Some cultures believe that however you start out the New Year is generally how that year will be for you.
If you start out with a messy kitchen, you can expect to have a messy kitchen for the next 365 days.
If you start of the New Year fighting with your significant other, you will spend the year fighting.
I tend to equate the New Year with a new beginning and I usually say, "this is the year that I'm going to be more organized."
Part of my problem is that my family tree is chock full of packrats. Another problem is that I'm surrounded by generous, well-meaning friends and family. I also have a hard time resisting a sale. (As I've said before, if you wouldn't buy it anyway if it wasn't on sale, don't you dare buy it.)
I am guilty of keeping things for far too long because someone I love gave them to me.
In a perfect world, we'd go through our clothing every season and give away anything that hasn't been worn within each four-month period.
If we were really trying to be minimalist, we'd also get rid of the items that we've only worn once or twice because it's obvious we aren't that attached to those pieces. Could we go so far as to donate our just-in-case clothing? Should we only keep our absolute favorite items that we wear all the time?
Take this as an opportunity to host a clothing swap in the cold, boring months that follow the holidays (see Fashion Friday, DIY Style January 2012 to learn how) and follow these guidelines to figure out which items live to fight another day and which ones get the chop.
Rules of the End of the Year Closet Purge (in order of importance):
1. If you haven't worn an item in a year it gets a new home either with a friend, a charity or the garbage no matter how much it originally cost you, what size it is and what condition it's in. You didn't wear it, you don't love it, buh-bye.
2. Does the length, fit, color or feel of an item bug you every time you put it on? If so, get rid of it.
3. Has the item been squatting in the mending pile for ever so long? If you didn't mend it already, you must not really want to wear it.
4. How big is your basket of ironing? Do you love to iron? Do you have a job that requires you to wear such fancy clothing that it needs to be ironed? If your answers are too big, no and no ... say so long to those need-to-be-ironed-items.
5. Let's be realistic about those skinny clothes you're saving until you lose 20 pounds. Are you really going to fit into them ever again? If the style of your skinny clothing is not even close to current and-or you've had a few babies, go ahead and let your skinny clothes go. (If do you go ahead and lose the weight, reward yourself by buying new skinny clothes, you deserve them!)
6. If you have an item of clothing that does not go with anything and you haven't worn it in a year or more, donate it. It's not worthy of sharing a home with your other clothing that works well together.
7. Clothing that has sentimental value has a place in your heart and your home, that place is just not in your closet. Fold it up and put it in storage.
8. If some of your items of clothing are just kind of blah, let them go. You want to look your best. "Hmm, I just look OK today," is not something you want to think when you look in the mirror.
9. You MUST try everything, I mean everything, on. Garments do not look the same on the hanger as they do on your body. If it doesn't look great on you, it is perfectly acceptable to give it away.
10. You can't make your closet bigger (unless you involve a sledgehammer, some drywall and a contractor). So keep in mind that you have to make do with the space you've got. It doesn't make any sense to wrestle your way into your closet on a daily basis and wade through clothes that don't fit you or look good on you because you can't bear to part with them. That will just put you in a foul mood. Trust me, I know.
11. If the job seems too overwhelming, let yourself do it in stages. First just tackle one category of clothing like underwear and socks. Next just go through pants and so on. If you break it down into little bite-size pieces, it won't seem like such a huge undertaking.
12. To save yourself time and angst, break up your clothing seasonally and store whatever is not in season, rotating it in and out as the weather changes.
If all else fails and you can't motivate yourself to clean out that closet, here are a few ideas to get your butt in gear:
1. Enlist a friend to help you. My friend Nici, who should have her own organizing business, once came over and helped my clean my daughter's room. It took us 5 hours straight, no breaks.
2. Have your child or spouse take a picture of that messy closet with express instructions to post it on your Facebook page if you don't get it cleaned out by a specified time - highly effective.
3. Invite your nosiest friend over. They will check out your closets for sure.
Email her at diystyle@ sungazette.com.