaning out my closet, I am always the worst about saying, “oh, well I MIGHT wear it or need to wear it at some point.” I have a hard time getting rid of things!

    Have you ever heard of the strategy of turning your hangers backwards until you wear a certain article of clothing and whichever hangers are still backwards by the end of a certain time period, you get rid of those articles of clothing? I am thinking I might try it.


  31. says

    ahhh you read my mind Julie! I have a reaaaaaaaallllyyy tiny closet and since I don’t know where I should put all my belongings, I stuff them in there along with clothes that are hanging. Needless to say, I have been meaning to do something about it, but something about cleaning up clutter always overwhelms me! Hmmm I should just think of how refreshed you felt and JUST DO IT. 😀


  32. says

    I’m reading the Happiness Project too and I did the exact same thing as you! My roommates were thrilled to get some extra clothes and I was happy to get rid of things I no longer needed. What a powerful book we are reading to inspire us to do this! Happy cleaning and reading!


  33. says

    I’m in the process of a fairly big move, so that has prompted some major closet (and house) cleaning for my husband and I. We’ve already taken several trips to the Goodwill and I’m thinking more will be happening as the move gets closer and closer. I love the tip from the book on how to decide if something is worth giving away or not. What a great litmus test. I’ll definitely use that question to help guide me on what goes with me to the Bay Area and what goes to the Goodwill. 🙂


  34. says

    I clean out my closet every holiday season and give it to a friend of our family because his wife passed away and he has 3 girls and, well what girl wouldn’t want designer clothes that I was over after the first time I wore each item. (major shopping problem)


  35. says

    I’m actually a big fan of going through my closet on a regular basis. I really hate clutter, and having extra things lying around tends to stress me out. That being said, I’m kind of a hoarder at the same time and there are definitely times where I have a hard time getting rid of something. It’s like even if I haven’t worn it for years, I still might and I get tempted to hold on to it.


  36. says

    I seriously love cleaning out my closet. De-cluttering is so liberating. I go through mine at least once a year…I’ve moved twice in the last year, so I’ve done it twice and gotten rid of like 4 garbage bags full! So much stuff I don’t need gets sent off to Goodwill


  37. says

    I LOVE cleaning out the closet. It’s such a refreshing feeling. And it’s also kinda like shopping in your own house 😉 I try to go through mine once every season, though sometimes I’m not as ruthless with throwing out stuff. I live in a 600-sq-ft condo, though, so I have to be really careful about only keeping things I love.

    Wanna know an AWESOME trick I hear somewhere? Whenever you’re unsure of an item in your closet, turn the hanger the opposite way to your other items. If six months (or the next season) has passed and the hanger is still hanging the opposite way (meaning you haven’t worn the item), it’s time to throw that baby out! 😉


  38. Laura Boswell says

    You should do eBay or try Poshmark. It’s an app for your iPhone. It is really fast and easy. I’ve taken things to Plato’s a couple times and I could sell them 50 things and still not get enough money for pay for a tank of gas. = )


  39. says

    Last week when I was packing to go home for Thanksgiving, I kept looking at my clothes and thinking, “why do I still have all this stuff??” I need to go through everything and keep what I love and donate the rest!


  40. says

    We don’t have a Plato’s Closet or good consignment option here on the Outer Banks, so my roommate and I had a big clothes swap party last time we cleaned out our closets! We each invited a few friends to bring their “give away ” piles over, got some wine and chick flicks, and basically made a girls’ night of it. It was really fun, we all ditched a bunch of stuff that was just taking up space, and gained some clothes that we would actually love! Definitely a productive way to whittle down your pile (and spend time with friends), and the rest can still go to Goodwill 🙂


  41. says

    I turn my hangers backwards twice a year (beginning of spring and fall). If I haven’t worn the item/turned the hanger by the beginning of the next time, it gets donated/sold. This is an easy, mindless way to determine what I really wear.


  42. says

    Oh girl, my closets and drawers are screaming at me! Daniel and I both agreed that before Christmas we would go through EVERYTHING – every drawer, every closet, every nook in our home and get rid of the things we do not need and do not use. I already have four bags for consignment (mostly coats and jackets), and I have a feeling we will end up with a LOT more to give away. We decided that this Christmas we will focus on GIVING to others and random acts of kindness. Thanks for the reminder that we need to get started on those closets!


  43. says

    If I haven’t worn something within the last year, it goes. Sometimes I hate it…I think ‘But this is so cute! I’ll totally wear it.’ But then I realize that it can’t be THAT cute if I haven’t bothered to put it on in the past 12 months.


  44. says

    Too funny you mention cleaning out your closet–I just did a “mini-clean out” as well. I’m at a point where my college clothes aren’t up to par for “real world standards” (like professional and business-casual), so I have a lot of stuff that needs to go. It does feel pretty good, though. 🙂


  45. says

    Glad you had a nice relaxed holiday! (you totally deserved every minute) I usually (try) to clean my closet out twice a year. When we moved, I got rid of SO much but it never seems to make a dent. 🙂


  46. says

    I love getting rid of stuff! LOL. I hate clutter and I can’t stand keeping stuff that has no purpose. That being said, it’s those “little” things that I find hardest to get rid of…you know, that box of odds and ends that have no purpose except for maybe a good memory?

    I do struggle sometimes when cleaning out my closet though because sometimes I just *hate* everything some days! Depends on my mood. I’m trying to invest in pieces that won’t go out of style instead of trying to be trendy all the time. Which is hard to do. But yes, it feels so energizing to purge the closet!

    P.S. I don’t think you ever shared with us what you and Ryan got eachother for your 2nd Anniversary gifts?! Curious minds want to know! 🙂


  47. says

    I actually just did this the other day in preparation for moving, I had a little bit more with a HUGE garbage bag full of stuff. My mum had two! Haha, I’m glad you enjoyed your thanksgiving 🙂


  48. says

    My hubby is a clothes hoarder. Me? I looove to get rid of stuff and make room for new things! I helped him move out of his house a few years ago, and he had so many sweaters (we live in Florida) that were outdated or I’ve never seen him wear. So I would hold up 3, and he got to choose ONE to keep. This kept going on and on till we made it through the ridiculous amount of clothes he has! Mean wife! 🙂


  49. Stephanie says

    Hubby and I recently started cleaning out our closets in preparation for our big move back to my hometown (I’m an Illinois girl, too!) and so far we’ve listed about 200 items on Ebay, mostly dvd’s, cd’s and video games. I still have 2 closets left, but those are waiting for this weekend!


  50. Brooke says

    My friends all make fun of me because they say I clean out my closet TOO much. I have a bit of a clutter issue… But not because I have to much, because I think I have too little… If I look at something and it takes me more than five seconds to decide whether or not I need it, it’s gone!

    Clutter free living makes me happy, haha.


  51. says

    It’s getting time to clean out my closet as well. I ALWAYS take everything (Goodwill worthy or not) to Platos. I’ve actually made quite a few $ from them. Ironically, the items they give me the most money for are the ones I didn’t even think they’d buy. I have a pair of brand new never worn very basic(no crazy stitching or rhinestones, etc) True Religion jeans that I bought for $100+ back in the day, they offerred $15. I decided to just keep them and gift them to a friend who loves them.


  52. says

    So I have that wishy-washy feeling about most of my clothes when I go through my closet, and end up getting rid of far fewer clothes than I actually should. After moving and living out of a suitcase for weeks before our stuff arrived, I realized I didn’t need much. The clothes arrived and that same wishy-washy feeling arrived too. My friend Stephanie had such an easy solution I asked her to write a guest blog for me, Basically the short of it is to store all the wishy-washy clothes clothes in a bin, in an out of the way, harder to reach place. In 6 or so months if you haven’t made the effort to dig anything out, you know you can live without it. (I will also use the bin clothes when traveling so I can toss them out along the way and have more room to bring back souvenirs, mainly chocolate).


  53. Heather says

    Thanks for the advice on cleaning out the closet. I spent most of the day cleaning out and getting rid of a lot. Tomorrow I’m going to take my selling pile to platos, fingers crossed!!


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