Fashion · Lifestyle

Wardrobe Declutter

Happy Wednesday, loves!

Today’s post is the first in my new schedule – how exciting! My schedule was previously 11am on a Sunday, and 6pm on a Thursday, although after a little rejig it’s now 6am on a Sunday and 6am on a Wednesday. Now, let’s get on with it…

I’m so excited to share today’s post with you – my inner Monica is beside herself with happiness! I designed my room when I was 15 and a whole wall of built in wardrobes seemed like the best idea ever at the time. It’s still a pretty good idea, but it meant that I had got accustomed to filling my wardrobes to the brim, and using them as a dumping ground for any old crap lying around my room. Didn’t have a place? Open a door and shove it in. We’ve all been there… right?! 

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love shopping, and I love buying new clothes. I watch haul videos on a weekly basis, and I order items online based on these videos. I go for a ‘browse’ around the Metro Centre and come back with items I don’t even need. I read blog posts and watch YouTube videos every day featuring beautiful clothes and I often order them. If I really like an item that’s out of my price range, I’ll scour ASOS until I find a cheaper alternative, then I’ll buy that too. I am a hoarder and I spend way too much money on clothes. < written by my former self, because this behaviour stops here. 

I bet at least 90% of people will have began reading and thought oh no – this is me! Well, I can promise you; hand on heart; decluttering is not as bad as you are thinking, and once you start the process it’s actually very therapeutic. I’m going to talk you through what I did, and hopefully inspire you to do the same if you’re also in dire need of a good clear out. I would advise watching lots of YouTube videos (declutter ones are especially helpful and motivational) and constant cups of tea if you’re embarking on this task, too! In fact I’d suggest you grab a cuppa and settle down for this post; there’s a lot of information and it’s a long one!

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Over the past three weeks I have been decluttering my wardrobes, and I mean really decluttering them. I’m sure you’re wondering why it took me so long to do this, but honestly I just really took my time. I took an hour or two here and there; on a lazy Saturday afternoon, if I had a little window before Matt came home from work, or sometimes late at night if I had a burst of energy to do a small section. Splitting a big, daunting task into lots of small manageable tasks gave me way more motivation, but I know some people would rather spend a whole day getting the job done in one. 

I don’t have before pictures to share with you, because I am quite honestly completely embarrassed at the absolute state my wardrobes were in. My dad took four bin bags to the tip which is just ridiculous (although I’m very glad he took them so I didn’t have to, he’s the best)! I had a further seven bags full of clothes to donate and sell, so you can imagine how cluttered my wardrobes were. I had been saying I was going to sort and declutter for literally the past twelve months, but every time I thought about starting the process I was filled with dread, and to be quite honest I just couldn’t. be. arsed. All for transparency over here, you know?

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Do One Task At A Time
I have to admit, the hardest part is knowing where to start. I first went through and put everything in it’s place. Well, a place. I hung up and folded every single thing – I had to steal coat hangers from my mam’s wardrobes as I didn’t have enough for all of the junk during this process. I have since bought lots of lovely velvet hangers and in time I’m going to have a wardrobe full of them so I can recycle all of my plastic hangers. I also decluttered everything that didn’t belong in there; boxes from parcels, receipts I’d pulled out of a handbag, the odd bobby pin lying around (how do they get everywhere?!) This in itself took a pretty long time – I’m not exaggerating, I was gross – but it gave me a chance to look over items as I was going, and gave me ideas going forward.

It was hard not to jump ahead and start putting items into donation piles from this point; I could already see masses of clothing I didn’t want/need, and would have a better place in another home. I actually felt the most frustrated during this step; I could see in-front of me everything I needed to do, and I wanted to start there and then. I also felt quite annoyed at myself for the amount of clothing I had; I’ve been reading lots recently on sustainability and fast fashion, and I was disgusted by how many items I’d accumulated. Granted, I still have lots of clothes after my clear out which I’m very grateful for!

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Take Out Every Single Item
Okay, so you’ve got everything looking somewhat neat and pretty, this is the tricky part. Take it off the hanger. Unfold it. Pile everything up on your bed until there’s no more daylight coming through your window. Full disclosure; it genuinely sickened me how many items of clothing I had in my wardrobes! I have been saying the words “I have nothing to wear” for so long it was like word vomit; I didn’t even think about it. I found items I’d once loved and forgotten about, items with tags still attached and even items I didn’t know I owned (this is ridiculous)! If you’re going to take on the wardrobe decluttering yourself, I guarantee you’ll be amazed at how much junk you have; some of which you probably don’t even like!

I took everything out in categories, just to make the process a little bit easier. I first took out all of my trousers, then separated into jeans, sweat pants/leggings, trousers. I then took out all of my outerwear and sweaters, then separated into coats/jackets, nice jumpers, lounge jumpers. Lastly for clothing, I took out all of my tops (in two rounds) and separated into long sleeves, t-shirts, camis, blouses and lounge tops. I did underwear and bikinis in one go, then pyjamas, bedding and towels in one go.

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Be Brutal
Seriously, brutal. I last cleared my wardrobe out around 18 months ago, and I thought I’d been pretty harsh on what I was keeping and what I wasn’t. Turns out I wasn’t, because I found things like preppy neon t-shirts I’d purchased years ago in Florida. This is the time to be accountable and fully take responsibility for what you have; do you really need twenty grey t-shirts? Or six pairs of the same colour jeans? I have to say an exception to this for me is anything striped; I love a good Breton top and I will forever continue to buy more!

You have to look at the bigger picture, and you really need to be honest with yourself during this part. It doesn’t matter if you spent £10 or £100 on an item of clothing; if you don’t wear it or even like it, there is no point in keeping hold of it. If it’s went bobbled or misshapen in the wash, isn’t currently something you’d reach for or it doesn’t fit you the same way any more get rid of it! I do however think sentimental items are completely subjective and I for one am not going to judge you if you keep a top you wore on your first date with your boyfriend even though you know now you’ll never wear the fugly thing again… *holds hand high*. 

One of my original aims of this declutter was to have items in my wardrobe fitting to the current season; so during the Autumn/Winter months my Spring/Summer items were out of sight and out of mind, and vice versa. Once I’d put all of my clothing items into categories I then went through each pile and made another two piles; Yes and No – keeping or removing from the black hole of my wardrobes. I then put everything from the Yes pile that would be suitable throughout Autumn/Winter into the wardrobe; in whatever space was best for me to get use out of it.

For an item to go into the Yes pile, it had to tick four boxes;

  • I have worn this more than once in the past six months (to a year – for seasonal items)
  • I just bought this item and will wear it regularly
  • This item goes with other items in my wardrobe and will last a while
  • This item makes me feel happy when I wear it

If an item didn’t fit into this bracket, and it wasn’t for my Spring/Summer storage or I wasn’t sentimentally attached, it went straight into the No pile. I later split this into Donate and Sell piles, as I go through in more detail below. 

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Clean As You Go
This one is probably very self explanatory, but if you’re going through the whole process of filling your wardrobe with items that bring you joy, you certainly don’t want them sitting on dusty rails or shelves. As my wardrobes are made of wood, I dusted, then cleaned with wipes (these ones from Aldi are fab, and they smell amazing). I polished the rails and fittings, and cleaned the mirrors fitted inside the doors.

It’s a good idea to keep your wardrobes clean on a day-to-day basis anyway, but I’m planning to do a deep clean inside every 2-3 months, and at the same time check what items I have in my wardrobes. I think this will be a really good way to keep an eye on what I’m buying, and will mean I hopefully don’t have to do such an in-depth declutter again.

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Organise In A Way That Suits You
Again, my inner Monica loves a chance to really organise! 

As I mentioned above, one thing I really would love is to have all of my clothes on thin, velvet coat hangers. They are pricey but in my opinion they’re a good investment; you can fit way more into each section, they look really good, and they hold clothes in place better than a typical coat hanger. I’m going to make a point of picking these up every time I pop into Homesense until I’ve completed this. 

I began this at the end of August, so as Summer was drawing to a close I made a point of putting all items I was keeping that were specifically Spring/Summer pieces to one side. I purchased two clear boxes and used these to store all the items I’m not going to need for the next six months. I also put my sandals and most of my swimwear in here; Matt and I are going to start going swimming through the week, and we have a few spa weekends coming up so I did keep a few options out. These boxes were then banished to the loft, and I’ll switch these out with my Autumn/Winter items around March next year (I’m clearly feeling optimistic, as it was still snowing in April this year).

I really like using storage boxes inside my wardrobe too; I picked up the ones pictured from Matalan and they’ve came in so handy. One thing I really couldn’t work out how to store was scarves, then my mam suggested to roll them in a storage box and it’s now so much easier to see what I have! It’s a much less messy way to store them, and it makes it so easy to pick which one I’d like to wear for the day.

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Donate and Sell
Now you’ve figured out which items you’re saying goodbye to; it’s very easy to separate your No pile into a further two categories – Donate and Sell. My general rule of thumb here is if an item is a) in good condition, b) worthy of selling – eg in fashion or brand name or c) still has tags on, I will more than likely post it on eBay. The saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is extremely true; people sell all sorts on eBay, and people buy it! There are so many ways to sell your clothes and accessories, but I have always used eBay and I’ve never had any issues. It may seem like a hassle to take photos, upload your items and post them out, but you shouldn’t miss out on a money making opportunity!

Anything else in the No pile that doesn’t meet the criteria will then go into the charity bags. Most charity shops also take bedding, soft furnishings and shoes, so be sure to include them too (after checking with your charity of choice).

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Nurture Your New Space
Now all of the hard work is done; the extra hard work begins – keeping it this way! Ensuring everything stays neat and putting away items as soon as they’re washed/ironed  seems like such a simple task but I know there will be days I just don’t want to bother hanging things up or folding things away. *Note to self: come back to this post and get a virtual kick up the butt!*

I think my wardrobe is missing a few key pieces for the upcoming season, which I’m very excited to add in, however once I’m happy with everything I have, I’m going to try implementing the one in, one out policy. I really want to become a more mindful shopper, and having to get rid of one thing to make way for another is a whole new way of thinking; and means I will be able to sell and donate on a regular basis. This also means that anything I buy will be an item I really love – not something I’ve seen in a haul or blog post and have to have in that moment; I’m taking control of my spending and hoarding. I’ll be delving into this topic in much more detail very soon!

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I got rid of so many items it actually feels like a weight has been lifted; even just getting dressed in the morning is much more fun as I’m not looking through piles left over rails, or trying to pick The Only Grey T Shirt I Wear out of the twenty in-front of me. Shopping your own wardrobe is exciting; it’s fun to mix and match with items you already have, and it makes it easier to buy new items going forward. As I’ve briefly mentioned above, I want to be more mindful of what I buy; I’m making a promise to myself now that my purchases will be sustainable, good for the environment and good for my wardrobe. Items that are timeless and good quality will always be a good addition. This will also make moving so much easier when Matt and I buy our house; at least I’ll be taking things I wear and love! I’ll definitely revisit this in a post over the coming months, and I have lots more fashion related posts planned/scheduled. I’d love to know if there’s anything you’d like to see in particular.

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His & hers dressing gowns – we’re cute

My next project is Matt’s wardrobe and chest of drawers; he has – no exaggeration – around 100 football tops and I cannot wait to begin the decluttering process! I’m expecting him to have put chains and padlocks on everything after reading this, but let’s see how well we can do. I’m so excited!

I hope you enjoyed reading, and I’d love to know if you are now inspired to have a big ol’ clear out and restructure of your wardrobes?! 

-G x

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