Organizing Information

Effective Closet Cleaning Tips - Let Go of More Than Skeletons

I know I have a problem when I have to battle with the overflow every time I try to shut my closet door. Well, okay, it's not really a closet, more like an overgrown cupboard, but as it's all I have something's got to give. When it comes to clothes and shoes, I'm the worst. Perhaps it's the result of coming of age in the last two decades of the century - living through wave after wave of recycled fashions. After all, aren't asymmetrical tops back in?

I have an established routine for weeding out my closet:

Step One: Take everything (and I mean everything) out and lay them in loosely organized categories, such as shorts, pants, T-shirts, blouses, etc.

Step Two: Pass through each category using the golden rule "If you haven't worn it in a year, put it in the discard pile." Then pass through and sort out the deduplications. After all, how many pairs of denim short shorts do you really need?

Step Three: Clean the closet/overgrown cupboard. Remember, dust bunnies don't have feelings or sentimental value; it's okay to throw them away.

Step Four: Try on each and every item. If it's more than a tiny bit too tight or smidge too big, put it in the discard pile. No exceptions!

Step Five: Plan your closet! Don't just put everything back in willy-nilly; make a mental plan, think about the seasons, and organize!

Step Six: Shoes - Okay, so I like to give Imelda Marcos a run for her money, but shoes are hard to store, so some just have to go. First, make sure that each and every pair will go with at least three items of clothing; if they don't, discard. Second, if they are sadly out of date, discard. Third, try them all on and walk around the house in them. If they hurt your feet, discard. Finally, get a good shoe rack; if you have more shoes than room in the rack, repeat steps 1-3 until each shoe has a home.

Now you should have a big pile of discards in the living room. I have a two-step clothes dispersal process that works well for me. First step is getting together with all my girlfriends of approximately the same size and have a discard party. What's old and tired to you may be just the thing your pal has been searching for. A few munchies, several bottles of wine and you'll have a great time trading your old gear for something that's new to you. If you don't have girlfriends that are your size or your friends are fashion-challenged, you can always find folks to trade with online. There are plenty of fashionistas trading at SwapThing. However, always keep in mind your space limitations and only trade for a few things that really add some zing to your wardrobe! The second step is to gather all the discards at the end of your soiree and donate them to a local women's shelter. If you don't know any local organizations try doing a search in your area through the ShareThing program at SwapThing. Your old stuff can be a wonderful gift to a fellow female who has nothing to call her own. Good luck and get cleaning! is a site focused on building a strong swap community online. The ShareThing program helps non-profits get access to item & cash donations as well as volunteers and professional services.

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