My Closet, My Gastroenterologist (apologies to Mark Leyner)

Small closet spaces (and few dresser drawers) require style discipline in order to maintain some openness and order.  Closets that are overly crowded can be one of those small emotional drains—you know, the ones that, the seemingly minute, lead to a breakdown when summed over time.  Also, if you can’t see it, you won’t wear it, perhaps even not remembering that you even own it (and, three weeks later, buy “it” again).  Or if you do remember and can’t find it, you curse for a while before grabbing something without much thought.  To prevent this, I do the occasional closet cleanout, removing what no longer fits or what I am no longer interested in wearing (too dated, too faded, too “not me”.)

I’ve always been pretty good about periodic clothing purges, even when I had more space.  So I didn’t have those crammed-full closets.  But in the past year, I’ve moved things up a level.  And the bottom line is that now I have a closet full of clothes that make me feel wonderful when I wear them.  I know that many decluttering books and experts will tell you to adopt a three-pile system:  Keep, Donate/Sell, Toss.  Or they instruct you to keep only things you’ve actually worn in the past year.  Or they tell you to hold “maybe” items for six months and if you haven’t worn it, then get rid of it.  I’m sure these work for many people, but my “system” is a bit more minimalist.  Two sentences, two words each.

BE RUTHLESS.

DECIDE QUICKLY.

Be ruthless:  ditch the “maybes” and have only two choices, keep or toss.*  Don’t overthink.

Decide quickly:  go with your gut, your intuition.  If it tells you that you won’t wear something again, toss it.  Don’t waste time conjuring up scenarios in which you would wear it again (“I’ll lose ten pounds and it will fit again”; “Maybe if I got a blue cardigan I’d wear it”; “But what if I get invited to a pool party and need a long dress?”**)  Stop that thinking.

These acts of ruthless decision-making help you hone your personal style, whether you are a fashionista or a utilitarianist.

*Toss can mean sell, donate, or throw away

**Be honest—how many pool parties are you typically invited to