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Before you go shopping for spring, clean out your closet

Before you go shopping for spring, clean out your closet

That’s fine—perhaps even life-changing—but there’s another key to the success of Kondo’s method: Clean by category, not by location. Make a pile of all your blouses, boots, bikinis, or whatever category you intend to edit and organize, and face them all at once—however horrifying that may be.

Last weekend, I tackled dresses. I emptied my tiny closet of them and was semi-appalled at the mass before me on my bed. Many were too wrinkly to wear, due to squishing, and there were some I’d frankly forgotten about because I couldn’t see them (also, due to squishing).

One by one, I picked up each dress and evaluated its place in my closet, and my life. A strapless floral Laura Ashley frock that was once my mother’s—a veritable joy explosion—was promptly put back in my closet for summer weddings. Other dresses were thanked (a Kondo-ism), and set aside. A spaghetti-strapped Cynthia Rowley gown I’ve worn to countless events over the last 15 years was still in great shape for many more—just not for me.

I only got through dresses, skirts, and jumpsuits, but it was such a satisfying start—and my closet feels so refreshed by that bit of breathing room—that I’m actually looking forward to diving back in for the blouses, jeans, and jackets.

What to do with the discards? Try to approach the bags of clothing produced by such a cleanout as an opportunity, rather than a burden. If you don’t want to deal with reselling your old clothes, just go ahead and donate items that are still wearable, or recycle those that are not. Racked has a great guide for where to do so in the US.  

How to sell your non-designer clothes

If you live in a walking city like New York, you might consider a stoop sale as a way to spend the day socializing, cleaning house, and making cash. A pitcher of lemonade will attract customers and pay off in the long run.

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