HOW TO DOWNSIZE YOUR CLOSET

HOW TO DOWNSIZE YOUR CLOSET - This Wild Home

We have started the first of many purges on your journey to going tiny. As we go along, we’re realizing that living in an airstream may be even tighter than we originally thought, but we’re totally up for the challenge!

We’ve worked on sliming down on clothes a lot over the years, but we have officially reached a moment where it’s essential that we live with as little as possible. It’s made us really think about what we love and how we can create a tiny wardrobe we can be happy with. We’ve taken our process for purging the closet and streamlined it to make sure we’re making the most of our purging process (and to keep it organized and clutter free).

OUR STEP BY STEP PROCESS

Our process is one that we believe can help people to make the most out of their downsizing. There are no numbers attached, no ultimate goal you need to get to. It’s simply all about thinking about what you need and why you want to downsize. Your things need to work for you so any purging event should be something that you put rules on, not something that we decide for you.

Whether you’re looking to move into an airstream (like us!) or you simply just want more room in your closet for the new season, this is how we downsized our closet to make sure we kept the things we love and got rid of the things we don’t.

HOW TO DOWNSIZE YOUR CLOSET - This Wild Home
  1. GET IN THE RIGHT MINDSET

    Mindset is everything in a purge. If you’re too critical, you may wind up getting rid of things you actually love (which I’ve done many times). On the other hand, if you’re not critical enough, you could wind up doing all this work without really getting rid of anything.

    The goal is to make your stuff work for you, not the other way around. You don’t need stuff for the sake of projecting an image. You don’t need stuff saved for all of those “just in case” moments. The only thing you need from your stuff is joy and purpose. Anything else is just wasting your time and space.

    For your closet specifically, make sure you’re keeping items you really love right now. Not things you think you may wear in the future. Not things you used to love or that used to fit perfectly that no longer serve their purpose. Only keep things that you can put on RIGHT NOW and say, “Hell yeah, I look good.”

    Don’t go into this to create a forever wardrobe. Don’t go into this hoping to project an image that isn’t true to you. Make sure you’re making the most of your time by using this purge as wisely as possible. To create room for the things that are currently serving you.

  2. THINK ABOUT YOUR DAY TO DAY

    To help you keep things you know you’ll really wear and love, make a list of an average day or week (or both). Write down all the things that you ACTUALLY do right now. Do you have to work everyday? Is it in an office? Do you work out a lot? Do you wish you worked out a lot?

    Thinking about the items you know you actually need for the activities you actually participate in throughout the week is a good way to make the most of the items you choose to keep.

  3. UNDERSTAND YOUR STYLE

    Knowing your style and the pieces that help to create it is one of the best ways to go into a purge. It really helps to make sure every item serves a purpose and that it has other items it can go with.

    Pinterest is always a good tool to use in your purges. It’s a helpful way to get a visual for what you really like rather than trying to remember everything in the moment.

    I like to keep a style inspiration board that I edit down before a closet purge. Once it’s fairly cohesive throughout all the pins, I use that as a visual for pieces I’m drawn to and color palettes that make me feel the happiest. Once I have a good understanding of what style I am most drawn to, I can use that to kind of shop my own closet. (It’s also helpful to think of it as “shopping your closet” rather than just getting rid of your clothes)

  4. PURGE

    We like to “blitz” this part which basically means we move quickly and make snap decisions every step of the way.

    • Start by take everything (EVERYTHING) out. Seriously, put every item of clothing you own in a big pile.

    • Go through the big pile and sort into smaller piles. A keep pile for things you absolutely know you love. A maybe pile for things you can’t say for sure either way. And a toss pile for things you know for sure you just don’t like. I like to do this part quickly, without even thinking about it. I’ve found it helps to take the emotion out and keep my choices true to what I actually know I like/wear.

    • Once you have your piles, try on EVERYTHING in your maybe pile. It’s a good way to actually know how an item feels and looks when it’s on. If the choice is still tough, you can either put the item in storage for a bit and see how you feel later or put it away with your “keep” items and see how much you actually reach for it. Remember, you don’t have to deprive yourself of anything so if you want to hold onto it longer, go for it! There are no winners or losers to this. It’s all about doing what’s right for you.

    • With your toss pile, get rid of it as you see fit.

    • And then, of course, put away all your keep stuff.

  5. LET THERE BE GAPS

    This isn’t so much a step in the process, but it’s something I’d really like to say.

    Lets say you have a sweater in your wardrobe. Let say you really need to have a sweater in your wardrobe, but the one you have isn’t one that you really love. You’ve really just held onto it because you need a sweater and you’ve never made a point to get one you actually feel good in because, well, you already have a sweater.

    Gaps in your wardrobe can be really scary. I, personally, like to have everything I need/want the moment I need/want it. It feels like letting go of an item you know you need, but don’t necessarily like, is wasteful or counter productive. But if you don’t actually LOVE it, I encourage you to let it go and live with that gap in your wardrobe.

    I have a few reasons for this.

    1. You are more likely to remember to buy something you do love if you don’t have a filler for that item.

    2. Keeping things in your closet that you need to wear but that you don’t like is basically giving yourself a guarantee of feeling bad about yourself anytime you put that item on which is a total confidence killer.

    Let. There. Be. Gaps! Allow yourself the freedom (if possible) to only keep items that really do make you feel amazing.

  6. ORGANIZE

    This is key when it comes to maintaining this purge. Organizing your closet in a way that works for you is essential. Don’t worry about whatever closet organizing rules you’ve heard. Don’t worry about the KonMari Method to folding. Your clothes will feel loved as long as they are worn.

    Personally, instead of folding clothes, I like to just keep them in their own categorized boxes. I HATE putting clothes away so I have to make it as easy as possible to keep them organized or else they’ll end up on a chair in the living room (no, but really).

    For me, I hang everything we wear on a daily/weekly basis. Seasonal clothing and PJs are thrown (not folded) into boxes. Shoes are all in a basket. And I have this neat, 3 compartment box for storing undergarments. One garment type per section.

    I keep it extremely simple so don’t ever let anyone tell you throwing shirts in a box haphazardly isn’t the right way to do it because anything that gets the clothes organized is the right way to do it.

HOW TO DOWNSIZE YOUR CLOSET - This Wild Home
HOW TO DOWNSIZE YOUR CLOSET - This Wild Home

That’s pretty much it!

Purging doesn’t have to be daunting. It doesn’t have to be specifically for moving into a tiny house or going full on minimalist. Sometimes it’s just nice to make room for something new (like my sister who cleans out her closet to get money for Plato’s Closet for more clothes). As long as you’re getting something positive from the experience, you’re doing it exactly as it should be done!

If we’ve struck a chord and you’re ready to purge a little more, download our free workbook! It’s our entire process for purging your whole home!

SAVE FOR LATER

A Mindful Approach To Downsize Your Closet - This Wild Home
A Mindful Process To Make The Most Of Your Wardrobe And Downsize The Stuff You Hate To Make Room For The Stuff You Love - This Wild Home
Mindful Tips To Downsize Your Closet And Make The Most Of Your Wardrobe - This Wild Home

AIRSTREAM TOUR | before

AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home

The moment I layed eyes on this airstream, I fell in love. It gave me so much hope that we could truly make an airstream our home. I knew we’d have to do work on any airstream we found, but I never dreamed we’d find a beautifully renovated airstream that fit our style so well.

Seeing an airstream that was already beautifully put together is what pushed us to take the plunged. While we had been decided on going tiny, the idea of an airstream was just one possibility of many. Then, we saw this beauty named Polly and we were sold.

AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home
AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home

The living room is a space we’re going to use as both living space AND our bedroom. We’re still deciding between a day bed or just a traditional pullout couch. We thought about keeping the futon, but if I’m going to put my bed away everyday, I’d at least like to keep the sheets on so I’m not completely making and unmaking a bed everyday.

Our goal is to figure out how we can maximize comfort, convenience, and space. I know something will have to give, but we want to figure our which of those three things is the most important and go from there.

What would you choose? (no seriously, I need help.)

AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home
AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home

The kitchen is already perfect. As far as making it “move-in ready,” there’s nothing that needs to be done but the moving in part! We’re keeping a very open mind about this airstream. If we hate it, it’s going to be an amazing opportunity to make some money through renting the space either short-term or long-term. If we LOVE it, I’m going to revisit the kitchen to possibly add in an oven. I know I’m going to miss my roasted veggies for a bit, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the time being. This move (and keeping it simple) is definitely more important right now.

AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home
AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home

This space is just for the boys. As crazy as it sounds, we’re actually going to remove the storage cabinets and build another platform so each boy can have his own bed. We contemplated bunkbeds, but since our oldest is only 2, we’re just going to put them both in beds with rails for the next few years. We also found some noise reducing curtains to hang in front of each bed so they can have a nice, cozy corner to sleep in where we won’t disturb them on our way to and from the bathroom.

If we’re still airstream living in the next two years, we will build some bunk beds and either reinstall the original cabinets, or build some new ones!

AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home
AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home
AIRSTREAM TOUR | before - This Wild Home

Finally, the bathroom. Another space we’re doing pretty much nothing too! The set up is very spacious. There are two decently sized closets and a sliding door with a full length mirror. There’s lots of cabinet space so, shockingly, Ian and I will have much less fighting over mirror/counter space in the airstream than we do in our current, 1,000 sqft apartment!

The only things we’ll do are add a shower curtain and (maybe) get a composting toilet. We’ll need to find a more compact one to make it work, but that is ultimately what we would like to do.

I have a few things I may do in the bathroom down the road, but that’s only because I’m a wallpaper/tile junkie so I may have to have some fun in there in the future!

So there’s the airstream in it’s current state! I’ll be sharing all the updates we do along the way. The very first step? The boys room. I have been dreaming of creating a room for my kids that is truly our own that I can really go all the way with, basically, since I was pregnant with Oliver. So yeah, I’m geeking out hard right now.

Photos and original renovation by Malley Johnson

WE GOT AN AIRSTREAM! | why we're going tiny + why we chose an airstream

WE GOT AN AIRSTREAM! | This Wild Home

Some really exciting things going on at the Jones’ house this week!

We made a highly anticipated impulse decision to move forward on a dream we’ve had for a very long time: living tiny, on wheels.

It’s something we’ve been talking about for years, but were never really sure if we’d actually do it. We’ve had debt to pay off, kids to think about, and in general it’s just not something that necessarily sounds “responsible.” But after a long time of dreaming and talking and researching, we took the plunge and bought an airstream. It’s equal parts terrifying and exciting but, ultimately, I think we will be so happy we made this choice.

WHY GO TINY?

The appeal of tiny living hit us around the time I got pregnant with Oliver. We were living in a big, expensive city and started shopping around to see what kind of house we could afford. At the time, I was definitely in the mindset of needing a big house with individual rooms for each member of the family, lots of bathrooms, playrooms, living rooms; the works. I felt like we would all need a lot of space to retreat to and to call our own. But in the city we were living in, the only real option was to live in areas we weren't too excited about.

All of that searching made us realize we didn’t need a big city to make us happy, so we moved to a small town. There were more career opportunities and much cheaper housing costs. We could see a light at the end of the tunnel for being able to purchase a home and have all of our (my) nesting dreams come true. It was at that time I had finally discovered minimalism, realized that maybe some shared bedrooms and one living room would be enough, and got rid of a ton of stuff.

We started on our path of evaluating what was truly important to us and what we really wanted from life.

But then, Ian’s job had us moving around… a lot. Our oldest son got to the point of living in 4 different cities before he was two. We went through a lot of places that we thought were going to be home. We settled in just to tear everything down and settle in again. It became very apparent to us that:

  1. We can’t truly be sure where we’ll ever settle down.

  2. While we love the idea of having a consistent space, the idea of committing to one city is very daunting to us.

I, personally, would love to be able to create a home for my family, but neither of us loves the idea of being stuck in one place long term. We kind of love the adventure of moving around but, being homebodies, we want a home that can come with us where ever we are. A little piece of comfort and familiarity for all of us.

While tiny living may not be for everyone, we have definitely found ourselves living a lifestyle where this really makes sense. And since we’re all in the same room all day every day anyway, why not get rid of the excess and get ourselves something that really works for us?

WHY AN AIRSTREAM?

There are so many different choices when deciding to go tiny. There’s traditional tiny homes, RVs, airstreams, and probably many more that I’m not even thinking of.

We actually started this whole process at a Buffalo Wild Wings. We sat down with each other and decided that it’s time to make this daydream a reality. We need to finally act on one of our big ideas. So we found a company to work with to have a custom tiny home build for us. They were so helpful, budget friendly, and ready to help us create a home that met all of our needs.

We ran into a problem though. Tiny homes are tough to finance. They aren’t defined enough for banks to be comfortable handing out loans. We thought about possibly just taking the time to save up the full amount, but for better or worse, we want this to happen as soon as possible. We also realized that no matter what kind of certification you have on your tiny home, the world just isn’t quite ready. We’re not willing to risk not finding places to park our tiny home. Especially having our two young kids with us. We need the security knowing we’ll have somewhere we can park our home no matter where we go.

So we turned to traditional travel trailers.

  • We knew we wanted something we can haul, not something with it’s own motor.

  • We needed something that is easily defined and comes with the assurance of being able to have a safe parking space anywhere we go.

  • We liked the idea of having something that can be stripped and renovated (in the future) to mold with us as our family grows.

  • We also knew we wanted something that looked really cool (this is our home after all, aesthetics are going to have some say).

So we decided the iconic, beautiful airstream would be the route we’d take.

HOW WE FOUND OUR AIRSTREAM

This is where the epitome of our impulse comes in. We actually weren’t looking too seriously when we found our airstream. We were simply at the crossroads of “Tiny house OR airstream?” when we decided to look on Airstream Classifieds to see what our options could be when we were finally ready to pull the trigger. To be honest, we actually weren’t planning on buying anything until the end of the year.

Knowing we aren’t extremely handy, we were looking for airstreams that needed minimal work to make our own. We didn't want to have to gut something completely and start over right now. Just simple paint jobs and maybe installing a few shelves. Nothing more. With in 5 minutes of looking, we found two beautiful, RENOVATED airstreams. After some careful consideration (and obviously a pros and cons list), we decided on a 1974 Airstream Sovereign all the way out in Kentucky. The interior was something I would’ve done myself which means it really doesn’t need much work at all. We’ll have to come up with some clever solutions to make it work for a family of 4, but for the most part it is everything we could’ve asked for.

We will be sharing our journey to going tiny. All the purging, the move in, and then life in an airstream! It’s going to be a crazy adventure for us all, but ultimately we are so excited to do something we’ve always dreamed of doing.