Every year it seems we build up more clutter than before, and when it comes time to get rid of the old and replace it with some new, the task can be pretty daunting. It’s often difficult to part with items you’ve had for years, but now old and worn, it’s time to free up some closet space and let things go. Whether it is a pair of shoes that are past its prime, or perhaps some button downs that have been through your ups and downs, it is important to know when it's time to clear the clutter and move on.

Start your new year off right with a clear mind and an even clearer closet. The first step is to take everything out. Yes, everything. If you’re selective about what you’re taking out, odds are nothing is going to go, and this way you can see every item in there, even the ones that you may have forgotten about.  Have a clear visual of how much space your currently empty closet has, and take note that having a clean closet can provide peace of mind and clarity of thought.

Now that you can see every item you own, it is time to ask yourself some really important questions. First, does the item still fit? Is it something that can easily be replaced? Are the colors faded? These are all really important to answer honestly, and can be a simple way of getting rid of your least wanted items.

Another piece of advice that might be helpful is to ask yourself if you have worn the item within the last year. If the answer is no, odds are you won’t be wearing it anytime soon.

For those concerned with tossing items of clothing that aren’t necessarily damaged, clothing donation is a really great way to help the community, and help yourself as well. If you’re ready to let go of some items that are still good as new, but not for you, giving it another opportunity to be worn by someone in need is perfect, and won’t leave you feeling guilty. Your generosity will be appreciated and your hangers will thank you.

Now that you’ve gotten rid of the unwearable, the ill-fitting, the stained and the dated, now its time to get down to business. Clearing out the unnecessary clothing was half the battle; organizing is the other half.

Once you are completely content with what you are keeping, you’re going to start adding your favorite items to your closet first. The items that are brand new and the ones you cannot live without are the first to enter the closet, and it is really important that there is a strategy for organization. Every person is different, so the way you organize your things should be custom -tailored to your own organizational needs.

For example, you might want to add dividers, or separate work from leisure clothing. You might want a special place for your shoes, or easier access to the items you wear every week. These are all important factors that you should play around with while organizing.

Now that you’ve added your favorite items to your newly immaculate closet, take a moment to survey how much space you have. Does it feel good to have this much space? Would adding more items create clutter or fill space? Use your answers to determine whether the leftover clothing that was not added to the closet is important enough to make the cut.

Once you are completely happy with what you’ve kept and tossed, and you’re content with the contents of your closet, there are two more steps you might want to apply with your newfound minimalism.

A great rule of thumb is to monitor what you wear and how often you wear it by seeing which way your hangers face. Start off with all hangers facing you, and then as you take clothing out, hang it back up facing away from you. At the end of each month, take stock of the hangers still facing you, as those are unworn clothes that you might want to think about getting rid of. You’ll be able to keep in check the items that are taking up space in your closet, and it will make next year’s spring-cleaning that much easier.

The last and most important step of cleaning out your closet can be seen as counter-productive, but nevertheless, important. Once you’ve cleared enough space in your closet, it may be time to go shopping.

This is your time to reinvent yourself for the year. Spring is coming, and your chance to pick out an entirely new wardrobe without being weighed down with textiles of years past is finally here. So treat yourself to some new threads, and happy spring-cleaning!