Suffering from the old ‘wardrobe bursting, but still nothing to wear’ conundrum?
You are not alone. For the majority of us, our wardrobes are a vortex of sales bargains, trusty old favourites, stacks of semi-identical jeans and tee’s and stuff we are hoping we’ll fit into again one day. And four million black tights. Oh, and then there is the mountain of really dressy occasion wear, you know, for all those weddings and parties we are bound to start being invited to soon.
If this all sounds more than familiar, psyche yourself up for a major wardrobe detox. You will thank yourself for it after.
Disclaimer: Like most other activities of the detox variety, this might give you a headache and make you feel a little ill while it’s all going down. But once it’s over, trust us, you will feel like a million dollars.
This simple organising trick is going to save you money, space and stress
Are you ready?
The Holy Trinity of Detox: Keep. Store. Throw Away.
The best thing you can do, is to set aside a long, rainy afternoon for this activity. Send your husbands and kids packing, and stick a bottle of wine in the fridge so you can celebrate once it is all over.
Start by emptying everything from your wardrobe and drawers and spread it out all out over your floor (or bed). Get a complete overview over what you have got, and then start sorting. In one pile, place all the items of clothing you wear frequently and that you know you will keep wearing going forward. In another pile, put all the bits you rarely wear, but that you are not quite ready to toss out – just yet. In the third pile, place clothes you want to throw out, sell or donate to charity.
When this is done, take the items from pile #1 and hang/fold them neatly back into your wardrobe and drawers again. Sort hanging items by colour or type (dresses/skirts/blouses etc.).
The clothes in pile #2 you pack away for storage (stick them in the attic, put them in a suitcase in the spare room, it doesn’t matter, just as long as they are out of your actual wardrobe). Mark the bag(s) with today’s date, and in a few months time, see if you have actually missed any of the clothes you packed away? Chances are, if six months has gone by, and you have yet to reach for any of these when you are getting dressed, you will probably feel much easier about letting them go for real.
Finally, sort through your pile #3, and decide what can be bagged for charity drop-off, what you want to give away to family and friends, and what items are actually worn out and ready for the bin.
Tip: A rule of thumb is that if you haven’t worn something in two years, you will never wear it again. And if you are hanging on, hoping something will come back into fashion, remember we are talking about your wardrobe, not the RTE costume department.
Find your style
If you are a woman who is older than 25, chances are you will have developed a certain style that you naturally gravitate towards, and the goal is to get your wardrobe cohesive enough with this ideal so that getting dressed in the morning becomes that much easier.
Sure it can be fun to hang onto all those fisherman’s pants you bought when you backpacked through Thailand a decade ago, or all those sharp suits from the jobs you had where you had to stick to really formal attire, but if this isn’t reflective of your life and style today, chances are they are just clogging up your wardrobe.
From a purely financial point of view, it would make a lot more sense to try and find your style now, and somehow stick to that. These days, this is easier than ever, as you can use Pinterest to gather all the inspiration you could dream of, and always keep your boards handy when you hit the shops for some wardrobe updates. Even better; take snaps of items you already have in your wardrobe, upload to your Pinterest board, and you will always know what you already have, and how whatever you are eyeing up will go with what you already then have.
Take a look at your lifestyle
Past your clubbing days? Maybe all those sequin tops and mini skirts are not something you need in such abundance anymore? Got a job now that is far more casual than the one you had previously? Maybe the blazers and heels are not needed anymore?
Where you are in your life and how you spend your days should have a large say in what you have in your wardrobe, and will make finding something to wear and getting dressed every day so much easier.
Put your feelings aside
Sure we attach all sorts of emotions to items of clothing, but take a long, hard look at yourself before you fold and put back that manky old hoodie your ex-boyfriend left behind when he moved out. Do you really need it to remember the good times you two had? Or are you just filling up your wardrobe with junk?
Make a list
Write down what you are throwing out or getting rid of. This will help you in more ways than one. It will for starters give you a pointer as to what you should avoid buying in the future – as in, if you just binned five different drop-waist dresses, maybe this shape isn’t really for you, no?
Another good reason for a list is to know what you might need to restock your wardrobe with. As in; if you just got rid of a stack of tired and worn-out knitted jumpers, it might be a good idea to invest in a couple of new ones.
Stand in front of a mirror and be honest with yourself
Take a look at your body and decide which parts of yourself you love and feel happy about showing off, and which parts you would rather clothes didn’t draw any attention to.
Try on items you are unsure of and decide if they fit and suit you. Remember, just because you lived in shimmery, leg-baring mini-dresses when you were in your early 20s, it does not mean that this is what you should be attempting to wear today, 15 years later.
Keep it tidy
Make some rules for yourself about keeping your newly organised wardrobe tidy and easy to navigate, and it is often chaos that makes us reach for the same outfits and items over and over again in the first place. Make a system in your wardrobe and drawers that is easy to follow and keep looking neat.
Buy matching hangers; it will do wonders for how tidy your wardrobe looks, and invest in drawer dividers; these will help keep your socks, tights and undies in order.
Call a friend
There is no shame in calling in an ally to help you with the detox – after all, sometimes you need a second opinion. And look at the even brighter side; it means you have someone to share that bottle of vino in the fridge with when the job is done!