A Wardrobe Declutter

A Wardrobe Declutter

The majority of us own too many clothes we never wear. The remaining 80% of our clothing is only worn 20% of the time. Unless you're someone who has adopted a minimalist approach to style and have a capsule wardrobe, chances are you're part of the majority who have a lot more clothing than you think you do.

When our lives change, our wardrobe needs to shift with it. It's easy to push the clothes we don't wear to the back of our wardrobes to deal with later. They then get ignored and forgotten about while we continue to rotate through the smaller selection of clothing we enjoy wearing.

After a while, you'll find your wardrobe is bloated with items you don't wear and things you don't like, making it difficult to find the things you do. That's when it's time for a wardrobe declutter. Once you've follow this step-by-step guide to decluttering, you might want to consider a wardrobe audit to help define your personal style, and wardrobe tracking to make sure your decisions about what to keep were good ones.

Clean Out The Wardrobe

Remove all your clothes, shoes, and accessories, and give your wardrobe a deep clean. Wipe down all the shelves, hoover up any mess, and start with a completely clear space. This will give you the opportunity to see everything you own, which is likely to be more than you think you have (unless you've been keeping a wardrobe inventory). Removing all your clothing makes everything visible, forcing you to make a decision about what to do with it in all.

Separate Seasonal Clothes

Maybe this is your first time decluttering your wardrobe, or perhaps you have accumulated a lot of clothing over the year. Separating out seasonal clothing is a good way to make the process more manageable. It's easy to get overwhelmed when tackling piles of clothes so to avoid decision fatigue narrow your focus. You might want to section your wardrobe even further into categories, like everyday clothes, workwear, occasionwear, loungewear, and athleticwear, etc. Prioritise what needs to be dealt with first.

Try Everything On

Once you've separated out your clothing, start trying everything on from each section. Although this does tend to trigger the temptation to keep anything that fits and looks good. Clothing on a hanger looks very different when it's on your body, and pretty shoes might pinch your feet. Trying these items on is the only way to make a decision about what stays and what needs to go. Many of us keep clothes that don't fit us anymore even though they often make us feel bad about our bodies, or about the money we wasted on them. If this is something you do, remember that letting them go will make you feel better.

A Wardrobe Declutter

Ask Questions, Make Decisions

The next step is to be honest about the clothing you own, and whether you should keep them or not. Some items you'll want to instantly put back in your wardrobe because you love them so much, or they're practical and serve a purpose. Others aren't quite as easy to make a decision on. These five questions will help you to decide what to declutter, and which ones to put back in your wardrobe.

  • Is this item comfortable? Do I feel good wearing it?
  • Do I wear this regularly? If not, why?
  • Does this item fit with the rest of my wardrobe?
  • Can I create various outfits using this item?
  • Do I love wearing this, or do I just like the way it looks?

Sometimes the clothes we own aren't ideal but they're the only ones we've got for now. Make a mental note of anything that doesn't fit right, is incompatible with your style, or needs replacing.

If you're struggling to make a decision about certain items, put them to one side and cycle through until they're the only ones left. Try them on again to pinpoint why you can't make a decision. It might be that you need to hold onto them a little while longer until you find a replacement, or it could be you simply need to accept they no longer fit in with your life. Making a firm decision, even if it's tough to do, will result in a better wardrobe in the end. But if you're really struggling, put them into storage and revisit at a later date.

Put Everything Back

The clothes you decide to keep make up the foundation of your all-seasons wardrobe, and they're the items you'll build your seasonal capsule wardrobes from. When putting them back it might help to separate out your clothing into sections, especially if you have a larger wardrobe. Occasionwear, activewear, or hobby clothing may be best stored away from your main wardrobe if it helps keep your clothes more organised and easily accessible. Consider your options for wardrobe organisation before putting everything back.

Let Go

Now you have everything you want to keep back in your wardrobe, it's time to let go of the rest. If you find this hard to do, even when you don't wear these items, remember that by letting go of these clothes you're allowing someone else to love and appreciate them.

Be mindful of how you choose to declutter your clothing. If you have items that can be sold, try to do that on a reselling site to put them directly into the hands of the people who want them. Alternatively, if they're not worth the effort, give them away on a freecycle website or to a local shelter. The last option is to donate to a charity shop, or turn them into rags for cleaning.

Quit Fast Fashion

This won't happen overnight, and also won't be an option for everyone. But if you're able to, quitting fast fashion will be one of the best things you do for your wardrobe and personal style. We wear fast fashion clothing less than 5 times and keep them for only 35 days. These poor quality garments that cost very little to buy end up in landfill after spending months, if not years, at the back our wardrobe. To avoid repeatedly having to declutter your wardrobe, start making better purchases about the clothes you buy.

If you want to learn more, I encourage you to read this post about why I quit fast fashion and this one about the problem with fast fashion influencers. Focusing on eco-friendly alternatives, like thrifting and sustainable clothing, alongside creating a capsule wardrobe will help you define your style, save money, and reduce your environmental impact.

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