I don’t know how it happens, and I am confident that it happens to everyone, but somehow my car was twice as stuffed on the ride home from college as it was on the way down. How much junk could I possibly have accumulated in one year? And then I thought about it…the winter clothes my mom sent down, the shoes I couldn’t resist buying (as of this year I am officially obsessed with Keds-style sneakers), the presents from my birthday and Christmas…ok, I’m starting to see it now. The point is, however, that the majority of valuable car space was being filled with clothes, clothes and more clothes. More than I possibly could have worn throughout the year and there are still some in my drawers at home!

So, I came up with an excellent idea on how to reduce my carload and de-clutter drawers for the summer ahead (and hopefully speed up the packing for next years trip to school). I decided that as I went through the dreaded stages of unpacking my boxes, I would take the opportunity to clean out all of my old, un-used and un-wearable clothes.

The first stage was t-shirts: if your school is anything like UNC you will acquire at least twelve new t-shirts per year. Personally, I feel that I can never wear more than ten t-shirts before I do a load of wash and so…the de-cluttering began. The tough thing about discarding t-shirts is that they hold a lot of memories, however, anything older than 8th grade Needs. To. Go.  If you have a bunch of t-shirts from high school that represent important events, consider making a t-shirt quilt or duvet out of them: same comfort, less clutter. I find it best to make deals with myself: if I have twenty t-shirts, I need to throw out at least three today—it makes me feel more accomplished.

T-shirt quilt from quiltingbeez.com.

The second step is to go through all of your winter clothes; they have no business being in your drawers this time of year anyway. All the old sweatshirts, pajama pants and scarves need to be cleaned out and put in a bin in the attic or basement or, really, anywhere but your drawers. A good alternative solution is to get some friends together and put a few boxes into a storage unit near campus. Some schools actually have deals with nearby storage facilities so check that out. Plus, if you go away to school, you’ll need those winter clothes at college before you’ll need them at home, right?

The last step is the hardest: combing through your day-to-day wardrobe. Now is not the time to be a pack-rat! If you haven’t worn it all year at school and you didn’t miss it—toss it! If it is old, stained or has holes—toss it! If it will never be in style again (I’m talking to you ponchos)—toss it! I know it’s tough but you can do this!

There is no doubt that you have changed over the course of a full year at school, I for one am not the same person I was at the start of the year and I’ve only just begun.  Fashion is self-expression and your wardrobe should reflect who you are, not who you were. So grab those garbage bags and go!

Jessica Errera is a Freshman, undecided major at The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.  She loves theatre, reading, tennis and all things FASHION. She is also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and a contributing writer for TalkNerdy2Me.