Four things you should purge from your clothes closet

One question people ask me often is “where is the best place to start when it comes to purging?” I tell them that where to start often requires a bit more thought and digging into the goals you have for your space, and priorities in life. In fact, getting clear this way is a key factor in making the task of minimizing and purging easier – the precursors to organization.

When it comes to “where to start” I often remind people that regardless of where you start — ’cause really starting anywhere is always a good place — what is most important is that you start small. Breaking down any task or project into smaller parts allows you to move to completion more effectively.

And with less overwhelm.

That means if you are looking to lighten the load in the kitchen, you might start with one cabinet. In the office, you might start with a desk drawer. In the bedroom, a good place to start is in the closet. You can’t go wrong in any room by starting with what is behind doors and in drawers. In my over 20 years of helping people purge and get organized I have learned that places you can close off are often goldmines for clutter to breed.

And bedroom closets are certainly no different.

If you have ever uttered the words, “I have nothing to wear” my guess is your space is stuffed and it is time to purge.  In fact, the reason you can’t find anything to wear is likely more that there is simply too much clutter. And it is the clutter that is blurring your vision preventing you from finding what you do like, and dressing with ease.

Get clear on how you want your bedroom closet to look, feel, and be utilized – and how you want to feel in relation to your clothes.

Then start purging these four things.

1. Clothes that don’t fit.

If your closet is stuffed in any way, chances are good there are items in it that don’t fit. Let me be clear here: you should purge clothes that don’t fit. This includes “skinny clothes” you are saving for when you lose that extra 15 pounds. Your closet should be an accurate representation of your life now. And it should welcome you in, not stress you out.

A closet cluttered with things that don’t fit not only leaves you feeling bad about yourself but it prevents you from seeing and choosing easily what does fit.

Organizing tip: With what you have left from your purge, use colored streamlined felt hangers to save space and subcategorize what you are hanging. (I.e., all dresses on the black hangers; all blouses on the white hangers, etc). Any time you can be specific and keep like-items together you make less work for your brain to make decisions and see clearly what is in front of you.

2. Clothes that have run their course {or were never really on course}.

Your clothes that are dated or even overworn fall easily into the purge category simply because you are likely not wearing them deeming them not useful. And you know what I think about things that you keep that have no use.  I put, as well, in the “not useful” category things you bought that you have never worn. You know, the things that still have tags on them?

Here’s a rule of thumb: You don’t need (nor should you) keep anything you bought that isn’t comfortable, doesn’t look or feel good, or conjures up guilt because you spend money on it. We all make mistakes. Move on.

Minimizing tip: You have plenty of options for what to do with these items and keeping them isn’t one of them. You can donate, sell, or give them to a friend who might like them more. Heck, if the tags are still on you can try to return them. You might not get full price but getting something is better than nothing. The alternative is keeping something you will never wear, and cluttering your space. That, in my book, means you take a loss on the deal.

3. Bags.

By this I mean handbags and I also mean bags. You know, that plethora of saved plastic bags that your new purchases came in you have shoved in the corners? You save them with good intentions, just in case you need them. But…when is that really? And more so, how many do you really need? Purge them.

And then take a look at all the handbags you have stored, some of which you haven’t used since Clinton was in office. Have a little heart-to-heart with yourself and make a pact to start the lighten-your-load process by keeping perhaps only what you have grabbed for in the last half-decade. Discard the rest.

Organizing tip: With what you deem necessary and valuable consider this hanging handbag hanger. Perhaps use its compartments to limit what you keep?

4. Shoes.

If there is one thing we all seem to have a lot of it is shoes. They sit in the closet, season after season, sometimes never seeing the light of day. Too much of anything is always a problem but when you store “too much” of one thing behind a door you never get a full sense of what you own. Take out all of your shoes and sort them into categories. Purge one category at a time (perhaps over the course of a few days if needed) by determining what fits, is still stylish, and still necessary for your life now. Let go of what is worn, dated, and unnecessary.

Organizing tip: With what is left consider storing using an over-the-door shoe rack.  Aim to keep only what fits on that rack. As well, for seasonal items like dress shoes (and even specific dress handbags) consider the good ole trusty shoe box bin (my favorite organizing tool). It can be stored on the top shelf of the closet and still be seen so as to not be forgotten.

Minimize the items in your closet so when you open the door you are greeted with calm.

And a clear view of what to wear.

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