If you’ve got an overstuffed closet, you’re probably familiar with this decluttering advice: Get rid of all the clothes you haven’t worn in a year. Many people seem to find this extremely difficult. After all, what if you finally decide to wear those items THIS year?

So how about giving yourself this year for the project?

That’s basically what J.D. Roth at Get Rich Slowly did (via Lifehacker). The frugal guy first moved all his shirts and sweaters to his spare room — returning them to the closet only after wearing them at least once. A year later, most of his shirts still remained unworn! That meant an inevitable clothing purge:

I gritted my teeth, grabbed the 37 shirts and sweaters still left in the spare room, and took them to a local thrift store. Some of the things I donated had never been worn (or had been worn just a couple of times). It hurt to part with those clothes. I probably spent more than $750 to purchase them (remember, I buy a lot of clothes at thrift stores), so in a way it felt like I was throwing away $750.

But it occurred to me that’s the wrong way to look at it. I’m not throwing that money away now. I threw away that $750 years ago when I bought the clothes I wasn’t ever going to wear.

J.D. says his “One-Year Wardrobe Project” has made him think more carefully about his clothing purchases, since he knows money spent on impulse purchases often means money wasted on clothes he’ll never wear.

I also see another benefit to J.D.’s project: The totally free pleasure of shopping your own closet. Knowing you’ll have to give away an item if you don’t wear it within the year could, in fact, motivate you to actually wear the thing, whether by piecing it together with other items to create an outfit, finally sewing back on the button that dropped off a year ago, or putting it through nips and tucks to make it fit properly. You could find whole new daring looks for yourself — without spending any more money!

J.D.’s “One-Year Wardrobe Project” seems best paired with the Great American Apparel Diet, so as to keep yourself focused on wearing what’s in the spare room without adding new clothes to the pile. What’s your trick for keeping your closet well-edited?

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