How I decluttered my wardrobe
In my last Live simply post, I wrote about smart shopping tips for a minimal wardrobe. I got quite a bit of good feedback from it and I promised I would share my experiences decluttering my own wardrobe, getting it from a messy state full of clothes I don’t need, to a more organised state with less clothes.
If, like me, you feel like you need to declutter your wardrobe, you’ll have to consider a few things:
- If you need to declutter, you have acknowledged that you have too much. (Good work!)
- You need to face the reality that decluttering does mean getting rid of some things.
- Be honest with yourself. I’ll probably write a lot of rhetorical questions in this post, but they’re for you to think about, so make sure you give yourself the honest answer. :)
Reduce the amount of storage
I have several different places I put my clothes:
- built-in wardrobe
- chest of drawers
- a dresser with drawers and a large mirror on top
- a small bed side table
- two standalone clothing racks
It’s not the best of situations.
A high-level aim would be to reduce the amount of storage spaces you have for your clothes. If you have one wardrobe, aim to have an amount of clothes that will all fit in your wardrobe. It might sound difficult, but that’s one way of making yourself realise that you don’t need all these storage spaces just for clothes.
Imagine if you tried to move all your clothes
Recently I have been thinking, if I wanted to move house and take all my clothes with me, how difficult would it be? How many trips would I take? Is that too many trips? Is it too much trouble? What if I just wanted to move it all to another room? Do I remember the last time I even looked in one of these drawers?
Giving these simple questions a bit of time can help you see just how much you have, and encourage you to consider whether it’s too much or not. My clothes racks are getting full. As they seem to overflow, I think of what is in my wardrobes and my drawers. Apart from the fact that I prefer some clothing to be hung up, why have I not put these clothes in the wardrobes or drawers? Is there not enough room?
Why isn’t there enough room? What is in there that I have forgotten about?
Reduce the amount of clothes
Once you bring your attention to how much space you use, try to think about where your belongings are actually located. What exactly do you store in the wardrobe? In the drawers? Is it clean and organised?
There is almost absolutely, surely, something lying somewhere or hidden somewhere that you totally forgot you had
If you have a hoarding problem with clothes, you will find that this has happened to you more than once. In my case, unless the item was a seasonal item (like a coat, which you can only wear during part of the year), I would let it go. It was difficult, but it did not make it into my daily, weekly or even monthly wardrobe cycles, so it was definitely not classed as a favourite.
Some examples of what I have discovered and discarded are:
- Sweaters that I forgot about and grew out of anyway.
- A pair of shorts that I wore regularly but completely stopped wearing for a long time because… I don’t even really wear shorts anymore.
- A top that I didn’t like that much because it was too big and I had to wear a crop top underneath it to be suitable for wear. This was too much bother so I stopped wearing the top.
- Another top that I tried on at home but didn’t like after one or two times wearing it. I kept it just in case.*
- A shirt that I bought but never even tried on because I didn’t completely like it when I brought it home. Damn.
If you find yourself relating to the above, then you won’t miss that piece of clothing – it can be donated to charity or given away. Bag it.
You wear your favourites, and you know you wear them
The thing I completely dislike about fashion is the notion of ‘outfit repeating’. Outfit repeating is silly and makes us assume that we cannot wear the exact same outfit two days in a row – or even at all. This caused me to go through my entire wardrobe of clothes once and feel pressure to not wear the same thing again. This caused me to plan out my Fashion Friday posts so meticulously that I was trying to avoid wearing the same thing over and over.
But you know what? So what. So what if I wear the same boots. So what if you have seen me wear the same stripy shirt over and over. So what if I wear the same pieces of jewellery or the same jeans. So what if you have seen me wear the same bits and pieces. To me, personally, fashion is about having your own sense of style and being that girl with the heeled ankle boots, or that guy with the navy coat.
You don’t need to find your favourites because chances are, like mine, they are within easy reach. You find yourself wearing them over and over.
Embrace that, and put all your favourites all together in one place where you can revisit them the many times that you do.
*If you find yourself saying, ‘just in case’, that’s bad. So bad.
The hard truth is that even though we want to keep something because we think we will fit in it, we think we will gain or lose some weight, we think we can give it to a loved one later – it’s taking up space and we are admitting to ourselves that we don’t want it. Saying you want to keep it ‘just in case’ is saying that it’s not good enough for you. With that, you should be able to let it go for your own sake. :)
This applies not just to clothes but to everything you may own. Avoid keeping something ‘just in case’.
What kinds of clothes do you have?
A really simple way to get to the bottom of your clothes is to categorise them. I’m going to go through different types of clothes that I own and how I pared down the amount I have. You may feel differently about your own, but see if you can gain from my experience.
This is also the potentially boring part, so feel free to jump straight to the tips at the end.
Underpants amusingly make really good rags if you are looking for a one-time-use cloth to wipe down an old dusty shelf or large piece of furniture. ;P If I wouldn’t mind using a pair of underpants as a rag, it’s a sure sign I don’t like it anymore and it’s time for it to go. There are probably some pairs in the back of your drawer that you haven’t worn in a while because you continue to cycle through wearing your favourites, or the ones that are newer. Just get rid of the old ones – you only really wear one pair a day anyway.
Shirts, blouses and tops
Last year, I bought a lot of similar tops in one hit. I loved them all and wore them regularly. I went through my clothes and found anything that was similar in style, and bagged it. There was no need to have more than one of the same type of item.
I used to buy a lot of band shirts. Every time I went to a concert or gig, I left with a band shirt. The thing is, most of those got demoted to wear-at-home status, something many people are familiar with. Some of these hold sentimental value because, for example, I can’t get the Smashing Pumpkins’ Australian Oceania tour shirt again so it was practically deemed ‘rare’.
I have stopped buying as many band shirts unless I really love the print, because I was initially doing it just to support the band even if the shirt was ‘only OK’. That helped. Because I value band shirts a lot, I chose to get rid of other t-shirts. Now practically all my t-shirts are band shirts. :P
I had a lot of skirts. I took a similar action as I did with the shirts. If any two skirts were similar, I got rid of one. Because I realised I had a lot of skirts, I was able to pick out my favourites and choose to keep the ones I was able to mix and match more easily.
Shorts? Well, I stopped wearing shorts so frequently so I went from about seven pairs down to just two. If you stop wearing a certain item of clothing, just cut down.
I don’t wear jeans that much. Because of that, I was able to focus on purchasing jeans that I was sure to like. It helps to be picky sometimes. Some jeans wore out – stretched too much, got torn, stitching came loose – I just got rid of them.
I can’t stress this one enough. You don’t need more than a few pairs of pyjamas, perhaps a couple for the warm season and a couple for the cold. I often bought cute pyjamas overseas on trips to Asia, only to later find, many years later, that some of them were hardly worn. Some people don’t even wear dedicated pyjamas and just wear a shirt and pants. Go for it. Perhaps you don’t even believe in fancy sleeping clothes.
I got rid of about two bags of pyjamas. Sad, but true. I just didn’t wear them all.
It was hard to do this, but anything that had a hole or ladder that was visible (in at least the middle section of the leg) had to go. Pantyhose are essentially rendered useless when they tear. Isn’t that amazing.
I grabbed every single one of my socks and gave them a little tug. If they lost their elasticity, off they went.
I wore the heels out of many shoes and other low quality non-leather shoes tore at the edges. Shoes should be durable as we walk in them all day. I just got rid of anything that I had clearly worn out.
Quick tips on decluttering your wardrobe
9 things you should get rid of
- Anything that doesn’t fit, whether it’s too big or too small. You should always buy and own clothes to fit and to wear now!
- Anything that you are keeping ‘just in case’. You don’t want to do that. Trust me. :)
- Anything you bought and came home to discover you didn’t like it that much, but kept it anyway.
- Any items that you have held onto in the hope you will find something to match with it. Any clothes you already love will already have complementary items in your wardrobe. If you haven’t found something to go with that yellow shirt, then it’s time for it to go.
- Anything you haven’t worn in a while. Put it aside for a few months, and if you have no interest in wearing it again, you can let it go.
- Anything you discover that you completely forgot you owned. Don’t bask in the sentiment.
- Anything that was your style before, but isn’t now. You’ll know when you see it. Although it may go back in style, it may not be your style. You can always buy new clothes later.
- Anything that you used to wear because it was trendy, but stopped wearing because it stopped being trendy. If you only bought it for the trends, you won’t want it anymore.
- Anything you have too many of. You will know because you wear certain skirts/shirts/jeans a lot more than others.
6 things to keep
- Find your favourites. Anything you wear at least once a week. Put them all together and make them easily accessible.
- Anything you wear at least once a month. Thirty days is a lot of days to get an opportunity to wear something.
- Anything seasonal – at least wait until the season ends to decide whether it is worth keeping for another season.
- Anything that you have been able to easily match with a good handful of clothes.
- Anything you feel comfortable wearing and that never bothers you. Definitely keep!
- Anything that makes you feel good and look good.
Decluttering your clothes can be a difficult journey, but once you start to find and are able to get rid of what you don’t like, it can be quite therapeutic. You’ll be clearing out space, and you might even get a bit addicted! ;)