New Year's Resolution: Clean Out Your Closet

New Year’s Resolutions are pretty much a punchline now—seriously, who actually keeps them? But there’s nothing wrong with setting goals, even if you pick some random date (Jan. 1) to commence your self-improvement journey. The problem is making lofty resolutions that are completely out of your control (finding true love) or that you’ve made before and broken within a month (getting in shape). Since nothing feels quite like setting a goal and actually achieving it, we have a suggestion for your 2017 New Year’s resolution (one that’s actually doable): Clean out your closet!

You might open your closet at this point, take one look at the overflowing disarray, and give this suggestion a hearty “NOPE.” But it’s actually not that big of a project. If you have a few extra hours each weekend to binge on Netflix, you have time to organize your wardrobe. Still not convinced? Here’s a handy step-by-step guide to transforming your closet into a tidy, efficient home for your clothes. (And believe us—it’ll be worth it).

Step 1: Summon your steely resolve

If you’re committing the time to clean your closet, you need to commit your heart. Go into the project knowing you’ll say goodbye to many items—even some filled with beloved memories. Remember, your closet is only so big, and keeping old items means there’s no room for anything new. So look to the future, crank up some music, and get going.

Step 2: Clear out the closet—completely 

Yes, completely. Take everything out. EVERYTHING. Don’t worry about sorting, just toss it all on your bed. This will give you extra motivation to see the project through, considering you can’t sleep comfortably on a pile of clothes. If you have drawers, bureaus, or storage containers full of seasonal clothes, empty those as well. And if you’re super committed to organizing, toss your shoes, accessories, and jewelry into the mix.

Step 3: The quick and ruthless first sort

One by one, grab an item from your bed and toss it into one of two piles on the floor: Yes and No. Go with your gut for this round of sorting, getting rid of the things you already know you’ll never wear again and things you can’t believe you haven’t banished already, like your ex’s college sweater or that slightly damaged vintage skirt you vowed to fix but now you’re over it. Gather all the rejects and shove them aside for step 6.

Step 4: The pragmatic second sort

Now it’s time to take another look at your Yes pile. Check the size of each item to make sure it still fits, and no, it’s never a good idea to keep something just because you “might” fit into it at some point in the future. Another question to ask of each item: Have you worn it in the last 12 months? That vintage cardigan might be in excellent condition and still super cute, but if it’s been collecting dust for a full year, chances are it’ll continue to collect dust unless you get rid of it. Finally, ditch anything that’s damaged: anything with rips, stains, missing buttons, broken zippers. Are you really going to make the effort to repair it in the near future? Probably not, so send it over to the No pile.

Step 5: The slow and methodical final sort

The question driving your final sort through the Yes pile should not be “Will I ever wear this?” because if a certain item has made it this far, your answer will probably be “probably.” Instead, sort with more specific questions in mind, like “Is this currently in style?” or “Does this fit in with my own current style?” or “Do I feel confident when I wear this?” Another tactic: Imagine you’re at the mall or your favorite thrift shop and you see the item in question on the rack. Would you buy it today? If the answer is yes, return it to your now tidy closet. If the answer is no…you know what to do.

Step 6: Quickly sort the No pile

After the emotional rollercoaster of your final Yes sort, this round of sorting is a piece of cake. Stained and damaged items go in the trash, items in decent condition can be donated, and for the cream of the reject crop—that adorable vintage dress that no longer fits, the mint-condition leather jacket that reminds you of your jerky ex—you can either try selling them yourself online, or better yet, bring them to Thrift Trader for cash or trade. 

Step 7: Treat Yourself!

Chances are, after all that purging you probably have—gasp—extra room in your closet. While that’s no excuse to go on a shopping spree, it does mean you deserve to pick up a new piece or two. Another suggestion: Thrift Trader is currently having a New Year’s Clearance Sale, with huge discounts on a selection of clothes and accessories. And if you bring in your tradable No pile items, your treat won’t even make a dent in your wallet.

Got a pile to trade? Head to Thrift Trader! 

Buying hours at our North Park and Pacific Beach locations are from 10am-6pm daily, so trade in those top-notch items from your No pile and take home something that’ll remain in your Yes pile for years of New Year’s resolutions to come.