Clean It Out

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I feel very passionately about the topic of today's post: cleaning out your closet.

Transitioning to fall is an important time for every woman's wardrobe.  I am a huge proponent of cleaning out your closet at the end of every summer and winter because it gives you a chance to make full use of your clothes and purge yourself of any unwanted clutter.  Nothing makes an HCG girl feel more at peace than a beautifully organized closet (and a bank account full of cash).

I know this is a very difficult task for some people, and I'm not encouraging people to throw things out simply for the sake of "cleaning."  But I am encouraging you to make the time to carefully evaluate what's in your closet so you can maximize your wardrobe to its fullest potential.

HCG Guidelines on Cleaning out your Closet When to toss: 1. You feel embarrassed when you're wearing it.  You know what I'm talking about - a pair of heels that should've been thrown away ages ago, a pair of pants that are way too big in the ass, a sweater that is, in my mother's words, "shot" - everyone has some of these items in her life.  Admit the hard truth: unless you throw those things away, you will continue to wear them and feel bad about yourself when you do.  Bite the bullet and stuff that crap into a Hefty bag before you lose your willpower.

2. You haven't worn it in over a year.  If it was cool and you really loved it,  you would've worn it in the past year.  What are you waiting for?  Either plan to wear it immediately or kick it to the curb.  Don't make excuses.

Exception: I rarely throw away top quality or high end designer items even if I haven't worn them in a year.  Probably because: (1) I don't own a plethora of high quality designer clothing; and (2) the high end stuff I do own I wear all the time.

3. The item is super trendy and you know it's no longer in style. If you spent a good deal of money on it and want to keep it, pack it away in your "vintage" box in case the trend makes a comeback.  If it's from F21, give it the boot.

4. Someone gave it to you and you feel bad getting rid of it.  It's normal to feel guilty for giving/throwing away an item someone gifted to you.  Don't let that guilt sucker you into keeping it, though.  After all, the person who gave you that present doesn't want you to turn into a hoarder, does she?

When to keep: 1. You're pregnant/you just had a baby. Baby machines obviously have some flexibility when it comes to the guidelines listed above.  If you've just had a baby and you plan on potentially having another, it makes perfect sense to keep your maternity clothes.  But do you need your maternity stuff visible in your closet where you can see it every day?  No.  Unless you are still wearing your pre-baby stuff (and believe us, we don't expect people to pack that crap away as soon as they come home from the hospital - you have enough to worry about), you should pack it away in some tupperware.

2. The garment is well made and still socially acceptable, but it needs tailoring. This is a no-brainer - yes, definitely keep it.  Take it out of your closet and put it in a bag by the door.  Force yourself to take it to the tailor by a certain date and start wearing it!

3. The item falls into the "formal wear" category. I often keep cocktail and formal dresses and dressy shoes and bags for quite some time excluding prom dresses, college sorority formal dresses and bridesmaids' dresses (if I've been in your wedding and you weren't aware of this practice, I'm sorry, but I had to do it.  I expect that you've already given away your bridesmaid's dress from my wedding as well).  I've donated all of those dresses to prom dress drives for girls who aren't able to afford something new (who ever thought of that idea should win a Nobel Prize).  If you want to do the same, you can search Donate My Dress for a drop-off location near you.

Other predicaments: 1. You feel wasteful when you throw/give "perfectly good" stuff away. Completely normal.  It's difficult to part with items that are in good condition or that you really like.  If you're having a hard time giving away or tossing things you spent a good deal of money on, sell the unwanted stuff on eBay or Craigslist, or drop it off at a consignment store.  Then take the cash from the sales and buy new stuff!

2.You have little to no storage space. Believe me, I feel your pain.  Pack your stuff in tupperware and convince your parents to let you keep it in their attic indefinitely (along with nearly all of your wedding presents).  Parents giving you a hard time?  Ignore their complaints by changing the subject whenever they bring it up, or get those vacuum storage bags and shove the warped-looking bags filled with your clothes under your bed.

3. You have a huge closet and don't need to throw things away or transition from summer to winter clothes. What, you think you're better than the rest of us?  I'm willing to bet your closet has more crap in it than the closet of someone who is tight on space (can you tell I'm envious because I have little decent storage space myself?).  Seriously, though, keeping and maintaining a carefully edited wardrobe is often more challenging for someone with plenty of space because there's no "reason" to clean shop.  But give yourself a few years of not doing big cleans and the next thing you know you have a closet full of stuff with price tags on it.  That's no way to live.

Oprah did a show a long time ago on organizing her amazing closet, and she said someone once told her "You should look at your closet and see only things that you absolutely love."  Words to live by.

Still not sure what to do about certain items?  Feel free to ask HCG.  We LOVE throwing stuff away (just ask Christine Ferry).

Photo of Eva Longoria Parker's 133 square foot closet via InStyle