The original system is quite simple. It works best to start at the beginning of a season – I picked Fall because that’s when I first learned about the system, but you can start at any time.
- For each item hung on a coat hanger, reverse the hanger so that the hook points out instead of into the closet.
- Switch the hanger back to normal (with hook pointing into closet) as you wear (and launder) each item. This way, in a very short time, you will clearly see which items are your favorites – they’re the first to have the hangers turned – and which are items you tend to avoid.
- At the end of a year cycle, any items still hanging on a reversed hanger are candidates for purging.
At the end of each season, I evaluate the items marked for potential purging by checking which ones still have safety pins in their tags or hang on reversed hangers. I then evaluate the purge candidates using a few simple rules:
- If the item is clearly one that is specific to a different season (I’m certainly NOT going to wear a turtleneck sweater in summer), it is not considered for purging – yet.
- Specialty items such as interview jackets, formal gowns and the like are evaluated as to whether or not they are still considered stylish and worth hanging onto.
- For the rest of the purge candidates, I ask myself why I didn’t wear it. Was the weather this past season ever appropriate for it? Does it actually fit? Do I like it? And finally,can it be restyled into something that I would wear?