15 June 2015

Springtime Closet-Cleanout

I've been trying to "lay low" this week after an appointment with the osteopath. I am not supposed to do anything (my doctor told me, in English, "Just be cool. Be cool."), but doing nothing is only fun when you are already doing too many things. I don't like actually doing nothing. So ... I decided to do some light spring cleaning in the wardrobe department. I love to clean out my closet. Seriously. I love it.

The hallway pictured above holds our shared closet to the left. Isn't it pretty?

When we moved here, we came with just what we could bring on the plane, with the exception of Pops' computer equipment and some books, which we shipped. The bulk of what we brought with us was clothing, but even in that we had to be choosy. 

I am asked frequently about what we chose to take and how we fit it all on the plane. We did put some clothes into storage (only adult clothing, no point with growing children!), but I keep a fairly pared down wardrobe as it is, so it actually wasn't that difficult deciding what to take.

I really enjoy dressing and I enjoy nice items, but I also don't mind waiting until I find just the right thing. When it comes to shopping and clothing, I'd rather own less, have it be decent quality, and really love and wear it. I also love a good discount store and shopping the clearance racks. If you are patient and don't mind the hunt, you can find some beautiful things for normal-people prices. Love that when it happens!

The above photo is everything that I have that goes on a hanger. On the left side next to a few of Pops' sport coats, I have two lightweight coats of mine, skirts and dresses. On the right are tanks, blouses, blazers and some cardigans ...

Below the hanging items are hanging trousers and shoes. 

And we do have a set of drawers in which I keep jeans and my two sweaters. I really wouldn't mind having another pair of jeans and another sweater.

 T-shirts, camisoles/tanks, and lightweight sweaters ...

 And pajamas/lounge wear.

There are, of course, a few things not pictured like a drawer of undergarments, swim suit, 2 heavier coats, snow/hiking clothes (gloves, hats, pants, etc.), and accessories like some scarves and hats. But really, that's pretty much it.

I enjoy liking what I have and find it much easier to actually wear everything when there isn't too much to look at. If an item is worn out, not-repairable, doesn't fit well, or just doesn't make me feel good to wear it ... out it goes. Move. It. Along. And in general, if I get something new (which I really do love), I try to see if there is something else I can pitch.

When I do a spring cleaning, like I did this week, I like to take everything out and put it on the bed. Going through and actually touching each thing forces me to consider if I really want to fold it back up and keep in my drawers or hang it in the closet. Somethings are just worn out and need to be tossed. Others might find a new home with someone else.

Once everything I am keeping is back in it's place, I sort the move-along pile and place it into a bag(s) and march it straight out to the car. I usually leave the bag in the car for a week or so and then take it to the donation store. That week interim gives me time to have second thoughts, but almost always I can't even remember what is in the bag and am happy to be done with it.

 The other great thing about this process is you remind yourself of what you own and know what you might like to be on the hunt for. (For me, new black flats and a pair of jeans top the list.)

This strategy seems to work well for the kids, too. For so long I kept too many clothes in their closets thinking they might still squeeze into them and get some use. In reality, it just made it harder for them to keep their closets tidy and not much more. I also don't feel guilty about buying them new clothing when they need it ... because we know what they actually need and/or are lacking. (For Peter, another pair of jeans and a couple button down shirts. For Lucette, shorts that aren't too short. For Jane, not much! She's in pretty good shape.)

How about you? Do you like the less is more strategy? Do you prefer having lots and lots of options or simple and streamlined? How do you approach clothes shopping ... with a plan or as it comes? Do you like wardrobe clean-outs or is the whole thing just a bother and you are bored at the thought? Tips or tricks like my friend, Morgan, has? I really do oddly love this sort of thing. Let me know!


  1. Love this and SO motivating. I totally want to go clean my closet right now!

    1. Sigh. I miss organizing with you. Every time one of us cleans something, the other gets all excited to do the same. You are the only person I know who is weird like this too.

      ps- your closet is always clean and streamlined!! what are you talking about needing to clean?! :)

  2. I will admit that I am horrible when it comes to "less is more" strategy. It goes against every fibre in my body.

    When I lived in France and England everything I owned had to come on my back, so that does make one a bit focused.

    I am envious of your move to France. Are you loving it? Or finding it to be a difficult adjustment?


    1. Hi, Suzanne! We are both loving it and finding it to be a challenging adjustment. It looks like you know about this even better than me! I'd be curious to hear about the differences of being an expat in France vs. England. I've heard that being an expat in England is both easier because of the language, but harder because the cultural differences seem more stark. What was your experience?

  3. I'm really bad about getting rid of stuff because it doesn't fit then either gain or lose and have to buy more. So, after buying Kon Mari book I kept 3 dresses and 1 pair of jeans in 3 sizes and got rid of everything else that doesn't currently fit. Even though I love fashion, I love finding things more.