The Undeniable Ruth Rotating Header Image

clean out my closet

Minimalism in 90 Days Update from Week 10.5 – Finished the Packing Party!

End of the Packing Party: Boxes for Charity, December 21, 2014

End of the Packing Party: Boxes for Charity, December 21, 2014

Put a fork in me. I’m done! My packing party is over.

In the last 72 days, I moved to a new condo and left all my things in boxes and suitcases until I needed them. During the last month, I went through each box and bag and decided what remaining things would “survive” and what would be donated to charity. I finished the last box this morning.

Last week I had three boxes and a few clothing items in my suitcase to go. Many of the books survived because they are resources I’ll use at work, like my Blue Book for legal citations but most of them are in a box with a 1-year limit to read and/or donate them to charity. All of my remaining clothing items survived, mainly because they’re professional clothes and I’m joining a law firm next year. Besides, I do a systematic annual closet clean-out which will show me what I am and am not wearing.

There is a stack of 9 boxes and a few other items that will donated to charity. I had 9 boxes of things to give away after I did my big minimalism project in 2013 and got rid of a bunch of stuff before I moved. This process really showed me how much stuff I don’t use and what types of things I keep around “just in case.” I need very little to be comfortable. And having an uncluttered home helps me feel calm and focused on what matters.

So what’s next?

  • The humane society will be picking up the charity boxes to sell my stuff at their thrift store.
  • I’m moving into my new office in January so the baby gate, office dog bed, office boxes, and many of my framed wall hangings (i.e., diplomas) will be going there.
  • I ordered an oversized reading chair for my home office and a dining set. They’ll be delivered after the holiday. I’m still considering getting a swivel chair to put next to the couch, but I want to see how the condo feels once the boxes are gone and the furniture arrives first.
  • I want to hire my handy man to install a big 4’x6’ white board in my home office and a wall or ceiling-mounted bike rack to get my bike more out of the way.

Like I said last week, minimalism is an ongoing to process of putting my time, energy, and money into things that add value to my life and clearing out the things that don’t. I’m excited to see how I feel and if anything shifts once all the boxes are gone and the furniture has been delivered.

Here’s how the place looks now. I’ll shoot another video after the next furniture delivery.

Thank you to Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists for inspiring me to do my own packing party. I enjoyed reading about your journey in Joshua Field Millburn’s book, Everything That Remains. I look forward to seeing the documentary about minimalism and your book tour.

Other updates from the Minimalism in 90 Days project:
What was Unpacked During Week 1
What was Unpacked During Week 2
What was Unpacked During Week 3
What was Unpacked During Week 4
What was Unpacked During Week 5
What was Unpacked During Week 6
Minimalism in 90 Days Update from Week 7
Minimalism in 90 Days Update from Week 8
Minimalism in 90 Days Update from Week 9

Minimalism Project: Closet Clean-Out 2014

Last year I made the commitment to being more of a minimalist and got rid of a lot of things that served no purpose in my life, which included a major closet clean-out. Now that the new year has started, that process has started again.

One of the first things I did on January 1st was go into my closet and flip every hanger so that the hooks were facing into the room rather than towards the wall.

Part of my Closet on January 2, 2014

Part of my Closet on January 2, 2014

As I wear each garment and it comes back from the wash, it will be hung on a hanger and placed back on the rod with the hook facing the wall. At a glance I can assess what I have and haven’t. At the end of the year, if there’s something that hasn’t been worn, I will probably never wear it again so I will get rid of it. Of course specialty items like my ski gear and evening gowns are exempt from this process but even they are subject to the wardrobe chopping block if they aren’t going to be used.

Same Section of my Closet on January 9, 2014

Same Section of my Closet on January 9, 2014

I’m a bit of a dork and definitely neurotic so I extended the project to include garments that are on the shelves of my closet like my jeans, sweaters, and workout gear. I created a checklist that listed each garment individually and taped it to the side of the shelves. Whenever I wear one of these items, I cross it off of my checklist.

The List on my Closet Wall - January 2nd and 9th, 2014

The List on my Closet Wall – January 2nd and 9th, 2014

As I hung the checklist I thought to myself, “Why do you have 3 pairs of yoga pants? Didn’t you get the REI yoga pants to replace the Nike ones because they were getting threadbare?” I grabbed the pen that lives in the closet off the shelf, crossed off the Nike pants, and tossed them into the donation pile.

I did a similar process last year to clean out my closet and at least 30 garments didn’t survive to 2014. I will be interesting to see what makes it through this year. I will have to remember that having nice things is meaningless if they serve no purpose and that a garment is not a substitute for a memory behind its acquisition.

Simplify Simplify

One of my goals for 2013 is to simplify and de-clutter my life. My life is busy but for the most part already simple in terms of where I spend my time. I want to turn my attention toward reducing the amount of excess stuff I have in my life.

Regular Hangers

Regular Hangers

I started this project last year but I didn’t make as much headway as I would have liked. I managed to clean out my bathroom, jewelry boxes, and a few drawers. This year, I’d like to expand on that and clean out my drawers, files, books, and clothes.

I realized I have a lot of paper around me like flyers from events I’ve attended, business cards from people I’ve met, magazines and newspapers I meant to read, and billing statements that come in the mail. I want to make a concerted effort to get rid of things I don’t need and to keep papers from piling up in the house. Instead I’m going to use or record the information I need and get rid of the paper version.

Reversed Hangers

Reversed Hangers

A few years ago I did a major closet clean out where I tied a string around every hanger in my closet. When I wore a garment, I removed the string. Whatever still had a string on it at the end of the year was removed from my wardrobe. (Specialty items like fancy dresses and my snowsuit were exempt from this exercise.) I’ve since learned that the easier thing to do is to reverse all my hangers and flip them after I wear a garment. I’ve also created a checklist for my garments that are folded on shelves. Anything I don’t wear in 2013 won’t be with me in 2014.

I admire the people who limit themselves to 100 possessions. It must be freeing to have to keep track of so little. I don’t think I’d ever want to do that, but I want to apply their dedication to simplicity to my life.