Prep for the Purge! Step One.
Planning on attending the Clothing Exchange? Great! Now, you're possibly thinking ... What do I do? How do I start? How do I let go of my treasures that I haven't touched, worn or even looked at in... YEARS!?!?!? Fear not! I'm pulling from a number of de-cluttering articles I've collected over time. Real Simple magazine is a personal favorite. I've got you!
Ok. This is where it can get dicey and overwhelming. A simple closet cleaning can transform into a house and time devouring monster if left to it's own devices. Start with a game plan to keep it manageable and sane.
SAVE THE DATE
Set a start date. Put it on your calendar. Ideally, set aside about 2-4 hours. It's ok to break it down into 30 minute or 1 hour segments over a few days or weekends. Consider tackling categories like the large dresser, one side of the bedroom closet or shirts only, jewelry only. The old saying "Eat the elephant one bite at a time" is so on point for this project. I've even set a timer in 10 or 15 minute increments to help me focus. Give yourself several weekends or evenings to manage this task.
You'll need a full length mirror and seamless underwear for try on's and some heavy duty garbage bags for sorting cast offs. Use a Sharpie and some Super Post it notes to label the bags: CLOTHING EXCHANGE, TAILOR, CONSIGNMENT/SELL, RECYCLE, and TRASH.
INVITE A FRIEND ~ BUDDY SYSTEM
Sometimes a friend can help with sorting things out as they can be objective and kind, or ruthless when needed! Experts in the organizational field recommend bringing a bottle of wine to turn it into a celebration and not a chore. Drink responsibly! Background dance music could be helpful to keep your energy up and moving.
LAY IT ALL OUT
If you've committed to an all out, one shot, drag out cleaning session, pull everything out of your closet and drawers and arrange it by categories (sweaters, jeans, shoes, etc.) on the bed and the floor. Getting a bird's eye view gives you the opportunity to spot themes, for example: too much weekend gear, 15 green shirts with Peter Pan collars, not enough 9-5 work clothes, and get rid of pieces that aren't pulling their weight. If you're going the micro organizing route, focusing on one category at a time, can be revelatory. (Why do I have 15 green sweaters with identical collars?) Laying it all out this way ensures that your home stays habitable while you chip away at this project.
Question 1: WILL YOU WEAR IT AGAIN?
Instead of peering into the past with the old "Have I worn it the last 6 months? question, think about the future. Would you don that strappy dress to work again if you had a great sweater to wear over it? If yes, note that on a shopping list or in your brain and save the dress. Let it go if you try to justify holding onto it with the idea that "maybe someday when (I lose weight, go to a fancy party...)". Nope. Put it in a bag to go.
Stay tuned for more tips!