Organize your closet for the new year

Dec 23, 2012 at 5:58 p.m. ET

Make room for the clothing you were gifted at Christmas by purging your closet of the attire you no longer wear. Here's how to clean and organize your closet for the new year.

Make room for the clothing you were gifted at Christmas by purging your closet of the attire you no longer wear. Here's how to clean and organize your closet for the new year.

Closet organizing tips

1. Out with the never-worn

Be honest with yourself as you go through your clothing, footwear, and accessories. Have you worn that dress in the last year (or five years)? Will you ever wear those bargain shoes again after getting more blisters than you want to recall? If you haven't worn something in the last year to two years, chances are you won't. Get these things out of your closet.

2. Try everything on

Now that you've purged the never-worn and disliked items, time to try things on. If you're serious about cleaning out your closet, make a rule: If it doesn't fit, get rid of it. Though we'd all like to think certain things may come back in style or that we'll some day fit back into our skinny clothes, if your closet is short on space, now is the time to clear out what you don't wear.

3. Invest in organizers

Tight closet space makes it difficult to find clothing you want and it can also rumple up clothing that is crammed together. Buy closet organizing tools that optimize your space. Storage bins, stackable shoe boxes, and multi-hangers are a great start. You can also use vacuum storage systems to pack away linens, sweaters, blankets, comforters and other bulky items that are seasonal necessities.

4. Donate your clothing

The clothing, footwear and accessories that don't work for you may be exactly what someone else is looking for. Donate your items to Goodwill or another organization that needs gently used items.

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