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Purge your closets for the new year

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

Give your storage a fresh start

As the new year rolls around and you put away holiday gifts, take a good hard look at your closets. Purge, donate and organize for a clutter-free new year.

woman going through closet

Get a head start on spring cleaning by purging your closets this winter. Don't shove holiday gifts into crowded storage spaces. Purge, organize and enjoy your closet space this new year.

Try everything on

When it comes to trying on clothes, it's all fun and games until you get to the fourth or fifth item. Add kids to the mix, and you have a downright unpleasant task on your hands. Make a game out of having kids try on clothes by staging a fashion show or making it a race. Wait to try on your own clothes until you have a loyal and honest friend on hand and no distractions. Your purpose in trying on clothes is to weed out anything that doesn't fit or has gone woefully out of style. Use your cellphone camera if you don't trust a mirror.

Ditch old stuff

What's lurking at the back of your closets? Clear everything out and make two piles, one for the thrift store and one for the dump. Those old board games with missing pieces and shoes from the early '90s can go. Toy sets that don't work anymore and piles of dusty stuffed animals get the chop, too. Be ruthless when you're purging your storage areas of useless items, ill-fitting clothing and dusty relics that hold no value. Get your partner motivated by playfully threatening to throw everything away if he doesn't pitch into the purging effort.

Revamp your storage

Make the most of modern closet organizational tools when you restock your newly-purged closets. Purchase a closet storage system with bins and shelves for accessories and shoes or make your own storage solution using colorful, labeled bins. Use vacuum storage bags to store bulky items such as bed linens and tablecloths you rarely use. Get your kids involved in organizing youth closets. Keep toys at kid level and use the upper shelves for clothing and items kids won't want to get into. Color code storage for toddlers to teach good organizational habits at a young age.

Reward yourself for a task well done

Remember those makeover shows that encourage women to toss most of their wardrobes? Every woman who got rid of most of her clothes received a new wardrobe. Take that approach on a smaller scale by rewarding your closet makeover efforts with one wardrobe staple you've had your heart set on, like a new blazer or designer boots. If clothes aren't on your list, treat yourself to a spa afternoon or a dish you've been waiting to indulge on. Closet organization is hard work, and you deserve it.

More organizing tips

10 Favorite home organization products
How to put your closet it on a diet
How to organize your clothes

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