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One of the most common statements I hear from closet design clients is, "I've got to get rid of some of this stuff."

Sound familiar? Should be easy, right? Weed out the stuff that you don't wear, out of style clothing, things that haven't fit since college. Yet, many have an extremely difficult time purging the clutter from their closets. The fact is that few issues are more emotionally charged than parting with outdated wardrobe and heirloom linens. It somehow hits at the core of our identity...  an emotional history of our lives so to speak. Thus a dichotomy that creates yet a deeper emotional discomfort: the very items we cling to with this sense of need creates the clutter that generates even more profound emotional discomfort. 

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For many of us this is not an easy problem to overcome. Here are some tips that some of our clients have shared with us.

  1. Turn all of your coat hangers around facing backwards. Every time you remove an item to wear replace the hanger facing forward as usual. At the end of the year any hangers that remain facing in reverse are items you have not worn. Get rid of them. One client told us that no matter how great she looks in the outfit, no matter how much it cost, she tosses it. 
  2. Feel good about the clothing you purge from your closet by donating it to folks that could really benefit from your surplus clothing. Organizations like Second Generation Thrift Shop in Greenland, part of an organization that helps provide shelter, education, support and resources to pregnant, newly parenting women and their babies. Donate to your local church, or organizations in your community. Lots of folks need help.
  3. Weed pout worn clothing: Jeans with blown out knees, shirts with missing buttons and faded colors. Sounds obvious, but sometimes not so easy. Get tough with yourself!
  4. Sort out those clothing items that just don't fit anymore. Hey, if you do lose the weight somewhere down the road, treat yourself to some new duds. For now, dump the clutter and end the delusion. 
  5. Get a more efficient closet system. If you've pared things down and you are still frustrated with the way your closet works think about a design consult with a professional closet designer. Closets with just a simple rod and shelf, or wire closet systems are outdated and inefficient. Often an upgrade will double the efficiency of your closet.

On a more serious note, if you really struggle with clutter issues you might consider a consult with a member of NAPO--National Association of Professional Organizers. These folks are trained to help develop ssytems and strategies to help you organize all aspects of your home.