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Closet Cleanout Tips for the New Year

Your closet is not just a practical place to keep your clothes, shoes and old love letters: it's the keeper of your hopes and dreams. That's why, in most women’s closets, you’ll find skinny jeans from decades ago, worn-out t-shirts and old holiday party dresses. You won't wear any of these things again, but for some reason, we can’t bear to let them go.

Whether you’re too overwhelmed to tackle your closet cleanout or too sentimental to let things go, we promise you can get rid of the clutter while still maintaining your memories (and your sanity) with these closet cleanout tips:

1. Commit to a schedule.

For some women, it’s easiest to commit to one full day of getting rid of things. With music blaring and a cocktail in hand, they can go at it until their closet is 40 pounds lighter. For others, the thought of devoting 10 hours to a project is enough to make their stomach flip.

If that sounds like you, commit to cleaning out five items a day. Knowing you only have to spend five to ten minutes a day tackling the mess can make the ever-daunting closet-cleanout process much more manageable. Plus, after a week goes by, you’ll have cleaned out 45 items - and your closet will be much, much lighter and brighter.

2. Create three piles - keep, donate, trash.

As you’re tackling your beast of a closet, section off items into three different piles - keep, donate and trash. The items you keep should be tried-and-true pieces you couldn’t live without, wear all the time and fit you perfectly. The donate pile should consist of items you may have once loved, but either don’t fit anymore or aren’t your style. A tip when donating: remember to give away items that are in decent shape. You should never donate clothes that are falling apart to charity.

Lastly, your trash pile should be reserved only for those items so worn you can’t donate them (trashed shoes, ripped items, etc.).

3. Donate items you haven't worn in the past year.

We know it can be hard to say goodbye, but as you’re donating items in your wardrobe, don’t skip past those pieces that you haven’t worn in at least a year. We all have those items that we’re holding onto in hopes that one day, they’ll come back into style and we’ll be able to rock them again - uber-tight, uber-fancy holiday dress, I’m looking at you. But if you haven’t worn an item in your closet in the past year, it’s time to add to that donate pile.

Once you’ve rid your closet of these one-off pieces, make a to-do list for your next shopping trip: commit to buying timeless, classic pieces in hopes that you actually can re-wear them year after year. You’ll never regret purchasing a classic black tank dress that you can dress up or down.

4. Don't forget your underwear drawer!

Lingerie is often forgotten about in closet clean-outs but is just as important as the items in your closet, if not more. If you are like many women, you probably have a collection of bras and panties that do not fit, are stretched out or are simply uncomfortable, and yet you keep them around just to keep your underwear drawer full.

Start by laying out all of your bras and underwear on the bed, so you can see it all in one place. First get rid of any pieces that are soiled, torn or ruined - we all have them! Then get rid of any that are just plain uncomfortable - life is too short to wear bad bras and underwear.

When you've done all of that, try on what's left and get rid of any bras or underwear that don't fit well. If your bra cups gape, are too tight or have slipping straps, consider taking our Fit Finder quiz to find a better-fitting bra. If your underwear doesn't fit, invest in new underwear that does, like our Seamless Thongs.

Purging your closet of space-sucking items will give you a fresh start to head into the holidays. If you approach your New Year closet cleanout with the right tools and attitude, it can be relatively painless. Your reward will be a clean, organized space (ready for new wardrobe additions that you will actually wear and enjoy). Don't wait any longer - get rid of that old taffeta bridesmaid's dress today!