Hi, I’m urban bohemian, and I’m a clothes-a-holic…

Recognizing that I have a problem is the first step, right?* This entire week, every night’s self-assigned chore has been clean out the closet. To date, I’ve barely managed to get old dry-cleaning plastic bags into the trash. How the hell does one start this process? I’m running out of closet space for new dress shirts, because the closet isn’t designed very well in the first place, the weight of clothing often brings it all crashing down from time to time and I feel powerless to do anything about it. My landlord told me he wouldn’t mind if I installed a new closet system in there (of course he wouldn’t mind!) but I feel like I need a lot less stuff first otherwise, it makes no sense to even try.

Does anyone have advice in how to make the opening salvo? What does one do with leftover wire hangers from dry cleaning? How does a pack-rat get rid of clothing that still fits, even if it fails the “6 month test”? Thankfully as I’ve grown, many things no longer fit, so I won’t have a problem getting rid of them, the harder part will be obtaining the patience to donate the clothes instead of just tossing them out. And shoes — Shoes… Shoes… Shoes! — that still fit and still have appropriate fashion, but that I just don’t wear anymore, I feel like I need an entirely separate closet for shoes. Coats too. I used to never have any coats or warm weather gear and then I went through a phase where I acquired/bought too many coats, many of which still fit me just fine. I’m feeling just a tiny bit overwhelmed right now.

Otherwise I’d also like new sheets for the bed, I’m ready to make the leap to a duvet + cover lifestyle, I bought some new pillows, from Target of all places, and they are wonderful. I’ll definitely head back to get 2 more of those. For sheets, I’m being drawn in by catalogs, west elm especially. Come to think of it, they’re in town now, I could just swing by and drool in person.

I know it will take a while before I have that clean, crisp urban apartment look, it’s definitely more bohemian right now than anything else, but I figure if I can start with one room and launch from there, I’ll be in a better position. I got the bathroom all sparkly, now it’s time to get the bedroom in shape, which is a 3-pronged attack: closet, bedding, computers. I’d do before and after shots, but I swear it’s so embarrassing right now that even if I had a webcam that worked with Vista, I wouldn’t turn it on.

* I mean no offense to any Friends of Bill W or anyone else in a recovery program.

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5 Responses

  1. Esprix says:

    Have you worn it in the last year?

    I’d also suggest trying some of it on – if it doesn’t feel right, get rid of it.

    I know it’s hard, but it’s possible.

  2. Brian says:

    @Esprix: *phew! I thought you were gonna say “Where are your shoes?!” in which case I was going to have to kick your ass.

  3. Michael says:

    Well for any items that still fit, sort them out into types and what you would wear them for (work shirt, club shirt, work pants, casual pants, etc), then count how many you have of each category. Let the numbers shock you into how much you have, then set a goal of how many you want to have by the time you’re done sorting them.

    Any clothes you ditch, put into a box or bag and give to charity.

  4. kar0na says:

    Michael beat me to it, but I’d also like to add that you can try the turned-hangers trick. Turn all the hangers facing the opposite way and only turn back the items that you end up wearing. In awhile you’ll start to see the clothes you never wear sitting there.

    I make a hobby out of decluttering. My first piece of wisdom is always that getting started is the hardest part. Once you’ve moved past the initial emotional tough spots, you’ll find yourself gleefully tossing things for charity. By the end, you should feel a burden lift that you didn’t even know was there. You might even start eyeing up other closets and cupboards. 😉

    Oh, and a tip for items you love but have no use for: take a picture of it, then get rid of it. Now you’ll always have a memory of it!

    Good luck! You can do it!

  5. shin says:

    What does one do with leftover wire hangers from dry cleaning?

    Scream, “Christina, how many times do I have to say, ‘No more wire hangers!'” Okay, that was a bad Mommie Dearest joke.

    As far as getting rid of clothes, especially if they’re perfectly good, sell the gently used garments to a consignment shop (Buffalo Exchange, for example). If that option fails or sounds daunting, then donate. Close to new or barely worn clothes are always appreciated by organizations that will take them.

    Good luck in decluttering, Brian 🙂

    Do it and take a breath. You’ll feel better.

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