This month is the perfect time to tackle that closet cleaning project you've been meaning to start. It can be a daunting task, to say the least.
Why? Because the truth is, most of us have way too many clothes to deal with. We tend to add new things and not get rid of anything. You'd also agree that organizing and cleaning are not exactly at the top of a list of fun ways to spend our time. So, what happens? We procrastinate and ultimately end up giving in to the clutter—lots and lots of clutter. It's not fun and it's not helping us in our efforts to always look and feel our best.
Enough! Turn up the volume on some favorite tunes (preferably music that makes you want to dance), turn on all the lights, throw open the curtains and just do it!
- Designate dresser drawers for exercise clothes, only around the house clothes, lingerie/underwear and finally, sweaters. Period. Everything else should be on hangers. Oh, and not those wire hangers from the cleaners. No siree. Instead, use some good hangers that are material covered. They can be purchased at places like Costco and Sam's Club for a song: 50 hangers for $15.
- Separate hanging clothes into categories that work for you. Some do it by color, some by occasion—office, weekend, evening, holiday, etc. I prefer just by function—tops, bottoms, suits, dresses. It really doesn't matter how you do it. What does matter is that it's a system that's easy for you to maintain. In other words, keep it simple.
This is the hard part, I know. It's this step that my clients get all tripped up by. Try this approach:
- Be decisive.
- Be practical.
- Be honest.
- Be unemotional.
When in doubt, it goes out. Unless you have only five or so holiday season pounds to lose, do not keep things that fit you 10 or more pounds ago. Those jeans that you loved back then? By the time you are able to wear them again, if you are able to wear them again, they will likely be out of style. If they are in good condition, place them in a bag marked "Donate." Someone will be thrilled to wear them and will look good doing so!
And what about those cool things we categorize as "keepsakes," like that Chicago Bulls championship commemorative t-shirt? Try this. Look for a nice box, mark it keepsake clothing, and then store it in a place other than your closet. No need to say goodbye... just abiento (see you later).
And finally, when you come across something that makes you think you might need it again someday, or that it might come in handy if the styles change, resist the urge to keep it just in case.
A Zen parable beautifully and wisely illustrates the wisdom of such a mindset:
A wanderer on a lonely road came upon a torrential river that washed out the bridge. So, he built a solid heavy raft which carried him safely to the other bank. This is a good raft, he thought. If there is another river ahead, I can use it. And he carried that solid heavy raft for the rest of his life.