Strip my closet!

everything has its place

This picture is my dream closet.  Alas, not all closets can be this gorgeous and this LARGE.

In closets, as in life, less is more. Specifically, the 80-20 rule applies: we wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time, while the remaining 80% represent the freeloaders of the wardrobe clan. Impulse purchases, orphaned blouses, and the one-size-too-small brigade choke rods, hooks and drawers, squeezing the life from the wearer-friendly 20%.

Resolve to pare it down! Does each garment in your closet pull its own weight? Only current-season clothing that both fits and flatters should be assigned that valuable closet real estate.

How do you make the division? Classic organizational thinking involves removing all clothing from the closet, trying on every single item with every other single item, culling the unacceptable, mending the ragged and tattered, and hanging the lucky survivors in descending order according to color.

Yeah, right. We all know what happens on this plan — you pull everything out of the closet, try on your prom dress from 1998, and the baby wakes up, spits up, and demands attention. Then you get to sleep in a bedroom filled with tulle and sequins for the next three weeks. And mending? What’s that?

No, savvy home managers have a few more effective tricks up their sleeves. The simplest is the most drastic: take every single clothing item you own, and store it in another room. Each morning, go to that room, select your clothing and get dressed. Only items that have been worn and laundered are allowed back in your closet.

Over the course of the season, this separates the sheep from the goats quite handily–the valuable 20% enjoy their roomy surroundings, while the 80% crowd are out of sight, out of mind. At season’s end, take the rejects to consignment, or box them up for the next yard sale!

Too drastic? No spare closets? The same principle can be put to use in your existing closet. When you wear a garment, say, a T-shirt, put it away on the top of the T-shirt pile. Over a few weeks, the good 20% will be the top 20% of the pile — so remove the bottom ranks to boxes for storage, sale or consignment.

For hanging clothes, tie a bright red ribbon in the center of the closet rod.  As you wear an item, hang it in front of the ribbon–and weed the rejects, weeks later, from the other side!

The hanger flip method works, too.  To try it, reverse the direction of every hanging garment in the closet, placing the hanger on the rod backwards.  When you wear an item, replace it in the closet hung in the conventional way.  At season’s end, you’ll know at a glance which clothing is destined for donation or the consignment store.

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