by Jessica Smith, REDBOOK
Did you know cleaning out your closet could help you lose weight? A 2010 study found that the average woman owns about 12 outfits that don't fit, translating to over $450 dollars hanging in the closet that will never see the light of day. According to the study, most women have a total of three different dress sizes in their closets. This is a mistake if you are trying to lose weight says certified personal trainer and weight-loss bootcamp coach Steven Cooper. To stay motivated to lose weight, it's better to "donate your 'fat' clothes," says Cooper. "Get rid of them...burn your boats, there is no coming back". Cooper recommends visualizing yourself in your new wardrobe for inspiration.
Instead of holding onto the past (in case of weight gain) or hoping for the future (toss those skinny jeans already!), why not get real about where you are today? Save yourself some time, money and space by clearing out your closet. You may find new motivation to continue your exercise program, eat better and when the time is right, you can invest in clothes that you love, and fit properly.
Here are five simple steps to start your streamlining:
1. Go shopping in your closet. Try on every piece as if you were thinking of buying it all over again. Really evaluate the item: how does it fit? Does it flatter my figure? Is it a good color for me? Where will I wear this?
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2. Stick to the 6-month rule. If you know you haven't worn something in the last six months, it's time to move it out. If you really can't bear to part with something (even if it hasn't been worn), keep it for one more round. If, at your next six-month purge date, you still haven't touched it - it's out!
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3. Be honest about your skinny jeans. Keeping one pair of jeans that you are working towards fitting into serves as inspiration, keeping five pairs feeds exasperation!
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4. Let go of the guilt. It IS hard to get rid of clothes that still have the tags hanging off them. But there is a reason the tags are still on - it wasn't the item for you! Check out the store policy - some places will give you store credit for items with tags with no receipts. Or, donate it and feel good about giving a new item to someone who can use it. Whatever you do, lighten your spirits by letting go of it.
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5. Check out your dirty laundry. You don't have to smell it, but chances are the dirty clothes bin is holding the clothes you are wearing the most. What type of clothing is in there? Is it mostly full of workout wear, business suits or sweats? Do any of these items need replacing or backup support? For example, has your favorite pair of workout pants been worn from black to gray and the seams starting to fray? This is where you get to ADD back some things to the closet. Reinforce the clothes that you DO use: buy more of what works. Update your underwear, socks and throw out the ones with holes, loose threads and faded colors. (And it is always a good idea to try to replace your underwear and sock collection at least once a year, for hygienic reasons).
Jessica Smith is a certified fitness lifestyle expert and creator of the 10 Pounds Down DVD series.
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