If you have a ton of clothes but never seem to have anything to wear, it’s time to give your closet a serious makeover. The prospect of going through your clothes may seem daunting at first, but follow these simple steps and you’ll end up with a wardrobe full of wearable clothes that you love.

Step1: Preparation

Have a large, empty box ready to fill with clothes that you will take to Goodwill. If you have friends who would love to have some of your things, set aside a couple of paper sacks labeled with your friends’ names. Place a laundry basket nearby for clothes that need mending and another for clothes that need laundering. Clear off your bed to make room for piles.

Step 2: Rate Your Wardrobe

Begin by taking your clothes out of your closet one piece at a time and placing each item in one of three piles on your bed. Pile One is for pieces that you consider staples: you wear them all the time, they fit well, and you love them. Pile Two is for pieces that you occasionally wear, such as special outfits or things you don’t quite like as much as the staples. Pile Three is for pieces that you rarely, if ever, wear: these are clothes that either fit poorly, you don’t like, or that just aren’t appropriate for most events.  As you remove each item, place it in the appropriate pile.

Pile One

Pile One will go back in your closet after a quick inspection. Look at each piece carefully before placing it on the hanger. If it’s missing a button or has a seam that needs repairing, put it directly in the mending basket. If needs to be washed or dry-cleaned, put it directly into the laundering basket.

Pile Two

You will ask yourself three questions about each item in Pile Two: Have I worn this in the last year? Do I like this piece? Does it look good on me? If you answer no to any of the three questions, decide whether the item will go into the Goodwill box or your friends’ bags. If you answer yes to the last two questions, hang the piece up after inspecting it for mending or laundering needs.

Pile Three

Nearly everything in Pile Three should end up in the Goodwill box or friends’ bags. The exceptions are pieces you absolutely love but don’t have much occasion to wear. Keep those, but get rid of everything else.

Step 3: Drawers

Go through every pair of socks you own. Discard all socks that have holes, that are too stretched out, or that are uncomfortable. Go through every pair of underpants you own. Discard those with holes, stains or that you don’t wear. Go through your tights and panty hose. Discard all pairs that have holes or runs, or that you don’t wear. Whatever else you keep in your drawers, from T-shirts to pajamas, go through the rating process and get rid of anything that’s only taking up room.

Step 4: Discards

Don’t let the boxes, bags and baskets sit in your room. Put the Goodwill and friends’ bags in your car and either deliver them to the appropriate place right then, or leave them in your car so that when you’re nearby the thrift store or friends’ homes, you can drop them by. Take dirty clothes immediately to the laundry room or the cleaner’s. Get out your sewing kit and do your mending right away, then put the mended items where they belong.

A Few Additional Tips

  • Don’t hold on to an item that doesn’t fit you, thinking that you’ll wear it when you lose weight. When you lose weight, reward yourself with a few new pieces. Clothes that are too small only serve to remind you that you need to lose weight, and they fill your closet with items you can’t wear, making it difficult to find what you can.
  • Hang your suits on suit hangers so the skirt or pants and jacket are always together. If there’s a particular shirt that you only wear with that suit, hang it with the suit, under the jacket. Get skirt hangers for your skirt collection. These allow you to hang several skirts on one hanger, saving space and making them easier to find. Hang your pants on pants hangers, which will prevent creases and ensure that they are always wearable.
  • There may be pieces that you never, ever wear but that you can’t bring yourself to get rid of for one reason or another. Don’t fret; simply put away items like this in a storage bag and keep them on the top shelf of your closet or in a storage closet.

Once your closet is clean and organized, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to find something to wear. The bulk of the items you never wear are gone; all of the choices in your closet are viable options, which makes your wardrobe seem bigger than before, even though you’ve likely gotten rid of half a closet’s worth of clothes.

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