Decluttering, while being a cathartic and satisfying process, can also be an unsettling and chaotic experience that is daunting for many people. Let me share how to declutter your wardrobe once and for all.
It is often easier to avoid it completely than to start something that feels impossible to finish. These declutter wardrobe tips will make it easier.
There is a gentler, more considered approach that will help you tackle even the most overwhelming clothing collection, and from which you will reap rewards for years to come.
The rewards really do outweigh the effort, and the more you put in, the more you'll get out of this process.
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1. Decide to make the most of your wardrobe
After having my daughter, I went up two dress sizes. A friend said to me, "Don't bother buying new clothes. You'll lose the weight in no time."
I took her advice, and years later I am still much bigger than I was. I eventually became sick of opening my current wardrobe and seeing clothes that either didn't fit properly or made me feel frumpy and unattractive.
Finally, I decided to accept that, for the time being, my body is a bigger size and vowed to make the most of it.
Then began the process of creating a new style for myself and I have never looked back.
2. Set your intention
Acknowledge your intention to declutter and organize your wardrobe.
Simply set this intention: "I wish to declutter and organize my wardrobe." Then, spend some time addressing what you hope to get out of the process.
What feelings come up when you look inside your wardrobe at all the items of clothing?
Do you feel overwhelmed?
- Nostalgic? (make a t-shirt quilt to remember your favorite shirts!)
Pondering this question will help you to define exactly WHY you are doing this, and what it is that you hope to achieve.
3. Dream up your ideal style
Think about your lifestyle.
What style would be most appropriate and practical for you?
Is there anyone whose style you admire?
(Hint - If you love classic clothes, this free style quiz will show you how to identify your own personal twist on classic style and make it your own!)
What are the colors that you're drawn to?
Is there a look you've been dying to try out but felt it was too daring?
How would you like to present yourself to the world?
What styles would best suit your body shape?
Take time to ponder each simple question above and get inspired.
4. Create a Pinterest board
Pinterest is the perfect place to help you hone in on your unique style. Do so by curating a special board with all the items of clothing and outfits you're attracted to.
When you're happy with your Pinterest board, have a good look at it overall. Is there an emerging color scheme? Is there an overall style?
Use this as inspiration for your wardrobe.
You can be whoever you want to be, and this board will help you to focus on the look you are trying to develop and to let go of items in your wardrobe that don't fit with this style.
5. Avoid doing too much in one go
I have found that taking EVERYTHING out of my closet and piling it up in one place didn't work well for me. (Sorry, Marie Kondo.)
Seeing all the items together certainly had an impact and made me want to downsize, but the process of going through each piece of clothing and deciding whether or not to keep it was exhausting and overwhelming.
In fact, I gave up halfway through and left a pile of clothes on the floor for days.
It doesn't have to be this way. The process of decluttering a bedroom closet doesn't have to be tackled all in one go.
6. How to downsize your wardrobe
Step 1: Keeps Pile
Stand in front of your wardrobe. One by one, go through each item of clothing and take out only the items you LOVE.
Put them in a pile. This pile is for keeps.
Step 2: Negotiable Pile
The next step is to go through the items remaining in your wardrobe one by one.
Try each item on, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it fit me properly?
- Is it in good condition? If not, will I repair it?
- Do I feel good wearing this item?
- Does it flatter my figure?
- If I saw a friend wearing this, would I compliment them?
- Would I spend money on this item if it were for sale?
- Will I wear this item in the next six months?
- Will this item work as part of two or more outfits?
If the answer to one or more of these questions is no, put it in another pile: the negotiable pile.
Take as long as you like working your way through this step, and if you get tired then simply stop. You can come back to it when you feel ready.
Remember that this second pile of clothing is negotiable, you haven't committed to getting rid of it yet so if there is an item that you still feel you want to keep, you can.
7. Use storage bags for your best items
When I went through this step for the first time, I had quite a few items that I absolutely LOVED that no longer fit me as I had put on weight.
I decided to put these items in a zip-lock bag or storage bag for clothes, so I could reassess them at a later date. If you have the storage space, this is an interesting exercise.
By the time you re-open the zip-lock bag, these items may fit but no longer be relevant to your style, or it might feel like finding a long-lost treasure!
8. Give yourself a set amount of hangers
Once you have gone through all of your clothes one by one and set them into the two piles (the keep pile and the negotiable pile), put the items in the keep pile back into your wardrobe.
Give yourself a set amount of hangers. My wardrobe has forty, this is for everything except trousers and jumpers.
9. Out with the old
You now have the opportunity to go through the second pile again. If you really must keep an item remind yourself that this item is taking up a precious spot in your wardrobe that could be used for something new that you will truly love.
Declutter Wardrobe Tips
If you are struggling with getting rid of clothes, remind yourself that you are clearing out the old to make way for the new.
Say to yourself, "There will always be beautiful things."
Experiment with the concept of getting rid of two items for every three you keep. If an item is in good condition, put it into a box to donate to a charity shop.
If it is worn out, just put it into a box for recycling collection. Be sure to get these boxes out of sight quickly. Preferably out of your house so they don't become clutter!
10. In with the new
Take a moment to look at your refreshed wardrobe of clothes. Does the color scheme match your Pinterest board? Are there any key items you need to replace?
One thing that worries many people about clearing out their wardrobe is that they won't have anything to wear, or that it will be difficult to create an outfit. This brings me back to your Pinterest board.
Create a shopping list
Your Pinterest board will help you to create a shopping list to complete your new capsule wardrobe - as that is essentially what you are trying to create from this process.
Trust me, this will save you a lot of money and wardrobe space in the long run. Any basics and investment pieces that your wardrobe is missing will go on this list.
It doesn't require that you go out and spend a fortune on new clothes. Get creative… visit local charity shops, have a clothes swap, or look on eBay for bargains.
Take your time and definitely don't be tempted to buy an item that isn't quite right just because it's on sale. Keep looking until you find the exact item of clothing you're looking for… it's out there I promise you, and when you find it, it will have been worth the wait.
11. Keep it up
The beauty of this process is that it doesn't have a finish date. You have completed the most challenging part in the first round, but for it to work in the long run, maintenance will be required.
I suggest repeating the decluttering process on a regular basis - perhaps once every six months. It will not be as intensive as the first time, and it will give the opportunity to have a seasonal changeover of your clothes.
Related: 5 Ways to Make Decluttering Easier
Create a wardrobe that reflects who you are and who you wish to become. Don't wait to achieve your ideal weight. Celebrate yourself as you are today.
We all deserve to look and feel beautiful. Walk up to your wardrobe, open the doors and feel excited to get dressed in the morning, knowing that you are going to look great in any outfit you choose to wear.
Win Back your Happiness
You deserve to win back the time you would have spent agonizing over what to wear and worrying that you don't look your best. You also deserve to feel good about yourself, no matter what size or shape you are.
And of course, you deserve to start each day as you mean, to go on proud, beautiful, and powerful. What we wear means more than just keeping warm; it is a form of self-expression.
Do it right and it can make all the difference to your confidence.