As a recovering shopaholic, I’ve had a lot of decluttering to do.
Years of over-buying cheap fast fashion – and not-so-cheap fancy fashion – left me with wardrobes, drawers and cupboards full of clothes (yes, shamefully, some even with the tags still on them), and more cupboards and shelves of shoes and accessories.
But did I ever have anything to wear? Did I heck! I wasn’t in love with most of what I had bought, and even if I was, I couldn’t find it because of all the other stuff that was in my closet. Not to mention all the items that I forgot I even owned…
Things had to change.
Step one was to start buying only quality items that I really LOVED and to begin building a capsule wardrobe so that I always have something great to wear, no matter what the occasion is.
Step two was to declutter my wardrobe and start releasing back into the wild all of the clothes and accessories that I had been holding captive for all of these years.
Beginning to declutter isn’t easy, but the first couple of bin bags are the hardest (who knows when a neon boob tube may come in handy – what if you get invited to a 1980s themed beach party this summer??), however, as with most things, practice makes perfect.
If you want to get a handle on your closet, always have something to wear and to save yourself hours over the year finding something to wear, read on for my guide to decluttering your wardrobe. (A word of caution: decluttering can become addictive and may spill over into other areas of your life. Before you know it you’ll be decluttering your kitchen cabinets!)
- Set aside a whole day, if possible. As a minimum, to give yourself time to do this properly, you’ll need at least half a day.
- You’ll need: a roll of bin bags, some large sticky labels and a sharpie, vacuum cleaner, some cloths, rubber gloves, a small bucket and some non-bleach cleaning fluid.
- If possible, take everything out of your wardrobe/drawers/shelves/cupboards. However, if you have a lot of clothes and accessories I don’t recommend doing this all at once as it will get overwhelming. If this is the case for you, just start with one wardrobe or cupboard.
- Vacuum the empty space, pop on your rubber gloves, and then wipe down with a cloth and the non-bleach cleaning fluid diluted in hot water. Wipe over again with a different cloth rinsed in just hot water. Finish with a dry cloth and leave to air.
- Take each item in turn and consider these four things: Do I love it? Do I wear it? Does it work with the other items I own? Does it fit?
If the answer to all of these questions is “yes”, put it in a “to keep” pile (don’t put it back in your wardrobe just yet!). If the answer to all the questions is “no”, put it in a “to get rid of” pile. If your answers are a mixture of “yes” and “no”, create a “maybe” pile.
- When you have gone through every item and assigned each to a pile, start putting the “keep” pile back into your wardrobe, but before you do so, check each garment to make sure that it doesn’t need any stains removing, hems stitched, or buttons replacing etc. Keep these items separate in a “to mend” pile.
- Now go through your “maybe” pile. After deciding which clothes and accessories you are definitely going to keep, your answers to the original four questions may have changed. If an item still doesn’t get at least two “yeses”, then put it in the “to get rid of” pile.
- Separate your “to get rid of” pile into “sell”, “donate” and “bin” and put into well-labelled bin bags. Be sure to deal with these bags as soon as possible so that the contents don’t end up back where they started – in your wardrobe!!
- Don’t be too rough on yourself if you still have a bulging closet – this doesn’t have to be the final edit! Repeating this exercise approximately every 6 months or so will help you to really get on top of things!
A note on gifts: If someone gave you a pair of earrings/handbag/dodgy slogan t-shirt that either just doesn’t go with anything you have, isn’t your style or that you downright hate, you may still feel guilty about getting rid of it. This DOESN’T mean that you should keep it!! First of all, you don’t have to tell anyone that you no longer have an item, and second of all – they’ve probably forgotten that they even gave it to you in the first place! I mean, can YOU remember every gift you’ve ever bought anyone??