These 4 Tips Will Guarantee a Clutter-Free Closet


Photo: Vesa Pekka

Looking to declutter with intent? Take the war out of weeding your wardrobe with these four simple tips.

Do the math: Have more than three wardrobes? Stuff stashed in the attic? What about the garden shed? Calculate your estimated closet inventory by the amount of time needed to clear it. g. 4 hours per closet x 3 closets = 12 hours plus breaks. That’s an entire weekend or one closet per night for three allocated nights of the week or month. I advocate the latter. Here’s why:  The willpower required to tackle a project as emotionally-loaded as closet decluttering is enough to have you give up mid-way and commit to a life of chaos. Small and consistent increments (like starting with your underwear drawer) are key to easing anxiety, building personal agency and kicking procrastination in the goolies.

Ditch distractions: Distractions clutter the mind and interfere with our ability to make considered choices. Fact. What’s more, for every interruption incurred during a focus-based task (aka decluttering mission), your brain incurs as an ‘attentional cost’ of 25 minutes.  In layman’s terms, that’s almost a half hour for the brain to regain its concentration. The result? Nothing gets done. Nothing. Nada. Zip. The solution? Clear your diary. Feed and water all dependants then deposit them with whomever or whatever will look after them for the course of a day – childminder, pet sitter, football match. Turn off the TV, radio, laptop and your smartphone. Better yet, give your phone to your Frank Friend with No Filter who’ll do PA duties for the day. Notifications alone are scientifically proven to derail your mojo. Plus, you’ll only wind up stalking Ryan Gosling’s Snapchat in a moment of weakness.

Fight brain drain: Keep snacks, water and juice to hand and refuel at regular two-hour intervals. Be sure to stop for a decent lunch break too. The trick to sustaining and completing a task as emotionally-charged as weeding one’s wardrobe boils down to something quite simple – blood sugar. Without regularly replenishing glucose levels, willpower will dry up like a pre-packaged boyband after three songs. Suddenly, deciding whether to bin that shirt with the cigarette burns is a cognitive feat too far. Decision fatigue sets in and the whole process will grind to an unceremonious halt. And to think, all you needed was a biscuit.

Take a break: Starting to flag? Take two minutes to stretch your legs, throw water on your face, cry – whatever you need to do. Just give yourself a timeframe and get back to business. Although distractions can be detrimental, small breaks are known to improve decision-making and performance. They also work with brain’s natural inclinations (pleasure over pain). Studies show that the unconscious mind continues to actively work out problems even while the conscious mind is engaged in a different activity (those ah-ha moments generally come when the mind and body are taking five).