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April 9, 2019

Pare Down Your Closet – Painlessly!

If you’re like most people, your hoarder tendencies come out in full force when you’re faced with a closet bulging with “I can’t get rid of that!” items. There’s something about the seemingly endless choices stuffed into a tiny closet that tends to comfort us – even though the mess and clutter also tends to stress us out. Are you caught up in this conundrum? Let the Design Center experts at Ernest Homes help – we have some great ideas for painlessly separating from the pieces that don’t give as good as they get. T-shirts from Hell… Almost everyone has at least a stack of these taking up valuable space. They fall into two distinct groups – the freebies and the ancient. Let’s look at the freebies first. To be honest, most of them don’t have any meaningful relationship to our lives. Unless you find yourself reaching for the same one over and over, more than likely, you won’t miss them when they’re gone. The ancient ones – faded, full of holes and maybe even splattered with bleach stains – aren’t really fit for public appearances. If there’s any part of a shirt with huge sentimental value worth saving, consider converting it into a pillowcase, wall art or even a quilt if you have a bunch of these oldies but goodies. Worn Out Underwear If it has a hole, stretched-out elastic, or sags in all the wrong places, toss it directly in the trash. Most bras have a maximum shelf life of one year, and most underpants last half as long when washed every week to two weeks. Remember what your mom told you growing up…always wear nice, clean underwear. You never know who may end up seeing it! Anything from “The Ex” It doesn’t matter how comfy or soft it is. Your future will always be brighter if you let go of pieces that remind you of a not-so-successful past relationship. Anything You’ve Over-worn There’s a difference between a “go-to” item (such as essential black pants) and one that’s been around the block too often. If friends or family make the “blue dress again” remark, or you have a bunch of pictures where the same plaid shirt keeps showing up, it may be time to trade it in for something new. Holiday Apparel Storing clothing festooned with reindeer, bats or bunnies in the closet can put you into the clutter red zone before you know it. Pull these pieces and stash them in plastic bins or space saving bags that can be stored in a garage, attic or general use closet in another part of the house. “Comb Through” Your Sweaters Sweaters are one of the largest items we store in closets, and they’re quick to pass their prime. First, get rid of any sweater that itches. It may be a gorgeous color, but no-one will ever see it if you can’t stand the feel of it against your skin. If a sweater has pilled, and you haven’t had luck removing the offending nubs with a razor or a special pill removing block, it’s time for it to go. Purses Most women collect more bags than they’ll ever need. Keep three; a neutral gray, brown or black fall/winter bag, a white/tan spring and summer bag, and small evening bag. If you live an active lifestyle, you may want to keep a cross-body sporty bag for essentials while you’re on the go. Orphan Items Orphan gloves, socks, shoes and earrings seldom find their mates after the first week or two. Breaking up is hard to do, but once you get into the habit of letting go of lone wolves, it does get easier. If the earring is high quality or has sentimental value, have it reset as a ring or pendant. For gloves, shoes and socks, it’s simply sayonara. Stained or Tattered Like ancient t-shirts, it’s hard to let go of favorite items of clothing when they have an indelible stain or a hard to repair rip. If you’ve given it all you’ve got, but you can’t get the stain out, take it to a professional cleaner for a last gasp try. If they can’t remove it, it’s a sign – it’s time to say goodbye. Clothes from Another Life Still saving maternity wear, club clothing or trends from six seasons ago that haven’t come back? If an item just “doesn’t fit” into who you are now, revel in the opportunity to ditch it for something that will inspire compliments from everyone. If the piece inspires fond memories, take a photo of yourself in it and send it on its way. Not-So-Successful Gifts We all have them…scarves, shirts or other items of clothing that well-intentioned friends and relatives gave to you that just don’t feel right. The color may be unflattering, the size is a little off or it just isn’t your style. In any case, if you’ve never worn it, or have given it a chance and found it lacking, don’t let emotion hijack your decision. It could become someone else’s favorite piece in no time! Too Big, Too Small Nothing is more frustrating than trying to get dressed in the morning when every piece you pull out of the closet doesn’t fit properly. Only keep in your closet items that flatter your shape, button easily with enough room, and don’t pinch, bind or cut you in half when you sit down. If you’re desperate to lose a few pounds, take photos of a few of your favorite “goal” pieces and pack the too-tight items in a bin or bag and slip them next to your holiday wear in another place. Hang the photos inside your closet or on your refrigerator door as a reminder, but buy yourself more room by moving the actual clothing. Anything too big should go to a consignment shop or charity. Shoes that pinch, cause blisters, or slip off your feet while walking should also be rehomed.

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