Today I’d like to revisit the idea of actually getting rid of things to make more room in the closet. C’mon, you had to know this day would come. You had to know you’d have to let it go!

Here are several quick tips to help figure out what should go.

1) Hang your hangers backwards.

At the beginning of a season, hang all your hanging clothes up with the hangers backwards, so the hook part of the hanger opens to the front instead of the back. After you wear an item, when it comes out of the laundry (or home from the dry cleaner), hang it up the right way, with the hook facing the back. At the end of the season, when you go to switch wardrobes for warmer/cooler weather, any clothes still hanging backwards are shoo-ins for the give-away bin. (Pro-Tip: bag them quickly and put them in the car, so you can’t talk yourself into another 12 months of space-wasters.)

2) Make outfits.

Again, at the beginning of a clothing season, go through the clothes, try them on, and make outfits.

Any items which don’t fit or don’t have a partner are great candidates for the give-away bin. Some caveats: If it’s central wardrobe item you wear with many different outfits, obviously it stays.

Also, if you know exactly what to buy to make it part of an outfit AND you have the money to and a place from which to buy it, hang it backwards in the closet until the partner arrives.

And, finally, if you are actively losing weight (like you weigh in every week and the numbers on the scale are actually going down, which is not the same as planning to lose weight) and the item will fit when you reach your weight goal AND it is still a current fashion, go ahead and keep it. You may not be able to afford an entire new wardrobe when you get to your new size, but PLEASE distinguish between hoping to lose weight and actually losing weight before you keep a lot of clothes that don’t fit. Here’s a helpful thought: if the smaller clothes sitting there seem to accuse or shame you when you see them, get rid of them. No space needs to be take up by items whispering condemnation.

3) Test it.

If you just really want things out of the closet, use the 5-second test. Hold up an item and ask yourself, “If I were in a store, would I buy this?” If you can’t say an unequivocal “yes” within 5 seconds, give. it. away. No caveats. (By which I mean, you don’t get to keep it because someone else bought it for you and you feel badly because you never wear it, or because you spent money on it and aren’t wearing it but should, or because you’d like to like it, or…). Seriously, if you wouldn’t buy it now, why keep it now?

4) Get help.

For the extravert (or really desperate introvert): invite a friend to go into your closet and help you choose clothes that make you look good. The trick here is to (1) pick someone who knows you well enough to be honest, (2) pick someone whose taste you like and can help you look your best, and (3) commit to following their advice/suggestions. It’s not helpful to ask someone to help and then argue with them about every suggestion. If you can’t make the decisions, get advice. And listen. to. it. So when they say, “These pants haven’t been in style since the late 90s,” you don’t get to remind them of 30-year fashion cycles and point out there are only 6 more years until that style is back. 🙂

5) Let it go. Now.

Once you’ve ruthlessly sorted and eliminated a host of items, throw away all the things that are torn, broken, or missing parts. Yes, I really mean throw it away. As in, use the trash can. Those pants have lived a good life. In the words of Ilsa, “Let it go.”

And don’t hang onto the “trash items” to upcycle them like you saw on Pinterest last week unless you have a scheduled day to do the upcycling. Throw them all away, take the bag to the curb, outside can, put the egg shells and coffee grounds in the bag, add a messy diaper. Do what you need to do, but throw them away. Now. You’ll thank me later. 🙂

Pack up the rest for charity, and put it in your car before you can change your mind. If you are really bad about these things, take it immediately to your favorite donation spot.

6) Enjoy!

Now go look at all the space you created in your closet. That should bring a smile to your face! (Unless you left all the things that fit laying on the bed and still have a mess to clean up… hypothetically speaking, of course!).