I have used the Twenty Small Steps with all of my clients with great success. The beauty of these steps is that you don’t need a Dr. B there to help you with them. The Steps are user-friendly—you can do them on your own or with the help of a supportive friend or family member.
Try to get them done in no more than one to two days. Most clients require four hours of cleaning out and four hours of shopping, organizing, and restocking. Don’t overthink this process—get rid of things as quickly as possible. Sometimes a Band-Aid just needs to be ripped off!
1. Location: Find a clean surface on which to put your clothes. The best place is usually the bed. If you can’t find a clean surface in your cluttered home, find a friend or family member who is willing to let you borrow their space. The benefit of using someone else’s space is the pressure you may feel to go through your items more quickly and efficiently.
2. Empty: After finding a space, take all of your clothing—and I mean all of it—out of your drawers, closets, bins, storage units, and boxes. For now, leave out your workout clothes, loungewear, pajamas, undergarments, socks, shoes, and accessories. We will get to those items later.
3. Categorize: In the clean space, separate your clothing into two categories: tops and bottoms. Tops include shirts, sweaters, coats, blazers, and dresses. Bottoms include pants, shorts, leggings, and jumpsuits.
4. Focus: After sorting your clothing into tops and bottoms on the clean space, pick a category. I usually like to start with the smallest pile so as to improve the odds that the purge will be successful and to make it a little easier. The smallest pile is usually the bottoms.
5. Placement: Use large green trash bags or bins for throwaways and giveaways.
6. Sort bottoms: Immediately throw away any bottoms that are outdated, stained, or ripped. Give away any bottoms that do not fit you properly or are not the right length for you. Place the bottoms you decide to keep back in the bottoms section on your clean space, not back in your closet. You will go through them a second time after going through the tops.
7. Sort tops: As you did with the bottoms, throw away any tops that are ripped or stained. Too tight, too loose, or outdated? Toss it. Place the tops you keep in the tops section of your clean space for the second consideration.
8. Assess: Look at all of the tops and bottoms laid out before you. Do you have the basics, such as jeans and a white button-down? Do the tops and bottoms work together with their colors, fabrics, fit, and style? Ditch any item that doesn’t fit in with the general theme of your wardrobe.
9. Undercover: Now that you have taken stock of your clothing, raid your underwear drawer for all of your socks, underwear, bras, and supportive garments. Throw away stained, ripped, or ill-fitting pieces. Anything you haven’t worn can be given away.
10. Function: Do your underpinnings work with your clothing? If you have a ton of tube tops but no strapless bra, add that to your “to buy” list. If you wear tight pants and only have bunched granny un