HOW TO CLEAR OUT YOUR WARDROBE (BTWYL#2)
Hey! This is the second post of my Building the Wardrobe You Love series. If you’re interested in my first post, which is a comprehensive method to find your personal style, check it out HERE.
I did a big clear-out of my wardrobe about 2 years ago. I really thought about the clothes I would like to wear and how to stay stylish, yet largely minimal. I never looked back. I really love my wardrobe, it’s smaller and more versatile than it has ever been and most of my items match with the majority of my other items. This means it has been relatively easy to get ready for any day, event or weather condition. I thought it would be great to share my method for doing this - so here it goes! This is serious business.
1) DO YOUR LAUNDRY
You need to be able to see pretty much everything you own, so getting your laundry done is a must. It also means that if you don’t keep specific items, they’re washed and ready to be sold or donated. When you’ve done as much laundry as you can you’ll be ready for the second step.
Put on some music and get into something cozy because we mean business here.
2) GO THROUGH YOUR CLOTHES AND ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
Have you worn this item in the past 6 months?
If you’re not sure, then you probably haven’t. We’ve got to be harsh here.
Have you fit into this item in the past 6 months to one year?
We’ve all held on to an item that you looked bomb in when you were 17 but haven’t been able to wear since. You don’t need that negative energy, you’re great as you are. Put those items in a pile to one side.
Is it comfy?
If you feel uncomfortable in an item you’re much less likely to want to wear it. You probably shouldn’t have bought it because now you haven’t worn it since you tried it on and it’s making you feel guilty. If you’re keeping it just because it’s pretty, not because you actually can deal with wearing it, you need to move on. That behaviour is cancelled.
Has this item been practical in my life?
If you’re holding on to items ‘in case’ of certain scenarios that haven’t in the past year or so, you probably don’t need them. How about that bikini that is so strappy and annoying that you never wear it, but continue to hold on to it in case you’re ever in the mood to try and put it on? Please leave it in 2018.
If you spend 80% of your time working in the library, where you wanna look chic but comfy, your wardrobe should be 80% made up of those things. It shouldn’t be full of impractical dresses that make you feel physically uncomfortable and that you only think of wearing when 5 random conditions you’ve made up will allow it. It doesn’t add up. Behave.
You probably regret a lot of your purchases. It’s okay, I did too. I pulled out a pair of electric blue leggings, held them up in all their 80s glory, looked at myself in the mirror and asked what the hell I was thinking. Yes, they were in the Topshop sale, but they’re only a bargain if they match your reality. I did not need electric blue leggings. I will never need electric blue leggings. I was an idiot. Thank u, next.
3) SORT YOUR ITEMS INTO PILES
I went with 4 piles. ‘Keeping’, ‘selling,’ ‘donating’ and ‘unsure’. There was an ‘unsure’ pile because I was weak and probably bitter about the leggings, don’t be like me.
‘Keeping’ Pile - If the item made it through your intense questioning, they can go in the keep pile. Feel free to start putting them back on hangers, but don’t put anything away yet.
“Everything in my wardrobe that’s black, you’re still in the running to be America’s Next Top Model,” you mutter to yourself.
‘Unsure’ Pile - A lot of items in this pile I was really rooting for to work. They didn’t. Nothing in your unsure pile should really be going into your keep pile. If they were meant to be kept they would’ve been in your keep pile in the first place. Tiffany was to Tyra what my slightly-too-big tailored trousers were to me. Ultimately, they had to go. Consider giving this stuff to friends and family because then they’ll still be near you.
You’re probably tired and stressed at this point so feel free to take a moment to lie on your bed and contemplate why capitalism made you buy so many stupid things. For extra drama, lie on top of the piles you just made. I won’t be annoyed.
‘Selling’ - I try to sell as much as I can, because we all need money in this dusty economy. If you’re okay for money then chuck them in your donate pile. Donating to charity shops is great and more people should make it part of their routine. BUT you can always donate part of your sale’s proceeds to charity using the eBay charity tool. Totally up to you.
‘Donate’ - These items need to leave. If it’s got 20 holes in it, you probably shouldn’t kid yourself that somebody else will wear it, so create a mini pile for scrap clothing. Some charity shops will take items like this and recycle them. Your items that are in good enough condition that someone else could buy them should definitely be donated. Good thing you just did all that laundry!
If you made it this far, I’m really proud of you. You did that. You’re a legend.
4) Categorise your clothes
Hopefully you’ve got rid of a bunch of stuff and you’re feeling zen. Ignore the bin bags in your room for now, or go put them in another room to annoy the people you live with. Here’s where you’ll focus on what you’ve got left:
I think if you’re really looking to minimise or curate your wardrobe, it’s important to be able to easily tell what you have. This is pretty hard thing to do using your eyes alone - there’s no way you remember every single T-Shirt you’re about to shove in your drawers.
I suggest using an app to keep track of what you have. I personally use Closet+, which allows you to take photos of an item of clothing and categorise them into type of clothing, colour, brand, season or whatever other way you feel will help you keep track of things. As you’re hanging things up or folding things away, take pictures of your clothes in the app and store them for good.
Closet+ has been really great for me for a number of reasons:
I can plan outfits from bed.
I can make packing lists for when I’m going away.
When I’m shopping, I can quickly check my phone to see what sorts of things a new item of clothing could go with. It’s also stopped me from buying stuff that I already have or that doesn’t fit in to my existing wardrobe.
It may be a bit more time consuming, but absolutely worth it. Put on a podcast and get it done.
You’re probably exhausted by now and likely hate me. I get it, I attacked your entire character. But next post I’ll be tackling how to buy new clothes, conscious spending and how to stop making unnecessary purchases- so, I’m giving you another week or so to forgive me!
Photos by myself and Hana Freya