Simplifying Life: The Closets Part 1

Bedroom closets.

What kinds of interesting things can be found in a clothes closet?

Hmm….at some point along the way our closet has been the keeper of 20 year old love letters, special notes from friends, artwork, files, vacuum cleaners, mounds of clean and/or dirty laundry out of sight of company (not saying I’ve ever done this but I’ve heard things) (about other people doing it) (but not me), Christmas gifts, and on and on and on. The girl’s closets have held clothes from size newborn to their current size,toys, hats, boxes of special memorabilia from friends, random things.

One of our ongoing projects is our closets. In general we are good about passing on clothes that don’t fit or we no longer wear, but in our year of Simplifying Life we got serious early on about purging our closet space.  After much thought and determination to just do it, we went full on into our closets Rambo style and eliminated “stuff”.

There are many thoughts on having a minimalist closet. Some say 30 items total (shoes included, unmentionables not included), some say 40. I say 30 is near impossible and 40 is pushing it when you live in a four season area of the world and have a number of professional and leisure interests that require different clothing.

We MUST keep clothing/footwear for: sports/exercise, Sunday dress, formal wear, hiking, swimwear, fire/EMT dress, horse back riding, four seasons, martial arts. Many of these styles are useful for more than one need, but all are unique. Sure, I could wear my burgundy t-shirt dress and riding boots to church AND around the house, but Jeremy doesn’t wear a suit everyday of the week.

Here’s what our final list entailed, what we decided was fitting to keep and give away. Anything NOT included in this list is in our garage with all the rest of the “to get rid of” items when the weather gets a bit warmer, so our church’s Thrift Store manager can come over and take what she wants to resell….everything else will go away. Somewhere. It will just go away.  No need to ask questions.

Toss: Anything stained or ripped that can’t be fixed; anything broken; anything without a mate (shoes, socks)

Give: anything that doesn’t fit or we haven’t worn in 6 months to 1 year; anything that we would not buy if we were shopping today;

Put somewhere else: anything that is not clothing related or intensely personal (love letters).

Keep: things that are in good-great condition; things we wear on a regular basis; things needed for four seasons.

What does this look like?

We all wear jeans almost every day. Naturally we are going to have a handful of jeans to choose from as long as they are in good condition. Things we wear on a regular basis might include shirts we tend to gravitate toward OR it might mean that one formal dress or one winter sweater/turtle neck that we don’t wear everyday, but we wear it on a regular “as needed” basis. I have one black dress I have had for years. I wear it to formal occasions, funerals, and weddings. It doesn’t wrinkle and is great to throw in a suitcase for a trip. Four seasons things include: long socks, long johns, turtle necks/winter sweaters, summer shirts/shorts/dresses.

The girls and I keep a numbers of basic colored sweaters on hand so we can easily wear them over sleeveless dresses or shirts in cooler weather. I have found having a couple of basic colored dress pants is do-able if you have I have a number of tops that can mix and match with them. The same goes for jeans-mixing and matching styles with jeans can dress them up or down.

What we decided to keep was this:

Kaitlyn: play clothes, dresses for warm and cool weather, 2 pair dress pants, 4 jeans, accessories (she loves her scarfs), 4 pair pajamas, casual tops, t-shirts and shorts, work clothes (painting friendly)

Shoes: black flats, tan flats, sandals, 2 pair boots, sneakers, hiking shoes

*Katilyn has a lot of clothing. She gets the hand me downs from her sister, who for years got hand-me-downs from friends. Kaitlyn is the end of the road in our family for hand-me-downs. These articles of clothing land in her closet until she can no longer wear them or has decided she doesn’t care for them. They get passed on to friends or our Thrift Store. 

Anna: riding clothes, 6-10 dresses, 5 pair jeans, work clothes, 5 t-shirts, several casual-dressy shirts, 5 sweaters, 2 pair pajamas, sweatpants/yoga pants, 3 scarves

Shoes: 3 pair flats, 3 pair sandals, 1 dress boot, 1 casual boot, 1 riding boot/helmet, sneakers,hiking shoes

Chrystal: 4 pair jeans,20 casual/dressy tops, 2 pair dress pants, 1 suit jacket, work clothes/sweatpants, 2 pair pajamas, 5 dresses, 10 sweaters, shorts

Purses: I like purses. No bones about it. I have one very large white bag I use almost daily. I also have a very small cross body purse/wallet I use as well. They are complete opposites. I have red purse for Christmas, a pink purse for Valentine’s Day, an orange purse for fall,a brown woven purse Jeremy bought me in Romania years ago for summer and a handheld black purse for formal wear.

Shoes: um…..I like shoes too.

Jeremy: It’s hard to put numbers on Jeremy’s clothing-he has multiple options for multiple needs-fire/EMT uniform, suits, casual office attire, business attire, jeans/shirts, dress shirts, t-shirts, ties, shoes for office, fire/EMT uniform, formal, sneakers, work, casual,hiking shoes. His closet=his space. He does a great job in periodically going through his clothing and passing things along.

Towel Closet: We have three bathrooms and each bathroom has 10-12 towels and 3-6 hand towels. One of those bathrooms is the guest bath and the towels don’t generally get used.

Coat Closet: Each of us has 1 winter play coat, 1 winter dress coat; 1 lightweight coat and at least one other coat. Jeremy and I each have a leather jacket we bought years ago.


  1. Have clothes that mix and match.
  2. Utilize button up sweaters to wear over short sleeve shirts for cooler weather.
  3. Use only the space you have. don’t put clothes in places other than the closet or dresser. (Jeremy and I don’t have dressers. Everything we have fits into our cloest space.
  4. Get rid of any and everything you can
  5. Be realistic with your needs vs. wants.
  6. If it feels like clutter it probably is.

This post is entitled Part 1, because closer to the end of the year we will be going through our closets again and purging once more anything we don’t need.


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