Cut Your Closet in Half – 5 Tips to Get Rid of Extra Clutter!

As I am continuing to countdown the days until our move to Rome, things have been slowly falling into place. After multiple trips to the Detroit Consulate, I finally got my Student Visa in the mail three weeks ago and the hubs received his Italian Passport last week! We also held one successful yard sale (sorry no pics since I was a stress ball that day) in which we made $480! We are having another yard sale next weekend at my friend’s house on the other side of town in hopes to reach another clientele. After that, everything that is currently piled in my living room and hanging by a steel bar in my guest bedroom is headed to Goodwill because I do not have time to try and sell more (less than 60 days until our move people)!

Behold, a packing disaster! These photos are proof of my love for you readers because it is embarrassingly messy. I just keep telling myself that it won’t be like this forever since it’s really the only way I can manage. Anyway, if you think about it, our house is only a small two bedroom town home so really that big pile in the second photo is just a ton of stuff that we are selling and getting rid of (aka: stuff we’ve held on to for years but never actually used). Crazy, but I’ll admit that there may-or-may-not-be soccer cleats in that mess of a pile! I have not played soccer since the spring of 2006 and I’m pretty sure I would break a hip if I tried to play now! Yet, I have held on to these babies since. Goodbye total 90’s (now vintage)…hello life abroad!

On top of all of the boxed up knickknack stuff we are shedding, I have also proudly cut my wardrobe in half! If you know me, you know I am a fashion fanatic. But cutting it half had to be done, especially for my and my husband’s future sanity. Pictured above is a little less than half of my closet. I had already taken some of my nicer things to consignment shops to sell when I took this photo. Crazy, huh? Having gone through this now, I feel like I have learned a ton and can help you cut your closet in half too!

5 Tips to Help You Cut Your Closet Clutter in Half

1. Be in the right mindset. I started clearing out my closet a month before my first yard sale. Literally. I also have found that I work better in small doses, or, when I come to a realization of how much stuff I actually have and have to get rid of. You know that kind of mindset where you end up cleaning your entire bathroom, kitchen, and car PLUS do two loads of laundry just because you are in the mood? Yeah, this kind of mindset which in my opinion, doesn’t come around often or easily! You really have to give yourself some time ahead of the game in order to be sure that you can get everything you want to get rid of on time.

2. Give yourself a deadline. For me this was easy. By my first yard sale date, I knew that I had only one month to clear my closet plus the rest of the stuff I was hanging onto for no reason. If you are not moving like I am, but rather just wanting to clear out some of the clutter in your closet and basement, it is more likely to be done if you give yourself a date and stick to it.

3. If it is ripped or doesn’t fit, get rid of it. If you haven’t gotten that seam/button fixed, or the hem adjusted in the last six months, it is time to face reality: it just isn’t going to happen. When I started going through the bottom of my closet to de-clutter, I found a bag filled with clothes that had been either torn or missing a button (clothes that I had also been meaning to fix since ages ago). But to be honest, because I had given myself this rule, I made an exception and allowed myself only one hour to stop everything in my tracks so that I could fix two pieces that meant a lot to me and that I would never be able to part with. After sewing on a button to one and fixing a ripped hem on another, I then accepted these two pieces to the “keep” pile and rid myself of the rest of the bag. It is all about give and take I guess.

4. If you pull at it or it pulls on you, get rid of it. This tip goes along with tip #3. If I know I am going to wear a skirt that I am constantly going to have to tug down, or a button up shirt that seems to unbutton at the bust spontaneously, then I would throw it right into the “get rid of” pile. Also, if it was something I have had for years (like, since high school) and I felt like a high-schooler wearing it (i.e., short shorts, and/or a not-cute, outdated crop top that I still had lying around) then it also went into the “get rid of” pile.

5. Allow yourself a “try it out” day. This may be the most important tip that helped me to get rid of the mounds of clutter in my closet since it seems to be my biggest issue when trying to get rid of anything. Since I gave myself a month in advance to pare down my wardrobe, I decided to give certain pieces of clothing a chance before I officially tossed them in the “get rid of” pile. For instance, if I came across an old skirt, top, or dress and felt like “hmm, maybe I’ll wear that again” or even hesitated to get rid of it, then I set it aside. During the next week I told myself that I had to make an outfit work around the “maybe” piece or it would have to go into the “get rid of” pile. If I didn’t wear it during that week, then I wouldn’t let myself keep it. I at least gave my clothing a second chance and proved to myself that it really wasn’t going to be worn again. Also, if I did wear the “maybe” clothes and was self-conscious during the day while wearing it, I then got rid of it too since I knew I wouldn’t want to feel uncomfortable again and would never pull it back out of my closet after the allowed test run.

And here it is…my closet after the clutter was gone! The top basket is filled with t-shirts that I wear and the bag below has purses and scarves. Don’t be completely fooled since I currently have my jeans, shorts, and pajamas in my dresser. I also am storing the coats that I’ll be wearing downstairs. Oh, and there are a few more things that are folded and sitting on top of my couch right now that I still need to put away. Okay, so I’m not completely saintly as this picture may depict, but I would say I did a rather good job in getting rid of my clutter and cutting my closet in half once and for all!



Moving Abroad Requires So Much Paperwork


I apologize now for the potential boringness of this post. The thing that movies such as Under the Tuscan Sun and books like Eat, Pray, Love tend to either skim over or completely avoid speaking about is the massive amount of time and energy it takes to actually move abroad. However, acquiring visas, insurance, passports, and all of the behind-the-scenes stuff is necessary to making the dream of moving abroad become a reality. So, if anyone out there is reading this and needs some assistance in being pointed in the right direction (or at least a little camaraderie in commiserating in the dull and repetitiveness of it all) then this post is for you. For the rest of you, you have officially been warned!

Wow. Moving to a new country means serious paperwork. I mean, yeah, I get why in theory: we are showing up to Italy’s doorstep for a couple of years and they want to just verify that we are there with good intentions and not like the random uninvited guests at the party who inevitably get too drunk and crash on your couch. I get it. But still, the mounds of paperwork is one of the craziest goose chases I have ever been on!

the boring paperwork and the nitty-gritty of moving abroad

So we spent almost a month preparing for our visit to the Italian Consulate. I plan on moving with a student visa while the hubs (pictured above with Papa Gino) who plans on getting dual citizenship (crossing fingers and toes) in order to make it is easier for him to find work while we are there. For those wondering, this is what I needed for my student visa:

+ Application filled out, but not signed so it can be signed in front of the consulate representative
+ Admissions letter (in Italian) to the school you will be attending
+ Proof of residency (if you are renting through the school, the school’s address will work just fine)
+ Proof of Italian insurance (I bought mine online before the appointment)
+ Your passport (you must give this to them until they mail back your visa)
+ A pre-addressed and paid-for envelope from the USPS
+ Proof of financial needs (AKA: a bank statement or investment account that has been notarized)
+ A letter from your current employer or transcripts from your school which you previously graduated from
+ A copy of your flight reservation

Really, it wasn’t too terrible for me. I had everything ready except for my transcripts, which I didn’t realize I needed until I got to my appointment. Luckily, I had a copy saved in my email and was able to forward it to them immediately. Another thing that I didn’t realize is how student visas to Italy are not issued more than three months before the start date that is stated on your acceptance letter. The Italian Consulate said that they would hold on to all of my information and send it out on that specific date since I was about two weeks early (story of my life..always the early-awkward one to the party)!

As for the dual citizenship, here is what my husband Anthony needed:

+ Application
+ Marriage Certificate, apostille, and translation
+ Spouse’s Birth Certificate, apostille, and translation
+ Original US passport and copies
+ Drivers license and copies
+ Certificate of Birth, apostle, and translation**

Getting these documents were much more difficult because we had to wait in several lines downtown for the Birth Certificates, Certificates of Birth, and Marriage Certificates. Then we had to wait in another line for the aposilles. On top of all of that, we had to find a Consulate-approved-translator to translate all of those documents. In the end, it turned out to be a very timely and costly experience, but worth it completely, yet expensive none-the-less. Also, Italy has a “blood right” citizenship law. Anthony’s grandfather was a citizen when his father was born, so both Papa Gino and Anthony are now getting citizenship since the law requires that you have direct linage to an Italian Citizen in order to qualify.

We head on back this week to complete paperwork for the passport. If anyone has any questions about any of this, leave a comment and I will do my best to answer in my very limited experience! I know there is not a lot of information on this process, so I feel that we must band together as future expats to make this happen.

Okay, enough of this boring paperwork talk. Sorry if you had to stop and take a nap half way through! To inspire/wake you up, here’s a lovely blog post I read telling you why the infamous “yeah, but…” responses to you stating you are moving abroad could kill your dreams. Let us know what you think.

**Does anyone else know that there is a difference between a Certificate of Birth and a Birth Certificate?! We sure didn’t. Not all state office of vital statistics issue a Certificate of Birth unless you specifically ask for it. Just another little heads up to add on to your planning process of moving abroad. ;)

Until next time, ciao!