Newsflash: there’s no better time of year than spring to have a wardrobe clear out. After all, it’s called “spring cleaning” for a reason. (Wink-wink.)
According to Psychology Today, having too much clutter in your bedroom (or home in general) can negatively impact a person’s stress levels. It leaves you feeling helpless, anxious and overwhelmed on a daily basis, which is why they say that “a tidy home equals a tidy mind.”
Makes sense now, right?
Not to mention, the number of clothes, shoes and accessories that we acquire as we get older can soon add up, clogging up much-needed storage space and making it harder to keep things clean.
Struggling to know which pieces to say goodbye to and which pieces to hang onto for now? Not to worry — we’ve got you covered with our top wardrobe clear out tips.
1. Put Some Time Aside
First things first, you need to put some time aside to tackle your wardrobe clear out.
It’s no use trying to do it all in two hours before you head out to the supermarket because this simply won’t work.
The truth is: this kind of house job always takes longer than you think. Therefore, be sure to assign a day where you’ve not got anything else going on to do it.
Do you have kids to look after or have to go to work? You could always split your wardrobe clear out into sections and focus on clothes one day, shoes the next and accessories the day after that. Sorted.
2. Get Everything Out
Once you’re ready to proceed with the task at hand, we find that it helps to get everything out of your wardrobe and put it on your bed or bedroom floor.
Why? Well, this allows you to see each and every item properly. But it also enables you to clean the parts of your wardrobe that you might not have cleaned in a long time.
One word: ew.
3. Clean, Clean, Clean!
Next, grab your best feather duster, anti-bacterial wipes and rubber gloves — and just start scrubbing!
If you’re finding it difficult to be productive, put on your favourite music or radio station, turn off your phone and get some snacks involved, such as crisps or your latest baking creation.
Oh, and don’t stop until there’s not a speck of dust or a dirty mark in sight.
4. Go Through Your Wardrobe Item By Item
Now that the cleaning’s done and dusted (sorry), it’s time to go through everything one by one and create six piles:
- Keep and in good condition, in which case you can get ready to place the item back into your wardrobe
- Needs a clean but keep, in which case you can pop it in your laundry pile
- Keep and in poor condition, but easy to fix it up (and make a mental note to mend these pieces at a later date)
- Donate to family and friends, who might be interested in having this item
- Donate to a charity shop or clothing bin, with an aim to reduce waste and prolong the life of the item
- Sell on eBay, DePop or a second-hand marketplace, to make some extra pocket money and also advocate sustainable fashion
Decide What to Keep
If you’re unsure about a specific item, the following questions will be able to help you decide if it stays or goes:
- Have I worn it in the last six months?
- Have I worn it ever?
- Is it falling apart and challenging to fix?
- Does it fit me anymore?
- Does it make me feel good when I wear it?
Depending on the answers to these questions, go ahead and place the piece on the appropriate pile.
Oh, and try to avoid getting rid of anything, as in throwing it away. After all, letting fashion sit in a landfill isn’t exactly environmentally-friendly.
And we’ve only got one planet; therefore, we need to look after it.
5. Consider Creating a Capsule Wardrobe with Your “Keep” Pieces
Ever heard of the saying “less is more”? Well, this also applies to a wardrobe clear out.
If you want to re-focus your fashion collection and save time getting dressed on a morning, consider creating a capsule wardrobe with the pieces in your “Keep” piles.
But what is a capsule wardrobe, you ask?
Well, it’s an idea created by London boutique owner Susie Faux in the 1980s, who made it her mission to assist women in identifying their personal style by utilising a limited number of items in their wardrobes.
And it’s kind of stuck around ever since.
Here are the rules:
- A capsule wardrobe can consist of 25 to 50 pieces
- These pieces must serve as your entire wardrobe for a certain period of time
- They cover clothing, shoes and accessories (as well as swimwear and outerwear)
- They don’t include underwear, loungewear and activewear
- Most fashion experts recommend using 33 pieces for each “capsule” which would last around three months
- Others live by the 10×10 rule, which involves mixing and matching up to 10 items for 10 days at a time before picking another 10 pieces for the 10 days following
That said, it’s completely up to you how you want to do it based on the size of your wardrobe and how strict you feel like being!
Either way, our advice would be to stick to key womenswear staples and build your capsule wardrobe around them, depending on the season and upcoming weather forecast.
6. Organise Your Wardrobe
Your next job is to organise your wardrobe according to your “Keep” piles.
If you’ve decided to abandon the whole capsule wardrobe idea, no problem. Simply put each item back into your wardrobe according to its category, i.e. coats, jackets, tops, dresses, skirts, trousers, shoes, belts, handbags, etc.
Some people also like to split their wardrobe into two and have one half dedicated to spring/summer and the other half dedicated to autumn/winter. We find this useful as it means that you only have to focus on half of your wardrobe at one time.
However, this is solely your decision to make.
Find Space for Your Capsule Wardrobe
Are you keen to give the capsule wardrobe notion a go? If so, be sure to make room for your new capsule, whether this is an end section of your wardrobe or a completely separate area.
Essentially, you need a designated space for it that you can easily get to and is differentiated from everything else.
7. Create More Space if You Need To
Lastly, if you find that your wardrobe is still bursting at the seams even after a clear out or you’re struggling to fit everything in, it’s okay. You just need to be a little smarter with your storage solutions.
We recommend the following tips:
- Fold jumpers instead of hanging them (they’re chunky and likely to take up a lot of room)
- Roll jeans and stack them sideways (for extra space)
- Store your underwear and belts in old beauty gift boxes in your drawers
- Take shoes out of their boxes and stack them at the bottom of your wardrobe
- Have a designated handbag section and stand them up next to each other (laying them down on top of each other can damage their shape)
And always persevere — you’ll get to a point where you’re happy with your hard work in the end!
Remembering These Wardrobe Clear Out Tips
Even though the idea of having a wardrobe clear out isn’t exactly attractive in the busy digital age, it’s worth doing.
Not only does it feel good to tidy and clean up the space that you’re living in after neglecting it so long, but it can also make other people feel good when you donate items to them.
And that’s what I call a win-win situation.
When was the last time you had a wardrobe clear out? Are you due one?
Katie Davies is the Yorkshire-based freelance writer who founded Trendy Tourist. Since 2017, she has written for over 100 companies on a range of subjects, from fashion to marketing. When she’s not producing content, you can find her shopping, exploring a new place or sitting somewhere having a cup of builder’s tea.