Storages + Closets: 5 tips on how to let it go

xangar-44-of-70Sweater + Matchstick Jeans: J.Crew / Rug + Baskets (white): Target

Clearing out our 15×16 storage shed was a huge eye opener – the in your face fact look at our things that showed me the reality of neglect! Sure we purge a lot and are anti-hoarders but we completely overlooked our storage shed since we don’t hang out in there often.

And let’s face it, when you realized things are being stuffed in spots and it just feels cluttered that’s when the decluttering needs to come in! I think we all get this fresh perspective when the new year hits so here are some decluttering tips!


I encourage you to tackle the garage, storage unit, shed, room, and even closet.

  1. Decide if it’s really worth the space. 

    You know the faux foam pumpkins? We had a few of them and they took up so much room. I used to have mini haystacks too and it was so bulky, all to display for a few weeks. I don’t love them enough to allow them to take a shelf of space for 11 months out of the year. And maybe it means I just don’t love decorating for fall enough). Here’s an idea – I’ll just buy real pumpkins for decor and I can throw them away after the holidays! You should also ask ourself how many times you’ve actually searched for that item instead of waiting for that “one day.” And that dress you may one day wear for a themed party? Maybe it’s best to search for a new one if/when that party theme invitation ever comes. I heard about a 20 rule where if you can replace it under $20 and you haven’t used it for a while, let it go. There goes my hard-boiled egg cooker but hello space.

  2. Consider buying live seasonal items for decor.

    Last month I bought 5 votive holders online for pickup. I went to pick them up and they were not votive holders, more like hurricanes size! Then I still decided to keep them (I wish I didn’t and now I tossed the receipts and tags) and I was pretty upset I had to store them until use – the goal for Christmas use. Spending about $100 on them, I realized I can hire a florist friend to create a gorgeous centerpiece for the same price for my annual party and toss it after, or just head to Trader Joe’s and create a centerpiece now that I know how to make them! It would look prettier, creative, fresh and better than votives – so this will now be the route I take, annually.

  3. You have to compromise with your other.

    In our case, since a lot of it was my stuff because I’m the money spender (UGH I hate this self reflection!) I had to reflect upon my spending and justify keeping certain things if Benjamin thought it was silly. When Benjamin got rid of a few things, I too had to show I was a team player and get rid of things he thought we didn’t need to hold onto (he dislikes Halloween, so we compromised any decor would be autumn themed, if any).

  4. Set a designated maximum space.

    I designated a few large totes to Christmas, no buying additional totes to accommodate! It must fit, or I must donate. Besides, who wants to put up THAT much Christmas decor? I came up with this idea after seeing a friend’s mom have more than a dozen large tubs for Christmas brought up from the basement and it horrified me. Because I have limited space, I remind myself that the closet can only hold so much –  limit under the bed storage to a few bins – no going out and buying more!

  5. Consider swapping with friends! 

    One of my girlfriends text me a photo of some plates asking if I wanted them. I went crazy for them – and I text her some photos of things I was getting rid of and she went wild. Now we both got rid of stuff and got new things for free! Here’s another thing, if you need to borrow it at some point, I’m sure your friend would loan it to you. I also love having friends over to go through my closet, it’s more rewarding for me to see a girlfriend enjoy it than to just donate it – never forget your friends!


When you are organizing, and one more time before you put our items back in (if you are redoing a space like we did). It made us think about our items twice and if we could live without them. When I organized my closet I took everything out of it and then put only the things I loved back in. Reminds me, I need to do that again.

I also went through a, “This isn’t me!” and started to throw in everything that didn’t make me feel fabulous or felt too worn, including worn tattered pajamas. I have so many other prettier options. I wore the cute doggie ones to death, time to let them go.


Another fun idea is to use baskets like above that are labeled “sell” and “donate” etc. You can use bins or baskets depending on your space – outdoor storage or inside your closet. These flexible baskets were from Target.

Also, even though I’d look at the pile and think, goodness all that money! You have to realize it’s already been spent and hopefully you used that item well to get your cost per use/wear. If you didn’t, look at what you are donating and think about your future purchases. Take inventory with what you have and either don’t buy it again or realize you need to buy better.

Either you list it on FB Marketplace, Poshmark and wait for it to sell, or you simply give it to a friend and then donate to a great thrift store that benefits a charity. My favorite is White Dove Thrift which helps Hospice of the Valley.

My parents have instilled a character of generosity especially to friends, and always encourage to give things to friends, then donate. So, I set a day, text my friends an open house time, letting them know the next day is donate day. It’s up to you to take private appointments if friends want to visit earlier or you have the time.

Happy decluttering! 

Photography by Heather Kinkel.

This post has been updated from its original publish date of October 17, 2016.


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Diana Elizabeth Steffen setting the table for her annual garden party


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Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next creative themed party. She continues to blog weekly.


  • Carissa

    I know that if we lived near each other I’d be texting you all the time to ask you if you’d like something. I’m a constant purger (a necessity in 1200 sqft) and I often wish I had a friend nearby that would appreciate things :)

  • amy

    can’t wait to see the finished project! :)


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