10 Tips for a Closet Cleanse

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We tend to be a hoarder —particularly when it comes to our clothes— although it's something we've gotten much better at now that we've moved into a 350-square-foot apartment with our significant other. However, we were particularly inspired by an article in House Beautiful about clearing out the clutter. Jump through for our favorite tips...

House Beautiful asserts that personal change starts with your closet since it holds the clues to your past and future self. It also warns that the whole process can take a good four hours... so do it on the weekend, put some music on, and fix yourself a drink. Here were some of our favorite tips:

1. Begin by thinking on paper, which will help speed up and simplify the process: what do you love? When tossing items, refer to your list.

2. When debating about an item, ask yourself: which is more valuable? The item or the cleared space?

3. No one lets go of something without reaching for something else. Think of the overarching theme, of what sort of feeling in your life you want next (i.e. serenity, creativity) so you can create the space for it.

4. Ask yourself these questions: Do I love it? Is it flattering? Is it the image I want to project? If it's a "yes" to all three, then it's a keeper.

5. To determine if something is a personal treasure, ask yourself: is this the best reminder of that particular time in my life or person I knew? If not, then toss it.

6. Invest in matching wooden or padded hangers and quality containers.

7. When you're 3/4 of the way through clearing your closet, you may begin to get overwhelmed by the space (What am I going to do without my stuff?) Remind yourself that you are who you are, not what you own. Get through the panic, and you'll experience calm and relief.

8. Keep in mind a Zen parable that tells of a traveler on a road who came up on a river with a washed out bridge. So he built himself a raft which carried him safely to the other side. "This is a good raft" he thought, "If I come to another river, I can use it." So he carried it on his back with him for the rest of his life. How long do we hold onto something that's no longer useful?

9. Practice SHED. Separate the treasures, Heave the trash, Embrace your identity and connect to who you are without your stuff, and Drive forward.

10. Decide who will get the cast-offs, i.e., a favorite charity or homeless shelter.

By getting rid of outdated items, the article by Julie Morgenstern says, you open yourself up to possibilities for the future. The author also has a new book that's come out in the last year. Click here for the link.

Image by Daly & Newton for Redbook Magazine