The 45-minute closet clean up
One of the best ways to clear my head is to clean up my surroundings. It’s a no-brainer to toss the stuff I hate. What’s harder to identify are stealth garments that lurk among my favorites: clothes I used to love but barely wear, items that are serviceable but not exciting, expensive mistakes, and anything that doesn’t quite fit.
Weeding out things that no longer work — whether clothes or noxious elements in your life — can seem overwhelming. So start small. You can do this whole purge in under an hour. Or if that’s too much, attack just one category a day. Spend 5 minutes on each and be ruthless!
- Fixer-Uppers: Broken zipper? Sleeves too long? Put anything that needs to be fixed into a bag. If you don’t take it to the tailor or shoemaker within a week, you’ll know that you don’t love it enough to keep it.
- Pants: Do they fit perfectly? Can’t wait to wear them? If you don’t feel attractive, you’ll always pick another pair. The exception: jeans that used to be flattering and are now too tight, but ONLY if you are serious about losing those extra 5-10 lbs. Save one pair and re-evaluate in three months.
- Shoes: Too big, small or tight? Gone! Not really your style? Had them for months and still haven’t worn them? Odds are, you never will.
- Duplicates: If you own multiples of the same style, only keep the ones you wear the most. Even among five black sweaters, you undoubtedly have one or two favorites. Ditch the rest.
- Fill-Ins: Do you have clothes, shoes and accessories that are nice enough but you always gravitate towards something else instead? If you’re not ready to toss them, make a list of the pieces you want to upgrade and when you buy that perfect jacket, shirt or belt, get rid of the fill-in.
- Sad Sacks: Underwear, socks, t-shirts…. Throw out everything that’s stained, shapeless, faded or has holes. Check collars and cuffs – that’s where the wear shows up first. Even if you’re only running to the grocery store, why look like a hot mess?
- Fantasy Island: If you can’t imagine wearing a particular item or outfit any time in the next year, get rid of it. Exception: your favorite LBD or a timeless designer piece that will always make you look and feel great.
- Guilt Trippers: We’ve all had buyer’s remorse after spending a lot (usually on sale) on something we just don’t wear. Donate it to charity and you’ll feel good about yourself instead of guilty.
- Old Loves: If you can’t bear to part with something for sentimental reasons, box it up and store it somewhere outside of your closet. Even better: enjoy the memories without letting unnecessary mementos take up precious space.
A final note on fit: Clothes that are too small make us feel like failures. Clothes that are too big make us look frumpy and imply we’re going to backslide. Limit your wardrobe to fewer items that fit right now. You’ll feel more attractive, confident and in control.