Fall Cleaning….Where do I start?!

Are you stuck inside with all this Charleston flooding? Although it’s tempting to stay in bed with warm wool socks, hot tea, and a good book, I challenge you instead to do something productive. If we are all going to be house bound for a weekend, We might as well start checking off all those things on the ‘To Do’ list so that when the weather clears up, we can go to the beach and have fun!  For me, the ‘To Do’ List looks like Fall cleaning. Every year is the same thing. If you are anything like me, you understand the emotional turmoil of trying to decide which items to let go of and which ones to keep. Last year, I devised a simple strategy for organization success.

I have a certain process when cleaning out that I like to call the “3 Pile Process”. This process works for ANYTHING (closet, pantry, even your purse) but for the sake of specifics, I will talk about my closet. I start this process by emptying everything out of my closet. Don’t hold back- just dump it all out on the floor. Your closet should be entirely empty– even the extra purses, duffel bags, and beach bags need to come out. Then I begin sorting. I sort everything into 3 piles; things to get rid of, favorite things, and things you are unsure of.

The first pile of all the things that I know right away that I need to get rid of is usually pretty simple. For example, that pair of skinny jeans that hasn’t fit in over a year even though I keep saying I’m going to get the Brazillian butt workout video. Let’s be honest- I am not ever going to get back to my birth weight. Or the leather jacket with the broken zipper and the pieces that keep crumbling off from wear and tear. Whatever the reason, when you look at these articles it should be an easy assessment.

The second pile is of all the things that are my ‘favorites’. I classify the ‘favorites’ as the clothes that I wear more than once per week. It can also be staple items like a neutral cardigan that can be worn with multiple outfits, or a jacket or coat that goes with everything. Most of my flats fall into this category. If it is still in quality condition, and it fits me well, I will wear it often and I know I should keep it.

The last pile of ‘unsure items’ may be for all different reasons. Sometimes it’s a sentimental shirt from a concert or a fun run that I have only worn once or twice but I can’t seem to let it go because of the memory tied to it. It may be a really flattering, form fitting dress that requires a weird bra that I don’t own. It could be a little business jacket that I would wear if I worked in a professional business office (but I don’t). Or it might even be that awesome pair of stilettos that I put on every time I think about going out but then decide I can’t really walk in them so I resort to flats or wedges. Whatever the reason, if they are in the “unsure” pile, it is because I don’t wear it or use it at least once per month, but there is still some reason I want to keep it.

After you have done your sorting, now it’s time for the real honesty. Go back through all your unsure items and ask yourself if you have worn it more than once in the last year. If the answer is no, then it belongs in the “get rid of it pile”. The key to this kind of organization is getting honest with yourself about how often you REALLY wear, or use the items you need to clean out. It is easy to hang onto things because you think “Maybe I could use it for _______ one day” or “I would wear it if I was going to __________”. Let go of the “what-if’s” scenarios and ask yourself what do you actually wear? Chances are, if you ever do get invited to that Cinderella Ball, you probably won’t even remember you have glass slippers stuffed in the back of your closet because they are buried under 15 other pairs of shoes.

When I did this for my own closet, I found that most of the things I was holding onto were old sentimental t-shirts. Pinterest offered the idea to turn t-shirts into a pillow pouf. Here’s how I did it:

Step 1. Gather old t-shirts.

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Step 2. Cut t-shirts into SquaresIMG_5835 IMG_5836 Step 3. Cut small strips on all corners of the square cutouts.IMG_5838 Step 4. Tie the strips of each square onto the strips of the next square to create a kind of quilt look.IMG_5839 Step 5. Shape the quilt into a pouf shape and stuff it with the left over t-shirt scraps. You may need to add extra stuffing. I used a blanket that I was going to get rid of and some worn out towels. IMG_5841

That’s It!!! Voila!

I also found a better way to organize my scarves using cheap shower rings from the Dollar Store.

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This shoe holder from Target seemed like a great idea and it has saved me tons of space. It just velcros onto your hanger rack.

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One other thing I do in my closet is trying to keep all the same types of hangers together. It prevents the hangers from getting hooked or tangled on one another and it also looks more neat and orderly.

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Even if you don’t want to spend the money to buy the nice plastic hangers, this still looks better even with cheap hangers.

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I hope these ideas inspire you to clean out! The best part about it is once it’s all done and you have so much space and can find what you are looking for. I also get a little gratification from donating clothes because I know someone else that is in need may have a chance to appreciate it. 🙂

Happy Organizing!!!

XO-Melissa

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