If you’re like most Americans, you have too much stuff! Stuff that you don’t wear, don’t use, and don’t need! I help clients downsize, or as I like to call it, right-size. As a right-sizing expert, I work with clients to tackle the sometimes daunting task of deciding what will fit in their new home or apartment. Whether you are getting ready to right-size in the next few weeks, months, or years, starting to go through your belongings now will make that process less stressful when the time comes.
Now that spring is here, it’s the perfect time to do a mid-year clothing and shoe purge. Thinning out your closets can lead to a more efficient use of space (and time)! Sometimes when we know that a large project needs completed like closet sorting and purging we tend to put it off because the task just seems too large. I recommend focusing on just two seasons at a time. This breaks the task into half the size and it’s easier because you will immediately know if you wore the article of clothing recently. This is one of the first telltale signs that it may be time to say goodbye to an item (if you haven’t worn it in the past year)!
Start with your main closet. Go through clothes that are meant to be worn during cold season months. Set aside every item you have worn this fall/winter and then go through the remaining items that you didn’t wear. Put them through this test:
- Is the item in good condition (working zippers/snaps/buttons, without holes or faded colors)?
- Does it fit properly?
- If you were in a store and you saw this item would you consider purchasing it?
- Do you have an occasion in mind for wearing it in the next year?
If you can’t answer “yes” to all of these questions you should consider donating all clothes that are in decent condition. When you are finished with your main closet, move on to other closets, dressers, and other storage areas in your home that store fall and winter clothing. Go through your coat closet and any location where you keep gloves, scarves, hats, and other winter related items. Go through the same questions as above for all of your fall/winter shoes as well.
If you come across any clothing or other items that have special meaning to you, ask a family member if they would like the item or gift it to someone that is special to you. Some clothing can hold special memories such as a special occasion dress or a particular suit or tie. Keep in mind that the memories you hold in your heart will not be forgotten when you pass that item on to a new recipient. If you find it difficult going through this process, ask a friend or loved one to help you. Share with them your goal of eliminating any fall or winter item that has not been worn in the past year, that is not in good condition, or that you have no plans on wearing in the year ahead. Select someone who can hold you accountable as you go through your belongings because although it can be hard to part with some things, the right thing to do is to free up some space in your home so you feel more organized and you are better prepared for any right-sizing that you may choose to do down the road. There are many people who can benefit from the beautiful things you once loved. Find a charity that you are interested in and ask your friend or relative to take the donations for you. Have them ask the donation site for a receipt for your donated items so you can use them as a tax deduction next year.
Don’t get discouraged if you have multiple closets and dressers to go through. Focus on just one area at a time, and remember, at the end of the summer you can go back through all of your spring and summer clothes and shoes.
One other area you may want to go through is your jewelry. Often we wear the same special pieces day after day. When you go through your jewelry chest, make sure all earrings have matches and all necklaces are untangled. If you have costume jewelry you have not worn in the past year, also consider donating these items. If you have gold or silver that you no longer wear take it into a jewelry store who buys metals. A reputable jewelry store can also help you determine if a metal or stone is genuine. Unless you are 100% sure, I recommend talking to a professional before donating any jewelry. For those special pieces that you no longer wear, make it a point over the next year to gift some of those items to those you love and appreciate for an upcoming holiday. You will save money by not having to purchase a gift, but more importantly, those gifts will be priceless to the lucky recipients in your life. The look on your loved ones face will show it all!
Happy spring purging!