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