Purging 33 Years of Clothes

Organizing a client’s Clothing/Closets is tricky business! I spent the last two days working with a client organizing two closets filled with clothes that have been accumulating for 33 years. A working professional, she has business clothes, around the house casual clothes, formal clothes, lounger and dressy casual.  All were intertwined among items that no longer fit or if they did could only be worn to a costume party.

It was clear as I stacked pile after pile of wire hung clothes onto the bed and sheet covered floor that we were about to embark on a trip down memory lane! It was like watching the evolution of her life from childhood to adulthood to middle age as told by her clothes.

“I can’t believe my waist was ever this small. I wore that sweater on my first trip to Europe when I was 28. Oh I loved this dress and hat I wore it when I was in California for a wedding with an old boyfriend and it was a beautiful sunny day.  What’s with all these shoulder pads?” Along with the happy memories also came regrets. “I wish I would have worn this more.  I was saving this for a special occasion and never wore it. I bought this because it was on sale. And my favorite “I forgot I had this!”

By focusing on only keeping clothes she loved and that fit her now, she finally gave herself permission to let go of 36 garbage bags of clothes and shoes. That came out to be about a bag a year! I suggested that she maintain her current closets with a similar goal – one bag a year – only buy items you need, and if you buy more, then donate what you are not wearing.

Remember: if you aren’t appreciating it, then allow someone else to benefit! Recycle, recycle, recycle. It feels good to help other people and for most people this is what makes letting go of clutter / excess easy and worthwhile.

A constant reminder that time had gotten the best of my client was having to separate clothes that had been left on dry cleaner hangers, some for 20 years or more!  Most people don’t realize that the material used by dry cleaners is not meant to be used for storage, and will deteriorate over time.  Not to mention, dry cleaning your clothes just to have them sit and gather dust is an expensive habit.

In total: 30 hours (not bad considering how many years of acquired excess we had to sort, toss, contain) 7 bags of wire hangers, garbage and recycle bags, 2 bags of purses, 4 bags of shoes/boots/slippers, over 300 shirts, 91 pairs of pants, 62 blazers, 40 skirts, 50 sweaters, and 37 dresses later we were left with two organized closets.


Her guest room closet now contain her golf and workout clothes, games, and plenty of empty space that can be used by visiting friends and family.  Most importantly, the master bedroom closet holds only clothing she loves! By organizing her walk-in closet into general categories that reflect what her needs are, I was able to create a space that is not only beautiful to look at but functional and easy to use.

Facing down your clutter and turning your home into a place that supports and reflect who you are, not who you use to be, is a great way to free yourself from the past and embrace and find joy in the now! Life is a journey!  Don’t let your stuff stifle your ability to grow and move forward.

Surround yourself with only those items that enhance your journey and free yourself from the excess that is weighing you down. The journey is easier if you are aware of what you are carrying and whether or not it is serving you or slowing you down!

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