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Tips on Cleaning out your Closet: An Underrated Form of Therapy

  Face it, you’ve been meaning to do it for weeks...dare I say months? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there at one time or another. There are mountains of them,...


Face it, you’ve been meaning to do it for weeks...dare I say months? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there at one time or another. There are mountains of them, some in more than just one closet. It’s no secret that many of us have trouble letting go, especially when it comes to clothing.

They’re all your favorite things; you’ve invested hard-earned money, time picking them out, and emotional text exchanges with friends that asked something like, “should I get it? It looks damn good, right?” But as you add to your collection, real estate in your closet is dwindling and you need room for those better and brighter pieces that complement the present you.

Maybe, you’re just looking to freshen up the aesthetic. Maybe you’re in need of a major rework.Whatever the reason, it’s time for a change and you know it. But it’s hard. The task is looming, and yes, you’re a little bit afraid.

Hear us out and heed the first and most important tip: Accept that you will need to devote some time to the task and change your mindset.

Tips on Cleaning out your Closet: An Underrated Form of Therapy

Think of it as therapy. Cleaning out your closet is often seen as a tedious chore but it could be incredibly cathartic. We need to understand why downsizing our options, instead of buying another dresser to store all the things is important. Is this familiar? You’ve got an important meeting to attend or a hot date. You’ve tried on six outfits and with each one you test drive in front of the mirror, the more anxious you feel, and the more mentally exhausted. There are simply too many options, and to top it all off, dressing becomes infuriating and not enjoyable.

Choice overload. First coined by writer and businessman Alvin Toffler explains it easily.

When people are faced with more options to choose from, it can lead to frustrations. Why? Because making a decision is difficult when you’re weighing alternatives against each other and the fear of making the wrong choice takes precedence over the creative enjoyment of, in this case, putting together an outfit.


Tips on Cleaning out your Closet: An Underrated Form of Therapy

Trust us, cleaning out your closet can help you clear your mind and streamline your life into productivity and effectiveness. We’re clever women, with more important priorities to attend to than feeling scattered in front of our mirror. How do we begin?

1) Let’s start fresh. Do your laundry. Empty out your closet. Place all your clothes, bags, and shoes on the floor or bed. Somewhere you will not impede the traffic in your house too much. Don’t worry about the mess, you’ll work through it, I promise. Now, it’s time to put some music on. You’ve committed. There’s no turning back. Maybe pour yourself a glass of wine. Make it about both the journey and the destination.

Tip: Before you start sorting, take a moment to look at your empty closet and imagine a loose image of how you’d like it to look. Where do you see your favorite pieces going? Did you have a system before you emptied it out or do you need to implement one? Depending on your closet, you’ll have to consider how to group your clothing. What to hang, what to fold, and so on. Think of organizing your closet by color, or having a compartment for your dressy tops or casual shirts. Do you like to go partying on the weekends? Wouldn’t it be easier to have saucier items grouped together away from the business casual attire?
Tip: Consider the items you need to wear on a regular basis. Whether it’s for your job or your rigorous fitness regiment, designate the area where they are within the easiest reach in your mind's eye. It doesn’t have to be too scientific, but consider a loose plan of action. Notice, we haven’t even looked at your clothing pile yet.
Tip: Visualizing is important. See the end goal. Ask yourself what are the personal values you seek to uphold, and your current personal style and follow these general guidelines. The pieces that fall in line will be easier to identify. Develop the image of your ideal wardrobe before you start sorting through and this way, the piles of clothing will not be so intimidating. Accept that pieces will inevitably be on the chopping block to fit this image.

2) Time to plan an attack. Get bags or boxes ready, or designate a place for separate piles. Mark one as “Trash.” Have space for “Definitely Donate”, one for “Maybe”.

Tip: Mark one for “Sell”. You do not have to sell these pieces. But have the bag, box, or designated spot anyway. Even if you do not plan to sell your pieces, there might be garments that no longer hit the spot, or fall out of style with who you are now. Still, they are perfectly gorgeous. This eliminates the guilt you might feel when parting with a perfectly good piece. When you have the possibility of earning some rewards for your better pieces, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the things you have no problem parting with.


Tips on Cleaning out your Closet: An Underrated Form of Therapy


3) Zoom Out. Put the “Sell” Pile and “Maybe” pile next to each other. These are your clothing’s limbo. Revisit them at the end when you have a solid pile of the items you want to keep and ones you're definitely getting rid of.

Tip: When assembling your “Keep” pile, group pieces by the categories you’ve considered in separate sub-genre-baby piles. This can show you if you have too many of the same styles of clothing. Even though they are in the Keep pile, consider shaving off repeats. You don’t need thirteen short sleeve black shirts. Then just keep sorting through. Move fiercely. You’ll probably find yourself with many pieces on the “Maybe” pile.
Tips on Cleaning out your Closet: An Underrated Form of Therapy


4) Assess. When you’ve roughly gone through everything, compare the “Keep” pile with the “Sell” and “Maybe” piles. Experiment with the garments in these piles and see if they work well with the vibes of your wardrobe. Really sort through and inspect these items.

Tattered clothing, those with rips in them or heavy damage and pit stains that won’t benefit anyone, you can put in the trash bag. Pieces that you have not worn in over a year, that you never reach for, that no longer fit or flattery, are silly and can’t believe you’ve purchased, and the clothes that need minor repairs that you do not feel you’ll ever get around to fixing, donate.

Of course, some decisions don’t come easy. For the sentimental pieces, you’ve got to be firm. Things you’ve worn so often that they’re now worn out or breaking at the seam, pieces received as gifts you’ve kept only out of guilt, it might be time to say goodbye. Organization guru, Marie Kondo advises to ask yourself if a piece “sparks joy.” We’ve formed attachments so implement gratitude but recognize that the old relics from the past serve you no longer. We are focusing on the present and the future.

Tip: Shift pieces from pile to pile as you work things out. Have some fun! Try some things on. Especially focus on items you are unsure of. This will help you make an informed decision and save you from passing judgment too quickly. Yes, you should be ruthless, but you shouldn’t punish yourself too hard. This is supposed to be fun. You’re in charge. Augment the system to work for you, don’t put yourself in a corner. Pretend you’re Indiana Jones, searching for treasure. Pretend that you’re at the mall in a shop and looking to find the perfect outfits for yourself. If you experiment with a belt as a headband, that’s totally awesome! But maybe put the wine down.

5) Eliminate. Work until you no longer have a “Maybe” pile. Set the“Donate,” and “Trash” piles aside and deal with them accordingly. Tackle the items you keep and organize them back into your closet. Get creative, experiment with the aesthetic, make sure you can see them all and that none of them are hidden behind something else. The drawback of that initial motivation, that image you held to when you first started the project.

6) Revisit the “Sell” pile. If you have the energy, check to see if you’ve changed your mind about any certain pieces. This becomes your new “Maybe” pile. You can try for a consignment shop, disregard them and place them in with the rest of the “Donate” items, or stew on them for a bit longer. Keep them separated from your closet, though, and see if you find yourself reaching or looking for them when you open up your newly minted wardrobe.

7) You did it! Take a deep breath and have a look. We’re proud of you.


Tips on Cleaning out your Closet: An Underrated Form of Therapy


By: Sonia Borz 


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