Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wardrobe optimization

I absolutely hate clutter, and I also hate having to do big overhauls of chaotic places in the house. I prefer regular maintenance of things so they don't become a chore that hangs over you all the time.

Here's one strategy for closet maintenance that I've practiced for years that's SUPEReasy: hang your clothes in chronological order.

Instead of putting things in order of clothing type - shirts, pants, dresses, etc. - (or in no order at all) put everything clean as it emerges from the laundry or after you've just worn it on one end of the closet (the "recent" end) and pull from the other side (the "ready" end) for what you're going to where that day. This is helpful for a bunch of reasons:

1. minimize redundancy - depending on the size of your wardrobe it can be weeks before you wear the same thing again. At my last office job, I'd been there for about 6 months and the IT guy asked how big my closet was because he could have sworn I hadn't worn the same thing twice since I'd started. I most certainly had, but you get the idea.

2. minimize decision-making - since clothes will be clustered together in outfits, you can grab something from the ready end and it's already matched with what you paired together before, or is at least in close proximity to it.

3. purge more effectively - if you've got those 3 or 4 pieces languishing on the ready end because you're just never in the mood for them, you know it's time to put them in the Goodwill bag or in an underbed plastic tub for a while if you can't quite part with them yet.

Practice the six-month rule: if you haven't worn it in 6 months, give it away. This reduces clutter, optimizes what you have, AND - most importantly - leaves room for new acquisitions!!

You'd be surprised how many of the clothes you AREN'T using until you start tracking the positional "data."

Most importantly, make this work for you. It's not a rule that you have to pull from the very end of the ready end every time. If you pull something closer to the recent end, you just know it's one of your faves - no biggie. But for the most accurate usage, always hang things you've worn or cleaned at the end of the recent side.

That's it - then you never have to dread cleaning out your entire closet. You isolate the problem area and the whole thing stays organized simply because of where you hang stuff you just used.

Any other closet ideas?

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