My kids just finished school and are officially on summer break, and one of the first exciting things on their summer-vacation docket is cleaning out their closets.
Yay, they cry!
OK, I’m being sarcastic, but the fact of the matter is, when it’s time to make the transition from winter wear to summertime fare, it’s a good time to empty the house of unwanted or unneeded items.
Doing kid’s clothes is easy: If it doesn’t fit, it goes.
The rules aren’t as simple for adults. So if you still have that ’80’s prom dress (I do) or the jeans you just can’t admit won’t ever fit again (I admit to nothing), try to emotionally detach yourself from the items by following these steps:
*Get pumped up to PURGE. Set aside a few hours solely for this project and get excited about starting a new, clutter-free chapter in your life. The most efficient process would be to empty your entire closet drawers and only return what you are going to keep.
*Go through the clothes quickly. The quicker you go, the less emotional you’ll be and the more you will be willing to dump.
*Separate into piles of keep, donate and toss. Keeps should be things you love and wear often; donates are for gently used items you would give to a friend; tossed items are anything stained, smelly, ripped or gross.
*The cardinal rule: If you haven’t worn a piece of clothing within the past year, let it go.
*If you still aren’t sure on an item, ask yourself, is the item something you would miss if lost or you would replace if something happened to it? If not, let it go.
*Once you’ve separated into your three piles, go through the keeps again and to see if anything should have made one of the other two piles.
You and your home should already feel lighter. Now, what to do with those piles.
*Keep: Of course, put this pile neatly back in your closet. You might want to organize by item, color or even potential outfits. Store out-of-season items that you won’t need for a while toward the back, in another closet or in the basement or garage in a durable, water-resistant container.
*Donate: There are wonderful organizations that will take your gently-used clothing and give or sell to those in need. There are drop-offs at places like Goodwill, Salvation Army , and some organizations will schedule a pick-up for free. Make sure to get a receipt so you can receive tax benefits on your donation.
If you want to try to make a couple bucks, you can place the items on eBay or Craigslist, host a garage sale or try to sell them to a consignment shop.
*Toss: If you have trouble throwing things away, remember that old shirts, socks, sweats, etc., actually make great cleaning supplies. Keep a box of old clothes on hand for emergency spills or just to dust off your TV. Works better than you think, and you won’t mind throwing it out when it gets too dirty. You can also store winter shoes in socks, so they stay clean for next season.
Cleaning out your closets can be cathartic. Make this project a priority and you and your home will feel cleaner and lighter, just in time for summer.