Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. We love 'em. If you're anything like me then each new season you're out at the mall, hunting for great bargains and gorgeous styles. But what happens when you find yourself with too many clothes? You don't like the idea of throwing anything out, but you're desperate to keep on top of the latest trends.Well, it's time to get tough. Use these easy steps to declutter your wardrobe with the minimum amount of stress, and enjoy your new, clutter-free closet.
Step One: Consider Storage Solutions
Sometimes it's not that your clothing collection is too big, it's that your wardrobe is too small. Consider investing in shoe racks and hanging rails for your wardrobe so that no space is wasted. Or, use something like this nifty wall-mounted storage range from IKEA.
Try putting your unseasonal clothing or occasionwear in boxes under the bed, or even in the attic. Then when the weather turns cooler, you can switch your skirts and blouses for sweaters and jackets and feel like you have a whole new set of clothes!
By far the best storage solution I've found for this method is vacuum bags. Simply pop your clothes into the bag, attach a standard vacuum cleaner, and ta-da! You've packed your clothes away. The bags are moth and damp proof, so when you're ready to switch your summer and winter wardrobe you can do so easily without worrying about checking for damage.
Step Two: Go Back to Basics
You might have heard the term 'capsule wardrobe' before. The idea of a capsule wardrobe is to keep a set of basic items - shirts, skirts, jackets - in matching colours that you can mix and match as required. It's best to assemble your 'core set' of clothing items first in the decluttering process. These items are things you absolutely cannot live without: underwear, hosiery, plain t-shirts. Then, move onto clothes that you need to wear for your job - smart suits, pencil skirts, etc.
Once you've selected your basic wardrobe, you can pare it down further. Can you ditch the tartan knee-highs your grandma bought you as a joke? Then do so. How many plain white blouses do you really need? If you're lucky enough not to work an office job, do you really need access to a suit, or can you put it away in storage until you need it? Be decisive in this stage - if something isn't absolutely essential, then there's no need for it to be part of your core wardrobe.
Step Three: Wear What Makes You Happy
In her book 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up', homemaking guru Marie Kondo suggests going through all of your clothing items, and deciding which ones 'spark joy' when you see them, and which ones you could live without. Which clothes would you wear every day if you could? Which clothes go with everything? Which clothes fit just right?
If you don't have a lot of extra space, now is the time to set harsh limits on what you're going to keep and what you're going to give away. For example, I decided that my decluttered wardrobe should contain 5 dresses, 3 skirts, 2 pairs of trousers, and 10 tops. I found it easy to discard some things - things I hadn't worn in years, for example, or things that were looking rough around the edges - but for others, I found choosing between them very difficult. If you really feel you can't get rid of something, then feel free to keep it, but when you really need to make a decision, I find this exercise very helpful:
Compare your item to something else in your 'keep' pile. Which do you like the best? If you could only keep one of them, which would it be? Repeat this comparison all the way through the 'keep' pile, until you've decided on the 'winner'.
If you're completely wracked with indecision, try weaning yourself off having a massive wardrobe slowly. Take the clothes you weren't sure about and instead of throwing them away immediately, put them away for a month or two. At the end of that time, get them out again and think: 'Did I miss having this?' If the answer is yes, then you'd better keep it, but if the answer is no, then maybe that's an article of clothing that you can happily get rid of.
Step Four: Be Responsible
Now that you've decided what to keep and what to throw away, what's the best way to do so? Avoid the temptation to run everything down to your local dump, and consider how you can get rid of your old clothes sustainably.
One great idea is to offer your old clothes as hand-me-downs to friends and relatives who might not be able to afford a brand new wardrobe. In high school, I was gifted a gorgeous pair of Ralph Lauren trousers this way, and whenever I wear them I'm reminded that someone was kind enough to give them to me. This is an especially good method if, like me, you get sentimental about your things and worry that they won't be treated kindly in their new homes - gifts are always treasured.
There's also the option of donating to charity. Goodwill is always on the lookout for donations, especially fashionable clothes, and you can rest assured in the knowledge that by donating your old clothes, you've actively made the world that little bit better.
Finally, you can go the classic route and hold a garage sale, or go to your local car boot and sell clothes there. You'll have the luxury of being able to price low, and if anything doesn't sell, you can always repeat the process in a couple of months.You might also want to look into companies like cashforclothes.com who will buy sacks of clothes by the kilo.