Indulge me for a moment and sing in your head, “Situation critical! Oh oh oh it’s critical!” If you don’t immediately get that reference, it’s a Platinum Blonde song from the 80s and it perfectly described my closet until recently. I usually do a closet clean out every November during the Closet Minimalism Game but I missed this year. I did not stop thrifting though, so my closet got more and more packed until it seemed about to burst! Thankfully, my sister arrived just in time to help me organize my closet my house my life and we took two days to do my biggest closet cleanse yet.

Before the closet cleanse

Even before my sister arrived for her visit, I had been thinking about doing a closet purge. With respect to words and all the nuanced meaning they offer, and thinking of my dear former colleague Lily and her gentle prompting to replace the word “purge,” I thought of my process as a cleanse. I needed to cleanse my closet of the clothes that no longer fit my body or my daily life or my career plans for the future. I needed to let go of the clothes that tethered me to my past, to my life in Canada, particularly to my career as an Occupational Therapist. I needed to be able to say a fond farewell with a heart filled with gratitude in order to be released to move into whatever comes next.

The top that broke the thrifter’s closet!

My sister and I had a blast thrifting during her visit but every time I purchased an item, I got a little antsy. I thrifted several 50-cent and $1 pieces that had nowhere to go! Finally, we poured some wine, she pulled up a chair outside my closet, and I got to work. Because I am a giant nerd at heart, I had prepared a Closet Cleanse Decision Tree – something to fall back on when I was weak and reluctant to let a piece go. I KNOW I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE who has a hard time letting some pieces go. #maximalist

The Spirited Thrifter’s Closet Cleanse Decision Tree

The Spirited Thrifter's Closet Cleanse Decision Tree

The decision tree made quick work of most decisions about what should stay and what should go in my closet. There were a few pieces that required deeper pondering on that last question, “Is it special or irreplaceable?” and for that, I was grateful for Shannon’s second opinion. It’s good to have someone there who does not have the same emotional attachment to the pieces as you, someone objective. That someone should, however, ultimately respect your decision because, after all, it is YOUR closet. Shannon asked if I had pictures of the pieces and because she knows me so well, she was able to give educated advice on whether pieces fit my personal style and lifestyle.

The special/irreplaceable pieces included things like my very first suit, the towel dress from my very first thrift shop, a gorgeous red bird-print dress that doesn’t quite fit at the moment but is exactly my style. I added pieces that I love but don’t fit to my thrift hunting list. Any of the pieces that I felt compelled to “fight for”, I kept; I didn’t want any donation regrets. In the Closet Cleanse Decision Tree, note that it says to reevaluate these pieces after a year or so. You might be ready to let them go after some time apart or you might find a replacement that fits, and if you decide to keep storing them, that’s fine too. There are some pieces I will never get rid of.

Midway through the cleanse

We spent HOURS the first night going through most sections of my closet and made amazing progress…

Here’s another perspective of the mid-point: the hangers I freed and my stash of Canadian Cheezies getting a new spot. Despite the giant Texas home, my pantry is quite small and there is no space for bulk quantities of international junk food. Besides we have to hide them from the children.

Midway through my closet cleanse. Shows a pile of hangers and a basket of Canadian Cheezies.

The next day, we spent a few more hours going through shoes, bags, and outwear. That sentence makes it sound like it was quick and breezy when it felt like I put in a week’s worth of retail shifts. But oh how we laughed and laughed! That’s another major bonus of doing a closet cleanse with a friend; it can actually be fun.

The closet after the cleanse

I didn’t count the number of pieces I took out of my closet but for reference, the pile below on the right for Poshmark has about 50 pieces and the pile on the left was for donation since I don’t have a swap planned.

The result of my closet cleanse: Piles of clothes for donation and Poshmark
I listed 50 new pieces on Poshmark with a new system of 3 price points – $8, $15, $25 plus a 20% discount for bundles of 2 or more.
Bags of donations after The Spirited Thrifter's Closet Cleanse
Find a little thrift store with a great mission to take all your no’s that still have life left in them.

When putting my closet back together, I repurposed boxes and containers I had on hand and made one purchase – a 6 slot hanging organizer to store bags and make them more accessible.

Part of my closet after the cleanse, showing my dresses and hanging organizer holding purses.
I was able to use the hanging organizer because I cleared out a lot of dresses and moved special occasion dresses to my spare room closet.
Another view of The Spirited Thrifter's closet after the cleanse.
I loosely organize by colour and keep my short-sleeved tops on top and long sleeves on the bottom.
My skirts, blazers and shoes
My skirts and blazers thinned significantly and all my shoes and boots fit in the space available! #winningatlife Please notice I vacuumed.

Thankfully, my hubby was out of town while this great closet cleanse was occurring. I took a quick video of the final result seconds before he came home and dumped his laundry beside the laundry hamper.

It was months overdue and it feels FANTASTIC to be done my closet cleanse! I still have a large wardrobe but there’s breathing room again. Letting pieces go that don’t fit your body or style opens up space for new thrifts to come into your life. Honestly, I feel more ready to embrace my upcoming career change after making room in my wardrobe for the clothes I’ll need for it.

Are YOU ready to feel lighter? Grab a friend and refer to The Spirited Thrifter’s Closet Cleanse Decision Tree to make room in your life for new pieces and all the fun and possibility that go with them!

xoxo Nicole

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