How to tackle the wardrobe!

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!

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Clear-Out: Skirts

If you haven’t seen my previous posts I have committed to a New Years resolution of having a 2015 clear out and creating a minimalistic lifestyle. I hold onto lots of clothes and possessions I no longer need – not that I ever really needed them in the first place. I have so far cleared out my dresses, jumpers and cardigans, tops and bottoms. Now it’s time to sort through the skirts!
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Skirt analysis:
I only have 12, so not as many as my dress collection started off as. Still 12 is 12 more than I wear on a regular basis! A few are too small for me and I’ve held on in the hope I would loose some of the hips but this is virtually possible for a McDonalds lover and sofa Sloth. They are pretty much all patterned, most are a lined or skater styled. I wear all of them high waisted. Two are new with tags.

Clothes that have tags on in your wardrobe have the tag on for a reason. You have no reason to wear it now or you’re saving it for a future event. Or it was a bargain and you needed it to sit in your look and don’t wear wardrobe. I’ve held onto two skirts from Topshop both new with tags and for two years now they haven’t managed to be worn. They’re gone now. – 2 skirts

I love maxi skirts but I never find the right opportunity to wear mine – it’s bright pink. A charity shop find I couldn’t walk away from but a whole summer passed and I couldn’t pair it with much. – 1 skirt

I couldn’t part with anymore because I love wearing them for lunch and dinner dates during winter with tights or leggings. A couple I wore last Christmas and I will see if they make the cut this year too. If not I will return and donate!

So a weaker finish to my wardrobe clear out with only 3 skirts being pushed away. This will happen some more I am sure of it. The next clear out will be a quick one, outerwear.

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Clear-Out: Jumpers and Cardigans

As part of my 2015 Clear-Out I am tacking my wardrobe. I have already shifted a huge amount of dresses and the next step is to declutter the cardigans and jumpers I own!

I love chunkier styles for the winter and thinner types for summer. It’s hard to get a good balance of colours and thicknesses to suit all year round without collecting loads but I am determined to pick a few out to donate to charity.

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Jumper and Cardigan analysis:
I have 24 cardigans and jumpers. That’s almost one for everyday of December! Jumpers don’t need to be washed as frequently as other items of clothing as they are an additional layer. Mine are washed just to create space in my wardrobe for the other bits that need to go away so I need to be a bit ruthless. Hard when you love cosy clothes!

Cardigans are great because they can be worn with pretty much anything you like. If they’re plain they can be a great way to bring out a different colour in a scarf or patterned top. For me I had a need to own a cardigan in every colour just incase. I’ve looked at my already sorted dress collection to get an idea of what cardigans go with what dresses and I’ve managed to pull out some that just don’t go with anything. I also noticed I had a few black cardigans hanging around, not necessary. – 3 cardigans

Some bits are just unflattering and can totally ruin a nice dress. The ones that are ill fitted have to go! -1 cardigan and 1 jumper

I don’t wear hoodies. I love jumpers but hood really irritate me and I find most are really unflattering fits. I don’t go to the gym or need a hoodie so why I have two in my wardrobe I don’t know. – 2 hoodies

This is a tricky part of the wardrobe to clear out during the winter months but at the same time it’s the best way to see what you’re wearing and what’s not doing it for you anymore. I’ve kept two Christmas cosy layers because Christmas happens yearly and it doesn’t hurt to reuse them for however many years! Still, I’ve shifted 7 cardigans and jumpers leaving a healthier 17 hanging.

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Clear-Out: Dresses

Dresses have become a wardrobe staple for me. I love the ease of throwing on one item which can be worn with or without tights and leggings and layering up with a cardigan. As for nights out and special occasions it’s a given that I will be in a dress. I currently own 46 dresses (47 if you count my prom dress). Oh my goodness. That’s so much more than I need?! I am not even the type to feel a need to buy a new outfit for every occasion.

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Dress Analysis:
10 dresses are yet to be worn by me and 7 dresses have only been worn once. 15 dresses were purchased secondhand and 10 were purchased at sale prices. The rest were either gifts or purchased with a minimum of 10% student discount off! So it looks like the majority of my dress collection has been cheap and environmentally friendly. There is a lot of blue and flowery patterns.

Anything I haven’t picked up to wear in the past year and know I won’t in the future year is going. This includes the dresses I purchased with future fancy dress parties in mind. They never happen and when they do I never go for what I already have I like to be creative! – 7 dresses

Now anything that doesn’t fit. If I can’t zip it up, it creates bulges around my arm holes or I can’t breath in it, it’s going. If it’s stretched so much to become see through its too tight! If it’s too baggy and needs safety pins in all areas it doesn’t fit! It has to go. – 3 dresses two of these dresses were tough to part with because I love them but they’re size 8. I mean come on. They will soon be replaced with a suitable size 10.

Dresses that don’t fit include dresses that are too short. Turning 22 really reminded me that I have dignity I would like to continue holding on to. I never really wore many short tight skirts and dresses I always liked to be a bit more covered. I remember one party I went to, my first night out to Brighton for a friends 18th and I hadn’t really been out much myself so didn’t have ‘clubbing attire’. I wore a cute floral dress (Primark number purchased on eBay of course) with a more revealing neckline I was used to. It was a tea dress type so in the wind blew up a bit which makes me self-conscious. Paired with some heels I felt like my dress was quite short so I asked a friend and she laughed in my face and said it was too long and not short enough. Wow!

Looking back though I am glad I made this decision to dress with my personality. I didn’t spend the night flashing my knickers and bum to Brighton. Nor did I stand with my hands constantly pulling down my skirt to where is a suitable length. Little things! Anyway, if when I sit down I’m not sitting on my dress it’s going. That’s not a dress it’s a tunic that needs to be worn with leggings! -1 more dress

When there is nothing left to wear dresses. The cheap worn looking ones that only come out for show around the house when the rest of the washing is being done and the types of dresses you really don’t mind wearing to bed as a new pair of pyjamas. These for me are the Primark £5 dresses purchased impulsively because I really need clothes to wear with my leggings. Stupid idea to keep them all because I won’t do my laundry! – 2 dresses

The anomalies. There are always items you’ve purchased that just don’t dress well with much. If you can’t make at least two outfits with a dress either by dressing with different colours, accessories or jewellery why have it? No one likes a one trick pony. – 2 dresses

So in total 15 dresses have been banished! It feels refreshingly good! I try not to think of the worth of the dresses despite needing money. All will be donated except one which is eBay worthy to get back some pennies. Some things you just give to Charity because you know someone will love the bargain!

My new dress wardrobe consists of 20 hanging dresses and 11 in summer storage. Still a high number but not as much as when I started. I have spare coat hangers now too!
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Hibernating Clothes

I own a fair amount of clothes but before I caught on to the selling frenzy on Facebook and eBay I had a lot more! Despite this, I still can never really love my wardrobe and think ‘yes I have a dress perfect for that occassion’ or ‘my shoes will really compliment my dress’. This could be because I am one of those people who finds something that fits and flatters and buys it in different colours. So if I take away all of the doubles in my clothes, I actually haven’t got much at all!

I’m always buying clothes for the future too. Nice sparkly skirts and dresses that will do for one day but not today. So I have a box full of hibernating clothes. For the remainder for this year I’m challenging myself to not purchase another dress for Christmas or New Years but to use the ones in my wardrobe.

And then of course, I think about those who aren’t fortunate enough to have clothes at this cold time of year all over the world and throw all of the new clothes in a big charity bag just in time for shoppers at Christmas, because the charity needs my unused clothes more than I ever will.