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Keep It? Toss It? How to Know What to Do

It’s spring cleaning time…are you ready to go through your closet, convincing yourself that you’ll totally wear every random garment you pull out? Because often, that’s what “spring cleaning" amounts to. You start off with the intention of really editing down your wardrobe into the must-haves, but then every garment tugs at your heartstrings and earns its place right back in the closet. It doesn’t have to be this way. Be ruthless, be calculating, be unemotional with your cleaning, and answer these questions about each and every piece. If a piece of clothing doesn’t measure up, you’ll know unequivocally that it’s got to go.
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    Does It Fit?

    If you’re waiting to lose (or gain) weight to wear an item, get rid of it.  It doesn’t matter how much you loved a pair of pants or how often you wore them…ten pounds ago. If it doesn’t fit right this moment (or you don’t have a great excuse, like pregnancy, for why something doesn’t fit), toss it. 

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    Is It In Good Condition?

    Does the piece of clothing have stains? Rips? Moth damage? Evaluate a garment’s condition, and whether the damage can be repaired. If the item is worth fixing, keep it and make sure to make the repairs. If an item has the kind of problems that can’t be fixed by a good tailor, donate it to charity. 

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    Is It In Fashion?

    Some items, like shift dresses and button-down blouses, are timeless and classic. They’ll never go out of style. Some, like Uggs or Von Dutch hats, are destined for the dustbin. If you’re holding onto items that were white-hot and then faded out of fashion, get rid of them.

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    Is It Age-Appropriate?

    Not all garments age as well as you do. No matter how much you loved a piece of clothing when you were very young, it might be time to trade it in for something grown-up. If you’re over 30, think long and hard before holding on to tube tops, hot pants, club wear, and ultra-revealing items. Think about how an item fits into your lifestyle—if you’re a busy mom, you probably don’t need your club dresses anymore. If you’ve moved to a city where you walk more, it might be time to let go of your perilously high heels. Remember that it’s okay for your style to change over time. 

  • Photo courtesy Anton Oparin / Shutterstock.com

    Can You Wear It in Five Different Outfits?

    For any piece of clothing you own, you should be able to instantly drop it into at least five different outfits. If you can’t easily think of places to wear a particular garment, or you can’t imagine what you’d pair it with, then toss it. And remember that hypotheticals, like “If I buy a pair of sequined pants” or “If I get invited to a record release party,” don’t count. 

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    Do You Absolutely Love It?

    Even if an item is out of fashion, age-inappropriate, or hard to style, it’s worth keeping if it’s something that makes you feel like a million bucks. Anything less isn’t worth the space it takes up in your closet. 

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