Decluttering (The Master Bedroom Closets): Stage 1

Why did getting rid of different sections of my closet feel like little deaths to me? Dreams of having more children, aspirations of actually using my degree & traveling more, the nostalgia of being young and carefree… it honestly felt like I was shutting the door on those parts of me by letting go of the clothing I associated with them.

To back up to the beginning, let me start by explaining the storage layout in our room:

Two side-by-side (but disconnected) closets. The left hand one holds Charlie’s nice clothes & all of my clothes, and the right hand one holds Charlie’s work clothes. Since he is a concrete guy, these clothes are not interchangeable with his hanging out / weekend clothes, and it’s just nice to have all of that in one spot. This is also the closet he’s using 90% of the time, and since he’s horrible about things like putting dirty laundry IN his basket instead of on the floor next to it (why??!), it’s a marriage saver to be able to just keep that door shut so it doesn’t stress me out. 🙂

6 drawer dresser. 2 for Harvey’s diapers & clothes, 1 for TV/DVD accouterments & my bras, 1 for all of our swim suits & cover ups, 1 for my PJs & exercise wear, and 1 for Charlie’s shorts.

6 storage drawers under our bed frame. 1 for TV cords/box/instructions/etc, 1 for Charlie’s workout stuff, 2 for extra sheets, and 2 are currently being used for storage for clothing that as Harvey outgrows it I’m either saving or immediately pulling from his regular drawer for removal to storage once every month or two.

Now for the before & after pictures of the closet!

Joint closet: (Charlie’s section on the left & mine is straight ahead)

Charlie’s work closet:

It’s funny (annoying!) to me that looking at these pictures it’s hard to even see a difference, but I promise you that we got rid of two bags of clothing that went straight to the trash, two (HUGE) bags of clothing that went to the thrift store, probably 60 colored hangers (back to all white in our joint closet – YES!) and about a gazillion pairs of shoes that were all stuffed back in that corner. I also gave most of my maternity clothes to a friend in town who is pregnant. More on those feelings in a bit. :\ I 100% want to go through my closet again too once I’ve dropped a bit more of the baby weight/chub – I’m tired of keeping jeans in three different sizes and shirts in two!

Now for the nitty gritty feelings about all of the stuff we got rid of…

The hardest items for Charlie to part with:

  • Expensive work socks ($10-20/pair) which had been gifted to us that he didn’t like the feel/warmth of in his work boots so he hadn’t worn them in YEARS
  • Boxers that were literally coming apart at the seams – he only likes one particular brand from Old Navy and is always hesitant to get rid of any until he has new ones in hand
  • Golf shirts – though the upside to cleaning out the closet is that he found a few shirts that still had the tags on that he’d forgotten about! It was like Christmas morning for him. 😉
  • Hats – the man has SO MANY baseball caps, and he’s very sentimental about where he was when he bought each one.

The hardest items for me to part with:

  • My pregnancy pillow (the snoogle!) & maternity clothes
  • Expensive clothes that I never really wore because they were too dressy for where I live now
  • Cheap clothes that I’ve had since high school/college because I’m sentimental (& cheap).
  • Shoes of every style that I was holding onto “just in case”

Maternity clothes were by far the hardest thing for me to get rid of. I had a few hand-me-down items from when I was pregnant with Stella that I really didn’t care about, but for my pregnancy with Harvey I had actually invested in a few nice pieces because I was working in a medical office until the end of my pregnancy. A little part of me would love to have a 3rd baby someday, and giving away those clothes feels like the 1st step in putting a nail in that coffin.

Getting rid of some really nice, expensive clothing items in my closet was also hard. They were probably way out of style (I have no idea, I suck at these things), but they were things I bought when I traveled more and still had aspirations of using my International Business degree. Just like with the maternity clothes, getting rid of those items felt like I was finally acknowledging that chapter of my life is done.

The cheap (OLD) clothes that I still had from 10-15 years ago were sentimental for different reasons. I saved a few t-shirts in case I actually make a quilt out of them someday (Ha!), but really, I think I was just holding onto part of my youth and my carefree (Fun!) college days and 20s. That being said, it was a liberating feeling to pick up a shirt that I remember wearing on my 25th birthday and putting it straight into the DONATE pile, simply because I remember that milestone. I’m 32 now – I don’t need the same, cheap shirt in my closet for 7 years, especially when I don’t even love it!

So there ya go. I know we still have too many clothes, which is why I called this “stage 1.” I have solid intentions of continuing to reduce the amount of clothing in our lives, and I’ve actually been VERY good about this with Stella & Harvey’s clothing lately. Now if I can just keep that up and extend the trend to the adults’ closets, I’ll be really happy with myself. SRB & ArchMama have recently turned me on to Project 333, which is all about dressing with 33 items or less for 3 months. Ultimately I’d really like to have a more minimalist approach to my clothing (and life), so I totally love this concept. Read all about getting started on their blog!


This is the newest installment in my Who Needs It? Decluttering Series (a year long decluttering challenge organized by the lovely SRB).

Challenge 1: Fess Upveggiesausagebutton
Area 1: The Master Bedroom
Challenge 2: Get Real
Area 2: The Bathrooms
Area 3: The Kitchen Drawers & Pantry
Challenge 3: Start Small
Area 4: The Master Bedroom Closets – Stage 1



  1. This was such a good, detailed post. I’ve de-cluttered my drawers and closets in stages. Sometimes I don’t even intend to, but I start with one and just keep going. I have to agree with many of the feelings that you mentioned – maternity clothes were hard, and I actually still have most of them but I plan to sell them at a consignment sale later this month. I also had a lot of high school and college shirts, specifically for band or my sorority. Some had my name on them. Those were hard to part with, but I will NEVER wear them. I did much better this time just donating clothes rather than seeing a designer label (and by designer I mean The Limited or Express, ha!) and thinking “oh, I could get 5 bucks for this, or 8 bucks for this.” Nice job thinning out the closets!

    1. Yeah, same here with the shirts from high school and college. SO HARD to throw them away for some reason.

      I totally get ya on the “designer label” thing – my ONLY pair of black dress pants are from Express…circa 2003. *sigh*

  2. Ah, the male trait of leaving the clothes on the floor beside the laundry basket. So familiar. Though I don’t get to complain about laundry since I’m not the one who actually does it (though I fold -ha – and put away). Thanks for connecting the act of decluttering with what it means in the grand scheme of things – a great post.

    1. Drives me bonkers that he drops his stuff on the floor instead of into the basket! He also sometimes doesn’t fold/hang the clean stuff, so he pulls WRINKLED clean clothes out of the basket all week, drops the dirty stuff on the floor, and at the end of the week transfers dirty back into the basket to bring down to the washing machine. I mean, c’mon, we’re not in college honey!

  3. Dude, I CANNOT with coloured hangers. Glad to know I am not a massive weirdo and that is it, in fact, A Thing.

    I have been slowly picking away at my closet too. Looking at Project 333 things on Pinterest has helped me look at my clothing in a different way, which has been useful. One of the things I am struggling with is having my own closet after years and years of tiny city apartment closets and I feel like it needs to be FULL or it is a WASTE. And that is DUMB. Bah!!! This shit is hard.

    I notice a big difference in your closets! And because I am super weird, I noticed that you have lots of tank tops hanging up. I fold mine, but I thought this idea was kind of a cool space saver idea: Thinking of doing it with scarves.

    Good for you and Charlie! Dudes hang onto the weirdest shit, but then again, I wouldn’t want to know what they think about stuff!

    1. I totally thought of you when I got rid of the colored hangers. 🙂 My clothes used to be hung according to color as well, but for now they’re hung according to sleeve length. #Compromises

      75% of my tank tops will be thrown when I’m done breastfeeding. They’re either BFing tops or reg ones I’ve stretched out & used as BFing tops and they need to go. However, I refuse to buy MORE right now when I’m still BFing, so that will have to wait for another time. Also, I just clicked on your Pinterest link and I’M IN LOVE. Consider it done.

      Charlie had way more thoughts & emotions than I got into here, but I figured they weren’t my thoughts & emotions to share. 🙂

      1. Oops! I meant to say “What they think about OUR stuff.” I try explaining my feelings to BJB and he’s like “…”

        BJB has really surprised me with what he comes out with regarding some of our stuff. He was much more emotional about certain things, which was an interesting conversation starter.

  4. I live in a small house and just have a regular sized closet with the sliding doors, so not much room in it for tons of clothes. I do the thing SRB linked to for my tank tops, bras, and even underwear, although I use the metal shower curtain hooks and leave them open so its easier to get clothes off and on them, then I just hang those hangers in my closet with the rest of my clothes. That frees up at least 2 drawers in the dresser for other items. I’ve been doing that for over 10 years now and then about a month ago I seen all my friends posting about this on FB and saying how amazing it is, so I guess I was ahead of the times on it, LOL I don’t have a blog, but have been doing this decluttering challenge as well. I just tackle one room or location each week. I hate doing it, but do admit it feels wonderful when its all done! If Charlie still has lots of hats that he wants to keep, maybe he should get/make several multi-peg cap holders and run those around the top part of his work closet. He could keep lots of hats and they wouldn’t be in the way.

  5. mcmissis · · Reply

    Ok I literally have tears in my eyes about you giving away your maternity clothes and obv me giving mine away someday 🙁 As for Charlie’s hats, I toss out a few of Calvin’s here and there without telling him; he doesn’t even notice they’re gone! But if I tell him or make him choose, we go through the same difficult sentimentality issues. Oh yeah and the nice work clothes I have sitting in my closet will NEVER fit me again. He’s actually the one that was like “Keep those. They might fit again someday.” Husbandly wishful thinking right there! Although that was after Baby #1; now that #3 is here, he might have a more realistic opinion 🙂

    1. Charlie would 100% notice if I got rid of any of his hats without asking him. It would be bad. To his credit, he probably whittled it from 30 to 15 that day – for some reason he was in a purging mood, so I took advantage of it. 🙂

      I’d justify getting rid of the work clothes with the fact that unless they’re very classic pieces, they’ll be way out of style by the time you’re ready to go back to work when the girls are in school, and you should be able to splurge on new clothes for yourself then anyway!

  6. Good job! I have basically no closet space, so I hang a lot less stuff, but there’s still a lot in my closet that needs to go. It’s so hard to get rid of clothes, even ones we never wear. My big hang up is t-shirts. I haven’t worn any of my t-shirts from high school or college (mostly race shirts) in many years, and now that I’ve stopped wearing them and relegated them to the nostalgia pile, I’ll probably never wear them again, but the nostalgia/hopes and dreams pile is the hardest!

    1. Ya, we added an extra bar on the left side of the joint closet when we moved all our stuff in together (Charlie’s clothes used to be in the loft room closet that we turned into the kids’ shared bedroom). It worked, but also makes it pretty stuffed in there, so I’d love to keep thinning out how much we have hanging. I agree that t-shirts were the hardest thing for me to get rid of. I still wear t-shirts from rec league as a 10 year old for PJ shirts. 🙂

  7. I can definitely tell a huge difference in the photos and it looks great. Jealous of your closet space!! We have a tiny wardrobe thing, no built in closet, and even it is tiny for Anthony and I to share so I only have maybe 10 things hanging up. Having very little space definitely helps me to purge clothes every 6 months or so. Anthony is much worse though and suffers with T-shirt emotions big time!! He has many many t-shirts from well before I met him, but we are slowly but surely working through that. Oh and he is the same with his underwear as Charlie!! haha men. I didn’t read much about that 333 project but I am going to check it out. I wonder how many items I have now. You are doing an awesome job. Getting rid of things that meant a lot to us, even if they are from what feels like another life now, is a really hard task.

  8. […] Area 2: The Bathrooms Area 3: The Kitchen Drawers & Pantry Challenge 3: Start Small Area 4: The Master Bedroom Closets – Stage 1 Challenge 4: Return to Sender Area 5: The Guest Room […]

Leave a Reply