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I have a confession: For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the pile. When I was a teenager, it was a boundless heap that shape-shifted daily and consumed everything in its path. As a 30-something adult, I’ve learned to tame the pile by confining it to a designated spot (a rattan ottoman in my bedroom), but it’s still ever present. No matter how often I destroy the pile, it finds a way to replenish itself, slowly and sneakily.
If it isn’t obvious, I’m talking about a pile of clothing: an assortment of shirts, hoodies, jackets, and jeans that I’ve worn briefly—making them too clean for the hamper—and failed to return to their proper homes in my closet. It’s a bad habit that I’ve tried to break, but it wasn’t until I read professional organizer Stephanie Sikora’s tidying tips that I realized why I continue to battle with this nemesis. In the article, Sikora notes that, on average, people only wear about 20 percent of their wardrobe, meaning that up to 80 percent of that clothing could just be clutter. Indeed, my small closet is jam-packed with pieces I haven’t worn (or even looked at) in years, leaving little room for the items in my current rotation, which—you guessed it—end up in pile purgatory.
This spring-cleaning season, I’m on a mission to create functional storage systems with Sikora’s organization tips for the most irksome areas of the house. Who knows? Maybe I’ll defeat the pile once and for all.