Extreme closet cleanout update! How is your 30-day closet cleanout challenge going? Today we’re checking in on our progress in the 30-day decluttering challenge and going over more tips to get rid of your old clothes.
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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Extreme Closet Cleanout Update
Hey, hey, hey, this is our Extreme Closet Clean Out update. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been doing an extreme closet clean-out one small step at a time. That way it’s not overwhelming and it’s manageable and it doesn’t take up hours of our time at once.
Today’s project is going to take a few minutes. It’s not just one item a day. This is going to be a lot of items in one day. It’s going to take about 15, 20 minutes of time, but that’s it, okay? This is manageable still. Today we’re going to focus on special occasion clothing.
What is Special Occasion Clothing?
Now you say, what is special occasion clothing? Well, it is used for a special occasion. Let’s say that you once had a job and you wore a uniform for that job. But you’ve lost the job or you quit the job or you retired, but you still have the uniforms in your closet.
This is the time that we want to pull those uniforms out and we’re going to send them to the Goodwill or the Salvation Army, or we’re going to toss them, okay? We’re going to get rid of them right now because we’re no longer using them.
Another scenario would be if you had a professional job and you wear shirts and ties and all that stuff. And now you’re working from home since COVID and you no longer wear the shirts and ties and you have all this special occasion clothing, but the special occasion no longer exists.
Go Through Your Old Party Clothes From High School
Also in this platform of clothing that we’re going to remove, would be like party clothes from the prom when you were back in high school. You saved the dress because you spend a lot of money on it, but you’re never going to fit into it again.
And it will be another 15 years before it comes back in Vogue, that kind of thing, right? We’re going to get rid of the special occasion clothing. You can do this yourself or you can have someone else in your family help you.
Ask Your Family to Help if You’re Emotionally Attached
In this particular task, we allow other people in the family to help for this reason. If you are emotionally attached to your special occasion clothing and you cannot let it go. It’s best to step aside and to let someone else from your family come in and remove those clothes and do this task for you.
And you swap and do this task for them, okay? Their emotions are not as wrapped up in the clothing as you might be. Because when you see the clothing, you’re going to go, “Oh, that brought me so much joy.” No, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to get rid of it.
Here’s the Closet Cleanout Exercise
Here’s the exercise. You’re going to need a garbage bag. This is a 13-gallon garbage bag. Unless you’re a minimalist, you can probably fill one of these up, okay? So the challenge is to fill up at least one bag of special occasion clothing. What we’re going to do is we’re going to bring it all out to the bed.
And then we’re going to take it off if it’s inside hangers or if it’s inside the clothing covers. We’re going to take them out of the clothing covers. And we’re going to hang a rack on the back of the door. It looks like this.
You’re going to hang this up over the door then you’re going to hang the hangers that have clothing on them, okay? So, this is a hanger that hangs on the back of the door. Now you hang up a dress or a shirt or whatever it is. And then, I want you to take a picture of it with your camera.
Take a Picture of the Clothes You’re Giving Away
So here we have a garbage bag that we’re filling up and we have our camera. We’re going to take a picture of that item hanging on the door. Then when we take it off the door, we take it off the hanger and we put it inside the garbage bag, okay? In the end when the garbage bad is full, if there are more clothes, you’re going to put your hand in front of the camera and you’re going to take a picture of your hand.
Now, what that does is that creates a little block. When you go through the pictures and you see them all, that’s going to say, “Everything after this was garbage bag number 2“, okay? So everything above here is garbage bag number 1.
A picture of the hand, garbage bag 2. Another picture of the hand, that’s garbage bag 2. And what we’re going to do when we’re done is we’re going to label the garbage bags. So we have garbage bag 1, garbage bag 2, garbage bag 3.
Keep the Pictures in a File on Your Computer
All right. Here’s what happens. We’re going to take the pictures off our phone and we’re going to drag them over to the computer where we can see every single item of the clothing. Then we’re going to put it in a file folder called Donations plus the year.
So if it’s 2021, it would be Donations 2021, right? The reason we do this is this. There are a lot of tax deductions that are available for giving clothing to, let’s say, the Salvation Army or the Goodwill Foundation.
So, you can tax deduct those if you have a business and there are parameters around that. So that is one use for the pictures. That gives you proof that you donated them once you get the receipt.
Create a New Norm in Your Closet
The other reason is in the next 30 days, we’re not going to throw the garbage bags away that we filled up. In the next 30 days, we’re going to hang on to them. We’re going to put them out in the garage somewhere where they’re not going to interrupt our daily workflow.
But they’re not going to be in our closets either because remember we’re creating a new norm. We’re creating a new, “Oh, I live with less stuff space.” So we still technically have all this special occasion clothing. It’s out in the garage now, labeled in garbage bags, 1 through 4, or 1 through 20, or however many special occasion bags you have.
Keeping the Bags Helps if You Have Buyer’s Remorse
And so then what happens is over the next few weeks, if you have buyer’s remorse like, “Oh no, I wish I didn’t throw that skirt away.” Well, you can look and you can see quickly on your file folder, in garbage bag 3 is that skirt. You still have permission to go back out and regain that skirt and bring it back and put it back in your closet.
But the object is, if you didn’t use it and you’re not wearing it and you probably won’t ever wear it again, this is a chance to get rid of that, right?
What happens is like 99.9% of the time at the end of the 30 days, people chunk the garbage bags. They send them to the Goodwill or they send them to the Salvation Army because they never used the stuff again and they probably never will.
The 30 Days are Your Security Net
But there’s the security net that if you’re scared to get rid of it. This gives you permission to remove it from your closet and create a new norm. You still have the backup and the security of, if you must open a bag, you know exactly what bag to open. You don’t have to open all the other bags which are going to unleash that flood of emotions and attachments that you had to those other clothes.
Now, when you’re done, I recommend that you also donate the coat hangers, or you get rid of them as well. Don’t leave the empty coat hangers in your closet because that suggests, “Oh, look, there’s new space. I can fill this up again. I have all these empty coat hangers.” Get rid of the coat hangers as well, right?
The Declutter Challenge: A Guided Journal for Getting your Home Organized in 30 Quick Steps – https://amzn.to/3bF3YKj
Real Life Organizing: Clean and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day – https://amzn.to/3o9JfmP
Organizing Your Home with SORT and SUCCEED – https://amzn.to/3eFed2Q
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – https://amzn.to/3tO91hK
Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff – https://amzn.to/2QhiHn8
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