For over 2 years now, Michael and I have been using 25 inches of closet space. That’s 50 inches total for our combined wardrobe. We don’t have extra stuff stashed away in dressers. We don’t even use the full depth of our closet. Two feet of width is all we need when we live in “normal” places and have “normal” jobs.
So here are some tips I’ve written to help think about downsizing closets and getting free of physical and mental clutter.
1. Reduce and recycle.
We didn’t spend time organizing around what we didn’t need. I ditched my old, perfectly wearable clothes that I haven’t worn in months, if not years. We had a little fashion show with Michael’s old duds and the next day we had mounds of excess for the thrift store.
2. Choose wisely.
Good quality clothing tends to be our favorite clothing because it looks good and it lasts. With only our favorites in our closet, we find that we don’t need more than that.
3. No fancy closet tricks or expensive organizers.
This is a stalling technique! Instead, we use what most closets already have (a single clothing rod and a built-in shelf above) plus some cheap-o plastic drawers you can buy at a big box store.
4. Hang most everything.
Hanging things up is an efficient use of space. I use cheap wire hangers and Michael uses cheap plastic hangers. We put the rest in drawers below or the shelf above.
5. Go lax at work.
Michael has explained to me that engineers have been dressing down over the years. His work attire consists of about 10 collared shirts, 5 pairs of slacks, 5 pairs of jeans and a few t-shirts.
6. Put shoes and outerwear elsewhere.
Because of Michael’s adventure traveling experience he has collected a number of puffy cold-weather jackets that take up a lot of space. They go in a different closet, right next to the back door, where our small collection of shoes live.
Now I fully realize this is only phase one in our downsizing process. When we’re on the road or living in a trailer (or a boat), we have to manage with much much less space. Our next move will likely mean we cut down our wardrobe by half again!