Stand back and take a long, hard look at your closet. Are you satisfied with it? Is it at the place you want? Or does the amount of clothing you’ve accumulated make you cringe? If the answer is yes to the last question, it’s time you take action.

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With the new year just around the corner, right now is the perfect time to remove the clutter of your life by treating yourself to a closet cleanse. Similar to a juice cleanse, a wardrobe purge is therapeutic, and you’ll be grateful you did it. Starting fresh in 2015 should mean renewing not only the mental and emotional areas of your life, but also the physical. Your closet is a big part of that.

Step 1: Go with your gut, and eliminate the unwanted.
Start at one of end of your closet. Begin combing through your closet at a brisk pace. Pull the obvious items you don’t want or need and place them in a pile. If an item requires you to pause for more than 10 seconds in indecision, include it in the pile. This exercise is to practice the art of intuition. You’d be surprised what you already know should be removed from your closet. Confronting the clothing you don’t need will help you get rid of it. Remember not to slow your pace. Don’t get caught in your thoughts. Although we can have a few pieces kept purely for sentimental value, it’s safe to keep that at a minimum. Clothing should be worn, not imprisoned in a closet due to an unhealthy attachment.

With the pile of clothing you’ve pulled, spend a couple minutes on each item determining why it is you don’t feel you need it. It could be that you’re just sick of it. Or, perhaps it doesn’t fit the way it should. Maybe its relevance to your style has expired. Or, maybe you don’t even know why you bought it in the first place. These are all valid reasons why they didn’t make the cut. Another way to know you’ve had your run with an article of clothing is that you literally wore it to death every summer for the past six years. Yet, six years ago you were 21. Is it still going to be age appropriate next summer? To know that the purpose of a purchase has been fulfilled is a satisfying thing. Don’t be sad you’re parting with it. Letting go is savoring that experience and allowing room for more of your wardrobe to have a part in the spotlight.

Clothing should be worn, not imprisoned in a closet due to an unhealthy attachment.

Not all the items in your pile may be a dead giveaway for why you don’t need it. Sure, you haven’t worn that printed button up blouse much, but does it have potential? If you come across items like this that are practical and versatile and maybe even high in fabric quality, find a way to rework them back into your closet. Take five minutes to style them with prints or washes of denim you think pair nicely. Already, you’ve just conjured up three new outfits without spending a dime.

Step 2: Organize the keepers.
After you’ve cleared your closet, group together like items by category of clothing. Each item should have a group to sit in: tops, dresses, sweaters, lighter jackets, heavier outerwear, etc. After you’ve created those groups, sit the groups in a way where one won’t swallow the other. For instance, don’t hang the dresses in between the outerwear and sweaters. At eye level, you will lose sight of them. Usually having the thinner, first layers (tops & dresses) lead to the thicker, second layers (sweaters & outerwear) is an effective set up that’s easy to maintain as well.

Step 3: Give.
With the items to give away, make two piles — one for friends/younger relatives and another for charity.

Be honest with yourself here and really only pull those items you know your friends will wear. Don’t bank on the fact that they’ll take it all. Do, however, research organizations in your area that are looking to take on used or slightly used clothing. Find an organization that resonates with you. Be intentional with your giving. Be sure to read their guidelines on what they accept and don’t accept before you haul all your clothing there. (Plus, don’t forget to ask for a receipt so you can include this as a charitable contribution for when you file your taxes.)

If you’re in the LA area, below are a few notable organizations:
Dress for Success
Planet Aid
Downtown Women’s Center
LA Mission

Now, take a deep breath and smile. You did it!

Image via ngocmnguyen on Flickr

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