Laura Rennie

My home // The great closet purge of 2016

My homeLaura RennieComment

Earlier this week I posted a few pics of closets around our home that were in need of some TLC. I've been jokingly referring to this project as "the great closet purge of 2016" but there are three other closets I haven't even touched. Ack!

Between my mom (who is a professional organizer) and my Real Simple subscription, I've received loads of great tips on how to purge and organize. My mom's number one piece of advice when it comes to any organizing project is to avoid buying bins or baskets. You most likely have plenty already, and by the time you do a significant purge, you'll have an empty bin or basket to work with! I've found this to be true for myself.

I knew going into my closet purge that I didn't want to spend any money. I wasn't after trying to make my closets look super snazzy — I simply wanted to get rid of items I don't need and re-arrange my "keep" items in a way that makes sense for my lifestyle. Here's what I found worked for me:

1. Setting a timer. My time included getting everything out, vacuuming and wiping down dirty/dusty areas, putting my "keep" items back in AND finding a place for the items I took out (whether it was the trash, a bag for Goodwill, or giving an item a new home somewhere else in the house). This last bit is always the hardest part, in my opinion! The entry closet took one hour, the master closet took an hour and a half and the guest closet took only half an hour. Using a timer helps me stay on task, plus the more I've used a timer the more I've learned how long projects actually take. I used to dread chores because I thought they'd take forever, but now I can deep clean a bathroom in twenty minutes or vacuum the whole house in half an hour!

2. Distracting myself with music and podcasts. I listened to Carly Simon, songs from the Les Miserables soundtrack and clips from the StoryCorps podcast. Any chore is made more enjoyable when viewed as a form of "me time." Other times I might listen to an audiobook or chat on the phone with a close friend.

3. Being determined to take out things I do not use or need. I refuse to keep things simply to keep them. I'm going to participate in a yard sale this spring and knowing I can try to sell items gave me extra motivation to purge! I'm also a big fan of donating items and have several bags lined up for Goodwill.

Let's get to the pictures! 

The entry closet before:


Entry closet after:


Moving our heavy coats to the basement instantly gave us more room. I took out my two striped bins and consolidated my "keep" items into one bin, which holds our winter gloves and hats. I put a trash can on the floor to store sporting goods and Andy's basketball shoes (which are too big to fit on the shelves). Our plastic bags, which we use for puppy walks, are now hung on the wall instead of haphazardly stuffed into a ceramic jar. I used two little bins I already had on hand to corral things like Andy's wallet and keys (not pictured), packs of tissues, a lint roller, spare lip balm, sunscreen, etc. Lastly, I scooted our shelving unit to sit more in the middle of our closet, giving us just enough space on the right side to store a few cleaning supplies.

The biggest change is that the closet is now clean — no more wispy spiderwebs hanging from the ceiling or crunched up leaves on the floor! Even though none of my organizational items are "pretty" and the space is far from being a showstopper, I'm really pleased with how it turned out! I am toying with the idea of adding a purse hook and/or a piece of artwork. 

The master closet before:


Master closet after:


This one was a doozy! The main change for this closet was purging and re-arranging my "keep" items to reflect the change in seasons. I folded a lot of sweaters, weeded out a TON of clothes and put all of my clothes on felted hangers. (I didn't put Andy's clothes on the same hangers. Wire hangers work better for his t-shirts, because they don't pull on the collar the way felted ones do. I was a bit lazy when working on Andy's side of the closet...)

I also moved my clothes around so my tanks, tees and summer dresses are front and center. Skirts, pants, transitional tops and cardigans are on another rack. I also switched my shoes around to display my sandals on the rack over my summer clothes. I tucked sweaters into bins and put them at the top of the closet. Andy's sweatshirts and undershirts are now stored in our dresser. The pictures don't show several other racks we use for shoes and storying my purses. The closet is plenty spacious for our needs, but it's not the easiest space to photograph!

In case you're wondering, the trunk at the top of the closet holds all the cards and love notes we've written each other over the past ten and half years. :)

The upstairs guest room closet before:


The guest closet after:


This space took only thirty minutes to conquer. I packaged my linens and blankets up and decided it made sense to store them in this closet where I can easily access them than trying to stuff them under the guest bed, where they always got stuck. I took out any clothing items I want to sell at the yard sale and apparently forgot to move the remaining dresses to my master closet. Whoops! We like using this closet to store dress shirts,  jerseys and out-of-season pieces that we want to keep on hangers. It's also a convenient spot to stick our POÄNG ottoman. Though you couldn't see them because of the huge white duvet cover in the "before" picture, we used to dump duffel bags and backpacks on the closet floor. Now I use the ottoman as a corral for those bags. :) It may be the most ridiculous space-saving trick I've ever used. (Or the most genius?)

That's it! What space or spaces in your home could use a good purging? I hope this post inspires you to get rid of things that are taking up space and focus your attention on the items you love and use often. Go forth and purge, people!! :)