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My Research Assistant worked late most of last week, allowing me the perfect time frame to clean out my closet.  I had been planning what to keep and what to store for a couple of weeks before this purge.  There are many guides out there, but I ended up using several steps of my own.

The short version?

  1. What counts?
  2. What is your number?
  3. Make a list of what’s in your closet.
  4. Pare down your list
  5. Purge and store!

The longer version is a little more wordy…

First, decide what will count toward your number.  I did this based on what I had the most of so that I would really get to the point of this exercise – living with less.  If you find you hoard sweaters but only have two pairs of shoes, include sweaters in your final count. So on and So on.

For me reconciling weather the three pairs of shoes and two blazers that live at my office would count was very important.  In the end, I included tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear (including cardigans) and shoes in my final number.  My work blazers (navy and black) and the coordinating shoes do not count, nor do the few formal dresses I keep for weddings/work functions.

Second, choose your number.  Some people go with 33, some 37, and some even say the number isn’t important, it’s the journey.  I fall in the latter category, but in the spirit of focusing on narrowing down my shirt and shoe collection, I had to pick a number.  It had to be an even number because an uneven amount of clothes in my closet would make me itch.  I eventually chose 40.

Third, think about your closet. I suggest making a list of all of your clothes – whatever you can remember wearing.  Mine was in an excel spreadsheet, but it doesn’t have to be that meticulous.  Anything that wasn’t on the list is obviously not something I wear often and should be stored (I’m not throwing things away yet, I just can’t).

Fourth, make the harder decisions.  Take the list of your closet and think about the pieces you wear the most.  Mark them.  Think about the shirts that only go with one pair of pants and vice versa.  Keep working at it until you’ve achieved your number goal!  Remember, you can store the items for a while until you’re ready to get rid of them.

Fifth and finally, get to work.  On a day you have time, do all of your laundry and return everything to its rightful place before you begin to purge.  This helped me see my mess for what it was.  Then, pull everything out of the closet (and drawers) and return it.  This was really nice to do because I was able to simultaneously organize my little closet!

 

Good luck!

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