Should it stay or should it go?
First things first: Don't think - just dump. Power-sort the items that you love or wear all the time into a keep pile and the ones that you know aren't working (and aren't worth something) into a donate or recycle bag. "Pretend your closet is about to catch on fire. What would you save?" says Jennifer Baumgartner, Psy.D., a psychologist, wardrobe consultant and author of You Are What You Wear. "You'll make better decisions if you go with your gut and don't get sucked into the paralysis of analysis."
After the power sort, you're ready for the elimination round. To determine what to keep or toss, try on each item that you're unsure about and ask yourself the following questions. Answers of "no/Meh" and "never/rarely" should lead to the dump pile. For "yes" or mixed responses, continue onto the next question.
DOES IT SERVE YOU?
This one powerful question can help eliminate the majority of wardrobe clutter. What it means: Does it make you feel good? Do you get compliments when your wear it? Or do you end up tugging at yourself uncomfortably?
DOES IT COORDINATE WITH AT LEAST THREE OTHER GARMENTS IN YOUR CLOSET?
A streamlined wardrobe is like a symphony, with pieces that work together harmoniously in many combinations. Instead of assigning clothing specific roles (This is my interview skirt; this is the sweater I wear with leggings ), try reimagining your closet as a boutique filled with fresh possibilities. (A friend comes in handy here!) Take photos to help you remember new outfits.
WILL YOU WEAR IT AGAIN?
Instead of peering into the past with the old"Have you worn it in the last 6 months/' question, think about the future. Would you don that strappy dress to work if you had the right cardigan to go with it? Note that on a shopping list 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...).
IS IT THE BEST VERSION?
If the style is passe', the fit is unflattering, or the garment has seen better days (think stains, fading, shine marks on the wool, a saggy bum, elbow and knee imprints) it's time for an upgrade or a trip to the tailor. Sometimes snapping a selfie while wearing the garment will give you a more honest portrayal than your reflection in the mirror.
IS IT HIGH MAINTENANCE?
If the effort of hand washing it or the expense of dry cleaning keeps the article on the hanger, face facts and sub in something less fussy. (This tip does not apply to formal wear.)
DOES IT HAVE SENTIMENTAL VALUE?
You don't have to part with our varsity letter jacket or the hat that Grandma knit. Just limit memorabilia to one storage box. As for the necklace your ex gave you that was never really your style - just, why? Resolve to move on. Another option for a memento htat you cant' part with: Take a photo, then toss the piece.
HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU WERE WEARING IT WHEN YOU RAN INTO YOUR EX?
Use this line on reasoning when all else fails: Sometimes people rationalize worn-out or unflattering clothes by saying, " I'll just wear them for running errands." This question helps to put things into perspective.
STILL ON THE FENCE?
Park the item in question front and center in your closet and label it with an expiration date that's 2 months from now. If you don't reach for the piece within that time frame, you know what to do.
(I'm taking liberally from Real Simple Magazines January 2016 "The Closet Audit".)