There are two kinds of people in the world: those who have garage sales, and those who go to garage sales. The extreme editor and the packrat — never the twain shall meet. Having moved every two years as I grew up, I am a garage-sale-having veteran, and much like the detox of alcohol and heavy food, there’s nothing so dear to my heart as a New Year’s purge of the closet.

Set aside some time — a few hours probably. Get some big cardboard boxes, or at least clear some floor space. Everything in the closet goes in one of these piles: a) trash, b) donations or garage sale, c) needs mending/dry cleaning, d) lives someplace other than the closet, and e) everything else. How do you determine if something can be donated or sold? Ask yourself, have you worn it in the last year? Does it still fit (your body or your personality)? Is it in good condition? For shoes and other accessories, does the pair actually go with at least one outfit you wear regularly?

Sometimes we get emotionally attached to something we don’t need — take it off the hanger and box it up for a few months. If you don’t miss it, consider giving it a new life with someone else.

For the (hopefully fewer) items that go back into your closet, take the opportunity to buy some new matching hangers and shoe bags, and to organize your clothes by type and color. There’s something so satisfying about seeing your clothes lined up like they would be in a high-end boutique. A great start to everyone’s fashion year.

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