One Step at a Time

This year we’re running with the mantra One Step at a Time. We’re tackling tons of little tasks and making small changes that will hopefully add up to help us reach our big goals for the year. Taking it one step at a time keeps us from getting overwhelmed, and we’ve been getting a ton done as a result. We’re working on a bunch of steps simultaneously all the time, but we wait until we’re done until we share it with you.

Step 8 | Cleaning out our Closets

Jake and I have a weird closet. The previous owners of our house halved a second floor sunroom and turned one side into a master bath and one side into a closet/ laundry room. We’re super thankful for that: it’s really nice having the washer/dryer on the same floor as the bedrooms. And our closet is defiantly a lot bigger than most 100+ year old home closets… but there isn’t a lot of room in there for clothes. In fact, we had to have a big clothing purge when we moved here from the loft so that even our very limited wardrobe would fit. It was good for us (especially for Jake, who had shirts I’m pretty sure he hadn’t worn since the 8th grade).


I’ll be honest: I have a hard time getting rid of clothes. I usually wear them until there’s a hole in them somewhere. I’ll even wear jeans until they have a hole somewhere unmentionable (to the horror of one my mothers-in-law). Jake has to wear business professional stuff to the office, so he’s less lax about looking like a ragamuffin. But we both wear the same stuff over and over again until it really wears out. So if you’re wondering if I ever do laundry or if we take a month’s worth of blog photos in a day because we’re always wearing the same stuff: now you know the truth. I wear my favorite shirt the second it comes out of the dryer. Sometimes three times a week. Jake has a rotation of about 5 office shirts and a few t-shirts he really loves. We’re pretty simple.

We don’t like spending time or money on clothes (we’re more focused on, you know, paying for food and saving up for tattoos), so when we do get stuff, it’s hard to let it go of it. But we’ve got that teeny rod in the closet. So when new stuff comes in, old stuff must go out.


Here’s our system:

Jake’s side is the right and mine is the left. When clothes are cleaned, they’re added to the outsides of the closet (the leftmost part for my clothes and the rightmost part for Jake’s). This means that the stuff in the middle is the stuff we haven’t been wearing. That way Jake can’t swear up and down that he totally wore that shirt a few months ago when it’s really been two years. Ahem. (Funny side note: the stuff in the middle of the closet on my side is all nice clothes: dresses and blouses and things.)

I try to go through every few months and get rid of stuff I know I’ll never wear, stuff that doesn’t fit (which either goes to Eliza as pajamas, gets thrifted, or my maybe-someday-I’ll-work-off-the-baby-weight-storage-tub), or stuff that’s damaged. But there’s a bunch of purge-preventing sayings that pop into my head: “I’ll wear that eventually.” “But so-and-so bought that for me, what if they ask about it?” “I need that for fancy parties!” And I can’t even get Jake to consider looking through his side to purge (and he’d kill me if I tried to do it for him!).

To battle the closet bulge, we’ve imposed this rule: One new item goes in, one old item goes out.


I thinned my wardrobe of the damaged and too-small stuff before I went shopping: those things don’t count. I went to Target and picked up the supplements to my summer wardrobe: two grey t-shirts, three tank tops, two gray maxi skirts, and a pair of capri shorts. The last time I bought that many clothing items at once was in 2009. Eight items in, eight items out. I got rid of a sweater I love but is growing little sweater ball things, some tank tops that had been washed so many times they were pretty much transparent, a few hand-me-downs from my little sister that aren’t my style, and a few dresses I bought in 2009 when I was trying to balance heat appropriate clothes, not being girly, and hating shorts (the anwswer, I now know, is skirts made out of t-shirt material and capris). I also got rid a few things that I thought were flattering but really really aren’t. I ended up picking out more than 8 things, actually. The stuff that’s re-usable is all bagged up and ready to be taken to the thrift store.

It feels good to not hoard.

While I had the purging bug, I also went through all of the kids’ clothes and took out the things that are too small. I still have to go through and decide what to keep and what to thrift out of those. (I maaay have cried a bit at the newborn smelling Jonas clothes. Or balled. Whichever.)

Now it’s Jake’s turn to shop and purge. We’ll see how that goes.

What would your one step be right now?