How To: Clean Out Your Closet

It starts with the kitchen cupboards, but the January cleaning spree soon draws me to my bedroom closet. After all, January is the month of introspection as we set new goals and get real with ourselves. If you want to join me, here are some simple tips for purging your closet and starting the new year with your best foot forward. (Most of these tips I got from a great Oprah episode years ago.) Everything comes out. To truly purge your closet, everything must come out and under review. It doesn't work to skim over and randomly choose items. Absolutely everything gets taken out and only items you truly love get to go back in. Be choosey. Every item gets sorted into one of three categories: yes, no, and maybe. In order for an item to earn a spot in the "yes" category, it must pass this test with flying colors: Do I love it? Does it flatter my body? Does it present the image that I want? If you have to answer no to any of the questions, it goes into the "no" or "maybe" pile. Be smart about the maybes. The "maybe" pile requires your most honest eye. It's okay to keep items that you love for sentimental reasons even if they don't fit, but store them somewhere besides your closet. Your closet is for your wardrobe. I like to limit the items I save from each closet cleaning to one or two maximum. Everything else gets moved into the "no" category. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to let something go once you decide to do so. Treat yourself to uniform hangers. Before the "yes" pile moves back into the closet, get rid of old wire hangers and buy a few sets of uniform hangers to create a neat, clean look. It's a small, inexpensive tip that makes a big difference. Organize by color. Think of your closet as your own personal boutique and arrange it as such. Arranging by color is a great way to keep items organized and easy to access. It will also make you feel happy every time you open your closet door. Donate the "no" pile to charity. Find a local charity and donate your discarded clothes. If this is hard for you to do, especially if you're giving away items that you truly loved, try this simple exercise: imagine them being found by someone who truly needs and loves them. It makes it easier, I promise. Be more thoughtful in your shopping. Now that you've cleaned out your closet, be more thoughtful about when you let back in. Make sure any item you purchase passes the yes test again. Do you have any other tips? Be sure to share them in the comments section!
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