woman lying downHow often do you find yourself staring at a wardrobe full of clothes and feel you’ve got nothing to wear?

Did you know that the 80/20 rule applies to our wardrobes? This will make you squirm – on average we wear 20% of what’s in our wardrobe the other 80% barely sees light of day!

As a stylist I try to be organised but that conflicts with my natural squirrel tendencies, so I do empathise when people sometimes find it difficult to let go! If I’m in the right mood I can be totally ruthless. Easier still is if it’s someone else’s wardrobe without the emotional attachments!

Just to give you an example for ages I kept the dungarees I’d worn on the night I first met my now husband of almost 34 years! This was despite the fact I’d taken the knees out and ripped the bib and brace! How?   You might well ask… It was the result of really falling for him that night as I went sprawling on the pavement! Running for a taxi in 5-inch stilettos was never going to be a good plan!

Why DeTox Your Wardrobe?

I digress, so what’s wardrobe de-cluttering really all about?

  1. Re-energises and focuses you! You’ll be surprised how good you feel after a thorough de-clutter.
  2. Shows up any gaps in your wardrobe – by getting rid of the stuff you don’t wear you’ll be able to reassess your outfits and if you have any obvious gaps you need to shop for
  3. Helps to re-evaluate your style – what are your clothes saying about you and what do you want them to say? A great example of this is if you’ve left a corporate life in the City to have a family and are now setting up your own business say for example as a wellness coach, it’s unlikely that your corporate wardrobe is still appropriate for your new roles.

pile of clothes

Things To Consider Before You Start

Having decided it’s a great idea what do you need to think about before you begin your de-clutter?

Time:     Set some quality time aside, I’d recommend 2-3 hours to do a proper de-clutter.

Peace: Make sure no one will disturb or interrupt you. You want to be able to focus on the task

Mind-set: You need to be in the right frame of mind to de-clutter. Be ready to have a positive but ruthless review of your wardrobe!  If you’re feeling a bit indecisive or sentimental – reschedule your de-clutter for another day!

Space:   Clear enough space in your bedroom to be able to create 3 piles of clothes. You might want to scribble on some paper: Keep Recycle and Not Sure and secure these notices above your planned piles!

The Process Of DeToxing

Now you’re ready to begin!

Take everything out of your wardrobe item by item and ask yourself the following questions:

Do I love it?

If the answer’s no, then immediately put on your recycle pile, there’s no point having items you don’t love in your wardrobe!

Then ask yourself….

Do I wear it?

If the answer is no then it may be that it still goes to recycling or there may be other reasons why you don’t wear it and we’ll look at this in the next process.  For the moment put this on the ‘not sure pile’ and we’ll come back to these in round 2!

Carry on until you’ve emptied your wardrobe, hopefully by this stage you will have three piles!

Once you’ve completed this step get some bags and put everything you’ve decided is in the recycling pile in those bags and move them out of the way.   If you don’t the temptation is to keep revisiting this pile!

How does that feel? 

I hope you are starting to feel a bit more in control of your wardrobe?

Your Keep Pile

Now I recommend taking the ‘keep’ pile and just run through what you have in this collection.

There are a couple of ways to do this and really it’s a case of finding what works for you.

I like to organise this pile in terms of the types of activities I do where I might wear the same types of clothes.  This helps me to group the items into smaller piles.  This also helps me to identify any gaps quite easily.

So using my activities as an example they can roughly fall into the following groups:

  1. Dog Walking, Working from home,
  2. Relaxing at home – especially after a hot bath!
  3. Gym and studio workouts
  4. Networking, presentations, workshops, client meetings
  5. Going out – socialising

Arranging my ‘keep’ pile under these activities might show me that I have far too many strappy tops that have been classed in the dog-walking/working from home pile.   I have a habit of hanging on to old favourites even when they’re well beyond their best before date! So I’ll then have another weeding session to thin out these piles.  Then have another quick look at your ‘keep’ under each category and see if you have covered hot and cold weather items.

Finally put these items on hangers and return to your wardrobe, as you do remember to note any gaps you’ve identified.

The Not Sure Pile

Now turn your attention to the ‘not sure’ pile.   This is where you’re going to need to be quite strict with yourself and go through each item in turn.   If you don’t wear it then ask yourself the question why it could be one or more reason:

If the answer is no then it may be that it still goes to recycling or there may be other reasons why you don’t wear it and we’ll look at this in the next process. For the moment put this on the ‘not sure pile’ and we’ll come back to these in round 2!

  1. It itches or feels uncomfortable in some way – this is distracting and will never change, just add this to the recycling pile immediately
  2.  For shoes – they pinch or are too high – straight to recycling, do not pass go, do not collect £200! You’ll find every excuse not to wear them or will wear them and suffer! Either option is not a good look, so move on!
  3. Whenever I wear this I look in the mirror and tend to look tired, or someone will remark I don’t look very well. I’m not sure why. The colours are probably wrong for you. Try adding a scarf or necklace in colours you feel are your colours and see what difference it makes. If you’ve not had your colours done and aren’t sure then pick something you get a lot of compliments about! It’s a pretty good guide!
  4. It’s not the colours? Maybe the style’s not right for you in which case you should recycle! Maybe it’s just a style you feel is no longer quite ‘you’ or the messages you want to communicate to the outside world.
  5. I love it, I would wear it, but it’s the ‘odd piece out’ in my wardrobe.

Stop right there and take a look at the neat row of clothes now hanging in your wardrobe. Now that your wardrobe is a lot less muddled are you sure it doesn’t work with anything there?No? Then take a look at your list and see if this fills one of the gaps you’d identified you need to shop for.Or would shopping for one of the gaps mean you could then incorporate this ‘not sure’ piece into your wardrobe. Hey bingo you may have a brand new outfit!I’m not encouraging you to keep this piece for the sake of it. But do question yourself before you consign it to the recycling pile, much as I don’t want to encourage you to hoard there’s no point recycling so zealously you no longer have a wardrobe!

What Is The Result?

By the end of this exercise you should have a wardrobe that is made up of clothes you love, fill your various wardrobe needs and a shopping list of items to buy. If there are a few items left that do not pass the ‘Keep’ test with flying colours but hover on the ‘not sure’ don’t panic – you can have a top up declutter session again soon and make that call!Hopefully you’re now back in control of your wardrobe with lots of clothes to wear that speak volumes about you!