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How to clean out and organize your closet if you need a project

Ask yourself these five questions when going through your closet.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Alyssa Newcomb

If you're going stir crazy while social distancing and need a productive way to channel your energy, now is the perfect time to check off a few items on your to-do list. Why not starting with cleaning out your closet?

"I have a lot of friends who are calling me saying, 'What can I do? How can I be productive?'" said TODAY contributor Jill Martin. "I am the queen of the closet cleanse, as you know ... everything I have meets a certain criteria.”

Martin shared a helpful Instagram video detailing an easy five step plan that anyone can use to clean out their closets while they're spending time at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Start by labeling three pieces of paper — donate, family/friends and consign — and then ask yourself these five questions. Be sure to take before and after photos to share with Jill on Instagram!

1. Is it a 10?

If you don't put on a dress and think of it as a 10 out of 10, it's time to get rid of it from your closet. Don't be afraid to be ruthless.

“That means, if you don’t feel your absolute best and if it doesn’t fit you perfectly, no matter what, it goes," Martin said.

2. When was the last time you wore it?

Raise your hand if you still have at least one item in your closet that has tags on it. You're not alone. Martin recommends getting rid of anything you haven't worn in six months, even if it still has the tags on it.

There are exceptions, of course, such as a dress that still fits and is worn for special occasions, like a wedding.

3. Is it faded, stained or damaged?

If that red wine stain from a year ago on your once-favorite blouse is still there, then it's time to say goodbye. The same goes for favorite items that have seen better days, whether their colors have faded or they're damaged, Martin said.

4. Do you pass by it every time you go in your closet?

Everyone has that one item that they give a second look to for a big event, but never end up wearing. If it's always your Plan B, it's time to let it go.

"If you go to different events and every time you look at the item you never choose it," then it's time to get rid of it, Marin said.

5. Are you hanging onto it for emotional reasons?

Whether it's a childhood dress, an old significant other's sweatshirt or your wedding dress, now is a good time to assess the items in your closet that you don't wear.

“Emotional things that you keep, you really have to have a good story behind that," Martin said. For example, she still wears her dad's college sweatshirt.

Other items can be donated or consigned, giving someone else the opportunity to enjoy them.

"During this difficult time, it is helpful to release as much physical and emotional baggage as possible, that we can control, and almost everyone will find peace in organization," Martin wrote.

For consignment, Martin recommends ASOS Marketplace, Poshmark, The RealReal, Etsy, ThreadUp, Tradesy and Facebook Marketplace.

You can also Google the local chapter of national charities that accept donations, including the American Red Cross, Vietnam Veterans of America, Salvation Army, Dress for Success, Career Gear, Big Brother Big Sister Foundation, Savers and Goodwill.

Churches and places of worship, community outreach centers, homeless shelters, thrift stores and school drives are also great places to drop off donations and make an impact in your community.

Finally, make sure you're staying safe. Harvard Health notes that the virus is more likely to live on hard surfaces, rather than softer ones, such as fabric. However, it's still important to wash your hands with soap and warm water before going through your closet.