If you’re trying to do a major closet makeover, most experts will tell you to purge, purge, purge.
Don’t listen. It doesn’t work.
You’ve heard it before: take everything out of our closet and then only allow back in those things that you really love.
People say this like it’s easy to make all those gut-wrenching decisions. In truth, none of them can do it without agonizing over the Delia’s sweater they wore all through college. All right, one of them can, but we think she’s a little smug about the whole thing, frankly.
It’s exactly like doing a juice cleanse, or an all-chicken-and-greenbeans diet, or going to the gym every single day.
It will give you a sense of control, of things changing, of you changing. But that kind of control is not real.
Life will step in and distract you, and you will give just as little time and attention to filling your closet back up as you did to emptying it in the first place. Next year, you will have a closet full of stuff you only sort of like, again.
Think about clothing companies. They change hemlines, proportions, and influences every season so you’ll think you need to buy new things to stay current.
It’s working. On average, women spend $3,400 per year on clothing. That’s $283.33 per month, according to the bureau of Labor Statistics.
Stay with me! I’m not suggesting you don’t buy new things. What I’m suggesting is that we all pay more attention to what we have and what we buy. I’m proposing we savor the closet clean-out, bit by bit.
How to savor cleaning out your closet
If you spend only five minutes a week on your closet, you’ll get that little “fix” of control each time, instead of one big fix that will inevitably lead to more cravings and questionable buying decisions. (Hello, non-returnable J. Crew dress with the tag still on! Your pattern is too busy for me.)
To battle this, I’ve compiled tips I’ve picked up from stylists, office organizers, time management experts, and even interior decorators, to create a gradual, sustainable system called “The Sane Closet Cleanout.”
It starts with one five-minute session.
The 5-minute cleanout
Follow this system of small steps right now. They are designed to give you satisfaction and momentum, without the regret.
1 | Grab any storage containers you have on hand, like trash bags, grocery bags, totes, Amazon Prime boxes… You will need three.
2 | Label them: “Seasonal,” “Toss,” and “Outbox.”
3 | Set your phone timer and spend one minute grabbing anything that is blatantly off-season: your puffer coat if it’s July; your swim cover-up if it’s December. Put those in the “Seasonal” box. This can be as few as one or two things. If you’re unsure, leave it where it is.
4 | Spend one minute plucking anything that is embarrassing, but not sentimental or super-comfortable to you: a stained blouse you only wear under sweaters; running socks with holes; pit-stained T’s that are beyond Oxiclean. These go in “Toss.”
5 | Place the “Outbox” somewhere handy, preferably in, or right outside your closet. It lives there now. Say “Hello” and be nice to it. You’ll use it daily as a temporary residence for any item with an uncertain fate. Each week, you’ll review these items (that’s Step 2 in the series).
6 | Stash “Seasonal” under your bed, or wherever you typically store things.
7 | Put “Toss” out in the trash. Do it. Now.
Savor your good work.
This article originally appeared on the author’s site, PowerSuiting.com.