By Belle Du Chene | Digital Marketing Strategist, Visionary
One morning last spring I had finally had it. I was running 20 minutes late for work but couldn't find anything to wear, even though I had two closets and two rolling racks bursting at the seams with garments. I could clothe a petite army and yet here I was, shivering in my towel, figuratively frozen by the organized chaos of my closet.

My dresses were packed like sardines so tightly that I could barely fit my fingers in to see the goods. My shoes were stored in three different places and I couldn't find the mate to a heel I wanted to wear. The tights I pulled out had a snag, and I couldn't find the necklace I wanted to wear in the jungle that was my jewelry storage rack. 

My whole day was off to a terrible start. I was anxious, frustrated and realized I had to make a change. On my way home from work I pondered how the fashion industry feeds us an idea that we have to have a million different accessories for a million different looks. But why? 

Books like "Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life" by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus and the New York Times best-seller "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondo preach the practical benefits of decluttering our lives. After reading both books, I decided to take a look at my inventory to start weeding through the rat's nest that was my dressing room according to the following rules: 

1. Is the garment damaged or stained? If you're not willing to pay the money and make the effort to take the garment to a tailor or dry cleaner, toss it.

2. Does it fit my personal style according to my body type, current weight and color of my skin, eyes and hair? Search the internet for guides on dressing for your body type and color profiles. Don't keep things you hope to fit into one day. 

3. Would I buy it at full price again? You should absolutely love a garment before purchasing it and shouldn't keep a garment for any other reason.

4. Does this garment bring me joy? If it doesn't, it's just a distraction. 

And the BIG one.

5. Am I only holding on to this garment for sentimental reasons? Think of the joy it might bring to someone who has less, and donate it. 

Over the course of the next month, I tossed out or prepared to donate 22 bags of clothing. I felt so invigorated, in control of my life, and thrilled that I could cut getting ready in the morning down to just minutes that I set up a consulting service to help my friends do the same. I earned a little money through selling things on Poshmarkand found meaning in arranging to donate my clothes to area charities like Junior League of Des Moines' Bargain Basket store, Dress for Success and fun events like Take 10, where women sip cocktails and play a clothes-swapping game. 

Decluttering my closet freed my mind from unneeded stress and made my life easier, with room to breathe and time to spare.

Belle Du Chene is a digital marketing strategist at Visionary and part-time image consultant at ism |PR. She is currently completing her thesis for her master of arts in communication studies with a public relations emphasis and also holds a bachelor of arts in French and textiles and apparel. Her career as an art director, fashion show producer and modeling agency booker has taken her to New York City, Chicago, London and now back to her roots in Iowa.