photo by bmzeranque

There’s a lot of advice about how to clean a messy closet (I know, because I googled it). Awhile back, I came across a simple list and applied it to the closets in my house. It went something like this:

1. Take everything out. Don’t be surprised at the mess and how much space it takes up (also, don’t be surprised when your kids coming running in your room and start playing on the bed. The one where you’ve dumped all the clothes).

2. Clean the closet walls, floors, and shelves.

3. Take each clothing item one at a time and decide if it is a keeper, a toss-out, or a give-away. Be very honest with yourself. No fudging here.

The above process worked for me pretty well. But deciding what to keep is a lot easier after watching a few three-minute, two-second videos on YouTube of the What Not To Wear gals. The original pair, from Britain.

You know, you’ve seen them on Oprah.  Trinny and Susannah are the vicious ladies who unapologetically pounce on unsuspecting shoppers in various malls and restaurants and private residences. They tell other women if the jeans they are wearing make their legs look short, if their pants increase the size of their backside, and if the blouse they’re wearing makes them look as if they’re shaped like a lego block. Or a bell.

After reviewing what they had to say, tossing out apparel was easy. It’s not all about looks: I need comfort. But, for the most part…

1.  If it didn’t enhance what it could, cover up what it should, and help me look as though I might possibly be taller than the average third-grader, into the donation bag it went.

2. If it fit like a little boy’s t-shirt, I gave it to my son.

3. As far as the asthetics, I decided against fancy hooks. A bunch of nails hammered in a wall is sufficient. Now, all my strappy things and hooded tops are displayed on the wall like garden tools in a garage. Classy, no. Functional, absolutely.

When the process was over, I was indeed amazed at my newly-discovered space. It’s a good thing, too, since my boys – always keen to discover every nook and cranny of the house – immediately moved from the bed to the closet floor. Now they have a new hiding place, and I have a fashionably-organized closet.

And if Trinny and Susannah ever come knocking, I’ll be ready.