Last Updated on March 13, 2022
Let’s be honest, owning a wardrobe packed full of clothes, and STILL having nothing to wear is stressful. Isn’t it? I feel like most of us have probably heard the idea of a wardrobe declutter, but it sounds like too much work or we don’t have the time. Am I right?
Before we begin, here’s a shocking statistic for you. Did you know the average person only wears 20% of clothes in their closet 80% of the time? In the past, I could absolutely relate to this.
My wardrobe was chaos! Every morning, I would shuffle through tops, jumpers, dresses, skirts, (you name it) aimlessly. I hadn’t worn some of this stuff in years! Some items still had tags on! Charity shop or sales bargains of course, but still…
Yet, I always reached for the same ‘safe’ outfit choices.
I knew something had to change but I had no idea where to start.
After hours online, I came across the queen of decluttering, Marie Kondo. I’m not even being slightly dramatic when I say her book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever changed my life. It’s full of decluttering tricks to help you take back control of your space!
(There is also a Netflix show I highly recommend you binge watch)
In today’s post, I’m sharing with you my top tips I’ve learned to help you declutter your own wardrobe.
I’ve broken everything down for you into small, achievable steps to help you declutter clothes quickly and with little stress.
What are the benefits of decluttering your wardrobe?
You might be thinking do I really need to declutter my wardrobe? Is it really that bad? Just think about all the benefits of a decluttered wardrobe for a second:
- Less stress – say goodbye to ‘I have nothing to wear’ moments
- Your closet only contains pieces you love and feel confident in
- You save money by making more intentional choices on what clothes to buy based on what you already have
- Extra cash in your pocket if you choose to sell on pre-loved clothes
- You can see everything you own, so fewer chances of buying similar or duplicate outfits!
Now that sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Let’s get started…
How to declutter your wardrobe – a step by step guide
Ready to transform your closet and fill it with clothes you love?
Let’s do this…
Step 1 – Divide (& conquer) your clutter
To start the process, get everything (and I mean everything) out of your wardrobe and on your bed and begin sorting into the following categories:
Anything that makes you feel amazing and that you love to wear (or sparks joy as Marie Kondo puts it) is for the keep pile. Practical pieces such as your uniform/workwear or gym stuff are also items you’ll want to keep. As long as you don’t have 100 pairs of gym leggings!
Next up, create a sell pile or box for items you’ve fallen out of love with, but are in good enough condition to sell online or flog at a car boot sale. If your clothes are lightly worn, popular high street brands like Zara and Topshop are great for selling on sites like eBay, Preloved, and Vinted. For designer luxury pieces, try Vestiaire Collective or Rebelle.
If you find you have a lot of items in your potential sell pile, it might be worth looking at cash for clothes or selling in bundles to free up time and space all in one go.
Immediately discard any pieces of clothing that are beyond saving or selling. Anything that is stained or has holes, or is very well worn, throw it in a bin bag.
It might help to know that you can still actually make some money back from old clothes with high street chains like H&M, COS, and Marks & Spencer. These brands offer vouchers in exchange for old clothes and textiles. Find out more about recycling clothes for cash
If a piece of clothing still fits and it’s still in good shape, but you just can’t decide whether or not to keep it, that’s ok! Just try and keep this pile to a minimum.
An easy trick is to hide these items away in a box for a few months. If you forget what’s in there, it’s a clear sign it’s time to get rid of them, as you’re clearly not attached to the contents in the box.
If you’re really struggling to declutter your wardrobe, simply ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this fit?
- Is it comfortable to wear? If it’s itchy or uncomfortable, I guarantee you won’t wear it!
- Have I worn this item in the past 12 months? Be honest…
- Does this item suit my lifestyle? Was this item purchased before you became a mum or had a change in career i.e. you now work from home as opposed to a corporate office environment?
- Would I buy this item again if I saw it in a shop now?
- Does this item complement other things in my closet?
- Is it in good condition? If not, will you make the effort to fix it up? E.g. sew on buttons or have it dry cleaned?
- Do I have a special attachment to this item? Sometimes we hold onto sentimental items like a wedding dress etc. If it means a lot to you, find another special place to store it in your house
It pays to be ruthless here. Stop holding onto clothes ‘just in case’ you lose weight or need it for an unlikely occasion. Also, do you really need 10 pairs of jeans? I thought so…
Step 2 – Organise your wardrobe
Once you’ve had a good declutter session and have finished sorting everything into piles, decide how you want to organise your ‘keep’ items and pop them back into your wardrobe.
You could either do this by:
- Occasion e.g. work outfits and formal wear
- Season – Summer, Winter, etc.
- Item – tops, skirts, jeans, etc.
Make sure everything is visible so you can visualise outfits and mix and match without struggling to find certain things.
Marie Kondo has this amazing method for folding clothes to help you fit more into your drawers and easily see each item you own.
Step 3 – Fill in the gaps
When, and only when you’ve decluttered everything you possibly can, it’s time to go shopping! If you have trusty clothes staples that have lost their shine, it’s time to re-stock your wardrobe with lovely new pieces.
Think about things you wear every day and feel confident in, like:
- A Breton striped top
- Leather jacket
- Cashmere jumper
- Crisp white work shirt
- That little black dress
Again, be strict on yourself here and try not to fall into old bad habits. Google ‘Capsule Wardrobe’ for inspiration on how to put together fab outfit combinations and really start to pay attention to how everything in your wardrobe can work together.
Top tips to help you declutter your wardrobe
I hope I’ve inspired you to start decluttering! Before you go and empty out your wardrobe, check out my top tips to decluttering success…
Pick out items you love first when you declutter
Choosing items that you really want to keep first starts the process off on a positive note. I really believe this makes the rest of the process easier. Once you’ve got all the items that ‘spark joy’ all that’s left is items you technically don’t want or need.
Set a deadline for selling & alterations
If you’ve got a pile of items to sell or maybe items that need alterations or dry cleaning, you need to set a deadline to confront them. If you don’t, you’ll never do it and the clothes will remain in your life.
Make an honest decision and stick to it! For items I want to sell, I list them on Thursday night around 7pm on a 10-day auction cycle. According to eBay, Sunday evening is the best time to end auctions for the best engagement.
Listing for 10 days gives my listings two weekends of exposure. It also means they finish right at the end of the week, which is an ideal time to confront any items that haven’t sold.
Ask someone to be your accountability buddy to help with this. I always make sure my other half knows my goals and he’s very good at reminding me when things need to go to the charity shop!
Acknowledge your emotions when you declutter
It might sound quite silly, but this is an emotional process. Every single piece of clothing you have purchased or have been gifted each represent something in your life.
Perhaps you’re an emotional spender? Or are you too kind to say no to hand-me-downs? Do certain clothes remind you of good/bad times in your life?
Whatever your reason for wanting to declutter, the process can be stressful and emotionally overwhelming. If it gets too much, take a deep breath and pop the kettle on.
Have a nice cup of tea or coffee and check in with your emotions before returning to the task at hand.
Try everything on before you declutter
I’ve found trying items on is a really good way to get more piles from your ‘maybe’ pile into sell or toss. Sometimes we remember how we looked in a certain outfit but if we haven’t wore it in a while, our shapes may have changed.
I also find wearing the item out in public is a sure-sign way of whether I need to get rid of an outfit, depending on how confident I am wearing it out and about or at work.
Invest in the right tools
Display your items with love and care by investing in useful tools to help you stay organised.
Purchase good-quality hangers and use boxes within drawers to keep your underwear and socks in check (another Marie Kondo classic!) It’s so rewarding opening your wardrobe every day and finding exactly what you need.
Look after expensive pieces
We’ve all got one or two items in our wardrobes that we’ve really splashed the cash on. If you have an expensive pair of leather boots, research how to treat leather and prevent wear. Also, protect delicate lace pieces against moths with mothballs and clothes bags.
It also definitely pays to know your washing care labels. Never put cashmere jumpers in the washing machine! The better you treat your expensive pieces, the longer they will last and you’ll get your money’s worth.
Store your items correctly
Really think about how you’re storing your items. Does it work for you? All t-shirts and basics should be folded flat and fancy items like dresses and suits should be hung.
It also helps to try and keep shoes in their original boxes.
If you’ve not got enough space for all seasons, try packing away heavier items like coats and jumpers in a vacuum bag or box under your bed when out of season.
Continue your hard work
This one is a biggy. While it would be amazing if this was a one-off process, you’ll most likely need to edit and adjust your wardrobe as you go. We’re constantly changing and adapting our lifestyle.
Chances are, what suits you now or is in good condition today, might not be the same next year. For every new item you pick up, try to swap it out for an old one to keep the balance.
Enjoy the declutter process
Ending on a positive note, decluttering your wardrobe is a great idea and can be so rewarding! Try to make it fun – why not invite your friends round for a fashion show and get them to vote with some bubbly? Sex and the City style!
I will end with this one last tip, once you’ve finished the process, think about a charity you’d really like to support. Then, find their local charity shop and drop any unwanted items off there. You’ll feel amazing knowing you’ve helped in some way!
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