Whether you're a shopaholic and your closet is packed with trendy treasures or you've just been putting off getting rid of those size 4 items you wore 10 years ago, now is a great time to purge and get organized. Yes, Virginia, it is possible to come clean with your closet.
"A well-edited and gloriously groomed closet is a glamour girl's best style secret," says Eric Daman, costume designer for the hit TV series "Gossip Girl" and author of the new style guide "You Know You Want It: Style-Inspiration-Confidence" (Clarkson Potter, $29.99). "You've got to exorcise your closet," he says. "Don't let your head spin around. Clean out your demons so your closet can be your sanctuary." Here are Eric's top 10 tips on setting the inner pack rat in you free.
*Start by sorting the clothes in your closet into four piles: The Totally Essential Basics; Absolute To-Die-For Favorites; Needs Some Loving (things you like that need some mending); and The Rejects.
*If in doubt, try it on in front of a full-length mirror. Don't forget to look at your backside, too!
*Be merciless. Get rid of anything you haven't worn in more than a year. Ditch the "clones" -- those black pencil skirts you have 10 of -- and the luxury items you were keeping just because they were expensive. Consider consignment retail.
*When you have your clothes sorted, it's time to hang, fold, purge and restore, Daman says. Hang your essential and your to-die-for piles in your empty closet, first by type -- shirts, skirts, pants, suits and dresses -- and then by color.
*Give your tired clothes that you want to keep some attention by taking them to a tailor, who can breathe new life into them.
*Put all your rejects into a garbage bag, to be gifted, sold or donated.
*You can find plastic boxes and shelving options in many stores that can help turn your closet into a place of invigoration instead of despair. Better yet, consult a professional closet organizer for a complete makeover.
*Enjoy the process. "This is your chick-flick makeover," Daman says. "Your 'Pretty Woman' or 'Clueless' or 'She's All That' moment. Play your own personal soundtrack in the background."
*Whatever you do, do not give up halfway through this terrifying task, he says. "I promise you; the end result will be worth every bead of sweat you put into it."
*Then keep it up. Daman purges his costume closet every season. His three magic words for the closet case? "Edit! Edit! Edit!"