How to Declutter Your Wardrobe
Decluttering your wardrobe can feel like such a daunting task, especially if you do have a lot of clothes. But it’s one of those things that can be extremely satisfying once you’ve completed the process. Also, if done efficiently enough it can enable you to completely change the way you look at your wardrobe, the way you shop and improve how you feel about your wardrobe, space and style.
This blog post is part two, of a three part series all about taking things back to basics with your wardrobe, helping you to build your wardrobe from the bottom up. If you haven’t already, you can check out part one in this series here: How to Find Your Style.
In this second part in the series we’ll be focusing on decluttering your wardrobe. So if you feel you already know your own personal style, then feel free to skip part one and continue straight on with this one, as I share my 10 steps to help you effectively declutter and organise your wardrobe.
- Take a Before Photo
- Empty Out Your Wardrobe
- Separate Everything into Piles
- Repeat the Same Process for Shoes, Bags and Accessories
- Create A Separate Storage Space for Sentimental Items
- Re-Organise Your ‘Yes’ Pile
- Put All the Items You Love Back into Your Wardrobe
- Go Through Your ‘No’ Pile
- Assess Your ‘Maybe’ Pile
- Re-visit Your ‘Maybe’ Pile
When starting your wardrobe decluttering process, give yourself a full day and start in the morning if you can. If you have a full weekend, or a couple of days free, then even better. Make sure you have the time and don’t start this on a day when you know you have other things to do, because it does always take longer than you expect. So let’s get started!
Top Tips to help with your Decluttering process:
- Start in the morning
- Wear comfy clothes
- Get yourself a good playlist or line up some podcast episodes to listen to, to keep you motivated whilst you’re decluttering
- Have some bags at the ready for any items you sort through
- Pre purchase any hangers or storage boxes you may need
Step 1 – Take a Before Photo
Before you even begin this process, I’d recommend you go and take a picture of your wardrobe right now, as it is. It can be tempting to skip this step, as who really wants a reminder of their not so best lives documented for all eternity, but trust me, when you’ve finished this process you’ll be so glad that you took that before picture to serve as a reminder of how far you’ve come.
The before picture can also serve as a great motivator for when you’re half way through this process and starting to wonder, why you ever started. By having this before photo to look back on can be just the motivation you need to keep on going.
Step 2 – Empty Out Your Wardrobe
Start by taking everything out of your wardrobe. If you have a lot of clothes it can be overwhelming, but it can also be good to see how many clothes you actually have, which can in turn help you to put things into perspective and think about how much you actually wear. If your wardrobe is exceptionally large, or you don’t have much space to lay everything out, then maybe do this in sections.
This is where things will look worse before they look better, but we are going to sort this out, so don’t worry too much about the mess.
Step 3 – Separate Everything into Piles
Separate everything into yes, no, and maybe piles. Be strict with this but also really be mindful as you’re doing it. For example, make sure you’re not throwing anything out you’ll end up wanting to re-purchase later down the line. This for me is where the ‘maybe’ pile really comes in handy.
Top Tip: Ask Yourself specific questions as you create your ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘maybe’ piles.
You might want to ask yourself:
Do I wear this item? If not, then, could I wear this more?
Does this item fit with my style?
Would I buy this item now?
Don’t keep things just because they are ‘new’. If you don’t wear an item, then don’t keep it.
During this process, don’t be afraid to try things on. If you’re unsure, sometimes the best way to tell if you still like something or not, is to simply see what it looks like on, and think about how it makes you feel.
If you have good quality pieces that you still like but maybe they need repairing or altering, then these could be worth putting in another pile to take to the tailors. I’ve done this with a fair few items in my wardrobe, and whilst it can seem like a chore, it often can work out cheaper than replacing said items altogether. It can be a great way to breathe new life into an old item. For example, I’ve had trousers and jeans taken in to make them better fit to me, and they have since become some of my favourite pieces as they now fit me perfectly – something which is rarely achieved when buying an item off the hanger.
If you’re still struggling to decipher what to get rid of and what to keep, then I’ve created this flow chart which can easily help you to figure out which items in your wardrobe are best to keep, pass on, or recycle.
Step 4 – Repeat the Same Process for Shoes, Bags and Accessories
You know the drill; go through the rest of the items in your wardrobe, such as shoes, bags and accessories, and separate these items into ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘maybe’ piles.
Step 5 – Create A Separate Storage Space for Sentimental Items
You may have a few sentimental pieces that you really want to hold on to, and if so I’d say create a designated storage space for these. But be careful not to hold onto things simply because they are items that you used to love, if it’s something you have no intention ever wearing again, ask yourself why you really want to keep it.
I understand this process of letting go of certain items can be hard, especially if you’re someone who attaches emotions and memories to items. I myself am someone who struggled to detach memories from items, and so I know it can be hard. But once I learnt to do this it felt so freeing. The way I found it easier to let go of certain items was by passing them onto a good home, so to speak. The more I let go of items, the easier I found the process.
I did allow myself to keep a very small number of clothing items purely for sentimental reasons. For example I wanted to keep my leavers shirt from high school, which had all my classmate’s signatures on, and the dress that I wore on my first ever date with Damien. When holding onto pieces, of course don’t throw anything out that’s a family heirloom or has real sentimental value to you, but try to be quite strict with the process of letting go of things if you can, so don’t keep anything out of a feeling of obligation.
Remember the whole point is to declutter, so don’t hold onto things just for the sake of it. I know it can be hard to get rid of everything right away, but if you are planning to hold onto a few things for sentimental reasons, then just be mindful of what those are, and why you’re keeping them. And if they can be re-homed and loved by someone just as much as you once did, then don’t be afraid to pass it on.
Step 6 – Re-Organise Your ‘Yes’ Pile
If you don’t already have your clothes separated into seasons, then now is a good time to re-organise your wardrobe so that you’re not overwhelmed by seeing clothes that you’re not currently able to wear. Obviously depending on where you live this point will be more relevant to some than others. But for example if you live somewhere like the UK, you’re likely to experience four seasons, with different weather conditions which will alter how you dress depending on the time of year.
Designate an area, or create a storage space to keep your out of season clothes and other pieces that you may not be about to wear soon, (such as special occasion wear for example). I recommend using storage tubs or boxes for this, so that you can easily store these pieces out of the way until you next need them.
Step 7 – Put All the Items You Love Back into Your Wardrobe
Start putting the items from your ‘yes’ pile back into your wardrobe, and try to organise these as you go.
TOP TIP: I recommend to replace shop hangers and wire hangers for ones that will universally match throughout your wardrobe, if possible. I personally like to opt for white wooden hangers, but also velvet ones can be great for wardrobe areas with limited space and for items of clothing that aren’t easy to hang, such as satin like fabrics.
Step 8 – Go Through Your ‘No’ Pile
Sort through your ‘no’ pile and work out what you can give away to friends or family, take to a charity shop, and what needs throwing out. Remember when getting rid of old clothes it’s important to take these to a recycling centre if you can, otherwise they’ll only end up in a land fill.
This is where your bags will come in handy as you can now begin to bag up any unwanted clothes into categories – These categories might be:
- Items to sell
- Charity shop items
- Items for friends and family
- Items to recycle
Step 9 – Assess Your ‘Maybe’ Pile
Take a look at your ‘maybe’ pile. If you haven’t already, and then try some (if not all) of these pieces on, and work out what you do and don’t like about them. If the cons outweigh the pros, then you know what to do, and don’t forget to refer back to the flow chart for help.
If you’re still unsure about any items, don’t make any rushed decisions just yet, and instead either bag these items up, or store them away. Put them someplace that doesn’t interfere with the rest of your wardrobe and that’s somewhat out of site for the time being. If you have room under your bed for example, this could be a great place to keep these items out of the way.
I’d say give it a 4 week time period minimum, and if by the end of that period you haven’t missed, or gone rummaging for any of the items in the ‘maybe’ pile to wear, then that’s a good sign that these are pieces that you’re ready to pass on or recycle.
TOP TIP: So you don’t forget to go back and check your ‘maybe’ pile, set a reminder on your phone, or mark it out in your calendar for in 1 months time, to sort out your maybe pile.
Step 10 – Re-visit Your ‘Maybe’ Pile
Now once you’ve lived with your new and improved decluttered wardrobe, you can re-visit that ‘maybe’ pile that you previously set aside, four weeks on.
By now you should have a clear idea of if you need to keep, or get rid of the items in your ‘maybe’ pile. If you’re still unsure, the hesitation may be a bit of that old sentimentality trying to hold on. And if so, it’s important to remember why you started this process, and how it’s helped you since you’ve decluttered.
If you haven’t missed the items in your ‘maybe’ pile over the past four weeks, then you can also re-home or recycle these pieces.
You’ve Done It!
And now breathe! You’ve done it. Take a picture and compare it to the before picture you took. This should make you realise how far you’ve come, and it can also serve as a reminder if and when things start to feel cluttered again.
Hopefully decluttering has helped to give you a new found love for your wardrobe, so much so that as you do add new items in, you’ll now be better able to asses what you let into your wardrobe in order to keep it well organised, well loved and clutter free!