Are the contents of your closets a chaotic jumble? Is there so much clutter inside that you can't put anything away and it's just about impossible to find what you're looking for?

Then it's time to reclaim your closets and convert that overstuffed space into usable storage.

Declutter Closets First

If you have a whole room to clean up, start with the closets first. The things in your storage spaces often haven't been touched in a long time. You may even have forgotten you even have them. You're much less likely to feel an emotional connection to them than you are to things you use more often.

Make room for the things you're using now by getting rid of some of the old, unused items from your closets.

Clearing out bedroom closets can be an especially helpful step in gaining emotional freedom from your clutter. Why? Because the clothing, shoes, and accessories found in bedroom closets can carry a big emotional charge, especially for women. It can be emotionally freeing to weed through your personal things and keep only the ones you really need.

Why Are Your Closets Packed with Things You Don't Use?

You may be keeping clothes you don't wear in your closet for lots of different reasons. Some of the most common ones:

It's out of style.
You need to have it cleaned, altered, or repaired.
You don't like the color any more.
It doesn't fit any more.
You don't like the way you feel when you wear it.
It doesn't fit with the things you like to do now. (This is a frequent occurrence for women who leave the professional world to stay home with children. Their business clothes don't fit the new life of driving the carpool or going to the playground.)
You have so many of that item (shoes, sweaters, black dresses, jeans, etc.) that you just never pick this one to wear. If you have multiples of a certain kind of clothing, here's your chance to keep only your favorites and find new homes for the ones you don't like as well.
It's a gift from someone special, but you never liked it much. It won't do anyone any good hanging in your closet or stuffed in a drawer. Acknowledge the good intention behind the gift, then regift it to someone who will really enjoy it.

How to Let Go of Unused Clothes

It can be useful to take a good look at why your closets are full of things you don't use or enjoy. Take a few minutes to look through your closet. As you pick up each item, ask yourself, "How long has it been since I wore this?" If you haven't worn a piece of clothing for several years, it's highly unlikely that you're ever going to wear it again. Then why are you keeping it?

People have a number of reasons for holding onto clothes that they haven't been wearing and aren't likely to wear in the future. Here are some common ones:

They were expensive, and you don't want that money to go to waste. Often that is true. It's also true that keeping clothes you don't use doesn't bring the money back. What if you freed up the physical and mental space those clothes occupy for things you want to use today? You can sell clothes that are in good condition at a resale shop. The truth is that most used clothing isn't worth much. Donate them to charity and you'll get a tax deduction and can move on with your life.
You plan to wear them after you go back to work or lose some weight. But in fact, you're not going to want to wear old, out-of-fashion clothes You'll want to show off your new figure with stylish new clothes. You'll have the same reaction if you go back to work after staying at home for a while. Fashions and office trends change. The clothes that worked for you in your last work situation probably won't make you feel your best when you go back to work.
These clothes bring back memories you want to hold on to. This is a great reason to keep a few special items. But just keep a few, not every single item from those times.

All these reasons for keeping old things share a focus on the future or the past, not the present day. Getting rid of unworn clothes can mean giving up the person you used to be before your life changed. It also means letting go of dreams you may have had for your future, dreams you cherished before your life took a different turn. Giving up old dreams is the way you open the way for the real you to live your best life in the here and now. Sometimes that's hard. It's important to admit to yourself and respect exactly what you've let go.

Give Yourself Permission to Grieve

When you give up your collection of stiletto heels, your size 6 wardrobe, your old hunting clothes, or your corporate suits, you're acknowledging an important change in your life. Sometimes those changes hurt. Allowing yourself to feel the sadness, anger or regret helps you prepare for the real adventure: living your life for today.


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