Ready to learn how to brutally clear your wardrobe out?
Clearing out your wardrobe always starts on a high with the “yes, I am going to do this today!” thought but once everything is out on your bed and the reality of how much crap you have hits you, that thought turns into “I wish I never started this…”.
For years my wardrobe clear outs were unplanned and unsuccessful. Realistically, all I was doing was removing items, folding them neatly and putting them back. I’d discard maybe 3 or 4 items and send them on their way to the charity shop. I wasn’t making a dent in my wardrobe by doing it this way.
I knew I had to get brutal with myself and my wardrobe. No more pointless clear outs, no more “oh but..” and no more “I’ll wear that soon…”. Being brutal was the only way to go. I am by no means perfectly happy with my wardrobe and I’ve still got a fair few items I could cull but it’s a process. I’ve managed to narrow this process down to two phases of how to brutally clear out my wardrobe. I wanted to share it with you, in hope this will assist you in your next wardrobe clear out.
If you want to ease yourself into the brutal clear out and don’t feel confident enough to do it alone (trust me, it’s hard to be brutal to your own clothing!), grab a partner, friend or family member. Someone who sees you often (dogs not included) who will be able to recognise what you wear frequently and what you never wear is vital for phase one. Show them everything in your wardrobe and pull out everything that they’ve never seen you in. Without argument, remove it from your wardrobe. Put it away in a box under your bed or in the loft. By removing the clothing you “never” wear, you’ll test yourself to see whether you miss and need it. A few months later go back to those items of clothing and if you haven’t thought about them or had totally forgotten you had them (this happens!), they should be permanently removed from you wardrobe and recycled. I personally recycle in three ways. I either offer them to friends/family, sell them on eBay or donate them to a charity shop.
Phase one works so well for me. The last thing I want to do is give something away that I later regret. Hiding it away for a certain time frame gives me that flexibility to reintroduce it into my wardrobe. I have on occasion allowed one or two items back into my wardrobe but only because I’ve either noticed their absence, felt that they worked in my newly cleared out wardrobe or because I wanted to try one final time to wear them. However, I find that 90% of what I’ve hidden away ends up out of my wardrobe permanently.
This is about managing what you wear and how often you wear it. I do two simple things to ensure that I get the most wear out of all my clothes in my wardrobe. When I wear something, wash it and put it back on the hanger – I put the hanger in the opposite way to how I store my clothes. This alerts me the next time I am picking an outfit, that I’ve worn that item of clothing recently and I need to pick something else. Granted there will be classic items that you wear frequently that go with ‘everything’ but try really hard to pick something else. When I feel ready (and enough time has passed!) I flip the hanger back round and make it available to choose again.
The second task is even simpler than the first, I slow down my turn over of laundry. If it’s not washed I can’t wear it and I have to pick something else. Phase two I repeat for a month or so, this way I get a really good insight into what I am choosing to wear. And with that, I repeat phase one with the items I’ve avoided wearing. I hide them away and reassess at a later date. The time frame is entirely up to you. Sometimes I wait weeks, months or entire seasons before looking back at my hidden items.
Once you learn to be brutal, you’ll never have to worry about a pointless clear out again and you’ll learn to do these clear outs alone. However, if you struggle with phase one, start with phase two. Turn the hangers around after wearing your clothes, then hide away the unturned hangers which are the items you’ve not worn from that process. It works both ways, which is great. It all depends how confident you feel being brutal with yourself.
My main fear about being brutal with my clothing was worrying about wasting money by getting rid of the clothes I bought that I don’t wear. But that thought was a contradiction because that money had already been spent and I already wasn’t wearing it. It’s much better to ship it off and give it a new lease of life with someone else instead of holding onto something I’ll never make use of.
Phase one and two are great for clear out but ultimately the way to keep on top of it all is to think about what you’re adding to your wardrobe when you go shopping. Focus on buying items you know you’ll get the most wear out of and not items you know will probably end up being hidden away and brutally culled in 6-12 months.
This works for me when it comes to brutally clearing out my wardrobe and I hope it works for you too!
(Outfit details: faux leather jacket from Topshop, jumpsuit from Monki, trainers from Nike, bag from Fiorelli)