Despite our constant lament of having “nothing to wear”, most of us are forever fighting a losing battle with our cluttered wardrobes. Fear not! Winning back your wardrobe is easier than you might think, but it will require a regular review of your items to avoid future seasonal sale bargains and new holiday outfits sneaking back in.
Step 1: Manage the closet mayhem
We often assume wardrobe clutter occurs because we have too little space. Chances are you do have sufficient storage space, but you aren’t using it effectively or have too many items. This step will help you identify where you can afford to lose a few items and clear up some space.
Start by taking all of your items out of the wardrobe and lay them on your bed. Group similar items together so that you can assess how many items you have in each section and where you may have a surplus.
Review each group (tops, trousers, socks, etc.) and decide which items you enjoy wearing regularly and which ones have been sitting dormant in the dark recesses of your wardrobe. It is ideal to do this now, at the end of the season, as it is likely that any pieces which have not been worn are probably best edited out of your collection. The likelihood of you returning to wear them in the future is minimal.
Step 2: Prepare your seasonal items for storage
Before storing your edited collection, ensure all items are well taken care of.
Clean everything. Send any coats to the dry-cleaners, wash any knitwear (using only wool-safe detergent) and clean and polish boots and bags with leather or suede cleansing products.
Repair or replace any missing buttons and reheel any shoes.
Protect anything delicate. Hang cleaned coats or embellished dresses in garment storage bags and fold knitwear away (never hang it, unless you want to find it misshapen the following winter) with cedar blocks or lavender pouches to ensure everything stays fresh and moth-free. Store shoes in original shoe boxes or clear Perspex ones, which allows multiple pairs to be stacked safely yet still easily identified.
Step 3: Build a successful storage system
It is best to store items in a logical order like you would see them in a shop; group like items together in sections on hanging rails or shelves and categorise drawers for tops, sweaters, underwear, etc. Use dividers or small boxes to group together smaller items in drawers and use baskets to organise your shelves. If hanging space is limited, be sure to use slim hangers rather than chunky wooden ones as they take up more space.
If your storage space is limited, there are a series of under-bed or loft storage solutions, which allow you to rotate seasonal additions such as a winter box of hats, scarves and gloves with a summer box of sunhats, bikinis and kaftans. Bulky items such as down jackets, heavier winter duvets and blankets can also be stored away during warmer months using vacuum-pack storage bags.
Step 4: Out with the old, in with the new
Maintain your newly curated closet by adopting a one in/one out policy for key items. Obviously, there are always exceptions to this rule (e.g. ball gowns); however, you won’t need twenty blazers, so if you find yourself buying a new one, review your collection and decide which one should be sacrificed in its place. If you have trouble with this, restrict the number of hangers in your wardrobe at any one time, forcing you to exchange one for the other.
Step 5: Find a new home for your rejected items
Don’t despair about letting go of any pieces that haven’t made your final edit. There several sustainable options:
- Donate them to charity shops
- Recycling bins for charities will accept clean clothes and shoes in wearable condition, and there are often separate fabric recycling bins for damaged or unwearable clothes or towels
- eBay and online sharing sites are fantastic for selling items in good condition and allow you to make a little money from your decluttering efforts
- Hold a clothing swap evening with friends and offer up any unwanted items
Laura Davison is a mindful curation expert and organisational queen. She loves to help people free their homes of clutter and live more fulfilled, calming lives in spaces they love.