Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Derek Brooks had 312 T-shirts. Now he doesn't.

Derek Brooks modeling one of his many T-shirts

Derek Brooks has a problem (and a solution to that problem) which many people will relate to — and he generously agreed to let me share his words and his photos with you.

As he explained to me, he tends to hold onto things that have sentimental value, and things he finds hilarious. And some things get kept just because he has the space to store a lot of stuff in his Iowa home.
However, a lot of these things in storage are completely useless to me. So I found that if I simply take a photo of whatever it is that I'm holding onto, it's much easier to get rid of.
And recently, he decided to do just that — with flair.
This recent organization project was really kicked off after returning from 15 months of living in small spaces in Chicago for work. Once I moved back to my home in Iowa, the amount of stuff we had (especially in closets) really started stressing me out. My wife and I began tearing through all of our closets, just purging stuff.

I've known that I've had way too many T-shirts for years ... almost as long as my idea to experiment with that stop motion video that I just made. So because of the sheer size of my t-shirt collection and the size of the task it'd be to clean out that closet while taking photos, I was basically blocking my own reorganization. 
As soon as I got time to actually sort through them and make the video, I did it. As I tried on each shirt, I took a quick photo, then threw it into one of three piles: the keep pile, the donate pile, and the "maybe" pile. My wife helped me go through the maybe pile, which resulted in a much larger donate pile.

Let's follow Derek along on his journey to a smaller T-shirt collection.

T-shirts on the floor of a closet

Derek says: "You'll probably appreciate (and by appreciate, I mean cringe over) a photo of what my actual closet looked like before I started the organization. This is really the point at which I was admitting having a problem a couple years ago."

T-shirts on shelves

Derek says that what this photo shows "was actually the first step of organizing. I pulled all of my shirts out of that pile in my closet and semi-organized them on these shelves (with wheels so I could move them out of the way)."

Then came the video, which is really fun to watch. Derek said he tried on 255 shirts — but he also had several dupes, which gave him a grand total of 312 shirts.

six bags of T-shirts going to Goodwill

And finally, here's the Goodwill pile.

Have your own T-shirt collection, or other sentimental stuff? Consider following Derek's lead: Take some photos and pass the items along.


Linda Samuels said...

Love the entire process, and especially the creative use of the video for decision-making. Wonderful, wonderful. Thank you Derek and Jeri for sharing this.

Samantha said...

Love this idea! Makes me want to go through and purge too!