- The Classic Approach – If you haven’t worn it in two years, get rid of it. Some people push this limit out to three years, which is OK for some items such as formal wear, really expensive items, or funeral clothes. But for most of the things taking up space in your closet, if you haven’t found an opportunity to wear it in two seasons, then it’s high time to move it out of the way. Not just clothes, but shoes, purses, and those special little under-thingies you bought on a whim. Be ruthless.
- The Size Approach – If your “fat” clothes or “skinny” clothes (those items you really like but that are now the wrong size) haven’t been out of the back of the closet in two years, get rid of them. They’re probably out of style by now anyway.
- The Emotional Approach – If it makes you feel bad, sad or guilty whenever you look at it, get rid of it. Does that blouse your aunt gave you make you look frumpy, but you feel guilty not wearing it? What about that little sequined number you spent way too much money on, but never got to wear? Then there are all the ties your in-laws brought you from their RV adventures… I’m here to tell you, it’s OK to get rid of them. Your clothes should make you feel happy, confident, and attractive. If they don’t, all their unhappy, insecure unattractiveness comes out on your face. Don’t do that to other people.
- The Duplicate Approach – If you have more than five or six of an item in the same style and color that are not parts of an official uniform, get rid of at least two them. This is easier said than done. I know. I love white shirts, so I have… several. Some of them are exactly alike. And they go with everything… OK, OK, so some of them also fall into the Number 2 category above. Yes, I can get rid of a couple of them.
- The Practical Approach – If your clothes are not really appropriate for your daily needs, get rid of them and get some that are. Your new job calls for a more relaxed, dressed-down attire, very different from your previous job where suits and dress shirts or blouses were the norm. Put those dress-up clothes at the back of the closet for the time being and see how this new job goes. Then see Number 1 above.
And what do you do with all these clothing items once they’re out of your closet? First, don’t let them sit around because they will slowly crawl right back into your closet while you’re not looking. Fold them neatly (this is important) and put them in those ever-present plastic grocery bags. Then take them to the nearest donation station or, if they’re in good shape, to a consignment store. Look up the Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, or homeless shelters in your community for donations. Look in the yellow pages for consignments stores near you, then call them and ask about their policies.
Good luck and may you have a happy closet!