Twice a year, Robin and I do our “deep clean.” We set aside a weekend to go through our entire apartment, take everything out of the drawers, pull out everything from under the bed. We declutter, organize, dust, mop and vacuum our little hearts out. We don’t stop until our apartment is clean AND tidy.
It’s like a big reset button.
While we do normal weekly cleanings, I have always loved our Deep Cleans. It’s so dang easy to accumulate STUFF and when you live and work in a small space, there’s nowhere to hide all that stuff. We don’t have a basement to tuck it all into, so when we have too much stuff, it makes our apartment feel suffocating.
This past weekend was our deep clean and we ended up downsizing all of our belongings by over 60%! And you know what? I think you can downsize your life, too, and I think you’ll love it. Buckle in for a very personal post about my lifestyle + helpful tips to downsize yourself. (Don’t judge me too much in this!)
>> pst, shop some of my clothes on Poshmark!
What do I mean by downsizing? This year we were extra ruthless about getting rid of things that we don’t actually use or need, keeping only the stuff we use on a regular basis. This has been a life long struggle of mine. I always want to hold onto things, especially clothes, for “one day.”
And to my defense, over the years I have rediscovered lots of clothing items that I totally forgot about and ended up wearing a bunch again. But the root of that problem is I had so much stuff it was totally normal to forget about things.
So, this year, I put extra focus on clearing out the extra stuff, the things I don’t wear regularly, the stuff hiding in drawers. We’re two people but we had clothing, toiletries, and household items for at least 4 people. Crazy right? So, I made a new rule for myself:
Deep Cleaning Rule: If I can’t see you, I don’t need you.
Basically, if I can’t easily see you (ie hanging in my closet or clearly in my drawer, etc) I don’t need you. Instead of vacuum sealing old sweaters & tucking it deep under my bed, I’m now living by the concept of only keeping the clothing items I can easily access in my closet. Because that’s all that I actually need!
>> pst, we got this new vacuum & it’s freaking fantastic, especailly for pet owners!
Also going to try and be better about replacing items instead of adding. As in, if I want a new dress, trying to get rid of a dress, so I can avoid over accumulating again. We’ll see how easy that is for me to do, though. Fashion blogger problems! It’s seriously so hard to downsize when it’s your job to share cute outfits and new beauty finds. We also travel a lot and need clothes for a lot of different climate types. It’s an actual struggle finding that balance!
Obviously, there are some exceptions to this rule. Under my bed in vacuum sealed bags is my wedding dress, extra pillow cases & blankets for that, like, one time a year someone stays over at our house. And a bag full of clothes. These are mostly sentimental items, like t-shirts from college or concerts I went to as a teenager. There are also a few items, like a red designer Made in Italy cape I bought in Rome while studying abroad, that I haven’t quite figured out how to style but I’m holding out (mostly for the memories.)
How we normally organize clothes during deep clean is like this: I pull everything out and put it on our bed. I then try everything on (this is important so you can see what fits and what doesn’t anymore!) And then everything gets sorted into three categories:
So, if I love it, I keep it. If I know 100% I don’t need it anymore, I donate it or toss it out if it’s in really bad shape. And then there’s the “transition” pile… No offense Marie Kondo but I think this process is wayyy more realistic. (I bought things because they made me happy. Literally, everything I own sparks me joy so I can’t just do a hard KEEP or TOSS system, that’s how I end up with too much KEEP!)
The transition pile is for things I’m not yet sure about. I know I don’t wear them often, but I also can’t bear to part with them yet. So they go into bags and then on the next deep clean, I pull the bags out again to reevaluate. Usually, I end up with a LOT of transition bags, but tried hard to limit those this year!
Why does this work so well? Because that 6 month time period really helps me realize what needs to stay and what needs to go. Most of the time I find there are lots of things I totally forgot I owned, so off to the donate pile ya go! The items that still felt too important to toss went back into the bags. This time I got rid of 95% of my transition bags as well as about 50% of my current wardrobe (trying to be more ruthless!)
All in all, Robin thinks we downsized our entire apartment/belongings about 60%. We filled about 6 trash bags full of things to donate, along with listing about 30 items on Poshmark to sell. Combined with the actual trash bags, I think that had to be at LEAST 30-40 pounds of stuff we got rid of this weekend! (Don’t judge!)
Now I feel so much LIGHTER. Like, we have so much more room. Everything has its own place. Gah, I love how airy our apartment feels when it’s so organized! We always manage to keep it this clean for about a month and then it slowly gets worse when we’re busy and traveling and before we know it, come New Years we’ll be back deep cleaning. But I’m hoping at that point, I’ll have done a better job at keeping our life a bit more downsized.