No matter how often I clean out my closet, I always seem to accumulate more clothes than I ever need. Some old, some new and most that I know I will never wear again.
I have tried so many different techniques – trash or treasure, what I haven’t worn in 6 months and even turning the hangers in the opposite direction, all with no luck.
There have been several times when I have moved out of state and even out of the country for up to a year at a time. During these trips I stay in hotels, B&Bs, holiday homes etc., all with very little to no storage. What I discovered is that, even for my longest trips, I didn’t need much more than what my largest suitcase would hold.
When I pack to go away, I usually take the same basic items and only what is absolutely necessary. I do like to be comfortable and flexible for the conditions so I always take that into account.
If I think about clearing out my closet in the same way as I think about packing for a trip, it should help with some of those iffy items that I always end up keeping instead of getting rid of.
Part of this will require severing the emotional attachment I have to so many items. I love the pattern or how I looked or what I was doing when I last wore it, are my typical excuses for keeping something that no longer suits me.
I used to try to pack away seasonal items as the weather changed, but I live in Colorado and we can have 90-degree temperatures one day and snow the next, so it’s not practical. I need a year-round wardrobe that I can keep ready anytime for home or away.
Aside from actual clothing items, I have amassed a tremendous collection of shoes and undergarments that rarely if ever get used. Packing is a great way to minimize those things as well. I wouldn’t think of taking 15 camisoles when I need one or two.
I always begin my packing process by planning my itinerary – where will I be going, what are the weather conditions and what activities will I be doing. For me, that usually involves a variety of situations – wet, dry, hot, cold, work, dinners, dances, dates, casual loungewear and outdoor activities.
Next, I pull out the main items that I think I will want to wear for each of the scenarios. Then I begin grouping by color and separate the tops from the bottoms, making sure all items in a color group match each other. I usually stick to solid colors for bottoms (black, blue, brown) and add 3 - 4 print tops that go with each color bottom.
Then I add the shoes, sweaters, scarves, jackets and accessories for each group of outfits. Looking at this all laid out really helps me to see what I have and how they go together.
The last step is to pack it in my suitcase. Depending on how far you want to take this, you might decide to use several suitcases or containers for what you are keeping. I'm now using packing cubes as additional easy storage for those items I don't use very often but want to keep.
So, there it is, my new suitcase closet organizing system. I’m getting started on it right away and see just how low I can go and free up my time and space from all of this physical and emotional clutter.
Is decluttering and organizing a pleasure or a pain for you? What methods have you used that work well for you? I would love to hear your comments and whatever tips and tricks you may have to share with others.
Published on Sixty and Me
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