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During my self-isolation I’ve been trying to do activities to keep myself busy that are also productive. The one activity that I dread doing every year in the spring is cleaning out my closet!

A closet, in the simplest of terms, holds our shoes and clothing, but really a closet is what holds our expression of identity and memories. This is why when it comes to going through our closets, getting rid of clothing can be a lot harder to do than we think. I for one have not just 1 but 3 closets full of clothing that I think I will “maybe wear one day”. This is because i’ll look at a shirt and think of a happy memory like “this is the shirt I wore on my first date with Tom” or “This is the dress I wore on my 21st birthday”. It’s memories like these that keep us attached to the clothes that we know deep down we will probably never wear again. There are many other reasons why we may not get rid of clothing, but whatever reason you may have can be trumped with 1 simple rule. Now this rule may sound obvious, but without it we can lose track of time and make justifications.

The rule is, “Keep it if you have worn it in the past year, if you haven’t worn it, sell or donate!” You may be thinking this is easy and obvious, but really when we go through our closets a lot of the time we may find clothes that we haven’t seen in months or even years. You may think, “oh I haven’t seen this in forever! I’ll wear it soon!” and then it goes right to the back of the closet, never to be seen or worn again until your next closet clean-up. This is a classic vicious cycle which enables us to hold onto objects we no longer need. Chances are, if you’ve forgotten about it, then you don’t really want it. So to practice this rule, when you start cleaning out your closet, make 2 piles. The “regularly worn items” pile and the “haven’t worn in awhile” pile. The “regularly worn items” pile can go right back into your closet and that’s the easy part. Now you will be left with the “haven’t worn in awhile” pile, when you go through this pile, ask yourself 2 questions: 1. “When was the last time I wore this?” If your answer is over a year ago, then make a new pile called “sell or donate” and place that item in the pile! If your answer is less than a year ago, then ask yourself, “Would I wear this the next chance I get?” For example, if you’re debating if you should sell or donate a t-shirt that you last wore 6 months ago but are having a tough time giving it up, ask yourself, would you wear that t-shirt on the next opportunity you have? If your answer is no, then sell or donate! If your answer is yes, then create a new pile, for “keep items”! These two simple questions will help you determine what clothing you actually want to have as part of your wardrobe and what items you can get rid of!