Clearing out the wardrobe properly is something we always think to do but never commit to. I have often started and just been overwhelmed by the task and end up keeping everything for ease. Usually you want to have a clear out because you have too much stuff and not enough space, or you’re looking at treating yourself to some updates pieces. You want to get rid of lots but not throw away your money and be left with nothing to wear. You have to get the right balance in order for this to work well for you. The following steps are how I tackled my large wardrobe:
1) Decide why you want to have a clear out. If you have no goal you will end up keeping lots you don’t want and waste your time! I chose to have a clear out to create an airier living space and change my lifestyle. Think “the less I can live with the richer my life will be”.
2) Break the challenge down into smaller chunks. Trying to clear a lot of your loved items in one sitting can lead to bad side effects like shopping sprees and sadness. Set a target to clear out the following categories that apply to you:
tops, shirts, skirts, trousers, jumpers and cardigans, underwear, outerwear, shoes, accessories
3) Each time you clear a ‘category’ of your wardrobe it’s easier to establish what fits. It’s okay to have a few pieces for ‘fat days’ but really keep these to minimum! If things really are too small or way too big, be realistic and decide if in the next month you will be wearing these pieces. If not, put in a black bag and move on to the next piece.
4) So now you should have a pile of clothes which presumably fit. Next take out any unworn items, whether they are new with tags or just rarely worn (like occasion pieces), put these in a box to sort later. You should be left with clothes you have worn recently.
5) Look at what clothes are left in front of you and think about your style. If you are having a clear out to start a fresh image, think about what colours suit you best and what pieces you already have will go with future purchases. Try to think of times when people complimented you on what you were wearing. Are there any items in this pile that make you look and feel good? If something doesn’t do you any favours put it in the black bag.
6) The pile (if it still exists) should have pieces of clothing that fits you, is worn well and you like. The next step is to check to duplicates. How many items are very similar looking? How many pairs of jeans do you own? What about little black dresses? We usually have a few items which are nearly identical with just a few differences. Pick out these pieces and get rid of one of them. This can cut down the stress of choosing what to wear and will eliminate items you aren’t getting your moneys worth of wear from.
7) Pick out those anomalies. These are items of clothing which can only be worn in a certain outfit. If you keep pieces like this you will always be keen to find new purchases to build this into your wardrobe. If you have a few of these odd pieces you’re taking up space and cluttering your wardrobe for a very poor reason.
8) Put away the remaining items of clothing. These are your new staples! Return to your pile of unworn clothes and go through the process again. Keep smart suits and dresses stored in clothes bags to keep them in good condition free from dust and moths. If things are new with tags, you could consider selling them on to get some of your money back. If you have upcoming events try and choose a suitable outfit for it in advance to help reduce the possibility of buying lots of outfits for one occasion.
Finally shift your black bag/s of clothes to the charity shop or pass on to a friend!
Some extra tips:
– There are lots of recommendations for de-cluttering your home and wardrobes, but the only person who can really help you is yourself. You have to have the correct mindset to really have a successful clear out. Forcing yourself to clear clothes away can bring a lot of regret and sadness! We can get very attached to clothes, I have been known to spontaneously clear out items in the past and repurchase them on eBay.
– Use black bags not clear ones so you can’t see what is going. When you have finished a session, try and take the bag straight to its new destination, such as the charity shop or collection bin. Having it sit in your home is space wasting and encourages you to take a peak to ‘check’ what you’re getting rid of. If you have done the process right you won’t need to check! If items are in the bag they are for a good reason.
– There are clothes banks who will accept your bags of clothes for a generous price per Kilo. Charity shops always need clothes and organisations for homeless people at this time of year would gratefully accept old clothes, particularly coats.
– I usually am a fan of selling on good quality clothes but when you’re getting rid of a larger amount it is much healthier to just pass them on. The selling process can be quite lengthy and you can end up just keeping bits because it’s easier. If you do this it’s back to square one!
– Publicly have a clear out! It goes against what I say in other situations but keeping others notified on social media about your clear outs will attract some attention and psychologically make you feel good and rewarded. You don’t have to brag about donating to charity or list every item you’ve cleared away but be proud of your achievements and share them with others.
– You don’t have to do it physically alone either, invite your friends round and recreate Carrie Bradshaw’s closet scene!
Since clearing my own wardrobe outfit making has become more creative and fun, I have no problems choosing something to wear, I am spending less money as I am aware of what’s missing in my clothes and I dress in pieces that make me feel more confident!