Though we may think we can never have too many outfits, our poor, over-stuffed closets may beg to differ. I used to hang on to clothing for years after I’ve stopped wearing them, my dressers and closets were overflowing and I still felt like I had nothing to wear. I know I’m not alone here. Too many of my friends are holding on to a pair of “skinny jeans” from their past, hoping to one day fit back into them. Live for today! Our sartorial choices should empower us, not serve as reminders that we’ve gotten a little curvier or smaller, or whatever.
I started to do a no-mercy closet clean-out every spring and now there is no rifling through a stack of faded tees or trying to squeeze into that pair of designer jeans that haven’t fit since high school. Everything in my closet fits is in excellent condition, and in current styles. My mornings have never gone so smoothly.
Here are my closet clean-out tips, feel free to add your own in the comments!
- Prepare for battle. Put on a peppy playlist, have a large coffee on standby and three bags/boxes at the ready for filling.
- Look at every piece of clothing you own. Be strong. You can always change your mind later, but at this step it’s all about showing no fear and making a large pile of discards on your floor. As fast as you can (deliberation comes later) remove any item from its hanger that meets any of the following criteria:
*You haven’t worn it in the past year
*It’s too big or too small
*The fit is funny or unflattering
*The fabric is stained
*There are rips or busted seams that you’ve meant to fix but haven’t
*Wearing the piece doesn’t make you feel happy and confident
- Steady. Sit down amongst the mountain of fabric and take a deep breath. Don’t focus on the money you spent on that pricey dress you wore once when it was the height of fashion but now just seems silly. Don’t worry if half the pile is there because the items are now a couple sizes too small. This is the moment to take a business-like approach. You are the CEO of your closet and its downsizing time. Sure, you used to love that sweater, but if it’s not working for you anymore it has to go.
- Sort it out. Make three piles. The first pile should contain clothing with flaws: stains, rips or very, very out of style. Bag this pile up and take to Goodwill, Salvation Army or the like. Even if something is badly stained, charities will typically send it to be used as remnants and they won’t end up in a landfill. The next pile will be for the pieces that no longer fit or simply don’t fit well. These you can try to sell to Twice as Nice, Plato’s Closet, or Buffalo Exchange, or you can organize a clothing swap with your pals. The third pile will for the items you just aren’t ready to let go. This one you will box up, and leave at the bottom of your closet for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks you’ll probably have forgotten its contents and will feel much better about letting them all go. If you’ve actually drug something back out and wore it, you know it’s a keeper.
- Celebrate! Now you have space, and you only own clothing that makes you happy.