How I declutter my clothes

How I declutter my clothes

So I did a big decluttering two months ago of my clothes and everything else I had. I ended up with a giant pile of stuff to give to charity, and an even giant-er pile of stuff to put on ebay so that other people can get some use and joy out of stuff I don’t want/use, and buying it won’t have been a complete waste of money.

I didn’t think I really had that many clothes. When I was in London I Konmari’d my wardrobe and got rid of 11 big black bags bulging with clothes. I couldn’t possibly have anything left that I could get rid of…
Ha. ha. It is amazing the denial we live in isn’t it.

I pulled every item of clothing I could find around my parents house: the garage, the spare room, the shed, the porch and my room, and laid them out on my bed in piles of type: trousers, skirts, dresses, short sleeve tops, long sleeve tops, sleeveless tops, jumpers, scarves, coats, shoes, underwear.

There was a LOT.

I managed to get rid of about 3/4 of it at least. But I still feel like I have too much. Some of the things are only a size too small – so it’s not unlikely I’ll fit into them again in summer, some things are cashmere and I can’t convince myself to part with them yet, and some things fall into the category of ‘I know I really like this thing, but I don’t know why I don’t wear it very often’.

Part of the reason for having so much stuff was because I didn’t have a particular style to speak of.. I just had a big combination of lots of bits and bobs and nothing really went with anything else. So after a lot of thought and a lot of time on Pinterest I discovered I did actually have a style and it was much easier to pare everything down and streamline my wardrobe. Here’s my Pinterest board in case you were interested:

I can now fit almost every item of clothing I own into my wardrobe and Malm chest of drawers.

Before, I had seasonal clothes in an external suitcase (or two) and under my bed. Now, I have decided to keep only a few items that I really love, and all my seasonal stuff now fits in one drawer in my Malm chest of drawers. I have put all my ‘I’m not sure’ items in one drawer of the chest of drawers in the spare room. My ‘I’m not sure’ items are some cashmere jumpers and a couple of jeans, skirts and dresses that are slightly too small. If I think ‘oh! I need this thing!’ I can go and get it. If, at the end of the year/season I haven’t even thought about it, it is going straight on ebay or to the charity shop.

A tip I’ve picked up from Captain Internet is to put all the clothes in your wardrobe hooked onto the rail the wrong way around, so you can go through your stuff a few months later and see what you’ve actually used and what you haven’t depending on which way around your hangers are facing. Which is a simple, yet genius plan if you ask me.

About every 3 months I make a quick assessment:

I pull everything out of my wardrobe and lay it on the bed in category order: Tops with tops, jumpers, dresses etc.

I check what I have, I decide if I still want it. I see if it’s still in good condition and if not, I decide if I need to replace it. I see if it is useful and goes with at least 2 other things in my wardrobe. I’m pretty ruthless. I don’t hang onto things because they ‘might be useful’, although there are some things that I know for sure I do wear for special occasions and events, so I don’t need to justify their place in my wardrobe. I just make sure I don’t end with more than I need.

I’m still developing more self-awareness when it comes to my wardrobe

I’m still not the sort of person who can look at something and instantly decide if it’s ‘me’ or not, and I still make mistakes and have indecision.

What I’m doing now is every day I pick out a different piece I’m not sure about and wear it for a day. And over the course of the day I make mental notes about how I feel about the item – do I like the way these jeans fit? Does this shirt irritate me because it restricts my arm movements? Do I avoid wearing this tshirt because it’s too sheer? Do I avoid wearing this jumper because the sleeves are too short or the label itches? Do these shoes rub? Do I not wear this thing because it doesn’t go with anything else?

And then at the end of the day when I take it off, I toss it in the laundry basket having made a decision on wether or not I’m going to keep it. If I decide to keep it it gets washed and put back in the wardrobe, if it is one to get rid of, then once it is washed it can go straight in the charity/ebay bag. If I’m still not sure, I apply the three-strikes rule. I give it 2 more chances to prove itself one way or another and then I get rid of it. Something I feel indifferent about is not something that has a place in my wardrobe.

Have you tried this approach? How did it work for you?

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