Clearing Closet Clutter without Going Crazy

Organizing a closet is one of the most satisfying clean-up projects you can tackle. But without a little planning, its sheer enormity can leave you with more chaos than before you started. Try these tips to clear the clutter, leaving you with only the things you really use.

Pick one closet to start. Make sure you have space in that room to spread everything out. (A bed works great for this.) You’ll be taking out every (yes, EVERY) item in that closet. For each item, ask whether you’ve used it/worn it in the past year. If not, seriously consider getting rid of it. Knowing that we wear only about 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time will help you let go. Try to touch things only once while going through this process — make a decision then and there, rather than putting items aside to “decide later.”

Items that you are removing can go in one of four boxes: a trash box (for stuff headed straight to the dump), a repairs box (for items that need repairing), a recycling box (for things that can be recycled, sold or given away), and a transit box (for things that belong in another area of the home). If you have trouble parting with some items, put them in a box, label the box with a date six months from now, and store it out of sight. If you haven't gone into the box by the time the date rolls around, toss or donate it without opening it.

• The hard part is now complete! Now comes the fun of rearranging, organizing, and storing the remaining items.

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