It’s 8am. You’re staring at the wild abyss that is your wardrobe: the seven identical shirts, the jumper embroidered with Ketchup that you’re abnormally attached to and the white t-shirts bearing their very own grubby halo of foundation. Then there’s the jeans. Oh, the jeans. We haven’t been able to park our arse in them for three years and counting and yet, they’re still here clinging on for dear life.
You’ve called it – it’s time.
You embark upon the character-building journey of… clearing out your wardrobe. You lose yourself, in the music, the moment. Cue the Eminem music.
What ensues thereafter is generally a mad four-hour episode of pulling everything out of the deep depths of your nether regions and onto the floor. No one knows what signs of life you might uncover: Turkish Delight, a white witch, Aslan – anything could happen.
There will be times when, knee-deep in charity shop piles and tops that now resemble Winnie The Pooh’s finest OOTD, you wish you could turn back and abort the mission, just shove it all back in and walk away from responsibility. Marathon runners call it hitting the wall. Americans call it bonking. In this context, we like to call it losing our sh*t and pouring a large glass of wine instead.
Fear not! With a little logic and a few organisational tips, we can muster up enough stamina to see this endurance exercise through. Not sure where to start? Let’s break it down. Here’s how to clean out your wardrobe.
Set some manageable goals
Ok, so you want to declutter your wardrobe, we know that much. But what do you want to focus on? Do you want to be more aware of the clothes you already have, curate a capsule wardrobe or create a stress-free environment for getting dressed in the morning? When you set intentions and objectives for your clear out, the task in hand won’t seem so daunting and the focus shifts beyond just sorting out your clothes. It’s a mentally beneficial task as much as it is a physical one.
Take everything out
Yep, even your knickers and hangers! Clear the rails and pile it on the floor or your bed so you can get a good view of everything you have.
Evaluate and cull
Inspect each item in your wardrobe and evaluate how much you enjoy wearing it. Does it still fit? How often do you wear it? If you decide it’s no longer serving a purpose in your life but could benefit someone in need, donate it to a charity shop, clothes bank or a recycling scheme like H&M’s garment collecting programme. Simply hand in a bag of old clothes in any condition and receive a £5 voucher towards your next purchase in-store or online.
If you haven’t worn an item in the last 12 months but lust after a capacious wardrobe, now’s the time to be ruthless, tackle the weeds and let go!
Create separate piles
You’re thinking of the scene in Sex and the City too aren’t you? Creating separate ‘keep’ ‘donate’ or ‘repair’ piles for your possessions can help you make clear and practical decisions about each item.
Identify the hardworking basics
Keep hold of the pieces you know you can layer with some of your trend focused in-season items. Your trusty denim, turtlenecks, the versatile blazers and everyday tees are all items that will never really go out of fashion.
Rotate your wardrobe seasonally
Few of us have a big enough wardrobe to accommodate our thick space-invading Winter knits as well as all our Summer gear. Something’s gotta give. The key? Seasonal rotation.
Pack away the heavy pieces that see you through the colder months to enjoy in a few month’s time, that way you get to free up a bit of wardrobe space without sacrificing your favourite pieces. Seasonless wardrobe staples can stay put but as for the rest, if you’re not going to wear it in the next 3 – 4 months, fold it away into storage.
Maximise on space
Once you’ve been through your closet and asked yourself if each piece still gives you a 10/10 sartorial orgasm, it’s time to put it all back in.
Here’s where you can really claw back some space by folding items away and organising properly. Make like Marie Kondo and get practising that royal roll for items you want to stow away in drawers and categorise the clothes you hang up by seasons or occasions.
Stock up on hangers
If getting confused and stressed when you’re choosing what to wear in the morning is all too familiar, consider organising your wardrobe with matching velvet hangers – it’s a game-changer. Not only will the new sense of order motivate you to keep control of your wardrobe on a long-term basis, but the velvet also holds onto your clothes, preventing items slipping off and sitting in an unloved pile at the bottom of your closet.
Try facing your hangers away from you in the wardrobe, turning them towards you each time you wear an item. It’s an easy way to keep stock of the items you love and those that you’re simply not getting the wear out of.