Clothes Encounters

If your vice is hanging on to old clothes, you're not alone. Even "fashionistas" can heed this advice from professional organizer Betty Kim.

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"We only wear a small percentage of what we have. The rest can be trashed, and you wouldn’t miss it," says professional organizer Betty Kim. When editing your wardrobe, keep in mind that people tend to wear 20 percent of their wardrobe 80 percent of the time. That means the bulk of any given wardrobe is gathering dust on hangers. Consider these tips to get a grip on your clothes closet:

  • Box it. Put seldom-worn items in a box and put it aside. If you have no need to pull out an item in a year, your box is ready to give to charity. Limit the deadline to six months if you’re really committed to paring down.
  • Size things up. If it doesn’t fit, get it out of the closet. Dress for the size you are now, not what you were a few years ago. If you end up losing weight and being able to fit into the smaller sizes, you’ll probably want to treat yourself to new clothes anyway.
  • Take inventory. Make an honest assessment of what’s in your closet. Remove any garments that need mending or cleaning and don’t put them back until broken zippers are repaired, missing buttons are replaced, or stains are removed. Garments that have faded or lost their shape need to go too, as do shoes that are uncomfortable, beyond polishing, or merely unappealing.
  • Hang with the best. After you’ve whittled the contents of your closet, treat the remaining pieces right. Padded hangers help keep sweaters from losing their shape, while clip-style hangers designed for trousers prevent unwanted creases. Hangers made of heavy-duty plastic or wood are low-cost luxuries that make a closet look better and thereby encourage you to keep it clean.

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