Closet Organization for When Your Weight is Changing

posted by Andrea | 05/29/2014

closet organization

Up until I was pregnant with Nora (exactly 3 years ago) my weight had rarely fluctuated more than 3 to 5 pounds since my junior year in high school. So for approximately 10 years, my body shape, size, and weight basically stayed the same. And since I hate shopping for clothes more than almost anyone I know, I was still regularly wearing a few items of clothing from high school.

I’ve been blessed with a pretty good metabolism — so my weight has never been an issue for me. I’ve never really cared what size the label on my clothing said as long as the clothes were comfortable, fit properly, and made me feel good about myself.

So when I found out I was pregnant, I wasn’t surprised that it took a REALLY long time for me to need maternity clothes. In fact, I was still wearing my regular jeans at 32 weeks pregnant. I gained exactly 23 pounds when I was pregnant with Nora and by my 6 week post-partum doctors appointment, I had already lost 30. I was also back in ALL my normal pre-pregnancy clothes about 10 days after she was born.

As the weeks went on, I continued to lose weight and after about 6 months of Nora literally “sucking the life out of me” I weighed almost 20 pounds less than what I did BEFORE I was pregnant — less than I did in high school.

Ironically, I really didn’t look that much thinner — but none of my pants fit at all.

Since I hate shopping for clothes and hate spending money, I was very hesitant to buy anything new as I assumed I would gain the weight right back after I stopped nursing. Thankfully Dave talked me into buying 1 new pair of pants and 2 new pairs of shorts (it was summer)… because as many of you know, I wasn’t done nursing for a LONG LONG time 🙂

I wore those “skinny clothes” for about 18 months — until last summer when I found out I was pregnant again. Then I switched back to my “normal clothes” (the clothes that fit me for years before I had Nora) and then VERY QUICKLY transitioned into maternity clothes around 16-18 weeks. No more normal jeans at 32 weeks pregnant with Simon!

I gained a whopping 43 pounds with Simon thanks to being pregnant over the holidays and hibernating inside over the longest, coldest, snowiest winter ever!

After Simon was born, I figured the weight would take a little bit longer to come off — after all, I gained almost twice as much weight and this was my second baby. However, that didn’t stop me from feeling very disappointed when I had to wear my maternity jeans for Simon’s newborn photo shoot 4 days after he was born.

I wasn’t expecting my skinny clothes to fit, but I certainly figured I’d be able to squeeze into my normal jeans at least for the pictures. Unfortunately, after expending a decent amount of effort to pull them up my thighs, I realized they were about 4 inches shy of buttoning around my hips. Not only that, but many of my shirts didn’t fit either — they were SO tight around my ribs and shoulders.

Seriously, what the heck happened to me! 

Interestingly enough, at my 6-week doctor’s appointment, I had lost 30 pounds again — but since I gained so much more with Simon, that meant I still had at least 13 pounds to lose to get back to normal again.

After 6-7 weeks post-partum, my maternity pants were finally getting too big, but I still couldn’t squeeze into my normal pants — and Lord knows those skinny jeans were just out of the question. So I finally broke down and bought one pair of “big jeans”.

It felt good to be out of maternity jeans, but I HATED the fact that I was continually adding to my closet without removing anything else.

Every time I looked in my closet, I had an intense urge to purge. Even at 10 weeks post-partum, there were still a handful of maternity items in my closet along with all my normal clothes. Plus, I now had my “big jeans”… and of course, my skinny clothes continued to tease me every time I opened the doors.

My closet was the fullest it had been in a very very long time, but since I was still losing weight at a pretty steady pace, I knew I would regret purging too much too soon (especially since I hate shopping!)

Can anyone relate?

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve taken a few steps to take control of my closet — even as my body size, shape, and weight continue to fluctuate.

I’m hoping that these steps will prevent me from hastily purging (and then needing to buy something I already had) while still allowing me to enjoy a clutter-free closet as I get back down to my “normal size”.

1. I pulled EVERYTHING out.

I realize this might sound like overkill, but it’s how I process clutter — I have to see it all there in front of me. I can clearly visualize my clutter-free closet and I’m forced to physically handle each item and consciously decide to move the items back in.

Keep in mind that the closet pictured above is shared with Dave so I was only pulling MY stuff out — so not too bad!

2. I got rid of the maternity items.

Most of my maternity clothes were borrowed, so I simply bagged them up and returned them to their rightful owners. Man did it feel good to get those out of here!

The few maternity items that actually are mine were folded up and put in the previously empty bottom drawer of my dresser.

3. I tried everything on.

I know this might sounds like a long process — and I suppose it would be if I had a bunch of clothes — but it honestly didn’t take me too long.

It was still pretty discouraging to have so many items that were still quite snug (or that didn’t fit at all) but I tried to keep an open mind since I know I’m in the middle of losing weight. I figure it took me 9 months to gain it all, I can’t expect to lose it all in 9 weeks.

So even though there were many articles of clothing that still didn’t fit me, I didn’t purge anything I liked and hoped to wear again some day.

4. I purged anything I didn’t love or need.

Regardless of if it fit me or not, I purged anything in my closet that I didn’t love or need. Maybe it wasn’t my style any more, maybe it wasn’t a great color for me. Maybe it was stained, ripped, too worn, faded, etc. Maybe I didn’t have anything to coordinate with it, or maybe I just didn’t feel great when I was wearing it.

There is no sense in keeping anything I don’t absolutely love or need in my closet — especially since I’m very content to wear the same things over and over again as Nora and Simon are often the only people who see me all day 🙂

5. I removed anything that didn’t fit right now.

At about 9 weeks post-partum, pretty much all my shirts fit, but there were still a decent number of pants, shorts, skirts, and dresses that didn’t fit. So instead of cluttering up my closet with clothes that didn’t fit, I put them all in our guest bedroom closet upstairs. They are all neatly folded and hung — ready and waiting for whenever they fit me again, but not in our bedroom closet “mocking” me every time I look for something to wear.

I do want to note that we have plenty of room to easily store these items in our own closet, but I just wanted to keep this stuff separate for now. If it doesn’t fit in the next couple of months, I’ll most likely purge it.

skinny pants

Now that I’m just over 12 weeks post-partum, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to have already pulled a few items from the “still too small” piles in the upstairs closet. At the same time, if I notice anything is now too big for me, I tuck that away in my dresser drawer with my maternity items.

6. I’m continually re-evaluating my clothing needs.

Besides my one pair of “big jeans” I bought  around 7 weeks post-partum, I haven’t purchased anything new since Simon was born– and I’m honestly hoping I don’t need to buy anything else.

I’m planning to continually re-evaluate my clothing needs on a weekly basis; taking note of anything that no longer fits, no longer flatters me, or is no longer my style.

I have a small purge pile going and I’m continuing to move my clothes around as I get back down to my normal size again (I still have about 8 pounds to go… and it seems my hips are being a little more stubborn this time around.)

If any clothes I still love feel too big, I will move them to the drawer with my maternity items. As I continue to lose those last few pounds, and as my hips and ribs (hopefully) squeeze back together, I’ll try on the few items that are still lingering in the upstairs closet to see if they fit (if not, they’ll get purged in a couple months).


I’m pretty happy with this system right now, and although I still feel like I have WAY more clothes than I did a couple years ago, I think this is just the stage of life I’m in right now. Unless I want to spend a whole bunch of time and money shopping, I’ll need to keep a few different sizes on hand until we’re officially done having kids — at which point I’m doing a major closet purge!

And to be perfectly honest, I was happy for an opportunity to reorganize our closet — it needed it, and I feel much better when I open our closet doors!

Our closet has room to breathe now (you can’t see it, but the top shelf is almost completely empty). It’s filled with clothes I actually wear and that actually fit me — and I have a system in place for rotating in/out clothes as my weight (hopefully) continues to drop 🙂

As with all organizational systems, I’m positive this system will need tweaking over time — but for now, it’s working well for me and for my stage of life.

However, since I’ve never implemented a system for multiple sizes of clothing before, I am interested in any other systems you might be using (or used in the past).


Filed under: OrganizingHomeClothes

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  1. Blogs and Books I Read and Enjoyed This Month - The Mom Writes


    […] 1. Closet Organization for Weight Change by Andrea Dekker – […]

  2. Stefani


    I have to kinda chuckle. I found your blog looking for clothing regrouping. Or something close. I then have been looking all around and loving it. One of my big pet peeves at present is my clothes don’t fit or aren’t my style. Years of hand me downs making due and two children later have left me with wayyy to many clothes. The chuckle part came reading about weight gain and loss. My metabolism kicked in differently at 23 or so. We were married by 21 and high school sweethearts. I was a 12 yr old built adult. Petite and straight in every direction! So for some time I had kids jeans -boys 14 bought emergently on a hiking trip-all the way through women’s 12 post babies. That’s a wee bit reeediculous;-) Two 40 lb pregnancies within 18 months didn’t help but I am not really concerned with the weight as I am where it is located! Loving having discovered cross fit and inches are coming off but honest that prechild body is not coming back. My husband was laughing along with me at my hip bones being wider than my jeans never mind the hips around them! While a lot has gone back I am no longer 12 yr old looking, some of those curves are here to stay! I also discovered that although I may fit into some of the previous clothes that dies not mean I need to be seen in public with them on:-
    And the end result led me to your blog! Now I am reading all this wonderful advice and cannot wait to get started purging. I will crack up laughing if that 3rd baby we’d love comes in the midst of this motivation:-) keep up the wonderful work!


  3. Sandra


    Same here! I have kept clothes because I don’t want to go out and buy one of the same
    later on! Also I have done the ‘put the half dirty clothes on the hamper’ thing in the past –
    just thought I’d commment.: )



  4. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup


    I like #6. I think that constantly re-evaluating your clothing needs is great advice. Your family pics are just precious!


  5. Muriel


    I had a similar experience. The weight from my first child came off pretty quick and easy and I wore my regular clothes home from the hospital. The second child has been much harder and I had to wear maternity clothes after she was born for several weeks. It took several months for my hips & rib cage to go back to normal. I gained 5 lbs less with my second child so I was very frustrated with the weight loss.


  6. Kate Marie


    Oh man, I needed this advice! My weight has fluctuated like crazy since I had the kiddos. I’m hoping now it will fluctuate down! 🙂


  7. Liz @ The Lemon Bowl


    This is the story of my life!!! It has taken me 6 months to lose 34 pounds but I still have 10 to get to my pre-pregnancy weight. Loved this post!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Liz — I actually thought about you when writing this post! All your “going to the gym” Facebook updates made me smile 🙂


  8. Erin


    Ah, this could have been written by me! I’m only four weeks post-partum, but I’m fighting the urge to purge. The only thing keeping me from doing that is knowing I may very well fit into most of my clothes once I lose the final 10 pounds. Like you, I got rid of the borrowed maternity clothes right away so I could clear out at least some of the clothes.

    I could also relate to your wearing the same clothes over and over. I have about 4 T-shirts that are on rotation right now. It definitely simplifies getting dressed in the mornings!


    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, at least once a week I think, “seriously, I could live with so few clothes, I should just purge everything”. And in reality, I COULD live with so few clothes — but it’s fun to have a few extra pieces to mix it up for special occasions or when I actually leave my house. You would think my hatred of shopping would actually cause LESS clothes clutter, but sometimes I feel like it forces me to hang onto items because I don’t want to have to go buy another one some day 🙂



  9. Leanne


    I think purging your closet can also be healthy mentally… I think women often get trapped into buying or hanging on to clothes for a life they don’t have anymore… or weight they were 3 kids ago…
    we should buy the clothes that make us feel beautiful and presentable in the role that we have… I tend to buy quality, with coupons, online, and from companies with great customer service and great return policies (Lands End is my favorite!)….
    and it’s fun to have a few “special” items for dates or “occasions”, but a woman with a beautiful heart always stands out–even over the best dressed woman in the room!
    I gained 60 pounds with my only pregnancy 🙂 He was worth it…but, boy, I don’t plan on doing that again…and it took a year…and lots of running to get most of it off!
    the funniest comment I ever received was after we shortly ADOPTED our first child, and a woman told me “wow, you look great”, you only have a few more pounds to lose!!!!


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I totally agree — thanks for this perspective!

    And SO funny about the comment after your adoption. I distinctly remember running into a high school classmate only a couple months after Nora was born. I had lost all my weight but still felt a little “squishy”. She had a tiny new baby with her (only 3 weeks old) and she looked AMAZING. I mentioned how great she looked — and she laughed and said her baby was adopted 🙂

    That made me feel a lot better about my “squishiness”!!


  10. Mackenzie


    Oh man, can I sympathize! I went back to work at 11 weeks postpartum so I had to breakdown and buy new clothes to wear to work. Plus I was still wearing some maternity clothes. Right now (7 months postpartum) I’m down to my weight before the baby but some of my clothes still don’t fit right. I was shocked at this!! Sometimes I still have to use the rubber band trick with my jeans :/ I was expecting my body to go back to how it was before but it seems like my weight has shifted around.


  11. Karen


    I LOVE the vertical dividers that are on your shelves! I have never seen those before. It looks like you can buy them on amazon. Any other unique organizing products that you love and use? Thanks for your help.


  12. Jen


    Man, that is one of the more frustrating things about the post-partum year or so. You don’t know what size you’re going to wear from week to week! My son is almost three and I’ve pretty much settled into what I think my body is going to be for awhile, give or take a few pounds. I feel healthy and good about my body, so I think I can finally whittle all my jeans down to just one size. I do have two pairs of “skinny” pants from when I was really tiny, when he was nursing exclusively, and I am trying to work on toning up. So I may hold onto those just a little longer and see if my workouts make them necessary. The goal is not to get into those jeans, but it might be one of the results. Other than that, though, I think it’s time to purge.


  13. Sarah


    Thanks, Andrea! I will be sure to come back to this post later this summer when I am around 9-10 weeks PP. I did a purge after Laila was born, too, but still had a pile of things I liked but didn’t know how they looked on me since we only have a mirror on the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. With that mirror I can only see my head down to just below my shoulders – not a good mirror for trying on clothes. We are looking for a mirror, but have been for a long time – the ones we find are too cheap and don’t look like they will make it home or have way too much “stuff” on them or the frame that they just look tacky (to us) or don’t “fit” to the rest of our style. I have also already started purging my winter maternity clothes and getting them up for sale on Ebay.

    Do you have a certain number of items that you tend to keep – a certain number of shirts, pants, underwear, socks, etc.? Sometimes I feel like that is a problem, but then I hang on to them “just in case”…so frustrating!


  14. Karmen


    congrats on losing weight succesfully (maybe slowly but in the right direction :D)
    this is probably offtopic, but i was wondering why you opted for a shelf in between two short hangs in your closet? is there any special reason or? i’m in the process of designing my own closet and it has to be done right!