Clearing Out the Closet

I noticed when I was cleaning up that I had too many clothes that I never use. In fact, this project is one of the main things that made me want to undertake the Minimalist Experiment.

I’ve known for some time that I have too many clothes. When my wife and I moved in together, I donated a lot of clothes. When we moved apartments, I got rid of more. And still, I have too many clothes. I have clothes that have not been out of the closet or dresser since I put them in there. They’re wasting my space, taking up time to look through them as I decide what to wear, and are generally just clutter. So it’s time to do something about them!

I followed the simple system that I read about on Becoming Minimalist to narrow down my clothes.

  • I pulled everything out and spread it on the bed.
  • From there I sorted it into three piles:
    • keep
    • relocate
    • discard
  • Then I took care of the piles.

Everything on the Bed

Wow… my clothes covered the entire bed, nearly a foot deep. That’s just too many! And this is after two rounds of getting rid of stuff.


Deciding what to keep is easy. Deciding what not to keep is hard. I know that I kept too many items, but this gives me a good reference point for further minimizing later on. I kept less than half of the items that I removed from my closet and dresser.


One of the problems that I have with getting rid of certain clothing articles is that I think I may need them. I used to work outside during the winter, so I have a collection of nice warm clothing. However, I am no longer doing that type of work, so I need only a few select pieces. Years of habit make it hard for me to pass on good work clothes, however.

To help prove to myself that I don’t need many of my work clothes (and some of the dress clothes, as well), I packed the clothes that I have not warn in awhile into a duffel bag. This bag will go into the storage area. If I haven’t missed the clothes when I next open that bag, they will be donated.


I have used the relocate method in the past. While bringing down my clothes, I ran across a stack of shirts that I had previously set aside. Since I had forgotten they even existed, they certainly had not been missed. This stack was quickly tossed into the growing “to be donated” pile. The collection has over-grown its bag and will soon be dropped off at GoodWill.

The Results

My closet is much lighter. My clothes are no longer smashed together. I have half a shelf of empty space (room for my art supplies!) and my morning decision making will be much easier.

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