Self-sufficient Living Challenge: Day 4

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It’s day five of our challenge and today we are tackling the bedroom closet. Our goal today is to learn what is lurking behind those doors and put some order to the items that are there.

Over the last several days we have been completing week one of our self-sufficient living challenge. Week 1 is all about learning what we own and giving it a home so it is more likely to be used rather than repurchased. Utilizing pre-existing resources is key to living a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

I approach the bedroom closet slightly different than I do other areas of the home. Trying to remove everything and spread it all out can be difficult. Below is my approach. I will also offer a few other methods that I have seen to help you find the best way to explore your closet.

1. Set a box aside for donations. If you are a sewer, set a small bag aside for items that can be repaired or upcycled. I recommend a small bag here because it prevents you from saving it all.

2. Remove everything from the closet. I place all the shoes in a pile on the floor, lay all the hanging clothes on the bed, and place all items from shelves onto a different part of the bed.

3. Work from the top down. For this, it means I go through my folded shelf items first. For something to return to the closet, there are two rules: I must have worn it at least once in the last year and I must have a specific idea of when it will be worn again.

4. After sorting through these items, neatly return them to the shelf.

5. Working down, I go through hanging items. I apply the same rules to returning these items to the closet. It needs to have been worn and I must have a specific idea of when it will be worn again.

6. Lastly, we have the shoes. Shoes are difficult for me. I feel I have far too many pairs for different occasions. I remember this while I shop now and work to purchase shoes that could be used in a number of different settings. If the shoes have not been worn in more than a year or if I don’t have a specific plan for using them, they are gone.

I have one exception to my clothes sorting rules. I have one dress that can be worn casually or dressed up. I have a pair of heels that goes with the dress. They don’t get used often, but as long as I own the dress I will own the shoes because they prevent me from needing to buy something new each time I have a special occasion.

This approach may not work for everyone. I have also cleaned out the bedroom closet this way before. Other people have suggested turning all of your hangers around backwards. If you wear an item, the hangers can be turned to face the correct direction. After six months any hangers that are still backwards, those items are donated. To keep the closet minimally stocked, others suggest donating an item each time something new is added to the closet.

I went through our closet again this morning, despite the fact that we just moved. I was still able to weed out this pile of items. What long lost items were you able to find?

Tomorrow we will be moving on to the living room. If you don’t want to miss any of the challenge updates be sure to subscribe via email or RSS in the upper right hand column. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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2 Responses to Self-sufficient Living Challenge: Day 4

  1. I tend to focus a lot of my organizing time in the bedroom. I guess that’s because it’s where I like to “escape” for a little me time. I’m always going through clothes to donate, books, etc. It makes me feel good knowing I’m minimizing what I have in my home and knowing I’m giving my used items to someone else who will get some use out of them.

    Great tips!

    Peace. 😉

    • brookeO says:

      I agree, I am constantly going through things to minimize more. And it’s always nice to know others are donating rather than just throwing things away.

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